September 16, 2021
Tonight we concluded Letters 63. St. Theophan began to speak with Anastasia about something that was near and dear to her heart - singing and playing the piano. Theophan does not demonize music; but he does understand the impact that it has upon the soul, either to elevate it or to drag it down. Its beauty can make us transcend ourselves, while its coarseness can make us insensitive to that which is beautiful. Therefore, Theophan counsels Anastasia to acknowledge the fact that her abilities are a gift from God. Part of her gratitude for these gifts is to use them in the way that He would intend them to be used and that she would turn them to the praise of God. At this moment, Theophan sees that she had only used them to amuse herself and others and has made no mention of God whatsoever. His words are rather sober and stern, but he wants her to understand that her music can speak to the human heart and do the same thing that a good preacher does in church. The fruit of her gift is to edify others as well as herself. However, sensitive to the fact that her taste in music has developed over the course of years, he counsels her to take things slowly and not to make sudden changes.
In closing, Theophan warns Anastasia not to make herself eccentric in the eyes of others and to avoid idiosyncrasies. Rather she has to focus on being good humored and cheerful. Even her laughter must be such that it is not done at the expense of the others but rather is sensitive to the tenderness of the human heart. Likewise she is not to be gloomy in anyway. Her focus upon Christ and his presence in others should foster a joyfulness in her heart. She must never lose sight of the good things the God has created and the good things that exists in others.
Text of chat during the group:
00:28:38 renwitter: My alarm is Agni Parthene!
00:54:13 Eric Williams: Striving to be a saintly parent for our kids is HARD.
00:56:09 Eric Williams: Imagine what love and holiness could be brought to the world if it were full of living saints!
00:59:16 Eric Williams: Even better than battleships: arks to rescue humanity from the floods of sin and evil in the world!
Catholic coast guard!
01:01:42 Eric Williams: Could you share a PDF of “The Ascetic Heart”, Father?
01:02:21 renwitter: It is on the website, Eric! At www.thepittsburghoratory.org/philokalia-ministries, scroll down to “documents.” You can download it right from there.
01:04:09 Carol Nypaver: Thanks, Ren! I was trying to find it too!
01:04:44 renwitter: Oh! Its not there! I will add it tomorrow :-) Check back around noon.
01:05:01 Carol Nypaver: Will do!
01:05:13 Art: On Dancing, St. John Vianney
Is it not there, my dear brethren, that the boys and the girls drink at
the fountain of crime, which very soon, like a torrent or a river
bursting its banks, will inundate, ruin, and poison all its
surroundings? Go on, shameless fathers and mothers, go on into
Hell, where the fury of God awaits you, you and all the good actions
you have done in letting your children run such risks. Go on, they
will not be long in joining you, for you have outlined the road
plainly for them. Go and count the number of years that your boys
and girls have lost, go before your Judge to give an account of your
lives, and you will see that your pastor had reason to forbid these
kinds of diabolical pleasures! . . .Ah, you say, you are making more
of it than there really is!
01:06:24 Carol Nypaver: Wow, Art! Thank you.
01:06:24 Eric Williams: We’re drowning in data, but there’s precious little information, even less knowledge, and wisdom is rarer than hens’ teeth!
01:08:32 Eric Williams: news motto: “If it bleeds, it leads.”
01:11:16 Cathy: i agree Ren!
01:20:14 Eric Williams: I teach my kids that a good joke is one that all parties enjoy, not one that makes us laugh at the expense of someone else.