Thanks to all those who have been sending messages of support over the last day or so, they are all much appreciated. As many orthodox priests have found, including Fr Chandler in the UK, when you tackle the occult and New Age, its practitioners are ready to attack. I see just this afternoon some of those who left the poisonous comments were back again - it seems they are organised. If ever we needed an argument to show how dangerous yoga is it is the venomous attack of these practitioners which we have seen over the past couple of days here. One even tried to use the combox to promote a local yoga group! Anyway, we give them into the hands of St Michael and his Angels.
It is interesting that this spat should emerge as the Church begins the Year of Faith. Many Catholics dabble in the occult and New Age out of pure ignorance, understanding little about Christ, his teachings and the incompatibility of such practices with Christian faith and spirituality. If ever we need a new emphasis on catechesis it is now as many have been led astray.
This is, I think for us Christians, a year in our lives to be devoted to an intense study of our faith. While I do not agree with many of their teachings, I admire the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and Christian Scientists, for example, because they dedicate themselves to understanding the tenets of their belief systems - we do not have to agree with them to acknowledge their commitment and zeal. We should be doing that ourselves, and seeing as we have the truth in Jesus Christ, we should be even more diligent in coming to understand what the Lord and his Church teaches.
The Catholic faith is so rich and beautiful; its many spiritualities profound, nourishing and uplifting, leading us to the True God and helping us advance towards holiness on the path of perfection, as St Teresa of Avila puts it. In this year we should take the opportunity to explore it and see which spirituality is to be ours. Today, the feast of St Teresa of Avila, we can look to Carmelite spirituality, but there are others: that of St Francis, St Dominic, St Ignatius, St Paul of the Cross, the Benedictine, the Cistercian and so many others.
These are not just religious orders, but ways of Christian life in which a Saint was inspired to live in a particular way and become an example for others. Indeed many lay people are so taken with the teaching and spirituality of one Saint, they became spiritual sons and daughters of that Saint, perhaps even join the Third Order or Lay Association of the Saint's Order or Congregation. There's a project for you: if not already a religious, is there a spiritual family out there for you?
One of the things I say to my parishioners and when I give talks, is that we must realise the communion that exists between us and begin to live that communion. A spiritual family is important, especially in these times when orthodox Christians are being sidelined and persecuted by non-believers and even by the lax and lapsed within the Church. We need the support of the faithful to withstand attack - as I see clearly in these last couple of days. The evil one works to divide, we must work to form communion: communion in love, in faith and in truth. Let us pray for each other.
Please note: Up until now I have allowed the anonymous option on the combox, but given the nature of the comments I have received, from now on if people want to comment, they will have to reveal who they are. I welcome comments, as long as the usual rules of courtesy and respect are observed . If people disagree with me, fair enough, I have rarely deleted comments on my blog: in fact I have only done it once before when the comment, not referring to me but to another person, was libelous. Of course, as you know, there is no such thing as an anonymous comment, all can be tracked down: I have a tracker programme monitoring my blog, so I have the IP addresses of all who comment, and these can be followed up.
Happy feast day to you all! May our Madre, St Teresa of Jesus, watch over you and protect you.