Tonight we began reading Conference 6 on the Slaughter of Holy Men where Cassian introduces us to the meaning of suffering and affliction. It is by no means an easy journey. Cassian slowly constructs a foundation upon which we can build. The only real good is virtue and the only evil is vice and separation from God. This is the frame, perhaps unfamiliar and uncomfortable to the modern mind and sensibilities, within which we are to shape our understanding of life. Ultimately affliction is only understood in light of Christ’s immersion in the affliction of our sin and entering into the depths of the hell that it places a soul. He enters into the depths through love in order that we might rise to the heights through love. We meet most intimately and powerfully in that place of affliction – the Cross. It is these realities that we will be unpacking in the weeks to come.
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