We continued our reading of step three on Exile. As with so many things said within the Ladder of Divine Ascent, the words of Saint John are jarring. It is not because John seeks to be abrasive or provocative; rather he is presenting us with the Gospel through the lens of the monastic vocation. It is God who embraced exile in the greatest sense through the incarnation. Christ, out of love for the Father and His will and out of love for us, exiles himself into the depths of humanity and of our sin in order to raise us to new life. Our exile is simply a response to this great gift of love and sacrifice on our behalf. We freely choose to exile ourselves from the things that pulls away from fulfilling the will of God or loving Him unconditionally not because of any hatred for the world or the things of the world. It is the desire for God that guides and shapes our ascetical life and our spiritual disciplines. Outside of the love of God they lack meaning. They are to be a response of humble gratitude for what God has given to us.
Text of chat during the group:
00:15:53 Cindy Moran: I have no audio
00:22:06 Anthony: I think I finally get your admonishment to read things in context. He can't be talking about withdrawing from a family like St. Basil's 3 generations living in harmony family life and monastic life.
00:34:10 Rachel: Like the ghetto in Sacramento. lol
00:34:29 B K-LEB: this teaching is too hard............
00:34:35 Erick chastain: moved to texas
00:34:45 Erick chastain: God's country
00:34:45 Daniel Allen: I would add that it starts at home with the family
00:34:53 Bonnie Lewis: Wait a minute. I
00:35:06 Bonnie Lewis: I'm in Texas
00:35:12 Edward Kleinguetl: Welcome to Texas. I live in Houston, although moving to Toronto in six weeks.
00:36:04 Daniel Allen: Can’t flee to a place and expect everything to be somehow better. There isn’t a real chance to run to something if you don’t have it with you first. Like St Seraphim of Sarov, acquire the spirit of peace.
00:37:19 Erick chastain: thanks deacon Ed!
00:37:42 Erick chastain: agreed Daniel.
00:38:21 Joseph Caro: I wonder if this fleeing into the desert (in the literal, monkish, sense) is becoming increasingly next to impossible for our current western civilization without first a radical severance from cell phones, internet, Facebook, etc. And I am wondering if even the secondary more modest type of detachment can be fully done without first tempering our use of media, internet, etc.. . I don't know though, just my first impression.
00:38:21 Erick chastain: I moved to Texas to work at a catholic university and live near the daily latin mass.
00:38:59 Anthony: Joseph - so much data DOES impede contemplation.
00:39:20 B K-LEB: i agree with you Joseph the internet is an endless void
00:39:36 Edward Kleinguetl: Amen!
00:39:58 Carol Nypaver: 👍🏻 Erick and Joseph!
00:40:29 Ambrose Little, OP: The internet has so much to foster our knowledge of the faith and to connect with other faith-filled persons (like this group). It's a tool. Have to use it wisely.
00:41:28 Dayton S: 👆
00:42:08 Art: Good for you Erick. Is it Univ of Dallas?
00:43:29 Erick chastain: I moved to Texas to work at a catholic university and live near the daily latin mass. Guarding my mind and heart from secular people. Reduced temptations to anger and worldly ambition.
00:44:58 Sr Mary of our Divine Savior solt: In our community a small group of us are living a more contemplative life. And it has been a very rocky road. We are not monastic but are called to live the life of our Blessed Mother in the Cenacle. We do 3 hours of adoration and one of them is at 12am for priest. And another sacrifice is not eating meat in the convent. Also doing the full Divine Office. Only time will tell if God will bring us vocations to live this way of life. To try and live a more contemplative life in todays world is a challenge.
00:46:30 Carol Nypaver: Thank you, Sister Mary. May your efforts bear much good fruit!
00:47:20 Ambrose Little, OP: I am reminded of Pope St. John Paul II: Be not afraid! Lead out into the deep. (Duc in altum.)
00:48:04 Anthony: Nassim Nicholas Talib, in "The Bed of Procrustes": Philosophers walk, they do not run. He is an Orthodox Christian who takes the spirit of Orthodoxy into his academic/risk analysis/economic work. He's right. God is not speaking in urgent panic. Be a "lover of wisdom." Walk, and enjoy and contemplate.
00:48:22 Ambrose Little, OP: Lead = duc
00:48:37 iPhone: Chapter 5 of the Letter of Diognetus comes to mind…. Christians are not distinguished from other men by country, language, nor by the customs which they observe. They do not inhabit cities of their own, use a particular way of speaking, nor lead a life marked out by any curiosity. The course of conduct they follow has not been devised by the speculation and deliberation of inquisitive men. The do not, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of merely human doctrines.
Instead, they inhabit both Greek and barbarian cities, however things have fallen to each of them. And it is while following the customs of the natives in clothing, food, and the rest of ordinary life that they display to us their wonderful and admittedly striking way of life.
They live in their own countries, but they do so as those who are just passing through. As citizens they participate in everything with others, yet they endure everything as if they were foreigners. Every foreign land is like their homeland to them, and every land…
00:48:42 B K-LEB: he's the one (NNT) i once quoted who said "God provides the cure then he allows the problem"
00:52:11 Ashley Kaschl: Daniel, I love that song! 🔥
00:52:22 Sheila Applegate: Great band.
00:53:12 Daniel Allen: I could listen to that album on repeat haha
01:02:41 Ren: The figure of Abraham is a beautiful fleshing out of what we spoke about a couple of groups ago: that this kind of exile is an exile TO not FROM. The figure of Joseph is one that perhaps illustrates a kind of opposite: an exile from, that God works with in order to effect good - an exile that will, in fact, lead to the slavery of the entire people of God. But Abraham embraces exile for the sake of covenant with God and is thus a far superior example.
01:04:48 Anthony: The book of Jasher has a story that Abraham was one of the few righteous worshippers of God among the people around the Tower of Babel, and God called him away.
01:08:05 Anthony: Christ's exile was also out of love.
01:09:13 Ambrose Little, OP: Gotta run. Family thing. God bless.
01:12:03 B K-LEB: love can be very selfish and manipulative st pope b16 said
01:12:23 Bonnie Lewis: This reminds me of Peter leaving the boat to follow Jesus but his attention was diverted and his faith was weakened, and he began to sink.
01:13:47 Ren: Ooo. So hard
01:16:04 Erick chastain: exile is awesome!
01:16:15 Daniel Allen: Hang in there it only gets more uncomfortable haha
01:16:55 Erick chastain: exile is awesome!
01:17:02 B K-LEB: lol
01:17:37 B K-LEB: i am projecting so much angst on fr. david while reading this, i dont want to hear it@@
01:18:05 Carol Nypaver: How do we not seem indifferent while “letting go?”
01:19:08 Lee Graham: A greater understanding of to what God is calling you
01:21:11 B K-LEB: jesus himself sweats blood
01:21:32 Erick chastain: holy suffering vs worldly suffering
01:21:57 Lee Graham: Count it all joy
01:22:14 Daniel Allen: I don’t mean to sanitize this, and I don’t think this doesn’t that, but I keep returning to letting go of our own will. The monk being called to the desert had to abandon his will for comfort, family, and familiarity. But every day we have to let go of our own will and embrace noisy kids and a lack of silence, or work that doesn’t fulfill a personal sense of gaining in what has meaning, and time for oneself. My examples obviously more align with having a lot of small children, but I think that (to me) is the letting go of the will that the monk is also doing.
01:23:42 Daniel Allen: Sorry writing stream of conscious isn’t something I’m good at haha. Glad you could make sense of that rambling paragraph
01:24:12 Cathy Murphy: That is the joy of children. You must be in the present moment and only love them