The wisdom of the Fathers and the essential and fundamental elements of the spiritual life that they present us with is valuable beyond expression. Whether novices in the spiritual life or having struggled for many years, one is given a precious gift in reading the Evergetinos!
We picked up once again this evening with Hypothesis 20 on heeding the advice of the elders and the importance of revealing one’s thoughts without embarrassment or shame. How beautiful it is when an elder has such compassion and love (as well as patience) to help those in his charge to set before God all of their thoughts and sins. What a blessing it is when you have one who is willing to wait even years, assisting you in the spiritual life, helping you to trust ever more fully in the power of grace and in the depths of God’s mercy. The Evil One seeks to do nothing but undermine this trust in God and in one’s elder. Even when we are tortured by our sins or our thoughts and temptations we often remain silent; because the evil one convinces us how shameful such thoughts might be. The closer we get to speaking them the more he seeks to make us question the value of doing so. The father’s counsel on this is incredibly valuable. It reveals to us the wisdom of God and how it overcomes the cunning of the Evil One.
Text of chat during the group:
00:18:25 Josie: When we have thoughts that we don't identify with the “inner self” or “inner man” but rather as false self, are we meant to 1) engage them in order to dismantle them at the root and deal with what part of us causes or wants to believe them, OR alternatively 2) do we simply ignore them/reject them as false and just re-center ourselves?
00:21:25 Tyler Woloshyn: This brings to mind the Psalmist when he speaks about in Psalm 136 (LXX) to deal with those sins, passions, vices by dashing them against the rock. To dash them against the Rock of Christ early on rather than much later.
00:23:27 Tyler Woloshyn: (I know it is a controversial psalm, but blessed are the monastics for explaining the meaning behind that psalm.)
00:34:15 Tyler Woloshyn: This story is very interesting when someone is held by passions, but how can one relate to those to struggle with scrupulosity in their confession?
00:45:04 Josie: it's ok you answered thank u
00:49:17 iPad (10)maureen: Is it much like Doctor ? You can have a cancer and not Know it.
00:49:49 iPad (10)maureen: The earlier one find a hidden illness you can recover.
00:52:55 Rachel: I can top that but in my humility will refrain
00:56:09 Anthony: These elders - are they experienced, mature Christians, or is Elder in these stories here the equivalent or presbyteros or sacerdotale - a priest?
00:57:01 Forrest Cavalier: The greek is Ό Γέρων
00:57:13 Forrest Cavalier: The old/wise one.
00:57:17 Anthony: Thanks, Forrest
00:57:18 Ambrose Little, OP: That’s Greek to me.
00:57:19 Anthony: James
00:58:56 Anthony: Liberty University in the early 200's encouraged accountability partners and each dormitory hall had a supposedly mature student to be a spiritual leader
00:59:04 Anthony: 2000s
01:01:06 Rachel: I bought that book but have not read it!
01:01:29 iPad (10)maureen: Name of the book ?
01:01:29 Josie: me 2
01:01:41 Ren: A question about confession: In a situation where a certain sin has really taken root, and one finds it difficult even to resolve to try and amend one’s behavior, perhaps even resistant to change, what recourse does one have? The thought comes to my mind that is is sacrilegious to go to confession not hoping or firmly intending to change, but it you can’t go to confession, what can you do? Are you just a lost cause?
01:02:49 Debra: Wouldn't going to confession provide the graces to help make that change?
01:04:10 Lilly: Orthodox Psychotherapy -author?
01:04:36 Anthony: Ren, I think Nietzsche actually has an important thing to say here - exert the will - not to power, but for our good. ;)
01:04:51 Sawyer: Confessing that lack of desire to change can sometimes bring great grace in itself.