December 2, 2021
Tonight we concluded Letter 70 of Saint Theophan to Anastasia. He speaks to her about the kind of books that she can read, both religious and secular. As with everything, she must be discriminating and cautious about the things to which she exposes herself; acknowledging that not everything is of equal value and some things can be destructive. She is to be discerning and keep her emphasis on the spiritual life. If she reads other things they should reveal to her the wisdom of God as seen in the world that he has created.
Moving on to Letter 71, St. Theophan begins to address Anastasia‘s experience of coldness in prayer. He knows that in her youthfulness her experience of prayer has been limited and has been driven mostly by positive emotional experience. This has led her unfortunately to be less vigilant and disciplined. One can become careless and pray hurriedly without guarding the thoughts or embracing the wisdom of the Fathers. She must humbly acknowledge this carelessness or negligence and ask God specifically to help her to begin again. How true this is often for us as well. Like Anastasia we must often humbly acknowledge before God the ways that we have turned away from him and ask him for forgiveness and the grace to start again.
00:12:56 renwitter: 😆😆😆 Mark - your picture 😂
00:13:52 Mark Cummings: Arthropods are underrated
00:14:49 Lyle: P. 276: “When a benevolently-minded person who has read some story recommends it, you may read it.” Thank you, Ren and Eric, for suggesting/endorsing - Raniero Can-talamessa’s writings.
00:16:10 Anthony: Internet
00:20:31 carolediclaudio: What page? :)
00:37:39 Lyle: Like her, I neglect to guard my thoughts.
00:38:35 Lyle: Great advice from St. Theophan - “Reprimand yourself, if you will, and threaten yourself with Divine Judgement, and you will begin praying properly.”
00:40:17 Fr. Miron Kerul-Kmec Jr.: St. Silouan - , “Keep Thy Mind in Hell and Despair Not”
00:41:02 Anthony: This way we fail at prayer is like thinking prayer is just another activity, I guess, like playing baseball or mowing the lawn. But it's an activity of a completely different nature.
00:47:30 Edward Kleinguetl: St. Theophan says in the anthology, "The Art of Prayer," we should learn to enjoy prayer.
00:56:22 Edward Kleinguetl: "a sinner" was added later. The Greeks generally use a shorter form. The key is consistency and the two components. Who Jesus is (Son God) and who we are (a sinner).
00:57:07 Edward Kleinguetl: I like the full prayer. Acknowledging who Jesus is and who we are (a sinner) and what we need (mercy)
00:58:08 Lyle: Amen. Edward.
00:59:22 Edward Kleinguetl: Remember the objective of the prayer -- to still the thoughts. So, consistency is most important
00:59:50 George: thank you. I know this was a basic question and I appreciate everyone's patience
01:01:50 Edward Kleinguetl: Having consistency assists one to interiorize the prayer more deeply and simply become part of our life.
01:02:33 Edward Kleinguetl: I actually wrote the book because of all these questions. Same questions as the high school youth have.
01:04:16 Edward Kleinguetl: Remembrance of God
01:06:02 Edward Kleinguetl: We recognize the actions of God in our lives and we respond with gratitude. We become more attuned to his presence.
01:06:12 Edward Kleinguetl: And previously, we may have missed the subtly of how God reveals himself to us in our daily lives.
01:08:08 Edward Kleinguetl: The Jesus Prayer is the foundation of the spiritual life, but removing it from fasting, ascetical practices, etc. is problematic. It is a way of life.
01:09:23 Edward Kleinguetl: Eastern Christian spirituality is not just the prayer, but a whole rhythm and the prayer cannot be simply isolated if one wants to gain the fruits
01:10:30 Anthony: Huh. Good point, Father. A good pipe or red wine can bring emotional peace. Exert consumer choice on that, but find some traditional prayer in which to root.
01:11:52 Edward Kleinguetl: And not just fasting and ascetical practices, but also a practice of repentance (daily examination, regular Sacramental Confession, Eucharist, and sobriety--attentiveness to thoughts)
01:12:57 Lyle: Quoted from: https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/prayingintherain/2021/11/on-discernment/ “I want to be with people who genuinely feel the struggle for holiness, and want to be helped by each other, under a Priest with a similar imagination.”
01:12:57 Edward Kleinguetl: Bingo! Some see it as an emotional high and not a rigorous practice.
01:15:24 Rachel: No..not at all
01:18:21 Rachel: Yes!! It was the image of God in the other and staying with Him, in this moment.
01:19:19 Rachel: Stop looking for signs, setting up false idols as you said, ideas of what holiness looks like, Saint Paul said he does not even judge himself.
01:20:07 Anthony: Or. St Thomas Aquinas. At Liberty University, I just knew him as a great philosopher. Now, I see him as a friar and the man who wrote Pange Lingua.
01:21:20 Rachel: Yes! Reading the Fathers can be like signposts along the way and you know it when you get there. Oh that is what that sign meant. But not until you get there.
01:22:28 Lyle: Amen, Father. What a revelation when I was first introduced to "The Fathers".
01:23:02 Edward Kleinguetl: It is not harsh. It is true. American is predominantly rooted in the Protestant tradition.
01:24:08 Edward Kleinguetl: It is worth reading John Tracy Ellis's book, "American Catholicism." Catholics were originally outlawed in the colonies and then went through four major persecutions in US history.
01:25:42 Edward Kleinguetl: "Do not let your hearts be troubled."
01:30:01 Lyle: Never too late! Foreign? Perhaps, but beautiful!
01:31:28 Edward Kleinguetl: Vlachos, "Orthodox Psychotherapy"
01:31:50 Fr. Miron Kerul-Kmec Jr.: Great Book!
01:36:12 Rachel: So sorry, I did not mean to imply there is not a place for psychology.🙏🏼
01:37:11 Rachel: LOL I am going to tell my priests Fr, Abernathy said to lower my expectations.
01:37:18 Rachel: Thank you everyone and Father!
01:37:42 carolediclaudio: lol
01:37:43 Cathy: Another wonderful Wednesday! Thank you Father!!!
01:37:50 Mark Cummings: Thank you!
01:38:15 Rachel: I heard Ren makes prayer ropes!? Last meeting.