We found ourselves this evening entering more deeply into the nature of the spiritual struggle and warfare and the effects that it has upon us and others. We do not exist in isolation and there is no passive position in the spiritual life or our relationship with God. We either struggle with the passions or they gradually direct our life. We either struggle with God and those he has given to support us and to be our allies in the battle or we begin to war with the tyrant. Our willingness to enter into the struggle with temptation, to fearlessly endure the trials that we undergo in life begins to reveal more and more to the soul. We begin to be able to distinguish between virtue and vice with a greater clarity. We also acquire virtue by this warfare and toil and so begin to see that we are more steadfast when embattled. Though stronger, however, we also learn that we must remain humble and hate vice so as to avoid it. Finally, we see our frailty in all of its fullness and the love and the power of God. The very battle itself reveals so much about ourselves and the hidden regions of the unconscious; that have been wounded by our sin or from having lived in a fallen world. Yet, it also reveals to us the very desire of God. God longs and yearns for our love. He thirsts for it. Such things are not learned from books but rather through the experience of the Paschal mystery. It is through dying to sin and self and rising to life in Christ that we come to know Him and to understand the nature of divine love.
Text of chat during the group:
00:38:39 Eric Ewanco: this paragraph really resonates with my recent experience!!
00:52:17 Anthony: Pope Benedict wrote about a non-sinful understanding of Eros.
00:52:45 Anthony: Spe Salvi?
00:54:04 Rachel: Can one experience these temptations so keenly that they feel as if they are actually doing violence to themselves? Especially when it come to thoughts. Where one does not wish to sin in the thoughts let alone sins of action. Do the demons and our wounds from past sins attack us even greater and rebel when we have set our hearts on God and his will alone? I know someone who described the fight as almost maddening because they had been so steeped in sin that the battle would even feel physically and mentally wounding. it reminds me of when Saint may of Egypt told Abba Zosimas that there were some days she would spend face down on the ground until they passed. Calling on the name of Jese.
00:54:11 Rachel: Jesus.
00:54:15 Eric Ewanco: I don't see "eros" occur in Spe Salvi
00:55:50 Ashley Kaschl: I think it might be in Deus Caritas Est
00:56:32 Eric Ewanco: probably; I see 34 hits for eros there
01:00:14 Anthony: For what it's worth, sometimes, I almost feel that the devils even wish to snatch away prayer or take over consciousness to direct my attention away from God and to them.
01:01:10 Eric Ewanco: oh yeah; definitely, @anthony
01:01:40 Anthony: On the timelessness of the unconscious, "Iconostasis" by Fr. Pavel Florensky opens with this theme.
01:03:57 Rachel: Yes! This is precisely what I hoped you would touch upon.
01:06:48 Rachel: Where it would seem to bring a person the the edge of sanity but that is precisly where all of our ideas that we had of ourselves and of God are brought into the light. Where one become disillusioned with oneself and realizes that they have been brought to the threshold of the bridal chamber. Where there are no illusions and one stands as they are, in God. Where on e allows themselves to be loved as they have always been.
01:08:32 Ashley Kaschl: Took me a little longer to type this out but I wanted to bounce off of Anthony’s comment on eros, I was recently talking to some friends about Pope Benedict’s clarifying of what God’s love looks like. Pope B says something like “on the Cross, God’s eros is made present for us.” Because His love is both agape and eros. Agape because it is selfless, self-gift, unconditional, sacrificial, etc. AND eros because God yearns for His people in the same way that eros burns passionately for the beloved. Eros moves the lover to become one with the beloved, ie, Christ and His church and through the Eucharist. So on the Cross, God begs the love of His people. Prayer is our act of eros back to God, where our own yearning for Him is most present within us as we call out to Him from our innermost being. So prayer is also the biggest target of the enemy because he knows that if he can destroy our connection to God, he greatly frustrate our passionate desire for Him.
01:13:43 Babington (or Babi): Thank you!
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