Yesterday we celebrated a wonderful Feast in the church–Holy Pentecost! And we sang:
Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God,
Who hast revealed the fishermen as most wise
by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit,
and through them Thou didst draw the world into Thy net.
O Lover of Man, glory to Thee!
What a beautiful day of the Lord it was! What a beautiful service to attend.
Father Thomas Hopko’s next of the 55 Maxims tells us:
Go to liturgical services regularly. Go to Church. Stand there. Listen. Pray. Don’t pay attention to the people—oh yes, be attentive to their presence. But be there for the sake of the service itself.
Sometimes I find myself really not wanting to go to church. It’s work. But whenever I feel this way and I force myself to go anyway, I have found that NEVER do I ever regret making that choice. In fact I always come out feeling very glad that I did force myself to go. It is always a great blessing.
If you do not feel like praying, you have to force yourself. The Holy Fathers say that prayer with force is higher than prayer unforced. You do not want to, but force yourself. The Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force (Matt. 11:12). REF:St. Ambrose of Optina (+1891)