Today someone mentioned to me that Saint John Climacus does not mince words when speaking about the spiritual life, and in particular when speaking about the passions. This is unequivocally true. John does not varnish the truth. His heart has been formed in such a way that it would be impossible to do so; his view of God, man, redemption, and sin is shaped by the cross, and by the fullness of the gospel. Such is the case in our reading this evening of Step 8. St. John begins to define for us the nature of freedom from anger and the virtue that leads us along that path: meekness.
In this step like so many others, our view of reality and our experience as human beings is going to be challenged. Our experience of aggression in ourselves and from others must be seen now through what has been revealed to us in Christ and through the Cross. We must allow the grace of God to shape our identity so deeply that we remain unmoved either by dishonor or by praise. Meekness is allowing the love of God to touch our emotions and affective state as well as the incensive faculty that protects us from sin.
The Scriptures teach us that “the anger of man does not bear fruit acceptable to God.” The reason for this is that such anger is often driven by an insatiable desire that we be treated in a fashion that satisfies our vainglorious needs or our sense of justice. Anger, however, can become so deeply rooted within the soul that bitterness becomes the lens through which we view relationships, and circumstances of every kind. It can become the log in our eye that prevents us from seeing any goodness in the world or others. Let us, then, listen attentively to what John says and allow him to guide us along this challenging path.
Text of chat during the group:
00:03:22 FrDavid Abernethy: page 119, para 66
00:18:02 Maple(Hannah) Hong: What page?
00:19:24 Sean: Top of 120
00:20:06 Maple(Hannah) Hong: Thank you, Sean!
00:57:54 Jeff O.: Evagrius talks a lot about the blinding effect of anger on the intellect of the mind, blinding the seer and consequently how meekness allows us to see (know) God
00:58:11 Eric Ewanco: Reacted to "Evagrius talks a lot..." with 👍🏻
00:58:40 carol nypaver: 👍🏼
01:02:24 Ashley Kaschl: Something that might help give a little guidance in regards to feeling the emotion of anger is something that Ven. Fulton Sheen said when he gives perspective on Wrath vs. Righteous Anger, in that he writes,
“Be angry, and sin not”; for anger is no sin under three conditions: (1) If the cause of the anger be just, for example, defense of God’s honor; (2) If it be no greater than the cause demands, that is, if it be kept under control; and (3) If it be quickly subdued: "Let not the sun go down upon your anger.”
01:04:03 Ambrose Little, OP: “How can one take a fire to his bosom and not be burned?”
01:04:36 carol nypaver: Awesome, Ashley. Can’t go wrong with Ven. Fulton Sheen!
01:08:22 Meghann (she/her) KS: is it like God's, Christ's expressions of anger are always intended toward repentance not punishment... opportunities of wakening not retributive...? Always pathways toward salvation, not "justice" or closure? Ours tend to be mixed and partial expressions
01:14:07 Rebecca Thérèse: Thank you 🙂
01:14:54 kevin: Thanks father
01:14:55 Jeff O.: Thank you, great being with you all.
01:15:05 Art: Thank you father!
01:15:11 Mitchell Hunt: Thanks father David
01:15:12 Larisa and Tim: Thank you!
01:15:13 Cindy Moran: Thank you Father
01:15:17 Babington (or Babi): Thank you
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