The depth of the fathers’ understanding of the workings of the mind and the heart, the appetites and desires, is staggering. One of the great fruits of the ascetic life of the Desert fathers is what it reveals about the desert of the human heart. Jeremiah the prophet wrote: “The human heart is a treacherous thing. Who can endure it“. How true this is! St. John Climacus gradually begins us to draw us in to the subtle workings of our bodily appetites, in particular those tied to sensuality. Our vision of ourselves, and others can become so easily distorted by our sin. We become unable to see the beauty not only of the world around us, but of the human person and every aspect of their being. We all use ourselves and others and the things of this world in a desperate attempt to fill a void within our hearts. We long for the love of God. Even the atheist, one who denies God with all their heart, experiences this longing. They may be completely unaware of its source but nonetheless desperately seek something to fill it. And in those times when we are not wrapped up in the attempt or the delusion of fullness, we experience depression. There is no human being that does not experience isolation and the pain of loneliness even when surrounded by others and an abundance of worldly goods. St. John painstakingly reveals to us the nature of the struggle for purity of heart in order that we might be freed from seeking for the love and fullness anywhere else than in the bosom of God.
Text of chat during the group:
00:01:25 Kevin Burke: I am just getting started on this forum and really enjoying it, I plan to catch up with the previous lessons as well.
Can you tell me what version of the book that we are using in this forum? I have the Paulist version but it’s very different and I would like to get the precise same version.
00:03:14 Adam Paige: Replying to "I am just getting st..."
The Holy Transfiguration Monastery version we use is a revision of this earlier 1959 translation: http://www.prudencetrue.com/images/TheLadderofDivineAscent.pdf
00:31:20 Anthony: St. Gregory of Narek on the Song of Songs does a very good job of drawing holy innocence from a love story.
00:34:04 Anthony: Replying to "St. Gregory of Nar..."
"The Blessing of Blessings: Gregory of Narek on the Song of Songs" Translated from the AArmenian by Roberta Ervine, Cistercian Publications, (c) 2007
00:34:48 Louise Gaston: Would you say that purity of heart coupled with an observing ego allows for a sensitive detachment and discernment? With God's grace too?
00:34:51 angelo: Reacted to ""The Blessing of Ble..." with ❤️
00:38:55 Sr Barbara Jean Mihalchick: "greater still is the man unhurt by all he has looked upon." says this translation...
00:39:24 Rodrigo Castillo: The Blessing of Blessings: Grigor of Narek's Commentary
on the Song of Songs (Cistercian Studies books) (Volume 215) https://a.co/d/7ZqSBAW
00:40:44 angelo: Reacted to "The Blessing of Bles..." with 👍
00:41:31 Louise Gaston: Would you say that one's engagement in pornography, gluttony, etc. is basically a defense against the pain of our longing for God's presence?
00:45:59 Adam Paige: Reacted to ""The Blessing of Ble..." with ❤️
00:46:08 Adam Paige: Reacted to "The Blessing of Bles..." with 👍
00:50:07 Anthony: Fr. Barnabas Powell (Greek Orthodox) has a saying "You are not your thoughts." I think that has a place in psychological reflection
00:50:30 Jeff O.: Reacted to "Fr. Barnabas Powell ..." with 👍
00:52:18 Sean: In ‘Christ — Our Pascha’, the Ukrainian Catholic catechism, it says:
“When a person in prayer meets God in the depths of one's heart, one already here on earth directly experiences that which the apostle Paul describes as seeing God ‘face to face’ (1 Cor 13:12). The person ‘sees’ the One in whom he or she has believed. The person abides in God's presence. The apostle Paul compares this new state of the person to a ‘seeing’ of God…it is a ‘seeing’ of the Invisible One.“ And Metropolitan Hierotheos in ‘Orthodox Psychotherapy’ writes: “The pure heart is the organ of knowledge, the organ of Orthodox epistemology.”