February 23, 2017
In this section of the 4th Homily Isaac warns: "Do not take it upon yourself to teach others while still in ill health; rather consider yourself ignorant and always a novice - preferring humility, holiness and purity to all things. Guard against becoming mere vendors of words and arm yourself with the weapons of tears, fasting and the study of scripture and the Fathers.
February 16, 2017
Last night’s reading from St. Isaac the Syrian’s 4th Homily was extraordinary. As is so often the case, one is left with the feeling that there is no going back to a lesser vision of the faith and ascetic life. He warns us not to sacrifice our freedom, the freedom of simplicity, by enslaving ourselves to the things of this world. We must not live our lives to support luxury and ease and so make ourselves “slave of slaves”; that is, slaves to our passions and senses. Humble living is to be met with restraint in speech and love of silence. We are to constrict our thoughts and reduce distraction in order to seek contemplation above all things. To stand before God with a pure heart to better than all things - even all acts of charity. Care must be given not to gain the whole world and lose our souls in the process. “It is more profitable for you to attend to raising up unto the activity of your cogitations concerning God the deadness of your soul due to the passions, than it is to resurrect the dead.”
February 9, 2017
We began Homily 4 where St Isaac introduces us to the importance of Renunciation and the fruit it produces in the soul. We are to wean ourselves from the things of the world in our search for the divine.
Fleeing the ease of this age and freely embracing the suffering and humiliations we begin to understand and live in accord with the standard of the Cross. The mercy we show toward others is to be the mercy of Christ - nothing less.
February 2, 2017
What does it mean to pray "lead us not into temptation"; how can we treasure the life of the soul above all things and avoid laxity? We must look to the zeal of the Saints, the living icons of faith and learn from them not to fear affliction.