Tonight we concluded Hypothesis 18 and began reading Hypothesis 19. Both emphasize the importance of not engaging in the spiritual life in isolation. One does not throw an inexperienced soldier, a novice in warfare, into the midst of a battle, having never used a weapon, and expect him to survive. Similarly, we are taught that it would be foolhardy for us to think that we could engage in intense spiritual warfare, especially that of a hermit in deep solitude, without first having many years of being formed in a spirit of obedience and the common life.
One must be teachable in the truest sense of the word; we must be docile to the guidance of others and those who are more experienced. Wisdom teaches us to seek the guidance of those who have experiential knowledge of what it is to struggle with the evil one, to avoid mortal traps. We must become unabashed students of the holy Fathers. We must let the dust of the road, as one from the group noted, and that of the sandals of the elders we follow kick up and cling to us. Simply by drawing close to the Fathers, by studying their writings, we find the surest teaching. In such an age is ours, where freedoms and personal rights are emphasized, it can be very difficult to wrap our minds around the value in the essential need of walking such a path. Yet, as we shall see, it is the only way because it is the path trod Christ himself.
Text of chat during the group:
00:36:49 Forrest Cavalier: Was it Chrysostom Homily 20 on Ephesians 5:22-24?