St. George
Serbian Orthodox Church
Carmichaels, PA

May 26, 2009 - Decisions and Christian Growth

Prepared for Adult Class. St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
Eve of Apodasis of Pascha
by Fr. Rodney Torbic

Learning about monasteries is part of the developmental process for Christians. Christians are expected to grow in Christ throughout life. The growth process entails expanding the personal knowledge base about the life in Christ.

Each Christian needs to determine the most appropriate way to follow Christ. Fullness of the life in Christ comes when a believer utilizes his or her personal talents and resources for the glory of God.

Fullness of life comes when the believer is faithful in feeding the hunger of the soul. The soul is authentically fed when nourished by Christ. Nourishment comes through the Gospel and Christís Precious Body and Blood.

Personal circumstances vary among believers. The choices a believer makes are expected to be within the confines of acceptability of Godís Holy Church. The choices a believer makes are expected to be pleasing to God.

Learning that monasteries exist creates a new avenue for potential growth among believers. Believers learning about the existence of monasteries may choose to visit one or more of these places of holiness for personal benefit.

Family visits to monasteries serve as sources of individual enrichment and strengthening of the family. Family members contemplate their own personal Christian commitment as a result of such visits.

Parents may be more accepting of their son or daughter entering into the monastic life after having been exposed to monasteries where the commitment to Christ is thriving.

Cultures are changed by the presence of monasteries. Monasteries affect the communities in which they are located just a parish churches affect the communities in which they are located.

Pilgrimages to monasteries expose believers to individuals seriously committed to the Christian life. Not everyone identified as Christian is serious about being a Christian. Monasteries are places to meet others serious about Christ.

Believers benefit when exposed to extensive liturgical prayer. The hunger of the soul and the need for direction in life can require more than what might always be available in a parish.

A visit to a monastery can provide the additional nourishment a believer needs to satisfy the longing of the soul. One visit may lead to multiple visits.

Parents taking their children may create a family tradition that will be lasting.

Children tend to grow in the direction they are pointed by their parents.

Children will remember where their parents took them as youngsters.

Parents taking their children to visit monasteries help shape the childrenís Christian development. Parents make choices as to where they will spend their time with their children. Parents make choices as to what kind of activities and what part of lifeís offerings are acceptable for their children.

Individuals choose the best way to feed the hunger of their souls and the best way to develop as Christians. When the newly baptized exits the baptismal fount, countless decisions await the new Christian.

Decisions must be made continuously from the moment of exiting the baptismal fount until departure from this life. Parents and God-parents, Kumovi, have responsibilities when the baptized is an infant.

In some cases, parents choose monasteries as places for baptisms. Baptisms are valid wherever they are done as long as they are in accord with Church teachings, standards and practices.

Faithfulness to Christ is tested with each decision needing to be made. Children reared by serious Christian parents with supportive and responsible family members and Kumovi improve the likelihood of sound decisions.

Adults face complexities in the present world. Adults need strength and courage to make decisions that keep them on the path to the Kingdom of God.

Temptations and diversions abound in daily life.

Believers draw strength from the life in the parish. The Divine services available in the parish and educational opportunities in the parish give the believer support in the daily decision-making process.

Personal interests and practices of spiritual strengthening consistent with the teachings of the Church may cause a believer to search for additional nourishment pleasing to God.

At times, believers will choose to grow in Christ by enrolling in classes outside the parish. Appropriate approvals and blessings are necessary.. At times believers benefit their souls by reading extensively.

Parish priests are primary sources of learning for believers. Besides providing instruction on an individual or group basis addressing interests of parishioners, parish priests can suggest helpful resources outside the parish.

Believers have a personal responsibility to care for the soul that increases as the person matures from infancy to adulthood. Care for the soul is the primary responsibility in life. All decisions are affected by the care given to the soul.

Entering the Kingdom of God is influenced by a personís choices including those having to do with relationships with others. Forgiveness, repentance, Holy Confession, Holy Communion, and attending Divine services have a part in this.

A personís fundamental relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ will govern the personís choices and directions in life. A person increases his or her understanding of Christ through Godís Holy Church.

Seriousness about the Church and the life in Christ is revealed in how a person lives and in decisions that are made throughout life

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