Both an inspiring and challenging section from the Evergetinos this evening! The Fathers speak to us about the monastic life and its clear focus; a clarity that perhaps we have lost in more recent times. The monk lives for God, to seek God, to listen to God, and to pray. This he does as part of the Body of Christ, the Church, for the salvation of others. And yet we are shown how easy it is to cast off that “sweet yoke” of the Lord where He no longer has authority over us. Even a monk would gravitate away from what is described as the “Divine Wheat” that is drenched by the heavy rain of heavenly life bestowing Spirit. We leave peace and converse with God simply to be distracted by fleshly realities. We choose what is of passing and lesser value and let the divine slip through our fingers.
The monks show us that we are to guard the heart; in particular by guarding our words and what we listen to. We must always seek to make our speech edifying, seasoning our words with Divine salt so as to preserve the purity of heart in the others as well as in ourselves. We must not listen to unprofitable words but flee the situation where we are tempted. No one should be so deluded so as to think that we can expose ourselves to angry, hostile, or wicked words and not become wicked ourselves. All such things remain lodged in the memory, imagination and heart. Our relationship with God must be precious in our eyes even if this means avoiding those who are acquisitive or licentious. Rather we must gravitate to the righteous man who through his words and deeds will draw us closer to God.
Do we want to be saved? This is the most powerful question of the night. It is a humbling thing to acknowledge our poverty of spirit and so we can develop a resistance to God’s call to draw close to him. One may not want to be saved or find it too humiliating and so cling to a false self image. May God preserve us from such delusions.
Text of chat during the group:
00:11:29 FrDavid Abernethy: page 190
00:11:37 FrDavid Abernethy: last paragraph
00:33:50 Anthony: In a way, this is an example of giving up a lesser good (awareness of others, or a form of fellowship) for the benefit of achieving a greater good?
00:36:09 maureencunningham: It seems like the early chuch was aware of demons
00:36:21 Jos: it gets even worse when it's about politics and religion
00:36:31 maureencunningham: It seems the America church has learned to adjust to them
00:36:58 maureencunningham: The early church called them demons
00:39:21 Paul Grazal: You wonder what engagement he had that made him think that. I can think of a few that ive had that i should have avoided
00:40:58 Paul Grazal: Yes Thank You
00:41:38 Rachel Pineda: Tubes of paint... ,and books..
00:45:54 Anthony: Too much buying and selling and we don't know how to "be" but only to become; thus Americans are great in markets and inventions, but we neglect basic metaphysics about life, and we are now existing as several coexisting lost generations.
00:49:08 Lee Graham: We are entertaining ourselves to death
00:49:36 Carol: books and legos
00:50:41 Anthony: Or "The Great Wall" in 3D
00:57:20 Anthony: St. John of Damascus: "whether I will or not, O Lord, save me - quick, quick - for I perish." Paraphrase from the Melkite Publicans Prayer Book.
00:59:37 maureencunningham: is it like piano it comes with much practice before one can play Bach
01:04:10 Daniel Allen: Like the Pharisee and the publican, the delusion of the holy person vs the truth of the sinner
01:07:51 Anthony: I think it has something to do with an urge which has good roots: "It is not good for man to be alone." This is a good thing, but out of order.
01:09:11 Daniel Allen: The language of God is silence is something I thought about recently and why silence? And because it’s the silence that allows Him to be heard, like the gentle breeze that Elijah heard. He doesn’t replace our voice, He waits to be heard.
01:12:00 Debra: I'm a scheduled Adorer, at my parish. And I really struggle with just sitting in silence. I feel like I should be praying a rosary, or reading about the saints...doing something
How can I develop the practice of sitting still? My brain is always racing through stuff
01:14:04 Paul Fifer: I think Holy Hours were set to an Hour because it takes about 20 minutes to quiet our minds and hearts and enter into the Silence.
01:15:11 Debra: Paul: At least 20 minutes
01:16:06 Jos: is it advisable to think about God in the abstract or should we focus on Jesus as God to stay out of delusions in the face of the really mysterious idea of God?
01:20:27 Bridget McGinley: Thank you for that explanation Father.
01:21:04 Anthony: I just finished it. It's amazing, drawing on the Greek fathers so sounds very orthodox
01:22:14 Rachel Pineda: Thank you
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