Superb group tonight! Thank you all so much for the wonderful comments and questions on two very challenging steps.
We continued this evening reading Step 2 on Detachment and the beginning of Step 3 on Exile. Saint John makes it very clear to us that detachment from the things of this world and seeing ourselves as living in exile are rooted not in a hatred of the world or of others but rather in our desire for the perfect love of Christ.
Our passions draw us back again and again to the sickness of our sin. Even when we have left many things behind we can feel a very tangible pull back to them. Therefore, St. John tells us that we must embrace Christ with an unconditional and absolute love and devotion; as He has given his love unconditionally and without limit.
All things begin and end with love. Our asceticism, all of our disciplines, must be rooted in this love otherwise we will find ourselves isolated from others and from God. Even the monks who embraced the deepest solitude of the desert understood that they did so as part of the body of Christ; that the embrace of deep solitude and silence brought them to a greater intimacy with every other person and allowed them to see the action of God within the world and creation.
The break from the world of which these first three steps speak is meant to allow us to run freely and swiftly toward Christ, our Beloved.
Text of chat during the group:
00:11:31 Sharon: When I tried to log into the link at the top of the email, it wouldn’t log in saying that you were in session with Evergetinos. The link at the bottom did work, obviously!
00:12:01 Sharon: Obviously because I’m here! That wasn’t meant to be snarky!
00:14:06 Rachel: me too. PC
00:14:29 Bonnie Lewis: I always have to use the bottom link. No biggie
00:14:29 Sheila Applegate: mine did not work. android phone.
00:14:33 Debra: Sharon, I got a warning saying the top link was a Threat! Ooooo
So I logged in with the bottom link too
00:14:36 Sheila Applegate: said unavailable.
00:21:01 Debra: Our Diocese 'moved' the Ascension to Sunday
00:21:23 Ashley Kaschl: Same
00:32:36 Sam Rodriguez: I'm reminded here of a quote by then Cardinal Wojtyla: "Freedom is the means, Love is the end." Our culture often confuses our understanding of Freedom by defining it as "freedom to" (do this or that) as opposed to "Freedom from" (Sin and our appetites, etc). And that we lose sight of the fact that our Freedom is brought to Perfection in Love. And that is it's very purpose. The Saints in Heaven still retain their Freedom. They have Freely chosen Love for all Eternity. And therein lies the relationship between this detachment, this Freedom of Heart, and our Call to Love. It seems to me that one could think of Freedom as *the medium* through which Love travels, just as a wave may travel through a medium. If we seek to grow in Love, it seems that, what's needed, is more to clear the way for Love to Move Within us and Through us, precisely by seeking this Freedom of Heart
00:33:50 Josie: wow
00:34:00 Sr Mary of our Divine Savior solt: double wow!
00:36:24 Debra: Who's going to follow ^^that^^
00:39:44 Anthony: If this life is not for all, but for a comparative few, why is the monastic life presented as "if you want to obey Christ, completely detach and be a monastic?"
00:44:34 Josie: Is it possible that the solitude can lead to a kind of self centeredness perhaps in some kind of people? I understand that the focus on love is the thing that keeps a person safe from the danger, but what is love in this spiritual sense, with very little concrete manifestations (like others to serve or even to forgive) ? Is love in this case a focus on God? Contemplation?
00:44:45 Josie: sorry I hit send by accident
00:51:17 Josie: but it's also not simply a focus on self and becoming "perfect", right?
00:57:10 Anthony: garlic, leeks
00:57:15 Ren: Cucumbers!
01:08:51 Sam Rodriguez: Regarding this, something I've found helpful to try to be grounded in is this: If it's good, God gets the credit. I can only take credit for my mistakes. lol
01:15:40 Anthony: Maybe some of the self will and desire to propose oneself as great in an area is a symptom of a demonic attack on a person's worth - a subtle and constant message "you are worthless.
01:21:09 Ashley Kaschl: If this isn’t very coherent....I’m sorry. 😂
01:21:12 Ashley Kaschl: This reminds me of something in “Imitation of Christ” by Thomas á Kempis. That when we suffer, we should remember that we are “on probation” and that we shouldn’t rely on or place our hope in the world, nor seek to justify ourselves to the world who won’t always understand. I think that Catholics, who are on fire for the Lord or who are firmly in their vocations, run up against the temptation to not be misunderstood by the world, to not offend when teaching the Truth. It’s as if the temptation of vain glory today tries to be popular and holy, which is antithetical to the spiritual life.
Anyway, the rest of the quote goes: “It is good for us sometimes to suffer contradiction, to be misjudged by men even though we do well and mean well. These things help us to be humble and shield us from vainglory. When to all outward appearances men give us no credit, when they do not think well of us, then we are more inclined to seek God Who sees our hearts. Therefore, a man ought to root himself so firmly in God that he
01:21:43 Ashley Kaschl: will not need the consolations of men.”
01:22:56 Sam Rodriguez: GREAT points, Ashley
01:26:10 Ambrose Little, OP: There is a flip side of that, too, and I think we have to be careful both ways. We can enjoy being counter-cultural and want to in a sense stick it to the “world” to show just how different we are. In that way, we are risking a kind of pride that we're better and want to show it off by being combative unnecessarily.
01:26:51 Ashley Kaschl: Yes 💯 👆
01:28:10 Rachel: lol
01:29:35 Rachel: Thank you!
01:29:48 Anthony: cookie
01:29:53 Ashley Kaschl: Thank you, Father! Good to see you!
01:30:19 Cindy Moran: Thank you Father...great session!
01:30:20 Bonnie Lewis: Thank you Father David. Happy to have class tonight!
01:30:21 Debra: I'm on Brave, with Avast...and Avast thinks the shortl ink is a threat
01:30:23 Cathy: Thank you Father! Prayers
01:30:33 sue and mark: good night and be blessed
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