Tonight we concluded letter 75. This letter and those that follow all focus on particular temptations that Anastasia is facing as she approaches her decision to enter into the religious life. Theophan in Letter 75 focuses on the tricks of the enemy to dissuade her or throw her into despair because of the weaknesses, sins, and poverty that she sees within herself. His counsel to her is to allow these things to humble her but not to throw her into despair. Her endurance of the struggle is for the sake of crowns, he tells her; that is, the growth and perfection of the virtues.
In letter 76, Theophan begins to focus on the temptations that come from unbelievers. These are much more subtle, he warns her, and those who engage her will seek to cram a lot of worthless garbage into her head. They might be wise and clever in the ways of the world but underneath their words can be a malicious spirit that poses a threat to her faith. She must be willing to let what they say go in one ear and out the other and not purposely expose herself to the narrow mindedness and hard heartedness of those opposed to the faith. She must examine her own bewilderment and leave no trace of it within her mind and heart. Faith is a gift of God instilled within us by our very creation. It is older and greater than education and society. These things pass on knowledge to a new generation. However, we must understand that religious belief is part of every race because it is also the part of every man. In fact, “man is not man”, Theophan says, without it. To cast away our faith, to undermine it through neglect, is to distort and mutilate ourselves. He who does not have faith departs from the fundamental reality of who we are as human beings and in the process can make himself freakish on both a moral and psychological level. The perception and experience of reality is undermined by cutting oneself off from He who is Reality itself. Our response to this must be to embrace our faith fully and to allow it to transform us without any opposition; to allow the grace of God to inflame and purify our hearts.
Text of chat during the group:
00:05:42 FrDavid Abernethy, CO: bottom of page 289
00:14:16 Rachel: 😐
00:18:36 Anthony: comfort -> cum forte -> with strength
00:22:31 Anthony: I learned that at least in the time of the last Tzar and Rasputin, the Russian nobility were drawn to theosophy and other dangerous curiosities.
00:29:34 Eric Williams: And by being sucked into these unproductive battles, we risk behaving as the pharisee, rather than the publican.
00:29:57 Rachel: This is so good
00:30:23 Anthony: See HIllaire Belloc, "The Free Press"
00:33:05 Rafael Patrignani: Kierkegaard' s book: 'mortal sickness' talks about that process that leads to desperation
00:33:45 Anthony: Some "Science" is just philosophy or the occult in disguise.
00:34:51 Rachel: You're not alone for sure.
00:35:28 Philip’s iPhone: I’m working in a catholic high school and I can even relate !
00:35:30 Anne Barbosa: I also avoid having lunch with my coworkers
00:35:35 Eric Williams: Alas, too often science is distorted and contorted into scientism.
00:36:15 Erick Chastain: Eric W, my catholic scientist friends call it "teh science"
00:40:01 Eric Williams: “Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil … a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. Tolerance applies only to persons … never to truth. Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error" - Fulton Sheen
00:42:32 Rachel: Wow.
00:43:59 Rachel: This is so timely and helpful. When we see ans sense a lack of the spirit of generosity in the other to engage in Truth, to seek Truth, we have more of an obligation to disengage. Quickly.
00:48:17 Rafael Patrignani: objectivity is an act of love and death to ourselves
00:50:11 Philip’s iPhone: Please remind me which number letter we are discussing?
00:50:27 Philip’s iPhone: Thank you !!
00:50:51 sue and mark: 76
00:58:57 Rafael Patrignani: nowadays I think culture is in a state worse than secularised.. it's increasingly against Christianity..
00:59:31 Anthony: Pierce v Society of Sisters
01:00:08 Anthony: the state tried to destroy Catholic schools precisely due to formation
01:02:24 Erick Chastain: sadly jack Kerouac grew up catholic
01:03:06 Erick Chastain: but ironically he led me to the faith (indirectly)
01:08:36 Eric Williams: Transhumanism is a mess
01:08:48 Rachel: "Face it, you're a moral freak!" okay..yeah I could see how that could be problematic.
01:09:38 Rachel: Because it gets filtered through the perspective of a mutilated sense of self that is not* rooted in Christ.
01:09:53 Eric Williams: Great. Now I'm hearing "moral freak" being sung by Rick James in my head. ;)
01:12:31 Rachel: Oh my goodness that is already happening.
01:13:33 Carol Nypaver: Frightening….
01:13:37 Rafael Patrignani: it's old like mankind but apostasy makes it worse
01:14:28 Rafael Patrignani: the lack of the spiritual anchor puts in danger the boat
01:14:51 Anthony: Khalil Gibran, "The Wise King" poem is about societal delusion
01:23:24 St. Stanislaus Kostka Religious Education: I am most turned off by the turn of some religious people pointing at others rather than asking for God’s grace that we ourselves become fire. As I think of the saints of renewal they seem to be more about the fire of the spirit rather than blame of others
01:24:39 Mitchell Hunt: Thanks Father David
01:25:26 Mitchell Hunt: Still uploading to YouTube afterwards?
01:26:10 Eric Williams: Easier to keep trolls and spammers out via Zoom, too
01:28:18 Rachel: Thank you!
01:28:23 Mitchell Hunt: Awesome appreciate the pod bean archive 👍
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