The more deeply one reads the fathers, the more one begins to see that what is being revealed is the terrain of the human heart. The fathers do not present us with a varnished truth about ourselves or our sin. The path that leads to freedom and holiness is Christ alone. It is by his grace and mercy that we are brought healing and hope. So much of the spiritual life involves letting go of the illusions that we cling to about ourselves and life in this world. It involves slowly breaking down those defenses that, while fulfilling their purpose, are too costly. They prevent us from seeking healing where it can truly be found. We are called to more than just cope with reality. We are called to enter into He who is Reality and allow Him to heal us and transfigure us by His grace. This brings us to a state of deep mourning. We gaze into the abyss, the hell that is sin. Yet while painful, St John begins to explain, it gives place to incorruptible chastity and the warmth of the “immaterial Light that radiates more than fire!”
Text of chat during the group:
00:16:42 CMoran: My family in Slovakia make it...you can run your lawnmower on their stuff.
00:25:56 Anthony: Father, would you please distinguish these tears from the tears of sin born of scrupulous fear?
00:30:50 Eric Ewanco: www.scrupulousanonymous.org
00:31:44 Anthony: Thank you, Father, that is a good way to distinguish the two fears.
00:33:47 CMoran: Would St Philip Neri be a good example of this?
00:36:15 Bridget McGinley: I heard that Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago stated that those with a sense of humor had a greater constitution to bear the trials. I have not read this book but it struck me because I have read Fr. Walter Ciszek with God in Russia and I cannot imagine the sorrows.
00:40:16 Anthony: I guess St. Francis had this blessed, gladdening sorrow. His fear or sorrow alternated with bliss, but although he was lighthearted, he was solid in God's reality.
00:43:41 Daniel Allen: Maybe it’s how it’s worded but how does fear of an “uncompassionate and inexorable judge” give way to love for that same uncompassionate judge?
00:45:22 carol: “Sadness purifies us. Man is truly man in sadness. In joy he is changed, he becomes someone else. In sadness he becomes that which he truly is. And this is the way, par excellence, that he approaches God…” Elder Epiphanios
00:50:28 Rachel: St Silouan
00:51:20 Rachel: This is what Christ told him when he had fallen into pride and was allowed to see his state.
00:54:51 Anthony: When I started finding catechetical materials to take in, I came across a popular internet Orthodox radio station. One of the things they seemed to emphasize is that it is wrong to meditate on the passion of Christ - which is quite sad as well as triumphant. It looks like that is incorrect and not the true way to orient our minds, but we should meditate on this?
00:59:35 Rebecca Thérèse: I find the poem Pastorcico (the little shepherd) by St John of the Cross very helpful in meditating on the Passion because it emphasises Christ's love in giving himself on the Cross for us. So to meditate on the Passion is to meditate on the great love of Christ for us.
01:01:33 Ambrose Little, OP: Perhaps there is something in this related to the notion of the love of the Law, that it is through the Law (and its judgment, as so, the Judge) that we see what is evil, truly repugnant to Life and Love (that is, the nature of God). And seeing that stark God-repelling reality allows us to more clearly see, by contrast, the Goodness and Love of God, and to desire Him all the more because of that seeing. The fear of God is the fear of sin and its consequences—the beginning of wisdom. Seeing what God hates and judges harshly against reveals to us the love of God, because He hates what harms us, what pulls us away from Him.
01:12:21 Daniel Allen: This makes sense. If you plead guilty you will skip past trying to prove your innocence and simply ask for mercy from the judge. But if you are busy trying to put up a defense you have no time to simply beg for mercy.
01:16:26 Henry Peresie: That happens often in Facebook.
01:22:48 CMoran: Thank you Father...great session!
01:22:54 Jeffrey Ott: Amen, thank you!
01:22:56 Rachel: Thank you
01:23:01 Rebecca Thérèse: Thank you 🙂
01:23:06 kevin: thank you
01:23:08 Deiren Masterson: God bless you Father - you are a gift.
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