Talk 27: How Does One Overcome Coldness and Deadness in the Spiritual Life?
Speaker: Hieromonk Kosmas
(Duration: 3hr 16min)
A great many Orthodox Christians who fast, confess, commune, attend the church services, and perform various ascetic labors complain of a feeling of spiritual coldness and deadness. They are surprised, thinking that doing all this ought to help them in acquiring the grace of God. Common characteristics of such people include self-satisfaction, vainglory, self-trust, self-will, being judgmental, and a lack of both repentance and self-knowledge.
In this talk, Father Kosmas uses the teachings of Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov to explain the reason for coldness and deadness in the spiritual life and how to overcome this. He explains that true spiritual life requires not just the fulfilment of external requirements, but practising the teachings of the Gospel, recognizing our own sinfulness, and cultivating a sense of repentance.
The following questions are also discussed: why do we find it difficult to repent? How are the passions spiritually beneficial? Is prayer worthless without repentance? Why do the Jehovah’s Witnesses and other sectarians seem so peaceful and calm? Can joy in the spiritual life be demonic? How can we see God? What is the difference between children of God and children of the devil? What did the saints regard as greater than miracle-working and good works? Can God still give us what we ask even when He knows it is not good for us?
Other topics covered in this talk include: the logical reason for the Western Church’s doubt or denial of wonders and miracles in the lives of the ancient saints; rampant pharisaism in the Orthodox Church today; the tragedy of not reading the Holy Bible on a daily basis; how not noticing one’s vainglory is equal to having no inner spiritual life; the repulsiveness of a self-opinionated person; the difference between the holy water of the Orthodox Church and that of the Roman Catholic Church; and how not wanting to sin can be a deception.
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