As we continue our reading of Step 15 on purity and chastity, gradually we are being shown a broader vision of what is offered to us through the ascetical life. Purity and chastity are not limited to dealing with our sexual appetites. Rather, we are striving to overcome any impediment to our seeing things and loving things in the manner in which God created us. Our vision is often distorted by our sin to the extent that we will objectify the things of this world and individuals to be used in whatever means we see fit. We lose sight of the dignity of the other as well as the beauty of creation. A heart that has been purified is capable of seeing the presence of God in every person, regardless of their deeds, and in every element of creation. A pure heart is the freest in its capacity to love.
Perhaps many of us have never tasted such a thing even in the smallest measure. It is for this reason that St. John presents us not only with aids in the battle for purity, but also with the image of the highest degree of purity we see in saintly individuals. They are often moved to tears when their capacity to see the world and others is elevated from the purely natural to the supernatural; to see the very essence and beauty of all things created by God.
--- Text of chat during the group:
00:09:33 FrDavid Abernethy: page 148 para 56
00:20:38 Lori Hatala: What is dwelling amongst the tombs?
00:21:08 Louise: They are suckling, not the breast but a bottle, nonetheless.
00:21:52 Anthony: St. Anthony the Great and St. Benedict were both assaulted by vivid images. It seems they are examples of struggle against the violence of images. I think one of the Desert Mothers (Synclectica?) has a saying or two about this for women as well.
00:22:19 Rory: ?does God communicate through dreams?
00:25:46 angelo: The Jesus Prayer is also a great help.
00:34:51 Eric Ewanco: "a bruised reed he shall not break; a smoldering wick he shall not quench"
00:37:05 Patrick: St. John doesn't seem to often caution against attempting ascetical practices but seems to more often praise them. How does one balance gradually adding more over time while balancing a certain level of self-knowledge and identifying if, perhaps, it may be too much to apply a certain practice. Example: at least from my experience, vigils that impact getting a certain amount of sleep may seem to make fighting against various thoughts the next day more difficult. I suppose this must be discerned on a case-by-case basis since it seems nuanced in practice?
00:44:46 Nathan: I was thinking that sometimes as we 'rationally' reflect on these writings and concepts of ascesis or our various modes of living and ways of participating in the body of Christ that it helps us to remember that all of our relations and practices are to participate with Christ/Trinity in the wooing of all back into the intimate union of paradise and the kingdom - NOT so much discipline and effort but longing and love to restore full union between all and its dear God?
00:50:48 Rory: ?is there a presence of God in all people that can be seen?
00:50:50 Rachel: But perhaps it should be remembered that it is God Himself that reveals Himself in the other
00:52:26 Ashley Kaschl: Reminds me of a quote by Ven. Fulton Sheen: "Dear Lord, what can we, Thy followers, do to bring peace to the world? How can we stop brother rising up against brother and class against class, blurring the very sky with their cross-covered Golgathas?
Thy First Word on the Cross gives the answer: We must see in the body of every man who hates, a soul that was made to love. If we are too easily offended by their hate, it is because we have forgotten either the destiny of their souls or our own sins.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Forgive us for ever having been offended. Then we, like Thee, may find among our executioners another Longinus, who had forgotten there was love in a heart until he opened it with a lance."
00:52:32 Rachel: That it is us who in the meantime patiently wait for Him to reveal himself, and grant this purity of heart and until then in all humilty know, that we guard our senses and hearts.. I only say this because it can be discouraging to find weakness so deeply rooted in our hearts
00:53:50 Nathan: Reacted to "Reminds me of a quot..." with ❣️
00:54:14 Ashley Kaschl: I love him 😂
00:54:23 Rachel: Reacted to "I love him 😂" with ❤️
00:54:23 LauraLeigh: Reacted to "Reminds me of a quot..." with ❤️
00:54:46 Louise: At the Traditional Latin Mass, there is a beautiful prayer, "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus! Heaven and earth are full of Your glory, …Alleluia, alleluia."
00:55:20 carol nypaver: Reacted to "I love him 😂" with 🥰
00:55:33 Rory: Jesus spoke of the Samaritan who helps the man on the road who was beaten, as an example of how we treat our neighbor as ourselves
00:55:37 Rachel: This was meant to be attached to the other comment but the class moves faster than I can type +)
00:56:00 Ann Grimak: Reacted to "Reminds me of a quot…" with ❣️
01:00:21 Ashley Kaschl: That quote is either from his anthologies or from the little book of his sermons on the last seven words called “The Seven Capital Sins” it would be under the reflections on Anger/Wrath
01:00:53 Anthony: Maybe it would help to distinguish the different meanings of "sin" in the Bible and the Fathers. It seems to me that one meaning is our general inclination to evil, another is entertaining what is wrong, another is doing what is wrong, another is "mortal sin." These meanings maybe can get mixed up in our thinking about the Faith. Sometimes the meaning "sin" seems univocal, but places like 1st John indicate that there are lots of meanings of "sin."
01:02:08 Jeff O.: Reacted to "Maybe it would help ..." with 👍
01:03:32 Rachel: What I was trying to touch upon was how we are supposed to see the other. With purity of heart. Amma Syncletica prayed that her heart would be pure towards all. This got me thinking many years ago about what that means. The purity of heart that Saint Climacus is speaking of is something rarely ever spoken of because many are stuck on the surface or, dont really know what it truly means to objectify the other. It is not only speaking in terms of lust but, there can be many ways in which we only seek ourselves and so God will not reveal himself or, we are incapable of seeing him in the other because our hearts have not been healed.
01:03:57 Ashley Kaschl: Reacted to "What I was trying to…" with ❤️
01:04:41 Rachel: I was trying to touch upon St. John speaking of how a soul in that state like Amma Sybcletica is speaking of does not pray that her heart be pure towards all so she may feel better about herself but so that she may see God, this side of the veil.
01:06:22 Rachel: Yes, just as you said Father, very simply. So she may love Him.
01:13:01 Louise: Thanks so much!
01:13:02 Rebecca Thérèse: Thank you 🙂
01:13:41 Nathan: Thank you so much (and for the Pentecost retreat) and
the so many many careful prayerful readings you guide us through
01:13:42 Rory: what is the email address?
Have a good night
01:13:46 Michael Abele: Thank you Father!
01:13:49 Nathan: Replying to "Maybe it would help ..."
'inclination to evil'? Guess I had understood that both evil and sin were swerves or mistaken applications of the good - not anything in themselves - but twistings of what is good in means or ends or fulfillments of the 'true' desire that evokes the activity? Ascesis and 'purification' are to reorder these aims aright (in union with God)? I had thunk - finding the fullness of the misguided in the way-truth-life?
01:13:50 Jeff O.: Amen! Thank you!
01:13:50 David Swiderski: Thanks father!
01:13:54 Cindy Moran: Thank you Father!!
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