I'm beginning to get an appreciation for one of the (many, I'm sure) benefits of having a spiritual father.
Let me explain:
I was listening to another edition of Our Life in Christ, and one of the quotes they used was this: "St. Pachomius once met some people who were carrying a corpse, and saw two angels in the funeral procession. He asked God to reveal to him the mystery of the presence of the two angels at the burial of this man. What especial good had he done that two angels should escort him to the grave? Then, by the providence of God, the two angels came across to Pachomius and explained to him: One of us is the angel of Wednesday, and the other the angel of Friday. As this man fasted every Wednesday and Friday right up to his death, we are giving his corpse a solemn escort. As he kept the fast up to his death, so we are here to glorify him."
And I thought, yeah! I wanna do that! I mean, who wouldn't want an angelic escort at their funeral? (Or any other time for that matter...) So I went off (in my head) planning to find out *exactly* how the Orthodox fast, get myself an Orthodox calendar, and do it. And thereby get angels at my funeral. Seriously.
I didn't get *too* far in my planning, though, when I was listening to *another* episode, this time an interview (I believe) with a man called Papa Demetrios. It was about the healing of the nous. And he told the story (which I am paraphrasing from my memory) of a man who was doing hundreds of prostrations a day, and feeling very good about it and himself. He went to a his spiritual father and told him what he was doing already, and asked for a discipline to bring himself even closer to God. The father told him his discipline was this, to do only *ten* prostrations a day. The man sort of scoffed, after all, he was doing much more than that already, ten was nothing.
He came back in a few days, begging for a different discipline. Ten was too hard. Before, he'd been doing his hundreds with pride. Doing ten, in obedience, was too difficult.
So, that stopped me. I mean, why did I want to do the fast? Because I wanted the angels. I wanted 'bragging rights'. *sigh*
*That* sort of stuff, for me, makes it clear why having a spiritual father is an *excellent* idea. And, to be frank, it makes more sense to me than that whole, 'headship' thing I was trying to fit into my brain a while back. After all, again, what about me? Under the 'headship' plot, I'm s.o.l. And married, what if my husband goes off the theological rails? What if he's not the same faith? (No, we're not supposed to marry outside of our faith, but what if I married Orthodox and he later on became...Evangelical *hackspit*. That's not grounds for divorce, but still his spiritual advice, 'headship' would become useless.) On the other hand, the priest is separate from our marital issues. He's devoted his entire life to his faith, and to leading others in the faith, and his advice would be best. He wouldn't be subject to my pride or whims, but rather what is actually best for my soul and spiritual growth.