What are the obstacles for you and for our contemporaries on the road to salvation?
You know, I don’t want to theorize. There is much written on this topic by people who know a lot more about it and who are authorized to answer this question. I can only say about myself.
We talk about topics like those at our monastic meetings; however, everyone talks about herself and doesn’t insist on setting a general rule. You cannot teach anyone anything by retelling someone else’s ideas. The ideas, doubts, and conclusions must be your own. Right now, my life in the Convent, my thoughts and prayers lead me to believe that God is not limited by anything and doesn’t limit us, either. Salvation may come from everywhere and by all kinds of means, even those you’d never think of. Suffice it to say that I hadn’t thought that the way to my salvation was through monasticism three months prior to my becoming a nun. There are people who had considered becoming a nun since their childhood years, and their dreams came true at last when they made it to the Convent. There were people who used to consider this path but never showed up: their salvation must lie elsewhere. Our plans are so delusional! They can be ruined at the slightest touch of God’s hand—and be rebuilt as new, completely different, plans.
Salvation of a human being is a collaborative and creative process. God won’t and doesn’t want to save man without the man’s own effort. God can do everything but He has granted us free will, and it’s His most vital gift. He doesn’t violate it. God violates the natural laws that He established only when He wants to make a miracle. It isn’t my own idea. I just absorb what I find useful and then share it with others.
As far as obstacles are concerned… Perhaps, there are people who can see many obstacles. Personally, I can see only one obstacle, i.e., human pride. That’s it: there are no other obstacles to our salvation. You can be a rock star, a plumber, a priest, or a Japanese man who doesn’t know anything about Christianity. God will find the way to save you and lead you into His Kingdom. Just seek Him as hard as you can. Our choir performs a song with the following lyrics: “Seek ye God, seek Him with tears. Seek God, O people, until it’s too late. Seek Him everywhere, seek Him each of you, and you’ll find Him eventually.” That’s basically the meaning of life for a Christian: to seek God. Always. Continuously. How does one seek God? Every person has his or her own way of doing it.