Tonight we continued with St. John’s Step on Obedience. We are presented with an image that may be unfamiliar to us. Obedience is not presented as something that is crushing to the human spirit. It can be humiliating - in the sense that it seems to drive out from the soul and the heart all vestige of arrogance, fierceness, and hostility towards others. Yet, what emerges from this exercise of faith is conformity to Christ. When it is rooted in a true love for one’s shepherd, one’s Elder, then a kind of voluntary innocence begins to emerge; a childlike trust in the Elder that prevents a person from speculating about his motives or thinking that he is being driven by xmalice.
When we know that we are being guided by love then we are able to embrace even the most challenging of things. Obedience becomes are very food; something nourishing as it was for Christ himself. When perfected, it can bring about not only personal transformation but the transformation of every relationship that exists within our lives. When we let go of all machinations and all forms of calculation and seek simply to love and give ourselves in love - peace and freedom emerge. We should speak of obedience as something that ultimately brings joy. Indeed, we should see all the virtues as doing exactly that – bringing us into the joy of the kingdom.
Text of chat during the group:
00:10:10 Art: In case anyone is interested.
00:10:16 Art: Upcoming online course:
THE WAY OF THE PILGRIM: Entering Into the Jesus Prayer
Instructor: Very Rev. Stephen Freeman
"Pray without ceasing." —1 Thessalonians 5:17 What is prayer, and how does one learn how to pray? In this talk, journey with Fr. Stephen Freeman and a pilgrim in 19th-century Russia to explore the meaning of prayer in our lives.
00:31:49 maureencunningham: The task was a lie or was he and Epicepic ?
00:39:55 Anthony: Vocation is seen as a job, matching personal characteristics to charisms of a community of the need to have clergy and religious
00:45:46 Debra: Would he have been allowed to receive Eucharist...attend Mass?
00:46:21 Bridget McGinley: The journey of the spiritual life in such a short paragraph. Beautifully spoken and written. We go through the same journey over a lifetime.
00:47:24 Bridget McGinley: It is easy to see that God should reward us for the little we do instead of being humble and low at the gift.
00:49:33 Bonnie Lewis: Thank you Father. That was going to be my question, that he would be filled with sadness. And yet, his life ended in a joyful death.
00:55:19 Anthony: Is this simple character the "Holy Fool"? Or is that something else?
00:57:24 Ambrose Little, OP: Can you elaborate on "voluntary innocence” in this context?
01:02:20 Ambrose Little, OP: Maybe also it is "take no thought for tomorrow, what you shall eat, or what you shall wear.." That is also a kind of. innocence--simply trusting that God will provide.
01:03:01 Liz: In some Communities, were the Superior (or other brothers) does similar or more humilliating actions out of truly malice, can it also be taken as an instructive tool by the one who is suffering it unjustly, just out of the evil will of another one? Maybe this is also related with the voluntary innocence, without second-guessings. Can this be applied in the secular life? To which extent can we distinguish it from the line of the "human dignity"?....
01:03:33 Carol: "real joy, which is paradisal innocence and attachment to God through the whole splendor of being alive." Olivier clement
01:08:33 Anthony: The monastic literature refers to beginning in community life before solitary life as the best way to live. Natural law leads to the valuable community of family life. In our day, there are so many single people, by choice or by circumstance, from age 18 or sadly even earlier. Our age appears to be an aberration. Do you have spiritual advice for so many solitaries thrust into solitary life, a period of being neither monastic nor familial?
01:14:44 maureencunningham: Thank You
01:15:36 carolnypaver: Song of Tears?
01:16:57 Cindy Moran: Thank you, Father! Great session!!
01:17:04 Liz: Thank you Father!
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