Muslim Christians?

A Church in Optina Monestary

What does it mean to be a Christian? What are we called to do? Very broadly speaking, we are called to be muslims, no, not in the definition of the word as “an adherent of Islam” but in the literal translation of the word which means “one who submits.” St. Nikon of Optina says:

Without humily, one cannot be a disciple of Christ. Without humilty, the heart of a man does not receive–does not assimilate–the teachings of Christ. Humilty inspires the heart of a man: to be submissive to the will of God; to humbly accept everything that the Lord is pleased to send on his path of life; to submit his mind, his understanding, and his desires to the obedience of Christ.

Every minute of every day we are called to submit to the will of God. This is a difficult thing! But just because it is difficult does not mean that it impossible, or that we should not try. As Orthodox Christians we are called to take up our cross and struggle to theosis, struggle to become ‘partakers of Christ” as the apostle Paul put it.

I dare not speak for God himself, but I do not believe that he is going to judge us on whether or not we are able to acheive this, but whether or not we sincerely try; whether or not we struggle against our own selfish desires and wants; whether or not we push aside our own will and submit ourselves, body mind and soul to Him.

St. Hesychios the Priest gives a good way in which we can ensure we are submitting ourselves:

Each hour of every day we should note and weigh our actions and in the evening we should do what we can to free ourselves from the burden of them by means of repentance–if, that is, we wish, with Christ’s help, to overcome wickedness.

Each our of every day we can examine how we lived that past hour to see whether or not we are living as God commands. If you think about it this way it becomes a very managable thing: What did this past hour? What good? What bad? Am I acting contrary to God’s will?

The important thing however is to not get caught up on any particular action no matter how sinful <b>or how spiritual</b>. At the end of the day we shouled  pray wholeheatedly for reprentance, and then start over again the next day. We have to live in the very present, in the very moment. If we get caught up on what has yet to occur, or what has already occured, then it will become terribly easy to not keep watch over what we are doing this very instant.



4 responses to “Muslim Christians?

  • eze2009

    I, (we), have NOTHING in common with Muslims.

    • Doulos

      Perhaps you have misunderstood the point of my post. In the Arabic language “muslim” is a word which means “one who submits.”

      I was saying that we should submit ourselves to God completely, as in the strict definition of the word ‘muslim’ but definately NOT in the definition of the word as “an adherent of Islam.”

  • Doulos

    The church pictured in the post by the way is one located in the famous Russian Orthodox monestary of Optina.

  • Cahalil

    Thanks for an insightful reflection.

    I would have to disagree with eze2009. Christians and Muslims have more in common then they are aware of. You can see striking similarities in the inner spiritual life when you compare the writings of the desert fathers and Christian mystics with those of Muslim Sufis. As a Muslim, I personally find great inspiration in Christian texts such as the Way of the Pilgrim or the writings of the Miester Eckhart, and many Christians likewise confess to finding spiritual nourishment in the likes of Rumi, the Persian Sufi, and Rabia, the 9th century Iraqi female ascetic and lover of God. As the Arabs say, “there are as many paths to God as their are human souls.” The key to God however is orthodoxy and the contemplative life in one’s own tradition.

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