This evening we concluded Hypothesis 29. We heard from one father after another of the importance of having a spirit of gratitude in our lives. We are to enter into the spiritual battle, expecting affliction, temptation and hardship. Furthermore, we are to see these things as coming to us through the providence of God.
Is it not this that we are often tempted to reject? We question: “Does God really ask this of us? Is he truly present to us or has he abandon us by allowing us to experience such great crosses in our lives?” The resounding answer to all these questions from the fathers is that God permeates these crosses, knows how they will they will affect and afflict us and how his grace will also perfect the virtue within us if we hope in Him. We often fail to see how deeply the “prosperity” gospel has permeated our minds and our hearts. So often we think faith in God should bring us certain blessings in this world. Even if this is not consciously on our minds, it is often what we desire; that God would bless our lives, our work and our relationships. It is tantamount to what Karl Barth called “practical atheism.” We believe in our minds, but in our daily actions towards others, and in our unwillingness to embrace our cross, we show that we lack the faith and the resolve of the Saints.
Text of chat during the group:
00:31:01 Ambrose Little, OP: Can’t recall if we’ve covered this before, but most of the strivings of the monks in these writings seem to be doing so on behalf of themselves, at least there is little note made of intercessory prayer. But I think I recall that a key aspect of Western monasticism, especially cloistered, is that they are ever interceding for the world and the Church. Is this an accurate impression and, if so, why do you think they don’t make as much of it in the desert monastic spirituality? It’s almost like (as in this reading), they more or less just consign the world and worldly to hell if they’re not entering into monasticism or the hermit life.
00:34:11 Anthony: If Macchiavelli, Sun Tzu and Von Clausewitz have numerous strategies to take over an enemy, demons would have many more insofar as they were present when we were created and are by nature more "intellectual" than us. So maybe they can perceive more than us and try to anticipate our future victories and sabotage them before we have an inkling that we can be the victors.
00:35:38 Jack: Thats what I understand “psychics" to be
00:36:05 Jack: communicating with fallen spirits
00:37:13 Anthony: medium
00:43:22 Ambrose Little, OP: What does it mean “never satisfied his own will” there?
00:46:07 carol: Even with psychological strain its easy to turn to self focus
00:51:13 Anthony: Thus the children of Israel when leaving Egypt were not led out to the land of the Philistines, lest they be discouraged by those strong people.
00:53:02 Anthony: and listening to the counsel develops virtue of obedience
01:03:51 Anthony: There is something in Revelation that cowards can't enter Heaven. God is giving us the practice we need against cowardice. and Pope St Peter has something about the trying of our faith working patience, etc.
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