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Tonight we picked up halfway through letter 31. Saint Theophan begins to lay out more clearly how Anastasia is to give herself over to her yearning for God and to foster it. Above all she must to embrace life prayer. She is to focus on allowing her heart to grow warm in her love and devotion for God. If she is unable to do this by using the prayer books, in an unrestrained way, she is to use her own words and keep them simple. She is to express her basic need for God, thanksgiving for his gifts, and ask for his protection. No more is needed at the moment.  She should prepare herself for  the time set aside for prayer as well as for the Divine Liturgy by reading the prayers ahead of time and meditating upon them. In this way their meaning will stir up even greater devotion within her heart. She is to memorize prayers to the best of her ability so that they come to her at the moment of need. Likewise, she is to focus on remembering God at every moment while also remembering death. Such a thought will lead her to be careful and to abstain from everything that could possibly poison her life. Pride is to be shunned and she is to make this her primary lesson. Learn this above all, he tells her.

In letter 32 Theophan continues to speak with her about the specifics of the path to a virtuous life. He sets before her the fundamental discipline and asceticism of the fasting periods within the church. He wants her to understand all that is necessary to prepare herself for a worthy reception of the holy Eucharist. She must fast, seclude herself, read and study, repent with all of her heart and with sincere contrition and the desire never to sin again. The Divine Mysteries of Christ are at the heart of our life and Theophan would see her well prepared to receive them.

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00:18:44 The Pittsburgh Oratory: http://orthodoxwayoflife.blogspot.com/2010/03/ongoing-effort-of-fasting-confession.html

00:19:08 Margie: self mastery

00:40:09 Eric Williams: I grew up in that kind of awkwardly motionless Protestant environment. I call those folks the Frozen Chosen. ;) (I can't take credit for that name, though.)

00:56:39 Margie: If you want JOY then you need to put Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last.

01:19:42 Eric Williams: If I correctly understand the Church Slavonic guide I found, "govenie" sounds like "goh-vyeh-nyi-eh". I'm sure Fr. Ivan would do a far better job. ;)

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