Tonight we continued our reading of hypothesis 18 which focuses upon the importance of seeking the counsel of those who have an experiential knowledge of the spiritual life. We do not live out our Christian life as individuals. Even the monk living in the greatest solitude understands the radical solidarity that he has with others in the life of the Church.
The stories that we are presented with here this evening show us that the desire of monks to seek out the counsel of elders; and not only the desire but the necessity of doing so. To try to walk along the spiritual path, to try and engage in the spiritual battle alone is foolhardy. Inevitably, we will fall to one of the passions or we will find ourselves in the grip of the Evil One.
Humility is key. Our lives have to be radically focused upon the truth and most of all the poverty and the weakness that sin has brought into our lives. We must acknowledge that it is by God alone that we are saved ; and that it is by his grace that we are able to engage in the ascetical life. We must avoid self-styled asceticism that lacks discretion. No matter how wise we might be we must believe that we are in need of learning and counsel.
Text of chat during the group:
00:55:48 Forrest Cavalier: My summary of this discussion to Anthony's questions: We know by fruits: Wicked self-doubt leads towards despair, quietism (on one side) or self-reliant Pelagianism (on the other.) Proper self-doubt: recognize our poverty, leading to grace, trust, unity to body of Christ.
01:00:04 John Clark: Pre V2 you were required to fast after Midnight the night before attending mass and not eat anything if receiving the Holy Host…
01:00:47 Carol Nypaver: Yep….not even water.
01:08:43 Eric Williams: If disciplines become perfunctory, the Church should inform consciences and instruct the ignorant, not discard the disciplines. 🙁