We began by considering how the fathers of the desert would scrutinize individuals who would come to the monastery seeking entrance. They would put men to the test in every way to see if they had both the psychological and spiritual maturity not simply to make a decision but to persevere in the life and trials of a monk. One does not enter a monastery in a state of perfection. One is perfected through trials and tribulations; through the cross that is particular to one’s life. What stands out in the two stories that we listened to this evening about Saint Theodora and Saint Paul the Simple was the preeminence of two things: desire and humility. Upon entering the Christian life or more specifically the monastic life, one must be driven with a desire for God, a longing for Him and Hie love and to live a God pleasing life. Second to this desire is the virtue of humility. Along with such desire, one must live in the truth; the truth that all things begin and end with God. He alone is the source of our strength. He alone is our hope. It is our ego that most often is the impediment to our putting on the mind of Christ and being conformed to Him by the grace of God. When we no longer see anything but Christ, then we are filled with the desire to do His will. We are willing to endure every hardship for love of Him without grumbling or complaining. Joyfully these individuals sought out this life not to create a false image of themselves but to let go of the false self and to live for Christ alone.
Text of chat during the group:
00:25:51 Carol: It is hard to understand how it was God’s will that Theodora, and later Paul the Simple, set aside their marriage vows and abandon their spouses.
00:33:44 Bridget McGinley: I love this story. She was amazing. Far from the uttermost coasts is the price of her! What a warrior for Christ.
00:36:31 Carol Nypaver: Did they ever find out she was a woman?
00:38:16 Ambrose Little, OP: I guess someone must have figured it out because we know her as St. Theodora and not St. Theodore. 🙂
00:38:34 Carol Nypaver: 🤣
00:38:47 Debra: 😁
00:39:26 Samar Tabet: Just clarifying: mon at 7:30,i hsve this link Wed at 7:30– whats the link for Wednesday?
00:40:16 Carol Nypaver: https://philokalia.link/climacus
00:46:23 Carol: Heroic meekness
00:48:21 Sheila Applegate: I just chuckled...so much truth.
00:52:18 Carol Nypaver: 60 years old——“elderly?!”😩
00:53:38 Debra: I agree, Carol!
00:54:08 Carol Nypaver: 😭🤣
00:54:13 Bridget McGinley: Esp in women's orders today. After 35 your old!!
00:54:32 Carol Nypaver: Yikes!
00:55:39 Bridget McGinley: 😇
00:56:12 Sheila Applegate: But in another way, why do we feel that way? Does one really know what they want out of life in their 20s? Some, sure. I am 46 and only feel that now I have an inkling of what God wants. What an odd mandate.
00:58:16 Sheila Applegate: We learn how to suffer the more we live. Good for him!
00:59:30 Bridget McGinley: I agree Sheila I think older is better especially these days. I don't know any 20 something person who is really mature these days.
01:02:18 Sheila Applegate: I get the docile part...
01:15:42 Ambrose Little, OP: I love how he basically said to St. Anthony: “Is that all you got??" 😆
01:16:01 Ashley Kaschl: 😂😂
01:19:42 Rachel: Thank you!!
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