Amazing group tonight folks. Thank you all for your comments and questions. Wonderful as always!
We continued our reading of Hypothesis 13 which puts before us the idea of moving to a remote place, of embracing exile - as it were - for the sake of living for Christ alone. The lives of the desert Fathers call us to let go of our attachment to the things of this world and all that gives us a false sense of security and stability. We are to cling to God alone. We are strangers and exiles in this world and we will be hated by it as Christ himself was hated.
None of this calls to imitate the Fathers by going to the deserts of Egypt but rather to enter into the desert of the human heart. We are to draw back and retreat to Christ in order that we might more clearly see the depths of his love and his promise of life; as well as see the things that are an impediment to it. In our retreat into silence and prayer, and subordinating all things to our relationship with God, we prepare ourselves to fight against the enemies, the demons, until we are made free and reach the rest of the kingdom.
Such a life is not rooted in hard work. We seek our identity not even in the performance of religious activities or driving ourselves relentlessly in the ascetical life. Rather, our worth and identity come to us from what God gives us. All is grace and it is only when we let go of the illusion that this world can provide for and fill the void within our hearts that we will come to know that love in its fullness.
Text of chat during the group:
00:18:00 Anthony: Clinging to God alone, nothing is secure....well, 2020 ans 2021 have offered us opportunity to ease into that kind of virtue.
00:23:28 Anthony: From historian Charles Coulombe I learned that our valuing of excessive work is a Puritan deformity.
00:33:56 Joseph Muir: Of course there is value in being diligent and having a good work ethic, of being responsible and goal oriented, and of planning for the future. With that said, this tendency of finding one’s identity in their work is, I think, where one veers off course
01:08:49 Justin Massengill : No, Justin is my Christian name which I tend to use since my conversion.
01:14:37 Ambrose Little: It’s hard to put much value in “hard work” without ending up serving it and having it become a significant measure against which we judge ourselves. We cannot serve both God and mammon. Where our treasure is, there is our heart. It seems so very easy to get sucked in, ever so incrementally so that we don’t even realize it’s happening, until one day what started as a tame regard for our how hard we work has become our identity and our master. If on the other hand, we prize above all else pleasing and loving God and making that our only goal, we can guard against that danger.
At some point in our lives, this may mean working hard. At another, perhaps when we are sick, it may mean simply offering our suffering to God and offering the simplest of prayers. In health, in sickness, in work, in play—all in God and to God and for God, with gratitude and trust.
01:16:51 Lyle: Like St. Peter, I must "Step Out".
01:18:28 Anthony: Working in the garage late at night can be crazy - irrational with a job to wake up to - but also be a "mystical" moment.
01:22:51 Lyle: They are such great counselors!
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