What a beautiful group this evening. Once again we hear a young brother asking questions about transgressing the commands and guidance given by an elder. What we hear over and over again is an emphasis upon the fact that an elder is not disconnected from one in his care. If a person transgresses a command or ignores the guidance of an elder, he is to return to him without fear or with the expectation that his humility will be met with anything but gentleness, tenderness, and further counsel. Of course, this does not mean we fall into neglect or become indifferent about striving to live holy lives. What we find in the Fathers again and again is an emphasis upon the value of repentance; turning to God with humble hearts and receiving a flood of his grace and mercy.
Again the brother asks if one should simply neglect to learn about the spiritual life so as not to be held accountable for particular sins. The elder quickly tells him that such a thought is sinister in that it blocks the path to true healing. Sin brings its own suffering. Repentance is a gift from God that opens up a path to healing and hope. Why would one not want to know the path that God has opened up for us? Why would one not desire the wisdom of the counsel of the fathers in order that they might truly be healed? Furthermore, the elder emphasizes that God values the person of his servants precisely because they imitate Christ himself. They offer advice with intense and warm prayer to God and make their own the sufferings of others crying out to God, “Master save us, we perish.“ Save US! We do not struggle as Christians in isolation but we embrace one another’s struggles as our own.
Text of chat during the group:
00:16:40 David Fraley: Hello to all.
00:16:52 FrDavid Abernethy: page 180 letter K. Hypothesis 21
00:17:17 FrDavid Abernethy: hi Dave
00:17:25 FrDavid Abernethy: where are the snacks??
00:19:01 maureencunningham: thank you Ren
00:24:58 carolnypaver: What page/section?
00:25:09 renwitter: =Page 181
00:25:16 carolnypaver: TY
00:34:35 Sheila Applegate: I often feel like Sisyphus rolling the rock up the hill only to have it come crashing down. Rinse. Repeat.
00:35:39 Debra: Same <3
00:36:12 Ambrose Little, OP: I find it interesting that the brother (and probably often we as well) thinks of sin primarily as being condemned for knowingly transgressing the law of God. Meanwhile, the elder notes the deeper reality--that sin carries its own penalty, penalty that inherently harms us, whether we know it is a sin or not. And so we should want to know the law, not so that we can be condemned but that we may avoid harming ourselves and, when we do, to know we need to seek healing.
00:40:38 Anthony: If we confess contritely to God and are forgiven....and when we receive Eucharist and are forgiven (venial sins)....and go to Confession and are forgiven.......what is the relationship between the legal, the spiritual, the therapeutic aspects of forgiveness? When is one actually forgiven, so to speak?
00:46:58 Carol: the story of the alcoholic monk carried away by angels comes to mind. even though one may seem to be unsuccessful in the struggle, God has mercy on/sees the effort
00:51:06 Debra: "...great patience..." I need a lot of work
00:52:18 Debra: Quote from the ^^blog^^
00:56:24 Ambrose Little, OP: Burka solution to that problem is much cleaner. ::ducks::
00:58:34 Debra: Ha!
00:59:45 renwitter: It is incredible how many stories there are about men doing crazy things just to avoid seeing us :-D There must be a story somewhere about a women who did the same thing to avoid seeing men…right? Haha. So bizarre.
01:00:52 Debra: :D
01:01:49 renwitter: Of course, the motivation to avoid seeing men might be very different 😂 (That is payback for your Burka comment, Ambrose). 😛
01:02:25 Debra: 😀
01:03:15 Ambrose Little, OP: We need a side channel chat. ;)
01:03:51 Debra: You can do that with the above button that is on Everyone by default
01:06:18 carolnypaver: 👍🏼
01:10:08 Ambrose Little, OP: How would you interpret “His servants” in the middle paragraph (“our good master values the person of His servants”)? Just priests/religious/elders, or any of us who seek to serve Him?