Quite often, one notices
people inside the sacred space of a Church who go to
extremes when adhering to the various formalities of
spiritual life. They observe everyone around
them with a
keen eye - both the clergymen and the laity - and
they jump to conclusions all
too easily, then proceed to displays
of objection, some of which are at times quite
tempestuous and dynamic. The "mindless zeal" of these brethren creates unpleasant situations
that are a nuisance to others in the Holy
Temple who are worshipping God and seeking solace.
These people find it
extremely difficult to agree with something different.
No matter how much you try, they persist in their
erroneous impressions, and they also entertain a
continuous turmoil in their soul. They want
everyone else to agree with them - which is something
that will never happen. This behaviour essentially
alienates them from the Church, even though they are
unfailing churchgoers. They do not regard the
Church as something of their own, just as they do not regard the
other people in there as their brethren.
They prefer to
differentiate themselves, to judge and to condemn, and
they also believe that everyone around them is irreverent and
a transgressor of God's will. When they approach others,
they have a purpose: to
demonstrate, to censor and to intimidate.
They do not aspire to becoming friends and
participate in the various problems that the others
may be facing. They have the same attitude
towards priests also; they persistently require them to
conform to their suggestions, because only they
(supposedly) possess the genuine Orthodox criterion.
observation worth noting is one that was made by a
Bishop, and is at the same time a word of advice:
"Do not always trust
the one who will instantly display pretentiousness at
the sound of an inappropriate word, or one who
does not omit to cross himself a hundred times when
passing outside a church, or one -finally- who is liable
to fast even on a Sunday. Usually, these types are
nothing more than wolves, with the external innocent
semblance of sheep."
Displays such as these
would not have existed, if those brethren had pursued a
spiritual struggle and were humble.
Unfortunately, the focus of their interest
is deflected towards others and not themselves, which is
why they remain dissatisfied. They
worry about all the secondary,
immaterial and changing things, whereas they remain
indifferent towards whatever is important, necessary and
Apart from humility, we
also need to have God-given wisdom - which is usually
missing from those brethren, who become unnecessarily
noisy and unsettled.