We began this evening with the final pages of Hypothesis 21 describing the importance of not opening one’s conscience to an individual unless guided by the Grace of God to do so. It is not a small thing to entrust oneself to the care of another, especially the care of one’s soul. Therefore we are counseled to be discriminating. For the elder that we choose, or rather the elder that God chooses for us, is a gift; a relationship of love and devotion. An Elder does not see himself as detached from our struggles but rather enters into them and takes penance and prayer upon himself for our healing. We do not struggle in isolation. Understanding the importance of this relationship,then, we should pray for our elder and love him.
Moving on to Hypothesis 22 we are warned to avoid meetings with careless men and avoiding anything that would disturb the peace of our heart or the stillness that has been hard won. We must never see idle conversation as insignificant. Rather we must understand that if allow ourselves to be drawn along by such conversations our consciences will coarsen and we will find ourselves engaged in grievous conversations and behaviors.
We are given a wonderful example of an elder who, because of his purity and innocence, finds God responding immediately to his prayers for others. No impediment is placed before the action of God‘s grace in his life or acting through his intercession. We should not be surprised when the Fathers tell us that if we neglect our relationship with God or treat His grace cheaply that our prayers go unanswered.
Text of chat during the group:
00:23:16 B K-LEB: like fr zozima
00:29:29 Ambrose Little, OP: “outraged ... since he did not rely totally on the help of God." Love that.
00:31:10 Anthony: So much for "Grace Alone." One the one hand, all good is from God, all good is a grace. But, we must exercise the faculty of human nature (which is also a gift) to choose the grace, to at least choose a desire for the grace. I think St. Anselm says this in "One Truth" or "On Free Will"
00:32:22 Anthony: "On Truth"
00:39:21 Anthony: In America, we tie sin to things: sugary drinks, alcohol, guns, etc. It is very selective. But traditionally, sin is attached to our deficiencies of soul - and a Puritan look at sin does not take this psychology into account.
00:40:36 Sheila Applegate: Attachment to having life the way we want it?
00:50:10 B K-LEB: i agree anthony
00:50:38 B K-LEB: i personally think the inner spiritual sins are far worse than the physical sins
00:52:02 B K-LEB: i'd rather go to heaven fat and humble than thin and proud, haha
00:53:18 Ren: It would be so good for seminarians to read this particular hypothesis when they study confession. So much meaningful, and practical advice. The way to engage the penitent, the call to enter into repentance with them…all just so good.
00:54:41 B K-LEB: too much theology can make us proud pharisees
00:56:56 Anthony: Copts require new priests to spend 40 days in monastery
00:57:56 Bridget McGinley: The Jesuits used to not be able to listen to women's confessions until they had been a priest for 10 years.
01:02:50 B K-LEB: isn't spiritual pride essentially the worst kind of sin?
01:04:59 Anthony: He gives us a remedy: using the 2nd person plural in the Our Father so we lump ourselves together with all other sinners: "Forgive US OUR trespasses as WE forgive those who trespass against us / Lead US not into temptation but deliver US from evil."
01:20:36 Ren: The warning that idle words quickly become harmful ones is really, really helpful. I have often seen this happen in myself, yet I’ve never heard it explicitly said that the one can so easily lead to the other. It casts a far more serious light on consenting to idle conversation, knowing how easily it leads to something more sinister. So many “little sins” become more sinister when you examine the greater sins that the open the door to. I know that even thinking about addressing this is terrifying for me…but it does make me think about how much idle conversation one is exposed to in television, movies, radio, social media…definitely thought provoking.
01:31:06 Ren: Awesome way to make a discussion of the Fathers topically connected to the holiday :D GO REVOLUTION!! ;-)
01:34:46 B K-LEB: thank u so much
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