A tremendous reflection this evening on the writings of the fathers regarding entanglements with the things of this world. The Evil One acts with great subtlety and the further one progresses in the spiritual life the more subtle these temptations become. Often things can be put before us that seem to be good and holy and worthy of our attention; yet do we respond to them or do we step back and discern whether or not they are from God or the Evil One? The greatest of temptations can appeal to our religious sensibilities and our desire to help others. Even empathy and sympathy for others in their struggles can be used as a means to distract us from the interior warfare that is raging within us. The fathers tell us that he who wishes to conquer the passions while entangled in worldly concerns is like the man who tries to quench a fire with straw. When we act with no knowledge ofourselves and are blind to the things of God, how is it that we are to give advice to others, to counsel others about the spiritual life or even to seek to give aid to those who are suffering? What we might be responding to is an emotion that the devil has heightened within us. Often he can appeal to the heart, but in a very dark fashion. His desire is not for the good but rather to lead us into neglect of God. He seeks to draw us into the affairs of others where the mind, not having a deeper knowledge of itself, cannot test its own judgments. It is then that there is the greatest risk of error. When the interior state of the soul is neglected and we begin to accept certain sins into our life, then the smaller sins can even appear to us to be good things and we can boast about them as accomplishments without feeling any remorse. What value then are we going to be to others? What lightor source of healing can we be to others if Christ does not dwell within our own hearts?
Text of chat during the group:
00:08:31 FrDavid Abernethy: page 202
00:08:39 FrDavid Abernethy: second paragraph
00:13:03 Eric Williams: "Here comes trouble." - some parishioners, probably ;)
00:14:18 Eric Williams: Gotta de-latinize that church ;)
00:14:34 Eric Williams: You survived Heinz Chapel
00:15:36 Anthony: There are now small area A/Cs for sale in places like home depot / lowes
00:35:48 renwitter: What are "the spoils of knowledge” that he mentions here?
00:42:31 Anthony: There is maybe another subtle trick of the devils: to remind a person of an objectively good thing (even if worldly) that one tried to attain, and just could not. The mind can be flooded with a constant assault of many harmful imaginings and emotions which have power because it is a _good_ thing that one failed to do.
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