How to Deal with Physical Fatigue During Worship? Practical Tips

A divine service is not a pleasant concert, it is a prayerful effort. After the Fall, everything good is difficult for a person, and the divine service is no exception to this general rule.

– When people say that a physically fit person nowadays can’t stand for two hours, as they used to in Byzantium where people ostensibly were more robust, we can look at it differently. If we are so feeble, it makes sense to pay attention to our physical condition, rather than justify our godlessness with it.

– It is difficult even for a healthy person to stand through the entire service if he does not understand much. Print out or buy a book with the text and explanation of the divine service, and you will see how much easier it becomes to follow the divine service.

– There are also spiritual reasons for feeling bad during worship, e. g., unconfessed sins and disorderly spiritual life.

– Try to find a church in your neighbourhood, as close to your house as possible. It may not be difficult to travel to a remote church occasionally  but doing so regularly can be problematic.

– It may be difficult for a sick or elderly person to stand upright in the purely physical sense, especially if that person is a newcomer. There are benches or pews in churches for such persons. If there are no benches, ask the church staff to bring a chair. As a last resort, bring your own folding stool. St. Philaret of Moscow put it well about our physical weakness: “It is better to be sitting and thinking about God than to be standing and thinking about your aching feet.”

Additional comment from Fr Christopher

The ikon corner in our homes is our sanctuary in these times when being physically in church is impossible. We can simply recall what church is like and how we behave when we enter it, which prayers we say, which ikons we venerate and what we do when we light candles. Our ikon corners are our little glimpses paradise – for it is here holiness exudes in our favour – it to here we are drawn for our daily worship to Christ our God through his glorious saints. We should not be allowed to forget that during the oppression of Orthodoxy in the Communist Era many people lived without churches, priests or even ikons. Many priests were imprisoned and had no visual aids at all to prompt their worship – and yet we read and learn of priests who mentally celebrated the Holy Liturgy from nothing into being in the full knowledge that they were in communion with Christ for the sake of His children who were suffering.

Father  Gonville ffrench-Beytagh (26 January 1913 – 10 May 1991) was imprisoned in South Africa where he was Dean of Johannesburg for his stance against apartheid. He celebrated the liturgy every day – with thin air.

COVID – 19 has placed us all in  spiritual turmoil: we are lost without are churches and sacraments  after our confessions. We miss contact with our fellow orthodox forerunners and the priests. We miss the sights, sounds, touch and smells so familiar and perhaps up until now perhaps   simply taken for granted.  Now is the time to embrace these precious memories and hold them fast so that   in or out of church we will witness the Resurrection of Christ at Pascha. Everyone will be shouting Christ is Risen! – God will hear  us all:  singly and yet together…as the Saints and Angels reply “He is risen indeed!