“In truth, I wasn’t attracted to Fr. Schmemann’s prescriptions because I thought they stood a good chance of opening my whole day to Christ; I liked them because they were a little extreme and a lot emphatic. They felt like they might be enough.
Trying to make sure I’ve done my duty by God is, of course, the opposite of cultivating openness to him and what he might ask of me. For me, seeking out an aggressive prayer rule is usually a way of compartmentalizing my spiritual life, reducing it to something I can accomplish every day, in the same way I check off my daily French practice or anything else on my to-do list.
All I have to do is flip back to Fr. Schmemann’s list to see how wrongheaded that is. Right there, in the passage I marked, he warns, ‘serve where you are needed and not where you think you are needed.’ Or, as Eve Tushnet, author of Amends, tends to put it: ‘The sacrifices you want to make aren’t always the only sacrifices God wants.'”