Fr. George Morelli
Fr. George Morelli is a seasoned professional in the areas of Clinical Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy. An active pastor and leader, he chairs the archdiocesan Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Ministry, and is also Religion Coordinator and Liaison of the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine. He lives in San Diego, California, where he is Assistant Pastor at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church. Fr. George has taught university and seminary courses in psychology and pastoral theology, and supervised doctoral clinical psychology interns. He has authored numerous articles in the field of psychology, and is also the author of Healing: Orthodox Christianity and Scientific Psychology. He can be heard on Ancient Faith Radio through his weekly podcast Healing: Orthodox Spirituality and Psychology. Also a regular contributor to OrthodoxyToday.org, Fr. George has graciously allowed the Antiochian Archdiocese to reproduce his writings on this website. Continuing Education (CE) units for mental health practitioners from the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) can be earned for reading these articles. Click here and scroll down to the articles listed under Orthodox Christianity. Register online, take the course and brief examination, and print the certificate.
You can also listen to Fr. George teach via his podcast at Ancient Faith Radio.
The question of life's meaning has been asked by specialists: philosophers, psychologists, scientists, spiritual leaders, artists, writers, and those of the popular mind as well. One way of approaching the question is to consider that a personality disposition or trait can be nurtured to allow us to strive to make sense of the events that are occurring to us and in the world around us. One method for doing this is by way of the three ways to discover life's meaning suggested by German psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl (1959, p. 133)i: "(1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering."
He (and I agree) state that finding meaning in "work or accomplishment," as in the first way, is, on the face of it, "obvious." Frankl likens the second way to experiencing "goodness, truth and beauty" in nature, culture or in another human being. In this regard, I am reminded of the beautiful verse from Psalm 18:2: "The heavens shew forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the work of his hands." Frankl found meaning in the loss of his family and in his personal suffering by choosing to focus on the everyday choices he did have during his internment in a concentration camp, such as being able to see the beauty in a sunrise despite being naked and out in freezing weather. A transition can be made from awareness of beauties in nature such as sunrises, sunsets, or starry nights to the intrinsic beauty that is God, their Creator. Among the Eastern Church Fathers, for example, it is said that "physical beauty is the epiphany of divine beauty."ii