June 25, 2020
Tonight we completed letter 17 and began letter 18 of the Saint to the young Anastasia. Once again St. Theophan works very hard to keep the young woman focused, so that she does not lose sight of the simple yet comprehensive view of the Christian life and fidelity to the gospel.
God is served and loved in what is right before us and in those that He has put along our path. There is no station in life, no set of circumstances where God is absent. We must not think in an abstract way about our faith but rather seek to embrace the smallest things with love, seek to receive the grace of God in the smallest actions with gratitude. As the Gospel tells us, God entrusts us with small things and when we have embraced these with love and fidelity only then will He entrust us with greater things. There’s a kind of hubris that we fall into as Christians in imagining ourselves doing great things or extraordinary things as the Saints. We don’t realize that the sanctity is found simply in mortifying our own will, and setting aside our ego. Love begins at home and in caring for those standing before us.
All of us must hold onto the “one thing needful” - to subordinate all things to the spiritual. It is the love of God that orders all loves. It is the desire for God that orders all other desires and brings us to experience the joy of the kingdom.
Text of chat during the Zoom meeting:
00:34:10 Eric Williams: Theophan's description of individuals doing what they ought having great effect in aggregate reminds me of Smith's Invisible Hand acting in markets. "By pursuing his own interest [an individual] frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good."
00:38:12 Louise Alfer: Some of the greatest saints were porters...St. Andre and Solanus Casey
00:39:59 Eric Ash: I remember also reading of saints in Europe that dreamed of being sent to mission in the New World but were kept to minister in their home countries instead. Seems to have worked out, they became saints after all
00:45:55 Eric Williams: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
00:47:54 Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky: Eric, that was the gospel last sunday in the Byzantine lectionary (Third Sunday after Pentecost) with the epistle from Romans helping to define God's righteousness.
00:57:48 Eric Ash: Maybe I'm the only ignorant one that had to look it up but darning a sock is to repair a hole usually by sewing by hand.
00:59:25 Natalia Wohar: On this topic of saints, I recommend a recently released movie called A Hidden Life about Blessed Franz Jagerstatter : )
01:04:20 Ren's Kingdom of Neatness and Organization: Active love is a harsh and fearful thing compared with love in dreams. Love in dreams thirsts for immediate action, quickly performed, and with everyone watching. Indeed, it will go so dar as the giving even of one’s life, provided that it does not take long but is soon over, as on stage, and everyone is looking on and praising. Whereas active love is labor and perseverance, and for some people, perhaps, a whole science. - Father Zosima, The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
01:04:42 Eric Williams: Who says we don't run out screaming? ;)
01:07:46 Eric Williams: Man, this group really serves as a necessary examination of conscience. Being patient and gentle, loving people who are difficult to love, is a major struggle for me. As anyone who knows me is aware, so is biting my tongue.
01:08:26 carolnypaver: Group Spiritual Direction.
01:17:48 Katharine: P.S. I'm guessing the bookbinder girls were doing pro bono (or very poorly paid) work to manufacture pamphlets or tracts containing progressive ideas/propaganda instead of supporting their mothers.
01:18:52 carolnypaver: Thank you, Katharine!
01:19:54 Mary McLeod: Thanks everyone!