All too often, we are bombarded by entertainment in popular media, and increasingly, social media.

Even the notion of faith has become populist and sometimes, unfortunately, the preachers of faith have began to erode their fundamentals with a faint hope to retain their followers. It is no wonder people today are increasingly polarized.

There will be one camp who have unfortunately allowed their egos to command them, and would only believe something if it aligns with their own passions.

There will be another camp, who will seek out, at all costs, faith that will bring peace and hopefully, more. To these people, what is “common”, or populist, would not make it useful or meaningful. Rather, they seek truth, and only truth, and will go to all lengths to find it. A majority is often not a good measure of what is true or what is right, especially in today’s world, as observed by many contemporary Orthodox elders (including the Blessed Elder Paisios of Mount Athos).

So, it is a wonderful journey when I read the brief on the book “Everyday Saints and Other Stories” by Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), in an English translation by Julian Henry Lowenfeld. I would love to read and speak Russian and Slavonic one day though, God willing.

The opening pages was written by the translator Lowenfeld. In it, what captivated me what that it mentioned how Russia is one of the most intensely spiritual and faithful places in the world, despite its portrayal by the West. We from the East (Asia) have no such prejudices against Russia, and in fact, some of us have closer ties to Russia and many of the former Soviet Union states throughout history. My own genes have perhaps a small percentage from the Northern cold lands.

So, even as we travel along our own faith journeys towards God, we need to look inwards, to those uncommon places where populism may not exist. We need to look outwards and find meaning and God’s many mercies along our way, all too often in subtle and uncommon places, times and people. Things that may look just a little odd, may just be God’s signposts for us to re-examine our misaligned lives, and allow us to stop, pause, repent, pray, and move along the narrow path again.

God has a divine plan for everyone of us, and that plan is for us to reconcile with Him (“St Matthew 5:48”, “Be ye perfect…”). No one is beneath another in the Eyes of God, everyone is equally created with His Love, and deserving of His Love (“Romans 16:1-26”).

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

02. Faith is not an escape, but seeking growth and strength

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