I’ve often thought the Desert Fathers were the first and truest of depth psychologists. Their understanding of the human person, the workings of the mind and the heart, the effects of the emotions, and the workings of the unconscious is unparalleled in anything that we have seen before or sense. Tonight Saint John Climacus, in a few paragraphs, takes us into those depths. He shows us the extent to which we can become conceited and that a false self can begin to emerge and become solidified. Out of their experience the Fathers came to know the many and varied ways that these things manifest themselves and the spiritual remedies to be applied. Disobedience, our inability to hear the truth and embrace it with love, has an impact on every area of our life and every relationship. It can lead to a kind of passive-aggressiveness that hardens the heart and makes us insensible to the needs of others or their goodness. Even Saint John says that he is amazed at the dexterity that we show in all manner of sin and the diversity of evil that flows from it.
Text of chat during the group:
00:14:17 FrDavid Abernethy: para 81 page 88
00:14:34 Sr Mary of our Divine Savior solt: Hi What page again please
00:14:45 FrDavid Abernethy: page 88
00:14:50 FrDavid Abernethy: para 81
00:15:07 Sr Mary of our Divine Savior solt: Thank u
00:15:49 Sr Mary of our Divine Savior solt: Good to be here
00:31:39 Johnny Ross: The paradox of true freedom is that it is found in obedience and conformity to our spiritual practice as shown by Christ. True freedom is not being able to do what you want. That is the distortion of modernity.
00:35:19 Carol Nypaver: What if bearing with insults causes suspicion from one’s boss in the workplace? At what point can we defend ourselves? Doesn’t justice demand that?
00:37:37 Carol: Like a lamb led to the slaughter, he opened not his mouth
00:38:15 Jeffrey Ott: This seems to align with Evagrius’ conversations on meekness and how courage and patience work together, “the work of courage and patience is to know no fear of enemies and eagerly to endure afflictions.”
00:38:36 Ambrose Little, OP: I wonder if some of the genius is that instead of trying to tackle lust head on, it’s coming at it from a different angle--one that is less associated with bodily desire. The mental desire for respect/high opinion of yourself (pride), though, is similar in that it is also a disordered desire. So if we learn to tame pride by embracing scorn, that exercise can teach us experientially how to tame lust (or other passions).
00:40:58 Cindy Moran: I have known some who have stayed in an abusive marriage saying they a trying to grow in holiness.
00:48:16 Ambrose Little, OP: Not a few saints have embraced significant personal suffering as a way of penance. Do you think it's ever right to endure, for example, an abusive relationship as a form of penance? Or what about an abusive brother in a monastic community?
01:03:07 Johnny Ross: This ego-centric Self is an illusion used by the prince of this world to control us. What about the tension between love thy neighbor as thyself and pick up thy cross and deny thyself. What is this self referred to here?
01:10:26 Ambrose Little, OP: like a small child..
01:15:45 Lee Graham: What is my motive for doing something a certain way? Seek Pure motives as well as purity of heart.
01:18:29 Bonnie Lewis: Father, I'm afraid you cut out. I didn't hear what you just announced.
01:18:37 Sr Mary of our Divine Savior solt: 🙏🏼
01:18:43 Eric Ewanco: yes
01:18:57 Eric Ewanco: (no group next week)
01:18:59 Bonnie Lewis: OK- thank you.
01:19:08 Jeffrey Ott: thank you!
01:19:12 Johnny Ross: Thank you Father, sending prayers
01:19:20 Carol Nypaver: Thank you so much!
01:19:27 Rafael Patrignani: thank you Fr David!
01:19:31 Art: Thank you Father. Good night
01:19:32 mark cummings: Thank you!!!
01:20:09 Cindy Moran: Excellent session! Thank you Father! Weill be praying for your event.
01:20:18 Deiren Masterson: Thank you Father
01:20:20 Ashley Kaschl: Thank you!!
01:20:21 Bonnie Lewis: Amen. Thank you Father.
01:20:27 Ambrose Little, OP: really liked that flame wax paragraph. great analogy.
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