Over the course of our life, we often find ourselves faced with a choice of what to do, which path to take, and not just to go, but so that this path corresponds to God's will for us. How do you know the will of God? How do we know if our choice is correct? The pastors of the Russian Church give their advice.
Archpriest Igor Shumilov:
- How to find out the will of God? First of all, through the Holy Scriptures, constantly practicing reading it and studying patristic interpretations and teachings. You also need to pray a lot about this, ask the Lord to teach His will.
Priest Peter Guryanov:
- The question of how to find out the will of God is perhaps one of the most important in our life. Agree that the will of God is the most accurate and sure measure of how we should act.
To know or feel the will of God in a particular case, you need a lot of conditions. This is a good knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, this is slowness in decision, this is the advice of a confessor.
In order to correctly understand the Holy Scriptures, firstly, it must be read with prayer, that is, it must be read not as a text for discussion, but as a text that is understood by prayer. Secondly, in order to understand Holy Scripture, you need, as the apostle says, not to conform to this age, but to be transformed by the renewal of your mind (see: Rom. 12: 2). In Greek, the verb "not conform" means: not to have a common scheme with this age: that is, when they say: "In our time, everyone thinks so" - this is a kind of scheme, and we should not conform to it. If we want to know the will of God, we must deliberately discard and ignore what one of the 17th century sages Francis Bacon called “the idols of the crowd,” that is, the opinions of others.
All Christians without exception are told: "I beg you, brethren, by the mercy of God ... do not conform to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you will know what the will of God is, good, acceptable and perfect" ( Rom. 12: 1-2); “Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of God is” (Eph. 5:17). And in general, the will of God can be learned only through personal communication with Him. Therefore, a close relationship with Him, prayer and service to Him will be a necessary condition for finding an answer to our question.
Priest Dimitri Shishkin:
- How to find out the will of God? It's very simple: you need to open the New Testament, the First Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians, and read: "The will of God is your sanctification" (1 Thess. 4: 3). And we are sanctified by obedience to God.
So there is only one sure way to know the will of God - it is to live in harmony with the Lord. And the more we are established in such a life, the more we become rooted, as it were, we are affirmed in similarity to God, we acquire a real skill in comprehending and fulfilling the will of God, that is, in the conscious and consistent fulfillment of His commandments. This is the general, and the particular follows from this general. Because if a person in a particular life situation wants to know the will of God about himself and, for example, learns it from some spirit-bearing elder, but the disposition of the person himself is not spiritual, then he will not be able to understand, accept or fulfill this will ... So the main thing is, without a doubt, a sober, spiritual life and attentive fulfillment of the commandments of God.
And if a person comes to some important period in his life and he really wants to make the right choice, to act in a Divine way in a particular difficult situation, then it is on the basis of all that has been said that the first means of knowing the will of God is it is to strengthen your church life, that is, to bear a special spiritual labor: to talk, confess, take communion, show more than usual, diligence in prayer and reading the word of God - this is the main work for someone who really wants to know the will of God in this or that issue ... And the Lord, seeing such a sober and serious disposition of the heart, will certainly make it clear His holy will and give strength for its fulfillment. This is a fact that has been verified many times and by a wide variety of people. Only you need to show constancy, patience and determination in the search for the truth of God, and not in pleasing your dreams, desires and plans ... Because everything mentioned is already self-will, that is, not the plans, dreams and hopes themselves, but the desire for everything to be exactly the way we want. Here is a question of real faith and self-denial, if you will, readiness to follow Christ, and not your ideas about what is right and useful. Without this it is impossible.
Let's remember how this pandemic year passed in the Russian Orthodox Church, recall the chronology of events, how they were reflected in the materials on our portal.
The controversy over covid began in the Russian Orthodox Church with Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov at the end of February 2020, when he announced on the Spas TV channel, addressing Russian Orthodox believers living in Italy, where restrictive measures began. in particular, the closure of churches, that the believers should not obey the orders of the "godless state", and urged them to gather for the liturgy at least at night, because with the help of communion in the old days, even the plague was stopped.
Towards mid-March, the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church issued a document on the coronavirus, in which it ordered the use, in case of danger of an epidemic, "sanitary solutions for disinfecting icon kivots", and also suggested using disposable cups for washing.
Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) even expressed the opinion that in the event of a threat of an epidemic, "in some cases disposable spoons will be used for communion." The Metropolitan even thought about the possibility of separate communion at that time.
The polemics between "orthodox" and "liberals" began: the former began to prove that they had served for decades, consumed gifts and had never contracted any disease, the latter began to express fears of the obscurantism of such a position, to remind of the need for common sense approach and sanitary measures. Some priests and even bishops declare loudly that it is impossible to get infected not only through the sacrament, but in general in the church. Others are more careful, they begin to measure the temperature of the clergy and church workers and recommend that parishioners and clergy with symptoms of SARS do not appear in the church.
In mid-March, Valaam Monastery is the first to be quarantined. And some bishops, for example, the one of Murmansk, flaunt the fact that they are not taking any sanitary measures and are not going to. At this time, Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov wonders: "why be afraid" of the coronavirus, at the same time, 368 people died in Italy in one day.
At the same time, the patriarchate begins to take some measures: the seminarians are dismissed to their homes (but not everywhere), Sunday schools are sent on a two-week vacation, and the famous "Instruction" is issued (first for the Moscow diocese), around which it was broken after there are many copies, or rather, around its main postulate - the instruction to wipe the liar with alcohol after each participant.
The instruction was distributed to the entire Russian Orthodox Church on March 17, and the day before, Archpriest Andrei Tkachev lit it for the first time about the covid, on the air of Tsargrad he attacked those who are afraid of getting infected:
“If you don't want to - don't go, who asks you to go to the temple! Why should all these ... funny people be in the temple? Go away! They come in masks - what kind of aliens ?! Why did you come here wearing a mask ?! Go, sit at home in a mask in front of the TV, watch the Comedy Club. Why are your masks - this whole comedy? If you don't have faith - well, don't go!
“I'm afraid to partake from a spoon!”… Well, listen! Why are you needed in the temple? With such thoughts. Yes, go and sit at home! Drink holy water and gnaw on the prosphora from the last service.
The representative of the diocese, Abbot Veniamin (Rainikov) told Interfax:
“It's technically impossible. How to translate? Violently, not violently? Is it supposed that the diocese will come and forcibly resettle someone somewhere? We do not trade in people, serfdom has been abolished, religion is a voluntary matter. Once upon a time there was an order for the transfer of nuns to other monasteries, they did not submit to him. How is it to resettle a person in a country in which it is impossible by law? We are not at war with them, we want nuns to be in the Church. "
Rainikov added that the diocese hopes for a "constructive dialogue" and "an end to the schism," but the nuns of the monastery do not seek contact.
On August 20 last year, it was reported that Metropolitan Kirill (Nakonechny) decided to transfer the nuns, novices and priests of the Sredneuralsky Convent of Breads Convent to other monasteries:
“By the decision of the head of the Yekaterinburg Metropolitanate and the Diocesan Council, in connection with the seizure of the Sredneuralsky nunnery by Schema monk Sergius and the performance of blasphemous“ divine services ”in the monastery, which makes it impossible to pass monastic obedience there, it is blessed to transfer the nuns of the nunnery to other nuns monastery of the Yekaterinburg Metropolitanate ".
The diocese explained that the novices and nuns of the monastery need to "get rid of the destructive influence of Schema-monk Sergius, poisoning gullible souls with schism, and return to monastic work where the monastic life is really taking place."
In early September of the same year, an open letter from the nuns of the monastery was published, in which it was reported that the nuns did not intend to fulfill the order of the Metropolitan to disband the monastery and move to other monasteries:
“From the media, we learned about the decision to provide us with the opportunity to voluntarily move to other monasteries of the Yekaterinburg and Alapaevsk dioceses and that our confessor of the monastery, Scheigumen Sergiy (Romanov), allegedly hinders us in this.
We hereby inform you and all interested parties that we, the undersigned nuns of the Sredneuralsky nunnery in honor of the icon of the Mother of God "The Contestant of Breads" voluntarily, consciously and finally decided to stay in the Sredneuralsk nunnery in honor of icons of the Mother of God "The Contestant of Breads" together with her spiritual father, Schema-Abbot Sergius (Romanov).