Philokalia Ministries

Letters of Spiritual Direction to a Young Soul - Letter Sixteen Part I

June 11, 2020
Tonight we started reading letter 16 to the young Anastasia. The Saint works very hard to bring this young woman to clarity about the true goal of life. One might even say that he is stern or sarcastic with her and in his humor. But he wants her to know the precious gift and the freedom of living for God completely and understanding that we do not have to torture ourselves by asking what we should do in this life. It is perfectly clear, our goal is God and living in accord with His will and coming to share in His eternal life. This is so simple and comprehensive that there’s a part of us, I think, that fears it, to have our life guided by one thing, the desire for God.
We tend to live our lives in the abstract, what needs to be done out there, what great thing can I be doing or accomplish, what will give me identity and purpose in this world. When this happens we lose sight of our dignity and destiny in Christ. We are made for the kingdom. We are made to be sons and daughters not of this world but of God.
Text of chat during the Zoom meeting:
00:30:27 carolnypaver: When he says someone has opened her eyes, it sounds kind of like Adam and Eve after they sinned. Is that what he is referring to?

00:37:04 Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky: I thought it was a little sarcastic. She's saying she's vegetating at home, doing nothing important, whereas in reality she was learning how to practice holiness and the virtues within the home environment and duties of interacting with family, so in saying "only now has someone opened your eyes" St Theophan is sort of like imitating God when God said to Adam and Eve, "O you're naked, but who told you that you were naked?"

00:38:43 carolnypaver: Thank you!

00:43:41 Eric Williams: Perhaps I misheard, but I don't think you have the Latin meaning of "infatuate" right. It means "to make foolish", from the adjective "fatuus", "foolish". If I misheard you, I apologize.

00:44:56 carolnypaver: If I say it enough times it MUST be true!

00:47:01 Chad Whitacre: “Long ago, fatuous meant "illusory," after ignis fatuus, the strange light (literally "foolish fire") that sometimes appears at night over marshy ground. The word's Latin root - the fatuus we see in ingis fatuus - is also behind the word infatuate, which once meant "to make foolish," but which now usually means "to inspire with foolish love or admiration."

00:48:08 Eric Williams: I was right! :P

00:48:27 Natalia Wohar: To Eric’s credit, the word “foolish” is in the definition haha

00:48:36 Adrienne DiCicco: But not entirely, Eric! :-P

00:48:46 Eric Ash: Than an additional thousand in thanks for being right

00:48:49 Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky: Acquire the spirit of peace and thoudans will be saved around you.

00:48:53 Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky:

00:49:07 Mary Schott: But isn't is considered foolish to follow that foolish/fake light?

00:49:43 Mary Schott: both meanings are not mutually exclusive, but rather jointly exhaustive

00:49:49 Katharine Memole: Fr. David and Eric are both right. :)

00:58:12 Mary McLeod: This reminds me of the part of the Screwtape Letters where the head demon says that the person must always be drawn to think of the future or the past, but never the present, so that they will miss all the grace God gives in the moment.

01:09:39 Eric Ash: There is a widely quoted Saint Teresa of Calcutta saying that goes, “If you want to bring peace to the whole world, go home and love your family.” Which is actually a paraphrase of a quote from her Nobel Peace Price acceptance speech “And so, my prayer for you is that truth will bring prayer in our homes, and from the foot of prayer will be that we believe that in the poor it is Christ. And we will really believe, we will begin to love. And we will love naturally, we will try to do something. First in our own home, next door neighbor in the country we live, in the whole world.”

01:12:32 carolnypaver: Christ has become a “virtual reality.”

01:12:33 Natalia Wohar: We should start meeting outside in the grass at the Oratory or in front of Cathy

01:12:39 Wayne Mackenzie: To make room for God, we need to learn to say no. So much of our businesses is the fear of our own death.

01:14:47 Scott: Everyone just wants Eric doing penance.

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