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In Letter 37, St. Theophan begins to feed Anastasia with solid food. He draws her from simply resolving to amend her life to yearning to act in accord with and in harmony with the will of God. It is this that she must be most diligent in seeking in her life. Anastasia must begin to examine her life in light of this general rule: everything she does should be done in accord with his divine will and for the sake of pleasing God. The person who does this, he tells her, even though they might have no talent, no riches, no special ability, will come to experience the joy of the kingdom and know themselves as seen by God as pleasing in His eyes. There is no greater gift. Most of the world, however, lives carelessly. People’s acts are done haphazardly - they act not because they desire to do the will of God but rather because they are drawn along by the ways of the world. The majority of the people in this world are driven by the spirit of lukewarmness. They have nothing against God but they have no deliberate desire to please him either. They are not egoists but yet they preserve their own self interest at every turn, avoiding every self-sacrifice. They are not blatantly vain, but they have no objection to amusing themselves in worldly matters. They want to be seen as part of the world and sharing in its delights rather than seeking to see God.

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Text of chat during the group:

00:55:37 Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky: Eastern Canon law often legislates the bare minimum, but in the UGCC, spiritually the general goal for everyone is: all Wednesdays and Fridays of the year are fasting days except for when a feast of the Lord or of the Theotokos occurs on that day; Four penitential seasons: the Great Fast (aka Lent), dairyless and meatless at least forty days before Pascha, (abstaining from meat seven days earlier actually), the St Philip's Fast, forty days before Christmas, Sts Peter and Paul Fast (aka Apostles' Fast) from the Second Monday after Pentecost until June 29, and the Savior's Fast (aka Dormition Fast) from August 1-14.  Granted there is no fasting even on Wednesdays and Fridays between Pascha and Ascension Thursday and between Dec. 26 and Jan. 4.  Byzantines also never fast, although we do abstain, on Saturdays and Sundays even during the penitential seasons.

00:56:09 Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky: UGCC = Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church

01:00:49 Eric Williams: Orthodoxy/Byzantine Catholicism: Hard disciplines, mercifully taught ;)

01:01:19 Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky: yes....

01:10:02 Eric Williams: “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession...Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

01:19:54 Mary McLeod: Thank you, Merry Christmas!

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