Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich): Why Is Seclusion Dangerous for Laypeople?

Usually people leave society - become socially isolated - for one reason. And this reason is pride.

Of course, I’m not talking about those who felt the call of God to devote their lives to fulfilling monastic vows.

Undoubtedly, a person will never recognize inner pride himself. He will name many different reasons and excuses: including misunderstanding on the part of his loved ones, disappointment in people, lack of justice in the world, and so on.

Proud people leave their jobs, families, forget about their direct responsibilities, close in their homes and stop interacting with the world. Some also give references to holy hermits, saying that they, like the saints, are not understood by this world.

But the saints are the lights chosen by God. They never allowed themselves to think of their holiness. The solitude was dictated by completely different motives.

Leaving society as an option for solving accumulated problems is an illusion. The lump of problems does not decrease. It is quite the contrary. This is a dangerous path.

The desire to criticize everything and everyone, the inability to see the good, the unwillingness to adapt to one’s loved ones and to be indulgent towards them, and most importantly, the desire to be always right are the signs of a proud person.

Such person looks down on everyone and considers others unworthy to communicate with him. Being in the Church, such a person leaves it feeling offended and insulted.

This spiritual disease has very deep roots, and it is almost impossible to eradicate it when it has already taken root thoroughly. Such person becomes deaf and blind. And it gets almost impossible to tell him about the truth.

At an early stage of this disease, it is still possible to recover, but the advanced stage does not respond to treatment, unless by the grace of God.

Therefore, it is very important to watch yourself and your thoughts. And to suppress any attempt to feel proud in comparison with someone. One must be afraid to think of oneself to be better than someone, no matter how insignificant that someone may seem. Thinking about yourself as a righteous person is deadly and unacceptable.

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