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We continued our reading of letter 30. Once again St. Theophan seems to impress upon Anastasia the need for decisiveness in regard to her choice to live her life for God. Prayer and the pursuit of holiness must become for her an inviolable law. Despite the fact that she has been raised in a pious and faithful family, there are simply far too many things in this world that hold out the promise of comfort and false hope; let alone the temptation that comes to us daily to make ourselves the center of reality.

In order to free her from the grip of such thinking, St. Theophan emphasizes the importance of the remembrance of death and impending judgment. Such things foster the fear of God. This divine fear that inflames our desire for salvation and our desire for God, is the only thing that frees us from the fears and anxieties of this world. This is not an easy thing to embrace.  The traumas of life and the servile fear that form in us a false image of God make us reticent to “enkindle misfortune around ourselves” and rather leads us on a desperate search for worldly, albeit, temporary consolation.

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Text of chat during the group:

00:39:19 Margie: So true about losing sight.

00:49:08 Margie: Sad but true Father David.

00:49:24 Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky: agreed

00:56:48 Carol: Is it really “fear?”  Or is it “urgency?”

01:11:25 Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky: the fear of the Lord is born from love of the Lord.  if I truly love Him I am afraid of thinking, saying or doing anything that would hurt or diminish my love for Him, damage my relationship with Him.  And so this is not abject or servile fear of God, as in fear of spiders or some such thing.   the Hebrew has two different words one for fear and one for fear of God.   I believe the greek does also.

01:11:33 Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky: Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

01:12:05 Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky:  Proverbs 2:4-6 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures;

5  then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

6  For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;

01:20:53 Margie: I'm having trouble finding the book

01:22:06 Margie: Thank you!

 

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