On Deficient Faith

If faith is measurable, then it is deficient. The monk who keeps not his cell-rule. The layman who avoids Church services. The ortho-internet personality curating his brand. The bishop as a law-clerk. It is so simple. Their deficient faith is measured by their want of prayer. And even if they do pray? Well, to the extent that their prayer might be mechanical and lacking pain of heart, then that prayer is null. And if their prayer is contaminated by delusion? If they take pride in their piety? If they are satisfied in their spiritual work? If they are not driven to pierce the essence of their prayers? Impurity is unaware of its own presence in a soul. Whoever is deficient in faith is oblivious to his lack of prayer, and insensible to its low quality. Such a man is easily deluded. He automatically accepts reasons, rationales, interpretations, excuses, etc., that justify his undeveloping, spiritual praxis. See how his life gets more bizarre, more eccentric, more characteristic, more idiosyncratic. The more overt his personality, the more degenerate becomes his soul. And then the more he masks this degeneracy through the social activity of his monastic life, or family and professional life, or digital life, or hierarchical life. And no-one notices. Whoever is faithful to seeking the truth at all costs does well, but not well enough. It is not enough to merely embody correct dogma, even when one does so by divine grace. A man also needs to pierce the truth of his own sin. The monk, the layman, the virtual man, the hierarch. Everyone needs to continually start at the beginning because, for everyone, the beginning of faith is repentance. For faith to live in a man, the struggler needs to forever stop in his spiritual tracks and go back to the beginning where he finds his repentance. Repentance is the beginning of faith. Faith is always deficient when it lacks repentance. This is good news, for where repentance is, then even a man’s apparently absent faith is entirely sufficient for him. Repentance is the sign of even an absent or atrophied faith’s efficiency. This fact causes more sorrow to the penitent man, and rightly so, when he realises the fragility of his faith. Yet it also provokes gratitude to the Lord Whose providence has so arranged it that a man’s fragile faith is contained in and covered by his ever-deepening repentance. Yes. A deficient faith can be a cause for joy.