A certain elder said: "A monk who lives in genuine obedience to his spiritual father will reap a greater reward than someone who lives as a hermit in a wilderness. To this, he added: "Speaking of heaven, a church father distinguished four ranks of its dwellers; the first was the sick giving thanks to the Lord, were people who gave shelter and hospitality to strangers and were good servants of others; the third was the desert dwellers who ascetised in full solitude, without any human company; and finally, the brethren who lived in obedience to their spiritual fathers for the sake of God belonged to the fourth rank. They wore a golden chain and a wreath, and they were in the highest glory of the four. Why?
He gave me this answer: the ones who received strangers did so of their volition. Likewise, the hermits freely chose to live their solitary lives in the wilderness. But those who lived in obedience surrendered themselves fully to the will of God and their spiritual fathers, and thus earned the highest glory. Obedience for the sake of God is a virtue. Strive to acquire it at least in part. Obedience is the way to salvation for all faithful. It is the mother of all virtue. It opens the door to the Kingdom of Heaven and makes us akin to angels. Obedience is the food of all saints; raised in the spirit of obedience, they rise to perfection through its practice.
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The non-Orthodox Christians often hear the Orthodox talk about their Name Day which they celebrate each year just like they do their birthday. Is Name Day just another word for birthday or is it something else? Let's find out.