As we allow ourselves to be drawn deeper into the meaning of obedience by St. John’s writing, we begin to see the beauty of the virtue itself and the fruit that it produces within the soul. It is not a slavishness or weakness of will, but rather a soul that has been awakened to the lack of freedom that comes from self-judgment and that is limited or obscured by sin. The more that the heart is purified by grace and the ascetic life, the more we begin to long for obedience because it is an imitation of our Lord. It is His obedience that has led us all to the freedom of life and love in God. We become the greatest confessors of the faith when we conform ourselves to Him in this fashion. A true spiritual father, then, is going to guide their spiritual children along this path that treasures humility, stillness, silence and unceasing prayer.
Text of chat during the group:
00:03:59 FrDavid Abernethy: page 87
00:04:12 FrDavid Abernethy: paragraph 72
00:19:17 Anthony: Thus, we have Vladika David ;)
00:29:25 Anthony: This humility is different than the idea that man is totally depraved but God declares us just. That religious idea can/does lead to self-loathing. The hopefulness is in the infusion of Grace and Love which God gives us very wounded people. That is a happy hope in contrast to our weakness and realization of our darkness outside of being attached to the Vine.
00:40:31 Anthony: There is a Bulgarian Orthodox Skete in Palmyra, VA near Charlottesville.
00:47:21 Rachel: They may, by this silence, learn to worship God in the moment. Standing silent before the other and suspending judgment..
00:47:59 Eric Ewanco: how is silence concretely rooted in gentleness and love?
00:48:04 Rachel: May be a way to practice faith and wait patiently for God to reveal Himself
00:51:11 Rachel: I don't think it means that we wont meet with situations where we find others contradicting us, or, when we are actively trying to be silent ourselves contradicting others all day long. So the silence may bring up a lot of uncomfortable contradictions where we learn by necessity, to wait patiently and rely on God in His good providence. It is not an inactive silence
00:52:02 Rachel: Its not rendering oneself dumb
00:53:13 Carol: Like the Blessed Virgin, pondering in one’s heart
00:54:23 Johnny Ross: Isn't this silence related to our Saviors Kenosis? It is an emptying of ourselves. Related also to the Via Negativa?
00:59:24 Anthony: When we are emptied, we want to be filled, to have an identity; but it
01:00:13 Anthony: it's awfully hard to follow Jesus because we can't grasp or contain Him, so we want to build ourselves into an image of what we want to be or should be.
01:01:03 Anthony: the heirs of the maccabees
01:05:52 Rachel: today
01:06:30 Rachel: in whole foods yesterday lol
01:08:28 Johnny Ross: Yes, we face a stark choice today, Either we worship God or we worship ourselves.
01:09:01 Anthony: /because prayer is work?
01:12:34 Bridget McGinley: The Bible states to Pray Always... the theme of The Way of the Pilgrim
01:14:42 Rachel: Instead of stripping oneself of everything that may stand in the way of God. Emptying our hearts can feel uncomfortable. prayer can become like building up a wall. Sort of like coming to God every time in prayer and only making small talk or talking at Him, instead of listening and silencing everything that causes anxiety. A way of controlling the conversation for fear of hearing something that is displeasing.
01:17:02 Carol Nypaver: Saint Augustine ~ “When the word of God increases, human words fail.”
01:17:50 Debra: And how can you tell the difference?
01:18:11 Debra: Between desolation, or being drawn deeper?
01:19:46 Debra: Good points...linger in those moments...see where God is taking us
01:20:39 Rachel: I think St Sophrony and St Silouan speak of this. I wonder is there always a correlation between desolation and being drawn deeper? Almost like suddenly becoming aware in a deeper sense that in ourselves, we lack the capacity to run to Him. To feel His presence
01:21:13 Rachel: So we wait, and stay with Him. St Therese speaks of this too
01:22:33 Anthony: That is what Purgatory is, per Dante.
01:23:01 Anthony: a longing to be free, repaired and pure for love.
01:24:21 Johnny Ross: Thank You Father
01:24:33 Rachel: Thank you Father Thank you evryone
01:24:35 Cindy Moran: Thank you, Father!!!
01:24:36 Rachel: lol yes
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