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Philokalia Ministries is the fruit of 30 years spent at the feet of the Fathers of the Church. Led by Father David Abernethy, a member of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri since 1987, Philokalia (Philo: Love of the Kalia: Beautiful) Ministries exists to re-form hearts and minds according to the mold of the Desert Fathers through the ascetic life, the example of the early Saints, the way of stillness, prayer, and purity of heart, the practice of the Jesus Prayer, and spiritual reading. Those who are involved in Philokalia Ministries - the podcasts, videos, social media posts, spiritual direction and online groups - are exposed to writings that make up the ancient, shared spiritual heritage of East and West: The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Saint Augustine, the Philokalia, the Conferences of Saint John Cassian (a favorite of Saint Philip Neri, the founder of the Oratory), the Ascetical Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian, and the Evergetinos. In addition to these, more recent authors and writings, which draw deeply from the well of the desert, are read and discussed: Lorenzo Scupoli, Saint Theophan the Recluse, anonymous writings from Mount Athos, the Cloud of Unknowing, Saint John of the Cross, Thomas a Kempis, and many more. Philokalia Ministries is offered to all, free of charge. However, there are real and immediate needs associated with it. You can support Philokalia Ministries with one-time, or recurring monthly donations, which are most appreciated. Your support truly makes this ministry possible. May Almighty God, who created you and fashioned you in His own Divine Image, restore you through His grace and make of you a true icon of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Father David. Abernethy, C.O.

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    • Sep 27, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
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    Latest episodes from Philokalia Ministries

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXIV, Part V

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2022 63:24

    It is as if we are sitting at the well, drinking deeply of that life-giving water. The fathers' writings on the spiritual life speak to the soul in such a deep fashion that it gives rise to an insatiable desire for God. It is the willingness to do exactly what the fathers instruct in this hypothesis in our own way that will bear fruit. They call those entering the monastic life to look deeply into their hearts to see if they have there a desire for God; a desire strong enough to carry them to the end. We do our souls a disservice, they tell us, when we fail to present the challenge and the responsibility of the Christian life in an unvarnished fashion.  We are called to set aside self-will in whatever station we find ourselves in this world. We are to live for God and by his grace, always serving him and one another in a spirit of humility. We are called quite frankly to be foolish in the eyes of the world.  We are called to embrace a voluntary slavery not for the sake of earthly riches or for the sake of and earthly king.  We let go of our self-will in order to follow He who promises us everything. Our Beloved calls out to us, “Follow Me”.  Is there the desire, the longing and the humility within us to draw us along that path? --- Text of chat during the group: 00:22:11 Anthony: Rule of St Pachomius was a predecessor of St Seraphim Sarovsky's prayer rule, no?   00:36:03 Anthony: I think the devils attack and discourage in precisely those areas they perceive we are intended to grow holy.  It is a weariness, and it shows how maliciously nasty the devils are.   00:39:35 Bridget McGinley: How does one recharge after endless warfare? How do we know if it is temptation from the evil one or a trial from God?   00:56:17 Anthony: In Syria, St. Ephrem's (& Isaac's) home, the consecrated life was not necessarily just for the unmarried, but they also lived in or among larger communities that contained families or singles not taking vows.  Does Ephrem ever distinguish whether his advice is for the cloistered or for the people who live in non-vowed communities around the monastics?   00:57:55 Rachel: Yes!!   00:59:09 Denise T. : How important is it to have a mentor in the spiritual life he talks of? And how do you find one to help you navigate the life? What would you look for?   01:01:49 Ambrose Little, OP: One thing I find challenging is the council given--complete abasement, because that is not acceptable in the world, for those who must put themselves forward as competent in their chosen profession. It's not that we can't practice humility at all, but it is a balancing act between reassuring those who pay us that we actually do know things and are actually good at doing what we are asking to be paid for—and at the same time doing our best to practice humility in the eyes of God and being open to humiliation as is counseled in these readings (much less to seek that out). This is doubly hard when you need to get a new job, promotion, raise, get a new client, etc.—you have to put forward your best foot and "sell" yourself. I can see why they also counsel leaving the world entirely to achieve this perfection.

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter IV: On Obedience, Part XIII

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2022 61:04

    One participant in this evening‘s group commented that the counsel that St. John gives is eminently practical. This is true of the writings of the fathers as a whole. Their wisdom is rooted in Praxis; the practice of the faith, the exercise of the faith. Their writings seem to make so much sense because they are rooted in experiences that we so often take for granted or fail to explore. What is our motivation for doing or not doing certain things? What is it that drives us or leads us to negligence?  What one begins to see in John's teaching is the beauty of obedience. Obedience is our capacity to listen to God without any impediment caused by self-will, without our ego blinding us to the truth about ourselves. Setting aside the false self allows us to act with a precious freedom. It cuts through all of our machinations about particular circumstances or responsibilities. It allows us to take up things with love and to see them through the eyes of love. We begin to understand why the fathers, then, speak of loving the virtues. We are to love obedience because it is not something that inhibits us but rather allows our true identity to emerge. It brings healing to our fundamental spiritual sickness as human beings - to put ourselves in the place of God. One of our great weaknesses is that we project our own image on to God and so create the illusion of fidelity.  --- Text of chat during the group: 00:15:23 Marco da Vinha: Good evening from Blighty!   00:19:10 Daniel Allen: I'm sorry where are we at?   00:19:37 Bonnie Lewis: #91   00:20:03 Daniel Allen: Thank you   00:25:26 Ambrose Little, OP: About meditating on what's in the office, part of the purpose of the antiphons and the brief meditation at the start of each psalm/canticle is to give the mind an anchor for that meditation, not too dissimilar from the mysteries in the rosary. Perhaps the antiphons were added after Climacus to help address the challenge of focus during communal psalmody.   00:28:51 Marco da Vinha: Would those be the Gyrovagues St. Benedict (very sparingly) talks about?   00:36:57 Bonnie Lewis: This is so beautifully written.   00:44:38 Daniel Allen: That is SHOCKINGLY practical for parents. I would love to do an all night vigil when my toddler is screaming during the night. But if he sleeps, last thing I'd want is to be woken up. And that same example during the day as well.   00:49:52 Daniel Allen: This makes me think, can God allow things mentioned here such as vain glory, to keep the monk in his cell   00:51:43 Johnny Ross: Interesting that the Evil one first tempted Christ with Bread in the desert   00:53:04 Marco da Vinha: @Johnny Ross: Adam and Eve's Fall was breaking the only rule of fasting He had given them

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXIV, Part IV

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2022 60:27

    We began by considering how the fathers of the desert would scrutinize individuals who would come to the monastery seeking entrance. They would put men to the test in every way to see if they had both the psychological and spiritual maturity not simply to make a decision but to persevere in the life and trials of a monk. One does not enter a monastery in a state of perfection. One is perfected through trials and tribulations; through the cross that is particular to one's life. What stands out in the two stories that we listened to this evening about Saint Theodora and Saint Paul the Simple was the preeminence of two things: desire and humility. Upon entering the Christian life or more specifically the monastic life, one must be driven with a desire for God, a longing for Him and Hie love and to live a God pleasing life. Second to this desire is the virtue of humility. Along with such desire, one must live in the truth; the truth that all things begin and end with God. He alone is the source of our strength. He alone is our hope. It is our ego that most often is the impediment to our putting on the mind of Christ and being conformed to Him by the grace of God. When we no longer see anything but Christ, then we are filled with the desire to do His will. We are willing to endure every hardship for love of Him without grumbling or complaining. Joyfully these individuals sought out this life not to create a false image of themselves but to let go of the false self and to live for Christ alone. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:25:51 Carol: It is hard to understand how it was God's will that Theodora, and later Paul the Simple, set aside their marriage vows and abandon their spouses.   00:33:44 Bridget McGinley: I love this story. She was amazing. Far from the uttermost coasts is the price of her! What a warrior for Christ.   00:36:31 Carol Nypaver: Did they ever find out she was a woman?   00:38:16 Ambrose Little, OP: I guess someone must have figured it out because we know her as St. Theodora and not St. Theodore.

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXIV, Part III

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2022 59:53

    What emerges in reading the fathers is the subtle and yet intense interior battle that takes place within the human heart. We are often men and women of great contradiction. We can love and hate the same thing at the same time. We can create unholy alliances with others whose passions speak to our own and nurture our own. "Like speaks to like." And so we are taught that we should seek the company of those who love and desire God. Even if our experience in this world is one of isolation, if we feel alone in our pursuit of virtue, we should not be filled with any anxiety. One righteous man who does the will of God is better than a multitude of those who disregard the Commandments. As the Scriptures tell us, “from one wise man a city will be replenished.” Furthermore, when it comes to desire, we must keep Christ clearly before us and keep our eyes upon him. If we are simply following the pack, there will be many things that distract us from Him and losing sight of Him we will turn off of the narrow path that leads to Life. Desire and zeal for the Lord must be sought and grow over time. There is no static position within the spiritual life. Our hearts must long for the Beloved and drive us to pursue Him.  The fathers also speak to us about how necessary it is to test this desire, to scrutinize those who, in particular, are pursuing the ascetic life. As Christ counsels us to count the costs, so we see in the fathers a firmness in challenging those who would follow them in the ascetic life. Self-will and self-esteem offer only temporary motivation. It is love alone that endures. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:05:44 Ashley Kaschl: I'm eating fried chicken or is show my face

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter IV: On Obedience, Part XII

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 11, 2022 63:32

    I've often thought the Desert Fathers were the first and truest of depth psychologists. Their understanding of the human person, the workings of the mind and the heart, the effects of the emotions, and the workings of the unconscious is unparalleled in anything that we have seen before or sense.  Tonight Saint John Climacus, in a few paragraphs, takes us into those depths. He shows us the extent to which we can become conceited and that a false self can begin to emerge and become solidified. Out of their experience the Fathers came to know the many and varied ways that these things manifest themselves and the spiritual remedies to be applied. Disobedience, our inability to hear the truth and embrace it with love, has an impact on every area of our life and every relationship. It can lead to a kind of passive-aggressiveness that hardens the heart and makes us insensible to the needs of others or their goodness. Even Saint John says that he is amazed at the dexterity that we show in all manner of sin and the diversity of evil that flows from it. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:14:17 FrDavid Abernethy: para 81 page 88   00:14:34 Sr Mary of our Divine Savior solt: Hi What page again please   00:14:45 FrDavid Abernethy: page 88   00:14:50 FrDavid Abernethy: para 81   00:15:07 Sr Mary of our Divine Savior solt: Thank u   00:15:49 Sr Mary of our Divine Savior solt: Good to be here   00:31:39 Johnny Ross: The paradox of true freedom is that it is found in obedience and conformity to our spiritual practice as shown by Christ. True freedom is not being able to do what you want. That is the distortion of modernity.   00:35:19 Carol Nypaver: What if bearing with insults  causes suspicion from one's boss in the workplace? At what point can we defend ourselves?  Doesn't justice demand that?   00:37:37 Carol: Like a lamb led to the slaughter, he opened not his mouth   00:38:15 Jeffrey Ott: This seems to align with Evagrius' conversations on meekness and how courage and patience work together, “the work of courage and patience is to know no fear of enemies and eagerly to endure afflictions.”   00:38:36 Ambrose Little, OP: I wonder if some of the genius is that instead of trying to tackle lust head on, it's coming at it from a different angle--one that is less associated with bodily desire. The mental desire for respect/high opinion of yourself (pride), though, is similar in that it is also a disordered desire. So if we learn to tame pride by embracing scorn, that exercise can teach us experientially how to tame lust (or other passions).   00:40:58 Cindy Moran: I have known some who have stayed in an abusive marriage saying they a trying to grow in holiness.   00:48:16 Ambrose Little, OP: Not a few saints have embraced significant personal suffering as a way of penance. Do you think it's ever right to endure, for example, an abusive relationship as a form of penance? Or what about an abusive brother in a monastic community?   01:03:07 Johnny Ross: This ego-centric Self is an illusion used by the prince of this world to control us. What about the tension between love thy neighbor as thyself and pick up thy cross and deny thyself. What is this self referred to here?   01:10:26 Ambrose Little, OP: like a small child..   01:15:45 Lee Graham: What is my motive for doing something a certain way? Seek Pure motives as well as purity of heart.   01:18:29 Bonnie Lewis: Father, I'm afraid you cut out.  I didn't hear what you just announced.   01:18:37 Sr Mary of our Divine Savior solt:

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXIV, Part II

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 6, 2022 61:58

    Corrected version: Where do we live our lives? Who is God and how do we see ourselves and our own identity in light of the Incarnation? The writings of the Fathers have at their center these basic questions.  So often our tendency is to dissect the faith. We pull things apart -  thinking that we are going to understand them with a greater clarity. Yet in doing so we lose sight of the whole. Can we understand Mystery of God or the other unless we allow ourselves to be drawn into it and what is beyond us. We lose sight of what God has revealed to us about Himself and about love. We lose sight of what that means for us, our identity and what it means to love others.  Whenever we take our eyes off of God and whenever we lose sight of our own poverty and need for mercy, immediately our eyes shift to the others and their flaws. Again and again the fathers tell us that even if we see negligence in others we are not to be scandalized by it. We are not to follow it, but we must not become haughty and judge what we perceive to be mediocrity.  Our focus is to remain on our own hearts and responding to the call to repentance and faith. We are to learn from experience. We must enter into the struggle, the warfare that exists within our own hearts and in our thoughts. Likewise, we are to avoid the things of this world that present us with a false image of life and reality. And most important of all: we are to keep our focus upon He who is Reality, He who is Meaning. It is through Christ and through Christ alone that we find the answers to our questions. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:13:21 FrDavid Abernethy: page 207, paragraph 4   00:20:30 Jack: page?   00:21:12 Ambrose Little, OP: p207, #4   00:36:38 maureencunningham: I just watch the Movie  Man of God.. He was very Holy   00:37:18 maureencunningham: he didi not allow the evil one to get his heart turned away from God   00:42:25 Erick Chastain: What's the balance between focusing only on our own sin to stir repentance and looking at those of others when you will incur sin by saying nothing about the sins of others (e.g. when fraternal correction is obligatory or when there are sins against justice)?   00:50:26 Erick Chastain: are you saying that therefore until there is this preparatory work helping the other carrying their burden, loving them, praying/sacrificing for them, etc fraternal correction is not obligatory under the pain of sin? (if the original desire to engage in fraternal correction was not from a spirit of critical judgment but just the desire to avoid sin?)   00:52:01 Samar Tabet: Can we correct   00:52:12 Samar Tabet: One sec   00:52:15 Samar Tabet: Corrective feedback   00:52:23 Samar Tabet: To priests or   00:52:26 Samar Tabet: Friends   00:52:32 Samar Tabet: Or bishop   00:52:38 Samar Tabet: If not related to sin   00:52:55 Samar Tabet: Letter for example   00:56:29 Carol: ‘If you want to find rest in this life and the next, say at every moment, “who am I?” And judge no one.' Sayings of the Desert Fathers   01:00:36 Ambrose Little, OP: Your advice is direct from the lips of our Lord: “You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye." (Matt 7:5) Too often we believe we've already removed the beam when we haven't at all. 01:01:45 Eric Ewanco: Seeing our own faults in another is called "projection"   01:05:28 Ambrose Little, OP: Hey, I love a good shower. :)   01:13:27 Carol: Was it cassian or climacus who also warned against joking?   01:14:34 Erick Chastain: Follow-up to Carol's: St Benedict warned against a certain kind of joking in his rule.    A related quote: "A friend is a second self, so that our consciousness of a friend's existence...makes us more fully conscious of our own existence." -Aristotle   01:15:15 Erick Chastain: (Aristotle)   01:20:28 Anne Barbosa: THANK YOU!  

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter IV: On Obedience, Part XI

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2022 68:24

    As we allow ourselves to be drawn deeper into the meaning of obedience by St. John's writing, we begin to see the beauty of the virtue itself and the fruit that it produces within the soul. It is not a slavishness or weakness of will, but rather a soul that has been awakened to the lack of freedom that comes from self-judgment and that is limited or obscured by sin. The more that the heart is purified by grace and the ascetic life, the more we begin to long for obedience because it is an imitation of our Lord. It is His obedience that has led us all to the freedom of life and love in God. We become the greatest confessors of the faith when we conform ourselves to Him in this fashion. A true spiritual father, then,  is going to guide their spiritual children along this path that treasures humility, stillness, silence and unceasing prayer. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:03:59 FrDavid Abernethy: page 87   00:04:12 FrDavid Abernethy: paragraph 72   00:19:17 Anthony: Thus, we have Vladika David ;)   00:29:25 Anthony: This humility is different than the idea that man is totally depraved but God declares us just. That religious idea can/does lead to self-loathing.  The hopefulness is in the infusion of Grace and Love which God gives us very wounded people.  That is a happy hope in contrast to our weakness and realization of our darkness outside of being attached to the Vine.   00:40:31 Anthony: There is a Bulgarian Orthodox Skete in Palmyra, VA near Charlottesville.   00:47:21 Rachel: They may, by this silence, learn to worship God in the moment. Standing silent before the other and suspending judgment..   00:47:59 Eric Ewanco: how is silence concretely rooted in gentleness and love?   00:48:04 Rachel: May be a way to practice faith and wait patiently for God to reveal Himself   00:51:11 Rachel: I don't think it means that we wont meet with situations where we find others contradicting us, or, when we are actively trying to be silent ourselves contradicting others all day long. So the silence may bring up a lot of uncomfortable contradictions where we learn by necessity, to wait patiently and rely on God in His good providence. It is not an inactive silence   00:52:02 Rachel: Its not rendering oneself dumb   00:53:13 Carol: Like the Blessed Virgin, pondering in one's heart   00:54:23 Johnny Ross: Isn't this silence related to our Saviors Kenosis? It is an emptying of ourselves. Related also to the Via Negativa?   00:59:24 Anthony: When we are emptied, we want to be filled, to have an identity; but it   01:00:13 Anthony: it's awfully hard to follow Jesus because we can't grasp or contain Him, so we want to build ourselves into an image of what we want to be or should be.   01:01:03 Anthony: the heirs of the maccabees   01:05:52 Rachel: today   01:06:30 Rachel: in whole foods yesterday lol   01:08:28 Johnny Ross: Yes, we face a stark choice today, Either we worship God or we worship ourselves.   01:09:01 Anthony: /because prayer is work?   01:12:34 Bridget McGinley: The Bible states to Pray Always... the theme of The Way of the Pilgrim   01:14:42 Rachel: Instead of stripping oneself of everything that may stand in the way of God. Emptying our hearts can feel uncomfortable. prayer can become like building up a wall. Sort of like coming to God every time in prayer and only making small talk or talking at Him, instead of listening and silencing everything that causes anxiety. A way of controlling the conversation for fear of hearing something that is displeasing.   01:17:02 Carol Nypaver: Saint Augustine ~ “When the word of God increases, human words fail.”   01:17:50 Debra: And how can you tell the difference?   01:18:11 Debra: Between desolation, or being drawn deeper?   01:19:46 Debra: Good points...linger in those moments...see where God is taking us   01:20:39 Rachel: I think St Sophrony and St Silouan speak of this. I wonder is there always a correlation between desolation and being drawn deeper? Almost like suddenly becoming aware in a deeper sense that in ourselves, we lack the capacity to run to Him. To feel His presence   01:21:13 Rachel: So we wait, and stay with Him. St Therese speaks of this too   01:22:33 Anthony: That is what Purgatory is, per Dante.   01:23:01 Anthony: a longing to be free, repaired and pure for love.   01:24:21 Johnny Ross: Thank You Father   01:24:33 Rachel: Thank you Father Thank you evryone   01:24:35 Cindy Moran: Thank you, Father!!!   01:24:36 Rachel: lol yes  

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXIII, Part IV and Hypothesis XXIV, Part I

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 30, 2022 64:39

    There is no life without wonder. The life that is given to us in Christ is not something that emerges from our own imagination or judgment; rather it is revealed to us in the cross, in the gospel, and especially in the holy Eucharist. We are drawn into something that is greater than ourselves and on a natural level this cannot be anything but terrifying. The desert fathers present us with the gospel in an unvarnished fashion. Over and over again we are shown how we are to prefer God and seek God above all things; even above those things that seem just, right, and good. The evil one will relentlessly seek to draw us away from the will of God and from the life that he has offered us and pull us back into the mire of sin. This is why we must mortify ourselves; that is, we must die to self and self-will in order to live for Christ and to experience the peace of the kingdom. The path to evil and sin is easy. Everything in this world draws us towards it. It's only when we repent and turn towards Christ in an absolute fashion do we come to experience freedom - the freedom of sons and daughters of God. Only then do we see ourselves as God sees us. When this happens we lose all fear and anxiety.  Understanding this, we should not be surprised when men turn back to the world. What is more amazing is when we see a man clinging to Christ with heroic love and fidelity.  --- Text of chat during the group: 00:24:47 Anthony: At first it seems harsh, but it is perceptive.  Poimen called Ruler's bluff, and let him look at his own conscience as a mirror for his unjust deed.   00:26:15 Daniel Allen: That story is a lot like how Herod wanted to meet Jesus, but he never sought Him out and was amused and intrigued by him but with no intention to learn from Him. Jesus never went to Herod, until His Passion. This ruler is amused by Poimen and tries to entice Poimen to come to him to fulfill his amusements. And Poimen refused to cater to his petty curiosity and amusements.   00:33:52 Carol: Reminds me of Newman, “one step enough for me”   00:36:00 Anthony: This brings up another question: a good understanding on retirement accounts, pensions, investments, interest/returns and even usury.  It's hard to turn away from predicting the future and money, even trying to be prudent so we are a burden to no one since we are self sufficient. Is this fear, or is investment good, like the parable of talents taken in a literal sense?   00:39:14 Ashley Kaschl: I think we can fall into a false prudence pretty easily, which would translate to self-preservation at all costs.   00:40:52 Ren Witter: Wow - so much is packed into this paragraph. I am particularly struck by the sentence “For He Who promised this does not lie." I am so anxious about the future, but I don't often see my inability to trust as an accusation that the Lord is a liar, but in the end it is. Maybe the way He provides for us is just different from what we imagine being provided for looks like? I can't imagine that he is promising to provide us with all the material securities we believe ourselves in need of.   00:53:57 Kevin Clay: “If you help her, another will come along asking for help…" It seems like ALL the lessons tonight are saying the same thing: If we make an exception, then the exception becomes the rule. Thus we need to save ourselves from the *false* guilt of breaking from the duties of our Christian vocation for others out of need - because there will always be needs - or even our own curiosities to chase ideas and activities. In short, once we make an exception, we become regularly distracted - and potentially eventually completely off course.   01:06:29 Ren Witter: Really, paragraph one is also wonderful advice simply for the sake of our own peace of mind and joy: how much better to be rejoice in virtue and constancy, then to be constantly turning the mind to falls and failures, and being pulled down into the sorrow of them oneself. Better, always, to look to what is a cause of joy.   01:07:46 Lee Graham: “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.” 2 Peter 2:20-21   01:07:48 Daniel Allen: Could this also be more personal than prophetic? End times as in we live in the end times since the coming of Christ. And that finding 3 people who strive towards God (co strugglers) is of greater value than the security of the group (the thousands).   01:13:05 Carol: Also the Good Samaritan and the man lying in the gutter   01:13:27 Daniel Allen: You're so correct and it's terrifying   01:16:19 Sheila Applegate: It is terrifying because we see our smallness and lack of faith in the providence and grace of God.   01:17:22 Sheila Applegate: We prefer to intellectualize and analyze our own way.   01:17:51 Ren Witter: This message is really so extraordinary: we do not want to attend to the poor, because their poverty terrifies us; we do not want to attend to those who are sad, because their sorrow is discomforting; we do not want to attend to the physically or mentally ill, because we can be literally afraid of catching something, or losing our own peace of mind. Evil, and this strange manifestation of it - a preference for the rich, the healthy, the strong - are so much easier. But virtue, and keeping company with the truly blessed - the poor, the meek, the sorrowing - is hard and uncomfortable.   01:18:27 Ren Witter: So compelling. Wow.  

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter IV: On Obedience, Part X

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2022 63:24

    Tonight we continued with our study of Step 4 on Obedience. As we go deeper into St. John's writing we begin to see the fruit of this virtue that often remains hidden to our eyes. Our obedience fosters habit; in particular the habit of virtue where one acknowledges that God is a fellow laborer. Obedience also shapes the way that we approach the confession of our sins. It allows us to see their gravity, and it fosters within us the deepest sense of compunction. The fruit of this, however, is a repentance the draws us back into the arms of God swiftly and allows us to experience His healing grace. The great virtue also makes us cherish the gift of the Holy Eucharist more fully. We begin to understand how precious this gift is and so desire to protect our minds and our hearts from the greater attacks that often come after receiving our Lord. It also allows us to see that we do not engage in this battle in isolation but rather we march with the first martyr, that is Christ. Through obedience we always have the Divine Physician with us. If we do fall we are immediately aided and healed by his presence. For this reason we must also choose well a competent spiritual physician, an elder who himself has been formed and shaped by this great virtue. For St. John tells us that obedience brings humility and out of this humility is born dispassion. The more that we walk along this path the more we begin to experience the angelic life; that is, we begin to experience the very peace and the joy of the kingdom, God draws us into the very perfection of His Love. --- Text of chat during the group:  00:09:42 FrDavid Abernethy: page 86, para 63   00:14:35 CMoran: I work at WQED so maybe I can run across 5th Ave. for liturgy.   00:14:49 CMoran: Cindy   00:15:46 Anthony: A lot of restraunters and homeschooling families?   00:18:07 Bonnie Lewis: Excellent!   00:20:11 Rachel: Thatsna 10 percent down payment in Cali   00:20:26 Rachel: lol   00:35:38 Marco da Vinha: Though I am a Latin, looking at Forgiveness Sunday just before Lent - the "Tithe of the Year" - brings to mind Mt 5:23-24: "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."   00:37:51 Eric Ewanco: It's easier to be humble when we are wrong, especially with those who are humble. It is much harder to be humble when we are right, dealing with those who are prideful and arrogant!   00:46:54 Kevin Clay: What does John mean by the last part: “For it is better to war with pollutions (thoughts) than with conceit.”   00:47:10 Bridget McGinley: What might those additional "spiritual sacrifices" look like after confession?   00:48:25 Rachel: Pride versus thoughts of various kinds that show the wounds of our disloyalty. ride may be more difficult and subtle?   00:49:05 Br Theophan the non-recluse: @kevin if one presumes that they have truly won the spiritual battle, then they fall prey to the sin of conceit, which is worst being engaged in a spiritual battle, as one is then too spiritually blind to see their sinful state   00:49:09 Rachel: Pride* o dear sorry for  the typos   00:50:08 Rachel: ty Brother Theophan   00:52:45 Carol: Theophan said something similar about the time immediately after Communion, to seek solitude and privacy in one's room to deepen the intimacy of prayer   00:53:48 Eric Ewanco: I believe, Lord, and profess that You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, come to this world to save sinners, of whom I am the greatest.  I believe also that this is really your spotless body and that this is really your precious blood.  Wherefore I pray to You: have mercy on me and pardon my offenses, the deliberate and the indeliberate, those committed in word and in deed whether knowingly or inadvertently; and count me worthy to share without condemnation your spotless mysteries, for the remission of sins and for eternal life.   Receive me now, O Son of God, as a participant in your mystical supper: for I will not betray your mystery to your enemies, nor give You a kiss like Judas, but like the thief, I confess You: remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.   00:54:06 Marco da Vinha: Father, a bit of a digression, but do you have any idea of when penances to combat the passions stopped being the norm in the West? My own experience in the confessional has always been "pray X/Y/Z" and never any concrete actions to combat the vices I struggle with. And yet I read recently a saintly 16th century Dominican archbishop advising his priests to give penances according the the sins confessed: fasting for sins of gluttony/lust; almsgiving for avarice; prayer for sloth/acedia...   00:55:00 Eric Ewanco: "May the reception of your holy mysteries, Lord, be for me not to judgment or condemnation, but to the healing of (my) soul and body. Amen."   01:00:05 Henry Peresie: St. John Vianney was one of those priests who spent many hours in  the confessional.   01:04:49 Eric Ewanco: I thought "hesychasm" arose a few centuries after John?   01:08:28 Anthony: As David said, something like even his bones groaned.   01:18:08 Rachel: This reminds me of the rich young man who encountered Our Lord Himself and went away sad, not willing to give up his attachments. How he followed all of the commandments in obedience..   01:18:38 Rachel: yet, God is found in His commandments. Or, hidden in His commandments.   01:19:09 Anthony: it makes sense since angels are under obedience and they are in God's happy presence.   01:20:04 Anthony: and here i thought they always were talking about not marrying.  wow.   01:23:11 Rachel: The older copy's introduction is wonderful!   01:24:02 Marco da Vinha: God bless, Father!   01:24:08 CMoran: Thank you Father!!!   01:24:18 Rachel: Thank you Father and everyone   01:24:20 Bonnie Lewis: thank you again Father!  Always wonderful.  

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXIII, Part III

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 23, 2022 57:27

    A tremendous reflection this evening on the writings of the fathers regarding entanglements with the things of this world. The Evil One acts with great subtlety and the further one progresses in the spiritual life the more subtle these temptations become. Often things can be put before us that seem to be good and holy and worthy of our attention; yet do we respond to them or do we step back and discern whether or not they are from God or the Evil One?  The greatest of temptations can appeal to our religious sensibilities and our desire to help others. Even empathy and sympathy for others in their struggles can be used as a means to distract us from the interior warfare that is raging within us. The fathers tell us that he who wishes to conquer the passions while entangled in worldly concerns is like the man who tries to quench a fire with straw. When we act with no knowledge of ourselves and are blind to the things of God, how is it that we are to give advice to others, to counsel others about the spiritual life or even to seek to give aid to those who are suffering?  What we might be responding to is an emotion that the devil has heightened within us. Often he can appeal to the heart, but in a very dark fashion. His desire is not for the good but rather to lead us into neglect of God. He seeks to draw us into the affairs of others where the mind, not having a deeper knowledge of itself, cannot test its own judgments. It is then that there is the greatest risk of error. When the interior state of the soul is neglected and we begin to accept certain sins into our life, then the smaller sins can even appear to us to be good things and we can boast about them as accomplishments without feeling any remorse. What value then are we going to be to others? What light or source of healing can we be to others if Christ does not dwell within our own hearts? --- Text of chat during the group:  00:08:31 FrDavid Abernethy: page 202   00:08:39 FrDavid Abernethy: second paragraph   00:13:03 Eric Williams: "Here comes trouble." - some parishioners, probably ;)   00:14:18 Eric Williams: Gotta de-latinize that church ;)   00:14:34 Eric Williams: You survived Heinz Chapel   00:15:36 Anthony: There are now small area A/Cs for sale in places like home depot / lowes   00:35:48 renwitter: What are "the spoils of knowledge” that he mentions here?   00:42:31 Anthony: There is maybe another subtle trick of the devils:  to remind a person of an objectively good thing (even if worldly) that one tried to attain, and just could not.  The mind can be flooded with a constant assault of many harmful imaginings and emotions which have power because it is a _good_ thing that one failed to do.    

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter IV: On Obedience, Part IX

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 21, 2022 60:52

    Tonight we continued our reading of Step 4 on Obedience and its practice in the spiritual life. Saint John, as well as so many of the desert fathers, unearth what we typically keep hidden within our hearts. Rather than living in a spirit of obedience and allowing that obedience to bear the fruit of humility within us by setting aside our own willfulness, we cling to the illusions of self-sufficiency. Despite all that Christ has done and despite all that God has given to us, we believe that we can live with one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom. The humility that obedience fosters teaches us that we cannot externalize or distance ourselves from the evil and the sin of the world. There is a radical solidarity between ourselves and others that demands a constant movement of our heart - repentance. Whenever we see evil or sin, our first movement must be toward God in a cry for mercy and healing. We must humbly lay bare our wound to the physician and without being ashamed say: “It is my wound, father, it is my plague, caused by my own negligence, and, not by anything else. No one is to blame for this, no man, no spirit, no body, nothing but my own carelessness.“  We must allow these words to penetrate our hearts to root out all the excuses we put forward in order to remain in a place of mediocrity. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:17:16 Anthony: Congratulations Fr David!   00:17:24 CMoran: Question: What is Prelest? I off-topic--If not appropriate, please ignore the question.   00:17:53 CMoran: Sorry..."IF"   00:17:58 Sr Mary of our Divine Savior solt: I missed what you said Father  Where are you assigned?   00:18:02 Mark Kelly: Prelest is like a spiritual illusion of ones self.   00:18:18 Edward Kleinguetl: SS Peter & Paul in Duquesne, PA   00:18:20 Eric Ewanco: Prelast is Spiritual deception, I'm sure Father can elaorate   00:21:14 Mark Kelly: Prelest, in the extreme, is seeing one's self as a prophet or spiritual guide or some exulted person. In common terms it is something we all must deal with. Spiritually deceiving ourselves.   00:53:01 Edward Kleinguetl: A priest once told me in confession that "no reformer ever had bitterness in his heart."   00:53:33 Edward Kleinguetl: And I have to remind myself of that frequently.   00:55:35 Marco da Vinha: What you say, Father, reminds me both of St. Nektarios - who carried out penance for his seminarians faults - as well as St. Bartholomew of Braga - who, as an archbishop, would, on occasion, do penance for his priests' sins.   00:57:14 Ambrose Little, OP: There's also the observation you (Father) have mentioned many times, which is the challenge of clinging to one's own judgment being perhaps one of the most difficult failures in humility to overcome. It's always worth meditating on the likely possibility that our own judgment may be in error or, at the very least, that our interpretation of another's words and actions may be in error. (Not talking about glaring and established moral failures like the abuse scandals, but the more common criticisms that this or that pastor is not saying what we'd have them say.)   00:58:37 Anthony: Being one who thinks a LOT - thinking and ruminating too much is not healthy.  Prayer is where the goodness and healing is (at the very least, it's an emotional outlet to get rid of the thoughts), but the devil's fog machine blinds us to its availability.  My parish priest said something in a homily like: we often make our own crosses and they are too heavy; the cross God makes for us is better and easier for us.   01:02:03 Marco da Vinha: @Anthony, I think Dostoevsky put it best in Notes from the Underground when the narrator says "To think too much is a disease." I have found that to be very much the case in my own life   01:09:32 Lee Graham: We are all guilty   01:09:38 Marco da Vinha: Father, is the kind of Confession that the Fathers mention different than the sacrament of Penance as we understand it now in the West? Was this Confession that took place within the elder/disciple relationship? The Fathers tell us to reveal our inner thoughts, our inner wounds in Confession, yet we are brought up in the West with the "just state kind and number" approach to Confession. Many times we don't give the priest much context, and we receive no advice either about our vices, even when the same priest here's our confessions on a regular basis.   01:10:09 Babington (or Babi): It and your comments are very helpful. Thank you.   01:16:00 Bridget McGinley: Father can the evil one enter the confessional and disturb either the priest or the penitent during the confession?   01:19:34 CMoran: Thank you Father! And thank you everyone!   01:19:43 Marco da Vinha: Thank you Father! Goodnight!   01:20:37 Deiren Masterson: Thank you Father! Such a grace!  

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter IV: On Obedience, Part VIII

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 11, 2022 63:53

    We continued our reading of Step 4 from the Ladder of Divine Ascent on Obedience and the spirit with which it is practiced. What one begins to see in the writings of the Fathers is that obedience is not slavishness that destroys the personality or the will of the other. It arises out of a relationship; first and foremost the relationship between the Father and the Son that brought about our salvation; wherein Christ through the Spirit of love became obedient even unto death on the cross. Obedience within this world and obedience to one's spiritual father is rooted in a similar relationship of mutual love. Spiritual father and son must be well disposed to each other in order that what is given and what is received is done so in love. Only then will bear fruit and only then will it bring a kind of invincible joy. To live in obedience is to find freedom; freedom from fear and anxiety, freedom from the darkness that sin brings to us.  Through obedience we always have someone to guide us back to the narrow way, one who shows us the light that allows us to move forward. Let us pray through Saint John Climacus that God would cultivate this great virtue within our hearts.  --- Text of chat during the group:  00:07:47 FrDavid Abernethy: page 83, para 45   00:28:54 Daniel Allen: The blog “Glory to God for all things” had a great article on this titled “saving knowledge and blessed ignorance”. What we don't know can be more important than what we know, and what we know is much less than we like to think.   00:31:02 Anthony: On one hand, I think he's right.  On the other hand, does one have a responsibility to try and share specialized knowledge for guidance to a perceived good or guidance away from a bad thing - but with discretion in how you propose the idea?   00:41:54 Rachel: That is extremely rare but so very beautiful.   00:47:26 Bridget McGinley: How does one reconcile in practice the advice in the Psalms and other Biblical verses like “ It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” with the virtue of obedience and trust in a confessor/elder? Especially if there have been grave misunderstandings in the past.   00:56:52 Daniel Allen: St. Ambrose to St. Monica: ““God's time will come,” the bishop reassured her, but she was so persistent he finally urged, “Go now, I beg you. It is not possible that the son of so many tears should perish.””   00:57:49 Debra: ❤️   01:04:25 Rachel: lol   01:08:31 Ambrose Little: depends on who the sub is   01:08:41 Debra:

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXIII, Part II

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 9, 2022 65:40

    We continued to listen to the Father‘s counsel on avoiding relationships or circumstances that can bring us spiritual harm. Such thought is not guided by a lack of love or charity or hospitality; rather it is rooted in an understanding that we are first to love the Lord our God with all of our mind, soul, heart, and strength. It is only having our love ordered and directed toward Him that our love of the things and and people within the world can be rightly ordered. We were given one example after another of how necessary it is to discern when relationships are drawing us away from God or the ways that the devil can use us through our negligence to harm others spiritually. We don't engage in the spiritual battle in a state of isolation. Nor do we seek to live the life of virtue simply for ourselves. Love demands that we be attentive to loving God above all things in order that we might draw all toward Christ.  Such simplicity and clarity in the way that one views the world and oneself, creates the purity of heart that is necessary to discern the path and the will of God. --- Text of chat during the group:  00:29:57 Anthony: This is how I learned there was something wrong with some Catholic commentators.  They left me agitated about the legal aspect of the I searching myself well enough, did I do this good enough? etc.  Jansenism   00:30:31 Anthony: on the church   00:30:37 Anthony: correcting the Novus ordo   00:30:42 Anthony: noveau telogie   00:32:36 Emma C: Where do we see the line between judging others vs judging their actions to know who to avoid?   00:35:42 Kevin Clay: I think we need to see that we can be that “foolish and thoughtless friend” to ourselves and not just others. We can be unwise, greedy, quarrelsome, arrogant, etc. We need to separate ourselves from our passions and the things that stir the passions.   00:44:37 Rachel: I was wondering about what you just mentioned. About being detached from ego. I was told recently to " Be at peace." in relation to something I did not realize was a distraction. At first, it made me wonder and uncomfortable. Since if I am not at peace, then something of what I spoke of must not be of God. It reminded me instantly of what a holy and wise priest told me. He said, not to speculate over matters. and it was clear, that the only thing needed was to stay in the moment with Our Lord.   00:45:35 Rachel: That these distractions are a result of idle distractions,no matter how good they appear. That God will take care of each moment and situation in His good Providence.   00:50:27 Debra: St. Bonaventure has a beautiful post-Communion prayer   00:50:54 Anthony: Thinking of just yourself and God:  In "A Man for All Seasons," St. Thomas More tries to break Richard Rich from avarice by telling him of the honor he would have as a mere teacher before God as his audience.  Had Richard Rich followed this advice, he would have avoided his moral downfall later on, and maybe even in his saving his soul, much of England would have been spared some of the violence of the 1500s. "Acquire a spirit of peace and thousands around you will be saved." ~ St. Seraphim of Sarov   00:58:18 carolnypaver: If he had just said “no” the people would have wondered if the “brigand” would have been released IF ONLY the Elder had asked.  The Elder removed all doubt.   01:03:03 Rachel: I left a comment above about something you addressed. It seems his current reading ties into the discipline it takes to be detached not only from the things of this world but from oneself as well. Since our nous can be darkened, idle curiosities and distractions can wreak havoc in one's own life and those around them. Since the person given to these distractions will act from that skewed vision instead of the pure place of ordering everything to God and His good will alone   01:18:14 Rachel: You mentioned that purity in our day will be like the martyrs, because of the way the world a beautiful homily our priest once gave, he mentioned St. Catherine of Siena. How she felt desperately that our Lord had left her in grave temptations. Yetm he reassured her that not only had he not left her but that she was more pleasing to him.   01:18:40 Rachel: So, it seems that fighting to stay with our Lord wont always feel rosy.   01:19:15 Ambrose Little: Advertising is not like in the old days. Moby Dick was a 900 page advert for the whaling industry.

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter IV: On Obedience, Part VII

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 4, 2022 77:23

    Reading the Fathers takes us to the very heart of the gospel and in doing so they pull us out of our comfort zone. Obedience is the true path to freedom. But freedom comes at a cost and perfect freedom comes through self-sacrificing love. It is cruciform. All that we were presented with this evening made it very clear that our life is to be a deep immersion in the Paschal Mystery; that is, a profound dying and rising. We are dying to self and sin and rising to new life in Christ. This is the path to salvation and St. John tells us that to turned away from the obedience of Christ, to turn away from the mortification of reason,  judgment and self-will, is to turn away from the Love that has saved us. Every time we receive the Holy Eucharist we say, “Amen”, so be it. We say, “Let this be the reality in my life. Let me be conformed to Christ in self- emptying and obedient love. To hold on to our will, to hold on to our self-centeredness makes it impossible for us both to receive and give love. May God open our eyes that we may see the truth of this and follow the way that Christ has set before us. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:06:40 FrDavid Abernethy: page 82 paragraph 39   00:13:01 FrDavid Abernethy: page 82   00:16:04 Fr. Miron Jr.: no   00:31:35 renwitter: I really appreciate that he mentions the manual labor even in this small paragraph about the prison. Helpful to remember that during a time of repentance - of fasting and deep prayer - the Fathers themselves recommended some kind of small work to help the heart along, and allow the stillness to come. Making prayer ropes works great too ;-)   00:32:27 Debra: And you make beautiful prayer ropes

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXII, Part V and Hypothesis XXIII, Part I

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 2, 2022 65:35

    Reading the Fathers often pierces the heart and changes our perspective upon life and our perception of reality itself. We continued with our reading of the fathers' exhortation not to engage those who can bring harm to us in the spiritual life. This is often troublesome to modern sensibilities. The call to evangelize draws us out to engage the world. But what are we to give if we simply allow ourselves to be drawn back into the slavery of sin? We have to radically abandon our lives to Christ, conform our minds and hearts to His, and seek to live in obedience to His Will before we can bear witness to others. It is often said you cannot give what you do not have and the Fathers understood this in the fullest measure. We are capable of living a life of religion on the surface; of becoming comfortable with mediocrity and a religion of our own creation. Sometimes we do reduce our faith to a psychological construct and in this sense the modern critique of religion is on point. We have to be ever discerning of the deep attachment that we have to sin, to the things that lead to sin.  We must not live under the illusion that we are impervious to the power of the passions or temptation. We must be discerning, discriminating, in regards to everything that we experience within this world to determine whether or not it is from God. St Paul once said “we take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.”This could be said of every relationship, every circumstance, we experience within this world. All things must be brought into the full light of the Truth.   ---   Text of chat during the group:   00:05:15 FrDavid Abernethy: page 195 letter K   00:30:07 Bridget McGinley: St Cyril of Alexandria wrote "Every creature loves his kind therefore those with vices like those with similar vices". I feel like this means we must know our vices well so that we know who we will be attracted to and could be stumbling blocks. "Holy peace is not found here" he added.  Yes, Facebook is very dangerous and social media is very dangerous. I need to take this advice seriously.   00:34:21 Anthony: I just realized, the evil eye - mal'occhio - is about envy.  It's a serious thing, for both Christians and pagans.   00:35:27 Carol: Envy is a spirit of hades. It battles unceasingly against righteousness and God...envy never stops, the spirit of hades envies all men for all things... elder Thaddeus.   00:41:32 Bridget McGinley: Crushing pressure to be inside the "wokeness"   00:42:07 Eric Williams: In 1931, Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen wrote the following essay:   “America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance-it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.”   “Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil … a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. Tolerance applies only to persons … never to truth. Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error … Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory.   Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability.”   00:43:48 Carol Nypaver: Amen!  Venerable Archbishop Fulton John Sheen, pray for us!   00:54:05 Carol: it seems like this is a common message in the church as you said, and even the confessional   01:01:05 Anthony: Trauma reminds me of the story about the alcoholic monk who became alcoholic after seeing his village massacred when he was a child.   01:01:58 Paul Grazal: +1 On The Eight Vices manuscript Father.  Thank You.   01:20:13 sue and mark: it is good to wrestle with it   01:21:08 Emma C: When we are told to turn away from people who are stumbling blocks for us in the spiritual life, how do we evangelize others if we turn away from everyone who isn't helping us grow spiritually?   01:24:14 Rachel: Thank you!  

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter IV: On Obedience, Part VI

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 28, 2022 57:54

    Such a beautiful image is presented to us of the life obedience in a few paragraphs. St. John finds himself wrapped in conversation with one of the elderly fathers. He is asked if he has embraced the life that God has made possible for him. The Holy Spirit has descended upon him with the dew of purity, not unlike that of the blessed Virgin Mary, and the Most High has overshadowed him with patience, the very patience of Christ.  This is the grace that has been given to us all. Thus St. John is asked by the elder if his life is reflective of that reality. Has he bound himself with a towel of obedience, making himself the slave and the servant of the members of his community, willing to embrace every self- abasement? Does he guard his heart strictly and restrain the mind through the ascetical life and by humbling the body? In the midst of all of his work does he maintain stillness of heart? Does he curb his tongue that rages to leap into arguments and unceasingly wrestle with this tyrant? Does he fix his mind to the image of obedience and humility on the Cross, allowing it to shape how he embraces mockery, abuse, and ridicule? Has he cast off his will as though it is a garment of shame? Does he still his mind or let it become overly busy with the concerns of the things of the world? Is he willing to drink derision at every hour in order to protect charity? Is it more valuable for him to preserve love and unity with his brothers than it is to be treated with respect and kindness? Saint John is moved by the old monks exhortation and so gives true honor to blessed obedience.  Do we in our day-to-day life experience the fruit of true obedience, especially when it comes to our worship of God? Are we able to collect all of our thoughts and desires, every movement of the mind and the soul and summon them to cry out to God “O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ, our king and our God.”True obedience leads to true freedom. It gives us the capacity to love and give ourselves in love without impediment.   ---   Text of chat during the group:   00:12:01 FrDavid Abernethy: page 79: “Again about the steward”   00:14:16 Bonnie Lewis: Hi Father!  It's still in the 100's in San Antonio   00:18:48 Mark Cummings: Is that a kalimavkion?   00:26:16 Rachel: LOL!!   00:37:36 Anthony: So does "I think therefore I am" actually open us up to a world of hurt, drowning in speculation and fanciful thoughts, making us prey to demons if we take it as a life or cultural motto?   00:48:06 Rachel: Can you speak about applying this teaching where one's work environment, and the people one works with do not share the same goal or, at least do not act like it? I am thinking of a situation like Blessed Paul Parazzo.   00:48:25 Bridget McGinley: Oh that is a hard saying "curb your tongue" when you work predominately with females. True sacrifice to hold the tongue and not let one's face show emotion.   00:48:41 Rachel: yes!   00:50:49 Rachel: will send a good link   00:51:05 Liz: Sorry, which movie?   00:51:17 iPad (10)maureen: Man Of God   00:51:18 Carol Nypaver: Man of God   00:51:23 Kevin Clay:   00:51:28 Liz: Thank you : )!   00:51:41 iPad (10)maureen: Good luck finding a movie   00:51:49 Kevin Clay: That link is the full movie on Vimeo   00:52:12 Kevin Clay: Free   00:52:18 Edward Kleinguetl: Almost every platform and the DVD is also available.   00:52:22 Liz: Oh wow, great!   00:52:42 Edward Kleinguetl: The icon behind me is St. Nektarios of Aegina.   00:53:32 Rachel:   00:55:11 Liz: Thanks for sharing!   01:07:22 Bridget McGinley: I am reading the Rule of the Benedictine Oblate. So many of these rules are discussed and explained in there also. It is so beautiful how caring all the disciplines were. There is such a profound love behind them when one knows the theology behind it.   01:10:42 Rachel: St Seraphim of Serov!?   01:12:13 Art: It was in the article:   01:15:19 Anthony: His words are literally part of the Trisagion prayer prior to Liturgy.  I wonder if the call to bow before Christ our King and God was incorporated because of the importance of this book in spirituality.   01:17:41 Sr Barbara Jean Mihalchick: Most folks pray like Puritans - no movement ever~!   01:18:34 Rachel: Thank you Father   01:18:40 CMoran: Thank you so much, Father!  

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXII, Part IV

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 26, 2022 67:38

    We continued along the central theme of Hypothesis 22 and those that follow - we are to avoid entering into the things of the world and so lose what is most life-giving.  The monk becomes a very powerful example of this danger because in his response to God's call he leaves everything within the world in order to be wholly given over to God; to trust fully in God's providence, to pray without ceasing and to embrace a life of modification.  It is to embrace the angelic life. In contrast to fallen angels, these men set aside all that is worldly in order to be fixed in mind and body completely on the Kingdom. Their whole life becomes a sacrifice of praise.  To move away from this, becoming immersed once again in the things of this world is to become like a corpse. If one turns away from the source of life and salvation and turns to that which does not endure, then he himself will be reduced to nothing - to ashes. To understand this we have to have the faith to see the love and the life that God has given us in His Son. We must be able to see how precious it is; that it is the pearl of great price that we should be willing to sacrifice all to possess.  Anything less, any different vision of life immediately opens the door for us to seek fulfillment and hope in the things of this world. If we do not value God above all things then we will misdirect that desire which is at the very heart of our being. When this happens we cease to be human beings.  We lose sight of our own dignity and the dignity of others. We will become like salt that has lost its saltness, as Jesus describes, and that has no worth. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:11:28 FrDavid Abernethy: page 192,   00:35:07 Daniel Allen: Is there a difference between conversing with people and conversing with “worldly” people in this? Specifically, I think of saints meeting with many people every day to give them counsel or just to listen to them? Saints such as St. Seraphim of Sarov or (fictional) the monk Zosimov from the Brothers Karamasov? Is it that they purified their hearts and attained to true humility before then speaking with people? Or again is it that the issue is speaking with people about trivial or frivolous things that dissipate the monk?   00:36:34 Edward Kleinguetl: Those who become spiritual fathers do not seek to become one. Many spend many years (25+) in prayer and solitude before they may be requested to be a spiritual father and confessor.   00:37:24 Edward Kleinguetl: They are well versed in Sacred Scriptures and the writings of the Holy Fathers.  They do not share their own opinion. All advice is grounded in Scriptures and the Fathers.   00:45:27 Anthony: On the motions within the heart and relating to other people in wise or unwise interactions.  I think we have a mix of ignorance and vice in the interior life that lead us astray.  Imagine that your life is like a garden. You planted pepper seeds, but you have never seen pepper seedlings.  And, a wild animal enters in and sheds weed seeds and you don't realize it.  So, when the seedlings come up, you are not exactly sure what is a pepper and what is not. Sometimes you only gradually come to awareness on what is a good plant and a good fruit and what is not.  You look at pictures or have an experienced friend to teach you about the garden.  And that year, you miss the mark on a good garden, you get some fruit but not optimal.  But, you get experience for the next growing season, if you pay attention and learn from your mistakes.  Keep trying, and being patient and prune and weed as you realize you need to. :-)   00:57:36 Bridget McGinley: I think that news came out from the Pope and YES much needed !   00:58:16 Anthony: Friendship can be like alcohol.  Very valuable, but at the right times and in the right quantities.  We can misuse friendship to drown out our real needs.   01:03:10 Fr. Miron Kerul-Kmec Jr.: Met. Anthony Bloom - churchianity vs Christianity   01:03:15 Kevin Clay: Churchianity vs. Christianity by Met. Anthony Bloom   01:05:26 Rachel: This reading reminds me of St. Christina the Astonishing. Apparently the stench of the people in the church woke her from a coma so serious she was put into a coffin and the community was attending her funeral. And I think od St. Catherine of Sienna being able to smell the stench of sin in some...this always makes me wonder if I stinketh to others and if so, what can I do to have my prayers rise as incense.. :/   01:08:06 Carol: white washed tombs   01:12:42 carolnypaver: How do we NOT become “corpses” when we totally withdraw from the people in our lives? Don't we become “dead” to them? Is that good for their souls?   01:18:03 Daniel Allen: Is it fair to take this one step further and say that the monk or Christian who follows this advice or path, then becomes salt to others who have no salt and become a means of salvation for those around us? A broader and larger connectedness, where the strengthening of one part aids the weaker parts of the body. A call to be salt to the world, and that one isn't simply seeking a personal salvation but that one would seek to acquire this salt from God for the sake of others as well?   01:18:23 Rachel: Once, on the way to Mass, I ran into a homeless person who was thirsty. The young man was in a wheel chair, and when I tried to approach him, he begged me not to approach him. There was a very strong and unpleasant odor coming from him. I approached anyway and he told me, please, not to touch him or come closer as his legs were being eaten away by maggots. He lifted his gown and it is true, he was being eaten alive. I asked him why, if he wanted to go to the hospital and he declined. Said he had just been kicked out of the hospital. So I asked him if he wants a priest. I will get a priest. He said yes, to pray and he allowed me to give him my scapular as I thought he was close to death by the smell. He wold not allow me to put the scapular on but promised he would. I went to Mass which had already begun. I stopped the first priest I know, and told him what had happened. Asked him to please go see him immediately. He pulled back and told me that priest so and so deals with things like that. While   01:20:13 Rachel: While I cannot judge the priest, this, is an exactly  example of letting the moment pass by when we, when I, am called to do something that our Lord asks.   01:20:29 Bridget McGinley: Love the story Rachel thanks for sharing   01:21:22 Rachel: When I went back to check on him, the young man was gone.   01:25:17 Miron Kerul Kmec: Thank you!   01:25:29 Jack: thanks father whats the hat called  

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter IV: On Obedience, Part V

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 21, 2022 59:53

    We continued our discussion of Step 4 on Obedience. As deeply challenging as St John's teachings are and as jarring as the examples of monks being tested can be, a light begins to shine through to the dark places of our minds that resist allowing ourselves to be conformed to the obedience of Christ.  Obedience as well as Love is cruciform. It involves a dying to self, self-will, and vanity in order that true meekness, love, and freedom might emerge.  The trials that the monks endured were not something meant to break down their personality or to crush them and throw them into despair. Rather, their shepherd, in imitation of Christ, sought only to purify their hearts and perfect their virtue. They entered into the monastic life with a clear understanding of its asceticism. It is distinctively Christian.  All that they do, every aspect of their life is meant to direct them to Christ and conform them to His image; to let His love bloom within their hearts.  It turns out that the truest and straightest path to freedom is obedience. Our confidence in this reality comes not from our own understanding but from what we see in Christ himself.  By being obedient to His Father in love salvation comes to the world. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:08:31 FrDavid Abernethy: page 76 para 27   00:09:45 FrDavid Abernethy: about time   00:29:32 Carol: do you see any parallels to this outside of the monastery?   00:35:44 Anthony: Religious persons with office of shepherd who act unjustly, without really caring for souls but being subject to vices, spreads poison to anyone who experienced them, damaging trust for the person to offer in future.  Willingness to obey must then carefully be built up - by the person whose trust was damaged.   00:36:25 Art: Just a comment: This calls to mind the soldier attached to country, Corps, comrades, who is prepared to accomplish the mission, even a suicide mission, at the price of his blood.  Death before dishonor is a common saying.   00:38:21 Anthony: of compegne   00:44:11 Ren: This teaching is initially very difficult to handle - that is, the idea of someone who is good and fruitful being dishonored for the sake of virtue and, ultimately, for the sake of Christ. However, I believe this is similiar to what you often say about asceticism (how it is accepted in every area of life but the spiritual): Purification by dishonor/humbling is something we accept when it comes to sports, the military, education, elite level performance/fine arts, etc… and in these areas we accept that the dishonor shown to the aspirant is given in order to refine, test, and perfect their dedication and love. The exact same thing is happening here, as Climacus says “A soul attached to the shepherd with love and faith for Christ's sake.” In the end, that is the only goal of the monk - union with Christ.   00:53:14 Carol: Hebrews 12:6  And this all speaks to the love and providence of God, and the way we are called to respond to suffering.   00:54:40 Ashley Kaschl: I agree with Father. I think we cheapen something when we make it easy to obtain. Two quotes come to mind:   “Do not claim to have acquired virtue unless you have suffered affliction, for without affliction virtue has not been tested.” -St. Mark the Ascetic   “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty. I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” -Teddy Roosevelt   00:56:13 Debra: Thanks for sharing those, Ashley   01:00:57 Babington (or Babi): I haven't understood the issue with that part of the Lord's Prayer since Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where He was then tempted, obviously with His Father's permission, before beginning His public ministry.   01:09:16 Anthony: I just saw a short video of former Mike Tyson telling two young men that the 3 years he spent in prison were the best of his life, because he was given deep peace. One young man challenged him how could this be, when there was a time Tyson earned millions for one fight.  Tyson replied that God may give us what we ask for to show us we can't handle what we want.  And the Tyson in this video was calm and peaceful, unlike his  life as a star, really sounding like a Christian.   01:09:36 Anthony: former boxer - sorry   01:10:57 Ren: “Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul.”   01:11:55 Anthony: Don King?   01:12:32 Ren: The full quote is extraordinary. Something to frame.   01:13:36 Sheila Applegate: This ----> Tyson replied that God may give us what we ask for to show us we can't handle what we want.   01:16:08 Ren: It was granted to me to carry away from my prison years on my bent back, which nearly broke beneath its load, this essential experience: how a human being becomes evil and how good. In the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel.   In the surfeit of power I was a murderer and an oppressor.   In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systematic arguments. It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart—and through all human hearts. . . .   That is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say, sometimes to the astonishment of those about me: “Bless you, prison!”   I . . . have served enough time there. I nourished my soul there, and I say without hesitation: “Bless you, prison, for having been in my life!”   —Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn   01:17:17 Babington (or Babi): Thank you!   01:17:26 Cindy Moran: Thank you, Father for this important session.  

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXII, Part III

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 19, 2022 64:45

    Both an inspiring and challenging section from the Evergetinos this evening!  The Fathers speak to us about the monastic life and its clear focus; a clarity that perhaps we have lost in more recent times. The monk lives for God, to seek God, to listen to God, and to pray. This he does as part of the Body of Christ, the Church, for the salvation of others. And yet we are shown how easy it is to cast off that “sweet yoke” of the Lord where He no longer has authority over us. Even a monk would gravitate away from what is described as the “Divine Wheat” that is drenched by the heavy rain of heavenly life bestowing Spirit. We leave peace and converse with God simply to be distracted by fleshly realities. We choose what is of passing and lesser value and let the divine slip through our fingers.  The monks show us that we are to guard the heart;  in particular by guarding our words and what we listen to. We must always seek to make our speech edifying, seasoning our words with Divine salt so as to preserve the purity of heart in the others as well as in ourselves. We must not listen to unprofitable words but flee the situation where we are tempted. No one should be so deluded so as to think that we can expose ourselves to angry, hostile, or wicked words and not become wicked ourselves. All such things remain lodged in the memory, imagination and heart. Our relationship with God must be precious in our eyes even if this means avoiding those who are acquisitive or licentious. Rather we must gravitate to the righteous man who through his words and deeds will draw us closer to God.  Do we want to be saved? This is the most powerful question of the night. It is a humbling thing to acknowledge our poverty of spirit and  so we can develop a resistance to God's call to draw close to him. One may not want to be saved or find it too humiliating and so cling to a false self image. May God preserve us from such delusions. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:11:29 FrDavid Abernethy: page 190   00:11:37 FrDavid Abernethy: last paragraph   00:33:50 Anthony: In a way, this is an example of giving up a lesser good (awareness of others, or a form of fellowship) for the benefit of achieving a greater good?   00:36:09 maureencunningham: It seems like the early chuch was aware of demons   00:36:21 Jos: it gets even worse when it's about politics and religion   00:36:31 maureencunningham: It seems the America church has learned to adjust to them   00:36:58 maureencunningham: The early church called them demons   00:39:21 Paul Grazal: You wonder what engagement he had that made him think that.  I can think of a few that ive had that i should have avoided   00:40:58 Paul Grazal: Yes Thank You   00:41:38 Rachel Pineda: Tubes of paint... ,and books..   00:45:54 Anthony: Too much buying and selling and we don't know how to "be" but only to become; thus Americans are great in markets and inventions, but we neglect basic metaphysics about life, and we are now existing as several coexisting lost generations.   00:49:08 Lee Graham: We are entertaining ourselves to death   00:49:36 Carol: books and legos   00:50:41 Anthony: Or "The Great Wall" in 3D   00:57:20 Anthony: St. John of Damascus: "whether I will or not, O Lord, save me - quick, quick - for I perish."  Paraphrase from the Melkite Publicans Prayer Book.   00:59:37 maureencunningham: is it like piano it comes with much practice before one can play Bach   01:04:10 Daniel Allen: Like the Pharisee and the publican, the delusion of the holy person vs the truth of the sinner   01:07:51 Anthony: I think it has something to do with an urge which has good roots: "It is not good for man to be alone."  This is a good thing, but out of order.   01:09:11 Daniel Allen: The language of God is silence is something I thought about recently and why silence? And because it's the silence that allows Him to be heard, like the gentle breeze that Elijah heard. He doesn't replace our voice, He waits to be heard.   01:12:00 Debra: I'm a scheduled Adorer, at my parish. And I really struggle with just sitting in silence. I feel like I should be praying a rosary, or reading about the saints...doing something How can I develop the practice of sitting still? My brain is always racing through stuff   01:14:04 Paul Fifer: I think  Holy Hours were set to an Hour because it takes about 20 minutes to quiet our minds and hearts and enter into the Silence.   01:15:11 Debra: Paul: At least 20 minutes   01:16:06 Jos: is it advisable to think about God in the abstract or should we focus on Jesus as God to stay out of delusions in the face of the really mysterious idea of God?   01:20:27 Bridget McGinley: Thank you for that explanation Father.   01:21:04 Anthony: I just finished it.  It's amazing, drawing on the Greek fathers so sounds very orthodox   01:22:14 Rachel Pineda: Thank you  

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent- Chapter IV: On Obedience, Part IV

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2022 60:51

    Tonight we continued with St. John's Step on Obedience. We are presented with an image that may be unfamiliar to us. Obedience is not presented as something that is crushing to the human spirit. It can be humiliating - in the sense that it seems to drive out from the soul and the heart all vestige of arrogance, fierceness, and hostility towards others. Yet, what emerges from this exercise of faith is conformity to Christ. When it is rooted in a true love for one's shepherd, one's Elder, then a kind of voluntary innocence begins to emerge; a childlike trust in the Elder that prevents a person from speculating about his motives or thinking that he is being driven by xmalice.  When we know that we are being guided by love then we are able to embrace even the most challenging of things. Obedience becomes are very food; something nourishing as it was for Christ himself. When perfected, it can bring about not only personal transformation but the transformation of every relationship that exists within our lives. When we let go of all machinations and all forms of calculation and seek simply to love and give ourselves in love -  peace and freedom emerge. We should speak of obedience as something that ultimately brings joy. Indeed, we should see all the virtues as doing exactly that – bringing us into the joy of the kingdom. ---   Text of chat during the group:   00:10:10 Art: In case anyone is interested.   00:10:16 Art: Upcoming online course:   THE WAY OF THE PILGRIM: Entering Into the Jesus Prayer Instructor:  Very Rev. Stephen Freeman Event Description "Pray without ceasing." —1 Thessalonians 5:17
What is prayer, and how does one learn how to pray? In this talk, journey with Fr. Stephen Freeman and a pilgrim in 19th-century Russia to explore the meaning of prayer in our lives. Event Details    Tuesday, August 23 Pre-Class Discussion:  7:30 PM EST Lecture:  8:00 PM EST Registration is required   00:12:03 Fr. Miron Jr.: yep!   00:12:44 FrDavid Abernethy: page 73, para 20   00:31:49 maureencunningham: The task was a lie or was he and Epicepic ?   00:39:55 Anthony: Vocation is seen as a job, matching personal characteristics to charisms of a community of the need to have clergy and religious   00:45:46 Debra: Would he have been allowed to receive Eucharist...attend Mass?   00:46:21 Bridget McGinley: The journey of the spiritual life in such a short paragraph. Beautifully spoken and written. We go through the same journey over a lifetime.   00:47:24 Bridget McGinley: It is easy to see that God should reward us for the little we do instead of being humble and low at the gift.   00:49:33 Bonnie Lewis: Thank you Father.  That was going to be my question, that he would be filled with sadness.  And yet, his life ended in a joyful death.   00:55:19 Anthony: Is this simple character the "Holy Fool"?  Or is that something else?   00:57:24 Ambrose Little, OP: Can you elaborate on "voluntary innocence” in this context?   01:02:20 Ambrose Little, OP: Maybe also it is "take no thought for tomorrow, what you shall eat, or what you shall wear.." That is also a kind of. innocence--simply trusting that God will provide.   01:03:01 Liz: In some Communities, were the Superior (or other brothers) does similar or more humilliating actions out of truly malice, can it also be taken as an instructive tool by the one who is suffering it unjustly, just out of the evil will of another one? Maybe this is also related with the voluntary innocence, without second-guessings.  Can this be applied in the secular life? To which extent can we distinguish it from the line of the "human dignity"?....   01:03:33 Carol: "real joy, which is paradisal innocence and attachment to God through the whole splendor of being alive." Olivier clement   01:08:33 Anthony: The monastic literature refers to beginning in community life before solitary life as the best way to live.  Natural law leads to the valuable community of family life.  In our day, there are so many single people, by choice or by circumstance, from age 18 or sadly even earlier.  Our age appears to be an aberration.  Do you have spiritual advice for so many solitaries thrust into solitary life, a period of being neither monastic nor familial?   01:14:44 maureencunningham: Thank You   01:15:36 carolnypaver: Song of Tears?   01:16:57 Cindy Moran: Thank you, Father! Great session!!   01:17:04 Liz: Thank you Father!  

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXII, Part II

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 12, 2022 72:46

    We picked up this evening with our reading of the very challenging Hypothesis 22: the Fathers' teaching to avoid the world and worldly relations. However, we must understand that when they speak of the world they speak of those things or relationships that are driven more by the passions than by grace and the love of God.  Central to this is having a rightly ordered love that is focused upon Christ. All things must begin and end with Him and all things are judged in light of the Love of the Kingdom. This Love must become the lens through which we view all things, most especially our own thoughts and desires. What is it - at this moment - that is going to be pleasing to God or fulfill our obedience to our elder? Are we doing things in subtle ways simply to please ourselves; always seeking to form and fashion our own identity and to be the source of meaning for ourselves and our lives?  For a Christian living in the world to “stay in one's cell“ means to keep watch over my inner self, my own heart. This is why the Fathers put forward as an essential practice unceasing prayer, and particular the Jesus Prayer. It is only by constantly calling out to God that we are given the strength and the grace to love God and to love others in the way He desires for us. We are called to be Christ for one another and so our love and our actions must be Christlike. To be anything otherwise is to strip the gospel of its power to make ourselves unrecognizable as those who have been made sons and daughters of God. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:17:12 carolnypaver: Congratulations!

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter IV: On Obedience, Part III

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 7, 2022 62:49

    We picked up this evening once again with Step 4 on Obedience. John describes it for us as standing before God with a kind of simplicity and humility; truthful living before God and others. When we live in this manner we unburden ourselves and so run a good race without a heavy conscience and also protected from the cunning of the demons who make exacting investigation of our deeds.  After describing obedience and defining it, John then turns to give us beautiful examples of those who lived it in an heroic fashion. In particular, we are told of a thief who seeks admittance to a monastery. Gradually the superior test his obedience through the confession of his sins privately and publicly. The thief does this with profound humility and obedience that is shocking even to Saint John. It is then that he is received into the monastery and given the habit. He overcame the shame of his sin through the shame of bringing all things to light.  St. John goes on to describe the fruit that this bore within the community. They were so formed by the spirit of obedience through their skillful superior and physician of souls, that they began to live the angelic life. Their love and generosity towards each other was unparalleled. They would seek to protect each other's consciences and also to take each other's burdens upon themselves. --- Text of chat during the group:  00:07:36 FrDavid Abernethy: starting tonight on page 70, paragraph 9   00:41:45 renwitter: Without this type of public, and total confession, is there any way to attain to a similar level of freedom? I feel like so many carry certain sins as secrets from all but their confessor, and maybe spouse.   00:44:14 Fr. Miron Jr.: 1st sunday of Great Lent   00:55:47 renwitter: This also perfectly compliments what we discussed in the Evergetinos on Monday - the simple, very easy way that idle conversation becomes evil conversation, and thus something that needs to be avoided even in the very beginning when it seems really harmless. There is nothing harmless about what is idle.   01:03:28 Ashley Kaschl: It's not hard since a lot of things die in this heat

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXI, Part VI and Hypothesis XXII, Part II

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 5, 2022 77:15

    We began this evening with the final pages of Hypothesis 21 describing the importance of not opening one's conscience to an individual unless guided by the Grace of God to do so. It is not a small thing to entrust oneself to the care of another, especially the care of one's soul. Therefore we are counseled to be discriminating. For the elder that we choose, or rather the elder that God chooses for us, is a gift; a relationship of love and devotion. An Elder does not see himself as detached from our struggles but rather enters into them and takes penance and prayer upon himself for our healing. We do not struggle in isolation. Understanding the importance of this relationship,then, we should pray for our elder and love him.  Moving on to Hypothesis 22 we are warned to avoid meetings with careless men and avoiding anything that would disturb the peace of our heart or the stillness that has been hard won. We must never see idle conversation as insignificant. Rather we must understand that if allow ourselves to be drawn along by such conversations our consciences will coarsen and we will find ourselves engaged in grievous conversations and behaviors.  We are given a wonderful example of an elder who, because of his purity and innocence, finds God responding immediately to his prayers for others. No impediment is placed before the action of God‘s grace in his life or acting through his intercession. We should not be surprised when the Fathers tell us that if we neglect our relationship with God or treat His grace cheaply that our prayers go unanswered. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:23:16 B K-LEB: like fr zozima   00:29:29 Ambrose Little, OP: “outraged ... since he did not rely totally on the help of God." Love that.   00:31:10 Anthony: So much for "Grace Alone."  One the one hand, all good is from God, all good is a grace.  But, we must exercise the faculty of human nature (which is also a gift) to choose the grace, to at least choose a desire for the grace.  I think St. Anselm says this in "One Truth" or "On Free Will"   00:32:22 Anthony: "On Truth"   00:39:21 Anthony: In America, we tie sin to things: sugary drinks, alcohol, guns, etc.  It is very selective. But traditionally, sin is attached to our deficiencies of soul - and a Puritan look at sin does not take this psychology into account.   00:40:36 Sheila Applegate: Attachment to having life the way we want it?   00:50:10 B K-LEB: i agree anthony   00:50:38 B K-LEB: i personally think the inner spiritual sins are far worse than the physical sins   00:52:02 B K-LEB: i'd rather go to heaven fat and humble than thin and proud, haha   00:53:18 Ren: It would be so good for seminarians to read this particular hypothesis when they study confession. So much meaningful, and practical advice. The way to engage the penitent, the call to enter into repentance with them…all just so good.   00:54:41 B K-LEB: too much theology can make us proud pharisees   00:56:56 Anthony: Copts require new priests to spend 40 days in monastery   00:57:56 Bridget McGinley: The Jesuits used to not be able to listen to women's confessions until they had been a priest for 10 years.   01:02:50 B K-LEB: isn't spiritual pride essentially the worst kind of sin?   01:04:59 Anthony: He gives us a remedy: using the 2nd person plural in the Our Father so we lump ourselves together with all other sinners: "Forgive US OUR trespasses as WE forgive those who trespass against us / Lead US not into temptation but deliver US from evil."   01:20:36 Ren: The warning that idle words quickly become harmful ones is really, really helpful. I have often seen this happen in myself, yet I've never heard it explicitly said that the one can so easily lead to the other. It casts a far more serious light on consenting to idle conversation, knowing how easily it leads to something more sinister. So many “little sins” become more sinister when you examine the greater sins that the open the door to. I know that even thinking about addressing this is terrifying for me…but it does make me think about how much idle conversation one is exposed to in television, movies, radio, social media…definitely thought provoking.   01:31:06 Ren: Awesome way to make a discussion of the Fathers topically connected to the holiday :D GO REVOLUTION!! ;-)   01:34:46 B K-LEB: thank u so much  

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter IV: On Obedience, Part II

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 30, 2022 58:17

    This evening we picked up with Step 4 on Obedience. Saint John puts it before us in an unvarnished fashion. It is hard work. It offers us great freedom; freedom from all of our concerns about the things of the world, daily circumstances, or what others do or say to us. Yet, it is a rough way because it means letting go of our own will, self-judgment and opinion. We freely give these things over to another who becomes our “helmsman”.  The helmsman becomes our “nous” - the eye of the heart - while we lack that purity of heart.  One does not choose to live in obedience indiscriminately, Saint John tells us. Rather, we must make sure that we embrace obedience and give our judgment over to one who can truly guide us along the path that leads to the kingdom. Otherwise, Saint John tells us, we should get no profit from our subjection. For this reason we must write the good deeds of our elder on our hearts and constantly remember them. For once we have chosen to live in obedience, either under an elder or within our particular vocation in life and to our particular vows, we are inevitably going to be attacked by the evil one who desires to make us distrust our elder.  Obedience is of the greatest value because in humbling the mind in the body it frees us from all the things that stir the passions within us. Obedience is not meant to be a form of oppression or of infantilizing others. An elder is to embrace his disciple with the greatest love and desire for his well-being. For in the end he will be held responsible for the one God has placed in his care. --- Text of chat during the group:  00:11:14 FrDavid Abernethy: page 69 n.4   00:11:19 FrDavid Abernethy: On obedience   00:17:13 Fr. Miron Kerul-Kmec Jr.: I'm young!   00:29:29 Anthony: For what it's worth, here are attorney saints: Augustine, Fidelis Sigmaringen, Thomas More, Aloysius Gonzaga.  The only one I think who was led to the spiritual life without trauma was Fidelis of Sigmaringen.  There have to be more attorney-saints.   00:30:38 Anthony: Well, St. Thomas More began well but was rarified through trauma   00:40:22 Ambrose Little, OP: sometimes you do.

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXI, Part V

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 28, 2022 56:43

    What a beautiful group this evening. Once again we hear a young brother asking  questions about transgressing the commands and guidance given by an elder. What we hear over and over again is an emphasis upon the fact that an elder is not disconnected from one in his care. If a person transgresses a command or ignores the guidance of an elder, he is to return to him without fear or with the expectation that his humility will be met with anything but gentleness, tenderness, and further counsel. Of course, this does not mean we fall into neglect or become indifferent about striving to live holy lives.  What we find in the Fathers again and again is an emphasis upon the value of repentance; turning to God with humble hearts and receiving a flood of his grace and mercy.  Again the brother asks if one should simply neglect to learn about the spiritual life so as not to be held accountable for particular sins. The elder quickly tells him that such a thought is sinister in that it blocks the path to true healing. Sin brings its own suffering. Repentance is a gift from God that opens up a path to healing and hope.  Why would one not want to know the path that God has opened up for us? Why would one not desire the wisdom of the counsel of the fathers in order that they might truly be healed? Furthermore, the elder emphasizes that God values the person of his servants precisely because they imitate Christ himself. They offer advice with intense and warm prayer to God and make their own the sufferings of others crying out to God, “Master save us, we perish.“  Save US! We do not struggle as Christians in isolation but we embrace one another's struggles as our own. --- Text of chat during the group:  00:16:40 David Fraley: Hello to all.   00:16:52 FrDavid Abernethy: page 180 letter K.  Hypothesis 21   00:17:17 FrDavid Abernethy: hi Dave   00:17:25 FrDavid Abernethy: where are the snacks??   00:19:01 maureencunningham: thank you Ren   00:24:58 carolnypaver: What page/section?   00:25:09 renwitter: =Page 181   00:25:16 carolnypaver: TY   00:34:35 Sheila Applegate: I often feel like Sisyphus rolling the rock up the hill only  to have it come crashing down. Rinse. Repeat.   00:35:39 Debra: Same

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter III: On Exile, Part V and Chapter IV: On Obedience, Part I

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2022 69:41

    We returned this evening to Step 3 on Exile. St. John concludes by simply telling us that exile - simplifying one's life - creates a stable character. This is a precious gift and so we must guard our minds and our hearts so that we do not corrupt ourselves by entering once again into what is worldly and disorderly. Saint John concludes Step 3 by taking a moment to speak to us about dreams. A dream involves the minds activity when the body is asleep. The mind, as we know, can be very active; often swept along by the things of day-to-day life or by what rest deep within the unconscious. Saint John warns us that the demons can use our dreams by playing the role of prophet. They convince us that our dreams have deep meaning, they tell us something important about the future, or tell us what is happening in a loved one's life. Demons can transform themselves into angels of light and lead us into a kind of unholy joy and conceit over what is revealed within our dreams. We can find the demons making sport of us when we so much credence to their interpretation. Therefore, we should distrust our dreams; knowing that like the fantasies in our waking hours they can be used against us in dangerous ways.  We then turned to Step 4 on Obedience. Saint John begins to emphasize its importance for us in the spiritual battle. We are to seek this as one of our most important weapons because it conforms us in a special way to Christ -  whose food was to do the will of His heavenly Father. An obedient soul listens deeply to what God and one's superior is telling him. Obedience protects us from the delusion of our own judgment, opinions and reasons. We do not see all ends and the fact that we ignore this does not go unnoticed by the evil one. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:11:12 FrDavid Abernethy: page 66 paragraph 24   00:28:36 Lee Graham: Entertaining our thoughts while awake   00:34:29 Iwona Bednarz-Major: Aquinas says that our imagination can be seen by demons (and good angels, as originally they are both superb intellectual beings), since they are formed in our intelligence. Is that where the spiritual warfare takes place in dreams (logismoi)?   00:39:26 Ryan Schaefer: At Franciscan U a lot of students supposedly had visions. Some students seemed very proud of the fact that they've seen angels, seen the future, etc… always seemed like a red flag to me   00:43:56 Bridget McGinley: Little nervous, I don't dream ( at least I don't remember). My soul!?!?   00:46:50 Cindy Moran: ]   00:49:09 Ryan Schaefer: The TORs at Franciscan always told us that we would receive consolations if we are following Gods will. Often they said if we are not following God then we would NOT receive a “spirit of peace”. Is this incorrect? How does this relate to para. 29   00:52:05 Rachel: Everytime I've read this, it has confused me a bit. Since it can be dangerous to speak about the interior life on account of the demons who will try to trick us at every moment, how are we supposed to approach confession and the revealing of thoughts to one's confessor or spiritual director? Even here it seems to me one has to be very discerning and careful.   00:52:10 Rachel: LOL   00:56:29 Ambrose Little, OP: well!   00:56:56 Rachel: Okay, ! That was what I was going to ask about the grace of the Sacrament. But we went on to dreams etc. :)     I think when I first became Catholic this witnessing was something that made me pause. Wow, thank you   00:57:04 Iwona Bednarz-Major: Fr. David, continuing my previous thought, I was always thinking that demons can only have an insight into our inner life based on our behavior but lately I've read Aquinas: Summa, First Part, Question 111. The action of the angels on man Article 3. Whether an angel can change man's imagination? with hims stating: “I answer that, Both a good and a bad angel by their own natural power can move the human imagination. " and then explaining further that thought: “An angel changes the imagination, not indeed by the impression of an imaginative form in no way previously received from the senses”, I was perplexed. If you would have any insight on that from your perspective in the future, that would be great. Thank you.   00:58:57 Rachel: Oh, I missed this week's class.

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXI, Part IV

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 21, 2022 61:54

    We continued with the incredible counsel of the Fathers about how one discerns when to embrace the advice and counsel of others, specifically one's Elder. The first distinction made is about advice - counsel that is a part of the spiritual tradition as a whole and so valuable in and of itself. This should be embraced faithfully - for it is given by the goodness and kindness of one's Elder. When that relationship has grown throughout the course of the years a command may be given by an Elder. This command, however, is only given under specific circumstances; never casually. One must have a kind of clarity and sense of commitment to what is being asked of the Elder. This is to be done by making a prostration, a bodily action and sign of obeisance showing one's desire to take hold of the command of the Elder. The Elder, then, in an equally concrete fashion must give his blessing. In doing so he takes upon himself the commitment to pray and fast that the one in his care would be able to fulfill the command. We see in all of this the depth of the relationship that must exist between an Elder and the one in his charge. We do not simply expose ourselves to information, reading the writings of the Elders and applying them to our lives. Rather, we enter into a living tradition and it is in and through this relationship between an elder and the one in his care that spiritual growth is made. It is a relationship of love that mirrors the relationship that Christ has with each of us. He calls us to give ourselves to Him and follow Him and in doing so He gives us himself in the most holy Eucharist. The command always holds within it the grace to help us fulfill it.  --- Text of chat during the group: 00:17:46 FrDavid Abernethy: Anthony Coniaris   00:17:55 FrDavid Abernethy: Beginnners Guide to the Philokalia   01:09:50 Ren: This reminder that the Elder prays for the one whom he counsels is very helpful. I am not sure there is anything more humbling than being prayed for - or fasted for! Knowing that another is investing themselves so deeply on your behalf definitely spurs one on to greater dedication. The gift demands a response.   01:11:26 Ren: Yes. Wow. Imagine that: God himself, in the person of Christ, fasted for each one of us. Spent himself praying for each of us. So very humbling.   01:12:09 Carol Nypaver: Absolutely.   01:20:09 Ren: Just a little PSA for everyone: we have switched our email service to MailChimp. If you did not receive an email in advance of tonight's group, please check your spam filter, and mark it as not junk. Thank you!   01:21:32 David Fraley: Thanks Fr David!   01:21:47 Debra: The short link, tonight, still triggered a 'Threat Warning' from Avast lol   01:21:58 Ambrose Little: stop using Avast   01:22:20 Fr. Miron Kerul-Kmec Jr.: 2nd experience with baptism!   01:22:28 Eric Williams: Keeping you busy and out of trouble. ;)   01:22:54 Debra: You're making me want to switch to the East lol  

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter III: On Exile, Part IV

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 16, 2022 69:19

    We continued our reading of step three on Exile. As with so many things said within the Ladder of Divine Ascent, the words of Saint John are jarring. It is not because John seeks to be abrasive or provocative; rather he is presenting us with the Gospel through the lens of the monastic vocation. It is God who embraced exile in the greatest sense through the incarnation. Christ, out of love for the Father  and His will and out of love for us, exiles himself into the depths of humanity and of our sin in order to raise us to new life. Our exile is simply a response to this great gift of love and sacrifice on our behalf. We freely choose to exile ourselves from the things that pulls away from fulfilling the will of God or loving Him unconditionally not because of any hatred for the world or the things of the world. It is the desire for God that guides and shapes our ascetical life and our spiritual disciplines. Outside of the love of God they lack meaning. They are to be a response of humble gratitude for what God has given to us. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:15:53 Cindy Moran: I have no audio   00:22:06 Anthony: I think I finally get your admonishment to read things in context. He can't be talking about withdrawing from a family like St. Basil's 3 generations living in harmony family life and monastic life.   00:34:10 Rachel: Like the ghetto in Sacramento. lol   00:34:29 B K-LEB: this teaching is too hard............   00:34:35 Erick chastain: moved to texas   00:34:45 Erick chastain: God's country   00:34:45 Daniel Allen: I would add that it starts at home with the family   00:34:53 Bonnie Lewis: Wait a minute.  I   00:35:06 Bonnie Lewis: I'm in Texas   00:35:12 Edward Kleinguetl: Welcome to Texas.  I live in Houston, although moving to Toronto in six weeks.   00:36:04 Daniel Allen: Can't flee to a place and expect everything to be somehow better. There isn't a real chance to run to something if you don't have it with you first. Like St Seraphim of Sarov, acquire the spirit of peace.   00:37:19 Erick chastain: thanks deacon Ed!   00:37:42 Erick chastain: agreed Daniel.   00:38:21 Joseph Caro: I wonder if this fleeing into the desert (in the literal, monkish, sense) is becoming increasingly next to impossible for our current western civilization without first a radical severance from cell phones, internet, Facebook, etc. And I am wondering if even the secondary more modest type of detachment can be fully done without first tempering our use of media, internet, etc.. . I don't know though, just my first impression.   00:38:21 Erick chastain: I moved to Texas to work at a catholic university and live near the daily latin mass.   00:38:59 Anthony: Joseph - so much data DOES impede contemplation.   00:39:20 B K-LEB: i agree with you Joseph the internet is an endless void   00:39:36 Edward Kleinguetl: Amen!   00:39:58 Carol Nypaver:

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXI, Part III

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 14, 2022 66:49

    What a Magnificent group this evening on the Evergetinos. We truly began to see the wisdom of the fathers and how in reality they were the first depth psychologists. They knew the workings of the mind in the heart so well. This evening we discussed how it is that one listens to a spiritual elder and what they offer as counsel. How is it that we discern the truth when we find ourselves still struggling with the same sins or sorrow or worry? Is the advice of the elder ineffective or is it because of our own disposition or of our changing dispositions over the course of time. What we find in the section that we looked at this evening is that the fault often lies within ourselves. The human person is a mystery and we struggle with internal contradictions; we can love and hate our sin at the same time. Therefore, we hear the advice of a spiritual elder in many different ways. Sometimes we only hear partial truths. At other times we do not an act on what the elder told us to do. Or quite simply we have lacked faith in God and the power of His Grace. In their “Science of Sciences” the fathers show us how it is that we are to discern and come to know the workings of our heart as well as the action of God‘s Grace. ---   Text of chat during the group:   00:09:41 Eric Williams: I guess you were more of a Soul Train guy, Father ;)   00:11:52 Eric Williams: Exciting!   00:13:00 Eric Williams: Whereas an hour of cheesy hymns feels like an eternity ;)   00:16:58 Tyler Woloshyn: Glory be Forever!   00:26:44 Anthony: Perhaps this story illustrates the peculiar image in Scripture that God hardens hearts, like in Romans Chapter 9?  All things for Christ, but God permits to each person temptations or struggles which could be for our good but makes it appear God hates them?  Especially when we are previously unmerciful?  Or am I off the mark?   00:29:59 Mark Kelly: The ancient Greeks (before XC) said,” Those that the gods wish to bring down (destroy) they first make great.  Perhaps, because of the Incarnation, we can say, “Those that GOD wishes to make great, He first brings them low.” 00:31:27 Tyler Woloshyn: It reminds me of the verse and humbly to bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2)   00:32:09 B K-LEB: St therese said "the spirit blows where it wills"   00:32:27 B K-LEB: when asked about why she thinks God chose her..   00:38:11 Rachel Pineda: I do not think I am being to harsh here that the asceticism spoken of here is sometimes taken as superstitious but in fact when one treats it as such  it is a lack of faith in God's Providential care of each and every soul. Also, a lack of patience. Well, the Father just said better than I.   00:39:05 Anthony: St. Padre Pio ~ If you think I make a mistake, do you think God would?  (different context, but the principle fits.)   00:39:48 Rachel Pineda: LOL   00:39:58 Rachel Pineda: No the Desert Father but okay   00:40:15 Rachel Pineda: I am sure you know better than I   00:41:05 Rachel Pineda: What I am speaking about is the radical conversion that takes place. Even to other faithful it can look weird.   00:41:41 B K-LEB: I heard a man who had dealt with sexual abuse at the church say that "you don't have to heal to be holy". I am wondering your thoughts about this. Is healing necessarily and intrinsically related to holiness?   00:45:14 Rachel Pineda: I think Archbishop Fulton Sheen spoke about that in his talks on confession!   00:48:40 B K-LEB: wow thank u   00:49:09 Rachel Pineda: Yes, Thank you!   00:53:02 Anthony: It seems to me that the grief or pain is often one of the mind or imagination, but the center of the soul is confident in God.  The nagging thought is precisely the fog of thought, and the devil wishes it to descend to the nous - but God Who does not abandon the man allows us to conscously unite out thoughts to the  "crown of thorns" of Christ's crucifixion.   00:56:50 Anthony: Fr. Pavel Florovsku, "Iconostasis", opens with a discussion of dreams and time.   00:56:57 Anthony: Florovsky   00:58:49 Rachel Pineda: WOW!!   01:01:02 B K-LEB: Father you should talk more about this topic many are interested   01:17:42 Anthony: Father, this isn't just a religious topic. It involves the philosophical discipline of epistemlogy (the search for certain truth) - and we Americans are so impoverished in philosophical language and concepts   01:19:38 Eric Williams: Data, data everywhere, and not a thought to think   01:21:10 Carol Nypaver: My daughter once asked a co-worker what he thought about a particular topic.  He said, I haven't thought about that, let me look it up.  

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter III: On Exile, Part III

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 9, 2022 70:13

    We continued this week with step number 3 on Exile. Saint John takes us deeper into the mystery of what it is to live as a Christian within the world. God calls to the heart and desires that we give our love to Him as he has given his love to us.  Ultimately this is the reason why the monks exiled themselves to the desert. It was not to free themselves from the company of others. Rather they separated themselves from all things in order to become inseparable from Christ. Similarly, in our day-to-day life, we exile ourselves from all those things which would cool our devotion for the Lord. We are careful not to turn back to the things that we are attached to knowing that in doing so we are likely to be drawn back to the things of the world. This exile is not hatred. It is the desire to let Christ be the one who teaches us what is good for us. We are to let the virtues, the angels and the Saints, the remembrance of death, contrition, be our family and our friends. These are the things that endure and will support us and our journey toward the kingdom. --- Text of chat during the group:  00:28:02 Rachel: Yep   00:30:37 carolnypaver: Page?   00:30:42 Anthony: carpathian plainchant   00:30:45 Ren: 64   00:30:57 carolnypaver: TY   00:32:19 Rachel: I think it is a way of protecting the other as well as one's own heart. It is not just about outright vulgar immodesty. It is about our minding our gaze. Because we long to gaze at the Face of God. To be able, please God, to see as God sees.   00:47:14 Anthony: In section 12, we are dealing with stymied vocations.  In section 11, we were warned against being self-appointed saviors of the world.  Maybe appointing yourself a savior of the world is like dwelling in the dumps on your sin.  The gaze of the person is turned inward on "look at what I can do / look what I did" and that is harmful to the person and to the world.  It is God Who _gives_ the vocation and the salvation.  The goal of Christian life is a genuine blissful loss of the self-awareness as a branch loses itself in the vine?  If he dwells on his fault, he is consumed with canker; if he boasts of himself, he is consumed with worthless woody growth, not fruit.   00:49:14 carolnypaver: “….delivered them up to their doom?” Please explain this part.   00:49:24 Ren: 12   00:51:44 Debra: Just going to the store in June, is indoctrination :/   00:58:17 Rachel: Yes!   00:58:31 Rachel: Go into your room and pray to God in secret..   01:00:31 Robyn Greco: Thank you Father   01:06:40 Anthony: This is why living in Catholic community is so helpful; our surrounding "culture" is directly contrary to each of the family members he raises here to our attention.  Community reinforcement of Catholic themes is important.   01:16:21 Ren: Though Climacus takes things even farther by assigning familial relations even to the virtues, paragraph 15 reminds me of this writing of St. John Kronstadt: "When you are praying alone, and your spirit is dejected, and you are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as always, that God the Trinity looks upon you with eyes brighter than the sun; also all the angels, your own Guardian Angel, and all the Saints of God. Truly they do; for they are all one in God, and where God is, there are they also. Where the sun is, thither also are directed all its rays." No matter what one's vocation, it seems a kind of loneliness and isolation in this world is always a part of it, for the Christian, and thus so many of the Fathers give advice seeking out the invisible, heavenly community to combat it.   01:19:36 Ashley Kaschl: I think this detachment is harder than believing that the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ

    The Evergetinos - Hypothesis XXI, Part II

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 7, 2022 75:48

    Tonight we picked up with Hypothesis 21. One is not to reveal the thoughts of the heart and the mind or one's temptations to others indiscriminately. Rather, we are to seek out those who have the gift of discernment and experiential knowledge. Only those who are engaged in spiritual warfare, who know their own minds and hearts well can speak to the struggles of others. Much damage can be and has been done by those who set themselves up as teachers of the faith and the spiritual life and yet not living it themselves in any measure. What we are to look for in an elder are the particular gifts of the Spirit that arise from living the gospel fully; humility, repentance, obedience, tenderness gentleness, charity, mercy.  In order for one struggling with their sins and the shame that often accompanies them to find courage to acknowledge them, they need an elder who speaks to them with love; a love that reflects Christ himself. How can we speak of what we do not know? We cannot teach the faith or guide others from a position of power but rather imitate Christ in approaching others in a humble and selfless fashion.   Text of chat during the group:    00:07:57 FrDavid Abernethy: Public   Prayer of St. John Chrysostom before reading spiritual texts.     O Lord Jesus Christ, open Thou the eyes of my heart, that I may hear Thy word and understand and do Thy will, for I am a sojourner upon the earth. Hide not Thy commandments from me, but open mine eyes, that I may perceive the wonders of Thy law. Speak unto me the hidden and secret things of Thy wisdom. On Thee do I set my hope, O my God, that Thou shalt enlighten my mind and understanding with the light of Thy knowledge, not only to cherish those things which are written, but to do them, that in reading the lives and sayings of the Saints I may not sin, but that such may serve for my restoration, enlightenment and sanctification, for the salvation of my soul, and the inheritance of life everlasting; For Thou art the enlightenment of those who lie in darkness, and from Thee cometh every good deed and every gift. Amen.   00:11:04 FrDavid Abernethy: page 170   00:16:56 Tyler Woloshyn: Glory be to Jesus Christ! Good evening everyone.   00:27:02 David Robles: According to the Philokalia the stages of sin/temptation are   00:34:29 Anthony: How do these stages of sin correlate to the Roman distinctions between Imperfections, Venial sins and Mortal Sins?  Or is that too big a topic or a harmful focus on what is evil within us instead of focus on what is good, noble, etc?   00:34:41 Wayne: page?   00:43:25 Josie: "preach and if you have to, speak"   00:56:58 Josie: is there a difference between the evil one hearing the confession of our thoughts in private vs in public? can't he hear them in both cases?   00:57:07 Josie: sorry sent by accident   00:59:28 Anthony: The protection of the mind is maybe the really important problem with social media - as one mindlessly absorbs, one tunes into so many different minds putting themselves out for consumption; it's more indiscriminate than TV since you can get so many channels one right after the other.   01:07:55 Tyler Woloshyn: Some priests are not psychologists nor should pretend to be in the confessional   01:08:23 sue and mark: yup   01:14:26 Josie: so does a confession with a bad priest still give us grace?   01:18:16 Ambrose Little, OP: Yes, if he's ordained and pronounces absolution. Personal qualities don't impede the sacramental grace.   01:28:31 carolnypaver: My question is from section C. What about sharing what we learned in Spiritual direction with one's spouse, especially concerning children?   01:29:17 carolnypaver: Thank you!   01:29:28 Josie: 1 sec   01:29:31 Josie: typing   01:29:46 Josie: in AA they teach you to tell your story   01:29:51 Josie: to help others heal   01:30:00 Josie: my priest says that's good   01:30:03 Josie: yes   01:34:12 Josie: thank you father!!!!  

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter III: On Exile, Part II

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2022 62:52

    We began this evening with Step 3 “On Exile.”The connotation of the word, as we discussed, can lead one to think of punishment or being removed from the things that are needed or loved. However, as we make our way through the step we begin to see that exile is a path to freedom. It is a gradual turning away or separating oneself from the world in order that one might become inseparable from God. At the heart of exile is a deep desire for God; the longing of the heart that leads one to run toward Him as the source of life. The more we begin to see this truth the clearer it becomes to us that we cling to things with a sense of needing them for meaning or purpose. Exile is so important because it removes that illusion. It shows us that so many things that we have had in our lives hold no lasting promise within them. God is to be the beginning and end of all things for us; and exile gives birth to the kind of detachment that allows us to be ever so confident in what He alone can provide. --- Text of chat during the group:  00:14:06 FrDavid Abernethy: page 63, para. #2   00:14:22 David Robles: Dear Father David, Thank you for inviting me to the meeting today. What step and section?   00:14:58 FrDavid Abernethy: page 63 par 2   00:15:02 FrDavid Abernethy: On exile   00:15:21 Robyn Greco: hi , Hope everyone is well   00:15:23 Sheila Applegate: This time the link said it was a malicious link.   00:15:37 Sheila Applegate: But the zoom one works.   00:16:12 Anthony: Do you spray with Copper Sulfate, Vicki?   00:16:14 David Robles: I'm not using your edition. I have the Holy Transfiguration Monastery Edition.   00:16:30 FrDavid Abernethy: Thats the edition we use   00:16:33 FrDavid Abernethy: 2012   00:17:28 Sr Mary of our Divine Savior solt: Greetings too!   00:18:07 Joseph Caro: fr   00:18:13 David Robles: Mine is 1991. Second edition   00:18:16 Fr. Miron Kerul-Kmec Jr.: I don't like being a boss! Haha   00:18:45 Joseph Caro: I have been meaning to thank you for the little book you sent awhile ago, but I keep forgetting!  thank you!   00:19:24 David Robles: Step 4 Obedience starts on page 20.   00:23:43 David Robles: Oh I see Exile. Found it   00:31:27 David Robles: Father, would you agree that the intensity and character of the exile for a lay person, a cenobitic monk or a hermit are different levels? Is there an interior exile that is the same for all?   00:32:29 David Robles: St Isaac the Syrian is pretty radical on this, as it is required of a hermit   00:36:04 Anthony: This keeping the "mind" inseparable from God, is he referring to cogitation, a constant stream of thought, or something else?  Is "mind" more like "nous" or heart or merely presence here?  I'm thinking it's not cogitation, since that can be exhausting and since the Fathers remind us our imaginations can willingly and unwillingly be the playground of evil.   00:39:25 David Robles: Dianoia is rational discourse   00:39:32 Sam Rodriguez: St Paul often talks about Sin and Death as Dominions. Where there is a Dominion of Sin, a Dominion of Death. Or, in other words, that we are born into a Lordship of Sin, a Lordship of Death, by virtue of Original Sin. And thus, to be "Delivered" as a Christian, represents being transferred from one Kingdom to another. To be transferred to the Kingdom where Jesus is Lord. And Has Dominion over our lives. Where our lives no longer belong to ourselves. Our bodies no longer belong to ourselves. They have been ransomed at a price. And thus, I'm wondering if this language of Exile is a restatement of a Deliverance process. Where its not that those things in our lives are bad, but that they require His Lordship in order for the Goodness of those Created things to be Received and Revealed and Shared. Being intentional about how we use our time. Or our phones. Or approach our relationships. That we are actively inviting Him to continually Conquer our attraction to those things, Exercise His Dominion over them.   00:45:35 Bridget McGinley: I recently came across the book The Way of a Pilgrim. I am memorized by his desire for separating himself from the active world to desperately seek the concept of unceasing prayer yet he does not enter a monastery and wanders the earth mixing with others. Unceasing prayer is a commandment from God, correct? This concept of exile seems unloving to the Eastern societies especially in our country where human contact is considered charitable. When we want to separate even from family and friends because they distract us we are sometimes accused of lacking "charity" but it is well understood in the Orthodox cultures that this is a great gift. I relate to what Robyn just said.   00:49:34 Joseph Caro: the idea of exile (separation) to keep us inseparable to God reminds me of marriage , where one keeps themselves from others in order to be in union with ones spouse.   00:52:27 Sam Rodriguez: Regarding what Father shared earlier, saying that we should perhaps genuflect before a newly-Baptized baby.... there's a beautiful story of St Louis IX, the French King. After one of his babies was Baptized, the Saint is reported to have joyfully picked up his baby and gave the baby a kiss, right where the baby's heart was, and exclaimed "Hello, Jesus!"   01:01:49 Ren: There is an interesting reversal at play here. Normally, when we say someone is exiled, it is exile from something/some place - a banishment from the good, the community, the kingdom - and the place of exile does not matter at all. Here, however, exile is an action taken for the sake of something, and the place of exile - that place in which the soul remains unseparated from  God - is the only thing that matters.   01:04:42 Ren: Much the same kind of reversal that turns the barren desert into a place of encounter with Life itself!   01:06:18 Erick chastain: how does exile give place to the demon of sensuality?   01:15:09 Ashley Kaschl: Exile being the mother of detachment makes a lot of sense. While we've been talking about exile in a way that it leads to greater intimacy with God, a direct confrontation with the passions, and a renunciation of the world, I learned it the other way around: that, almost by proxy, a choosing of Christ over everything else in the day-to-day life, moment by moment, leads one to be exile by default. Is this the thought of the West, that one winds up in exile through intimacy with Christ, while the East encourages exile to find that intimacy with Christ?   01:18:29 Rachel: YES!! Fantastic points!   01:19:31 Rachel:

    The Evergetinos - Vol I, Hypothesis XX, Part VI and Hypothesis XXI, Part I

    Play Episode Listen Later May 31, 2022 68:48

    We continued in our reading of the Evergetinos hypothesis 20 on the importance of revealing one's thoughts to an elder. The struggle in the spiritual life entails letting go of embarrassment and shame that often plague us - in order that we might freely acknowledge our sins or the thoughts that lead to them. The revelation of these thoughts must be received by elders with the greatest care and tenderness. It is both the perseverance of the one struggling and the patience of the caregiver, the elder, that brings healing. Over and over again we are presented with stories of those who overcome their fear of shame and in their freedom to acknowledge their sin come to experience freedom from the sin itself. Therefore, the fathers hold up before us humility, truthful living; bringing all that is within the mind and heart into the light of Christ. --- Text of chat during the group:  00:15:01 FrDavid Abernethy: page 165 number 3   00:37:30 Daniel Allen: What page are we on?   00:37:45 Ambrose Little, OP: 167   00:37:53 Daniel Allen: Thank you   00:42:38 Ambrose Little, OP: Seems like it's less a question of whether this or that father is particularly learned, but that God wants us to seek the guidance of others as an expression of humility and so, through that, will guide us. We may or may not get a "wise" answer, but the actual experience of that humility is in itself instructive and the Spirit will teach us through that.   00:55:10 Ambrose Little, OP: accompaniment

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter Two: On Detachment, Part II and Chapter Three: On Exile, Part I

    Play Episode Listen Later May 26, 2022 73:20

    Superb group tonight!  Thank you all so much for the wonderful comments and questions on two very challenging steps. Synopsis: 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 ::eyeroll::   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.

    The Evergetinos - Vol I, Hypothesis XX, Part V

    Play Episode Listen Later May 26, 2022 63:07

    Thanks to everyone who participated in tonight's group on The Evergetinos.  As always it is a privilege and joy to sit at the feet of the Fathers with you. Synopsis: We continue our reading this evening of Hypothesis 20 on the revealing of one's thoughts to an elders. Again and again we are taught by the Fathers that this is the path to true healing for us. It is when we keep our thoughts secret, when we hide them, when we lie about them, that the devil gains a greater foothold in our lives. We are warned that God is not mocked for he sees all things and into the depths of the heart. So we are to never lie. In humility, we are to seek forgiveness and to acknowledge our thoughts, our temptations, any concerns, our desires, or even simple thoughts to our elders. When we do this our heart is also open to the Grace and action of God. The moment that we acknowledge the truth is the moment a flood of Grace comes upon us.  It is then that the demon is cast out. St Paul tells us: "Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ." It is our good fortune to have the Fathers to show us the path by which we can do this. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:12:23 FrDavid Abernethy: The Evergetinos   00:12:47 FrDavid Abernethy: Center for Traditional Orthodox Studies   00:14:18 Fr. Miron Jr.: yes we are   00:14:28 Fr. Miron Jr.: she is tired of me   00:14:49 FrDavid Abernethy: page 163   00:15:05 FrDavid Abernethy: Letter D   00:16:14 Debra: Do we need to re-sign up?   00:16:37 Josie: are we allowed to send father questions outside the group?   00:16:48 FrDavid Abernethy: yes   00:16:49 Ren:   00:17:02 Ren:   00:17:22 Josie: how do we reach you father? which email?   00:17:24 Ren:   00:17:40 FrDavid Abernethy:   00:18:13 Sarah Kerul-Kmec: hahaha   00:24:17 Debra: {Not raising my hand...I was shooing my dog away}   00:37:33 joannedavids: This is enlightening.  Very helpful.  Thank you, Fr.   00:44:31 Josie: were the fathers able to distinguish between evil thoughts that came from the evil one and those that came from their own thoughts and hearts? if so how?   00:45:12 Ambrose Little: This was before mass marketing. LOL

    The Evergetinos - Vol I, Hypothesis XX, Part IV

    Play Episode Listen Later May 22, 2022 61:30

    Text of chat during the group:  00:28:07 Josie: Does the first monk who said that he wanted to trust in God in the solitude of the desert demonstrate to us that God won't save someone who is alone or that this isn't the way that we approach the idea of complete trust in God? The context of my question being the mantra that we should trust only and fully in God and only he can help us.   00:29:51 Josie: So being completely alone isn't a sort of extra trust in God?   00:33:14 Anthony: Even in a non-monastic setting, being alone, outside of accountability to family and community, opens the mind to lots of thoughts or evil suggestions.  And a person can be alone in this sense either literally solitary or in a crowd like a college.  People can be severely tried when solitary in these senses.  There's something in Ecclesiastes that Father quotes, about walking alone, when you fall, who can help?  When you are with others they are even a preventative to falling.   00:33:36 Anthony: other people are encouragement to the heart.   00:45:18 Josie: is it weird to reveal our thoughts rather than actions and sins in the confessional?   00:45:33 Anthony: On a theological or social-theological note, this destructive sense of obedience - as I understand it, comes from Jansenism.  A Catholic Calvinism...and Calvinism focused for some reason on God's election, no place for a free love, it seems to me.   00:48:21 Ren: It is so powerful to compare the image of one who commands obedience put forward by Christ - a shepherd whose voice is followed, who carries those who are not strong enough to walk; one who stands in the midst of their followers as one who serves - to what you put forward just now - a hammer who drives others into a exact place by sheer force. Wow. Really amazing to reflect on.   00:53:45 Forrest Cavalier: μεγάλε   00:56:45 Ren: Satan - the relentless bartender :-D   00:57:42 Tyler Woloshyn: Reminds of the classic cartoon villain who keeps getting foiled by the virtuous protagonist.   01:04:29 Ren: I love this story so much. One of my favorites in the book so far.   01:04:40 Josie: me too   01:04:45 Ashley Kaschl: Same. It's so good.   01:06:00 Josie: father does fasting help with the psychological temptations or only physical temptations of the body? hope this q makes sense   01:09:40 Tyler Woloshyn: We know that these texts were written in a different technological era.  Fasting seems to become more of a battle today for lay, clergy, and monastic alike given technology.  Temptations and challenges to fasts can be magnified even more now then they were in the age of the Fathers.  The devil does not need to walk down the road here, he can be at the tip of one's fingers with screen time.   01:10:37 Josie: someone said on Twitter "the Lord gives the solution then he allows the problem"   01:12:11 Josie: he was quoting a Rabbi i think, and was talking about the internet   01:12:46 Anthony: I think what matters is what flask you drink from - or don't.  Since 2018, the Catholic news has been consumed with obkective wrongs, which exist, but can become consumptive: 2018-2019: sex scandal. 2019, Pachademon in Vatican. 2020-2022, election , Great Reset and covid.  2022, Ukraine.  The imbalance and fixation is real but can be a poison to imbibe and gets in the way of classic spiritual food and drink.  But maybe we can turn this to our good   01:14:26 Anthony: and being one oriented to fixing social problems, this negative world tone affected my spiritual life.   01:17:06 Rachel: lol   01:17:55 keynote: Thank you Fr.!!   01:18:02 Josie: thank you father   01:18:07 Rachel: Thank you!   01:18:15 Tyler Woloshyn: Good night and God bless!   01:18:21 Sheila Applegate: Thank you!  

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter Two: On Detachment, Part I

    Play Episode Listen Later May 5, 2022 66:50

    One of the participants in tonight‘s group on the "Ladder of Divine Ascent" described St. John's teaching on Detachment as a “mic drop moment.”  The psychological insight and the understanding of the fickleness of the human mind and the wiles of the ego are presented to us in such an unvarnished fashion that there is no denying the truth of them.   Yet – there is something in this that is incredibly uplifting to the human heart. The truth though difficult to hear and even more difficult to embrace is liberating and offers freedom. To have a first taste of this in these paragraphs on Detachment is something wonderful. We begin to see that the monks were leaving behind everything within the world not because they hated the world or hated others; but because they were drawn there by He who is infinite and absolute Love. Within the human heart is an urgent longing for what God alone can offer. In Him we come to see the meaning of our own lives and who we are. We step into Reality. And even though this may be very difficult and even though we may want to avoid it more often than not, if we allow ourselves to be drawn by the Lord, allow Him to take us by the hand and lead us into the truth of His Life and the reality of His Love -  what an indescribable joy comes over the mind and heart. --- Text of chat during the group:  00:02:28 Lita's iPhone: Happy to be joining you all! I'm nursing my newborn so I'll be without video

    The Evergetinos - Vol I, Hypothesis XX, Part III

    Play Episode Listen Later May 3, 2022 63:56

    The wisdom of the Fathers and the essential and fundamental elements of the spiritual life that they present us with is valuable beyond expression. Whether novices in the spiritual life or having struggled for many years, one is given a precious gift in reading the Evergetinos! Synopsis:  We picked up once again this evening with Hypothesis 20 on heeding the advice of the elders and the importance of revealing one's thoughts without embarrassment or shame. How beautiful it is when an elder has such compassion and love (as well as patience) to help those in his charge to set before God all of their thoughts and sins. What a blessing it is when you have one who is willing to wait even years, assisting you in the spiritual life, helping you to trust ever more fully in the power of grace and in the depths of God's mercy. The Evil One seeks to do nothing but undermine this trust in God and in one's elder. Even when we are tortured by our sins or our thoughts and temptations we often remain silent; because the evil one convinces us how shameful such thoughts might be. The closer we get to speaking them the more he seeks to make us question the value of doing so. The father's counsel on this is incredibly valuable. It reveals to us the wisdom of God and how it overcomes the cunning of the Evil One. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:18:25 Josie: When we have thoughts that we don't identify with the “inner self” or “inner man” but rather as false self, are we meant to 1) engage them in order to dismantle them at the root and deal with what part of us causes or wants to believe them, OR alternatively 2) do we simply ignore them/reject them as false and just re-center ourselves?   00:21:25 Tyler Woloshyn: This brings to mind the Psalmist when he speaks about in Psalm 136 (LXX) to deal with those sins, passions, vices by dashing them against the rock. To dash them against the Rock of Christ early on rather than much later.   00:23:27 Tyler Woloshyn: (I know it is a controversial psalm, but blessed are the monastics for explaining the meaning behind that psalm.)   00:34:15 Tyler Woloshyn: This story is very interesting when someone is held by passions, but how can one relate to those to struggle with scrupulosity in their confession?   00:45:04 Josie: it's ok you answered thank u   00:49:17 iPad (10)maureen: Is it much like Doctor ? You can have a cancer and not Know it.   00:49:49 iPad (10)maureen: The earlier one find a hidden illness you can recover.   00:52:55 Rachel: I can top that but in my humility will refrain   00:56:09 Anthony: These elders - are they experienced, mature Christians, or is Elder in these stories here the equivalent or presbyteros or sacerdotale - a priest?   00:57:01 Forrest Cavalier: The greek is Ό Γέρων   00:57:13 Forrest Cavalier: The old/wise one.   00:57:17 Anthony: Thanks, Forrest   00:57:18 Ambrose Little, OP: That's Greek to me.   00:57:19 Anthony: James   00:58:56 Anthony: Liberty University in the early 200's encouraged accountability partners and each dormitory hall had a supposedly mature student to be a spiritual leader   00:59:04 Anthony: 2000s   01:01:06 Rachel: I bought that book but have not read it!   01:01:29 iPad (10)maureen: Name of the book ?   01:01:29 Josie: me 2   01:01:41 Ren: A question about confession: In a situation where a certain sin has really taken root, and one finds it difficult even to resolve to try and amend one's behavior,  perhaps even resistant to change, what recourse does one have? The thought comes to my mind that is is sacrilegious to go to confession not hoping or firmly intending to change, but it you can't go to confession, what can you do? Are you just a lost cause?   01:02:49 Debra: Wouldn't going to confession provide the graces to help make that change?   01:04:10 Lilly: Orthodox Psychotherapy -author?   01:04:36 Anthony: Ren, I think Nietzsche actually has an important thing to say here - exert the will - not to power, but for our good. ;)   01:04:51 Sawyer: Confessing that lack of desire to change can sometimes bring great grace in itself.   01:07:14 Anthony: Lilly:   01:07:29 Lilly: Thank you   01:08:50 Forrest Cavalier: Psalm 22   01:09:05 Forrest Cavalier: My God why have you abandoned me   01:10:30 Anthony: Well FOrrest threw it out in a Cavalier manner. ;^)   01:11:10 Josie: seems God is always several steps ahead of us and there is always some level of darkness in the spiritual ;ife i think..   01:13:50 Ambrose Little, OP: Glad you became yourself again.  

    The Evergetinos - Vol I, Hypothesis XX, Part II

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 26, 2022 73:53

    In our reading of the Evergetinos, we picked up with Hypothesis 20 “On Obedience and Listening to the Advice of Elders.”  We are presented with the story of one monk, Iakovos, who was filled with impertinence and sought to place himself above others as a spiritual guide; this despite his lacking the fruit or obedience in his own life. The darkness and the trials of this monk grow deeper and deeper. The more resistant that he is to the guidance of others the more that the spirit of darkness takes hold of him. Then, in his moment of greatest weakness, the Enemy attacks him in such a way that he is overcome with a flood sinful thoughts. Taking matters into his own hands, rather than humbling himself before his Elder or before God, he mutilates himself. It is only the meekness and the compassion of the Elder that aids this monk in his darkness. Saint Savvas was able to apply a healing balm on every occasion of disobedience. Over and over again he applies the necessary remedy and offers intercession on behalf of his spiritual child.  The vivid imagery in this Hypothesis is meant to draw us into a deeper and more rich understanding of obedience and its importance for the spiritual life. Our willfulness can run so deep that we find ourselves wrapped in delusion. Left to ourselves we are capable of the worst. We can betray ourselves as well as God. May God in His mercy guide us along the path of repentance and give us the grace and healing of obedience. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:04:55 Mark: Some snow later tonight in MN   00:08:33 Lilly: Hello Fr. Blessed to be back! Happy Easter everyone!   00:17:31 Tyler Woloshyn: This kind of reminds me of the career centric mentality that Pope Francis have warned clergy against. Clergy trying to obtain monsignor or mitred archpriest status.   00:35:44 Anthony: When you take aptitude tests, clergy is considered just another job for people who like to help people. But a religious vocation is different than a career.   00:41:14 Forrest Cavalier: He cried out to his neighbors too late.   00:42:20 Ren: Is Iakovos' failure to reveal the thoughts to an elder, and his extreme action, another manifestation of arrogance?   00:43:54 Tyler Woloshyn: It seems very relevant as it shows what happens in those instances where people who say need accountability partners if you will do not have the courage to admit their weakness and seek help.   00:45:06 Josie: For our own days, is it advisable to admit these kinds of things in the confessional? (Even if sometimes this isn't exactly a confession of a sin but thoughts/temptations)   00:45:13 Anthony: Is the finalty of the mutilation the problem?  Other saints ran into thickets to hurt their bodies, and they are saints.   00:45:42 Forrest Cavalier: You quoted St. Philip Neri in the past: "In the warfare of the flesh, only cowards gain the victory; that is to say, those who fly."   00:46:41 Tyler Woloshyn: "Fly you fools." Gandalf.   00:47:28 Debra: Tyler, you are not the only 'nerd' lol   00:47:36 Ren: The nerds: Tyler, and everyone who got the joke :-D   00:48:48 Tyler Woloshyn: Glad that we are in good company. :)   00:50:34 Tyler Woloshyn: Post-Lenten shout out to the Life of St. Mary of Egypt.   00:50:38 Anthony: OK, is our goal then to walk about in life with a serene sould, and not be bothered by any temptation of body or mind, not distressing ourselves, but letting it pass?   00:54:07 Forrest Cavalier: There is a connection to obedience mentioned in this story: he did not obey the monastic rule against self mutilation.   01:05:05 Ren: On the topic of penance, I find that penance, among other things, is valuable in revealing that extent to which a true spirit of repentance as been fostered in the heart. When I embrace my penance and perform it soon after confession I am eager to apply spiritual medicine to my soul. Often, however, I am reluctant to accept penance, anxious about what the priest will give me, and am slow in performing it. Then, it is revealed to me that the spirit of repentance really hasn't been fostered well in my heart   01:06:42 Forrest Cavalier: The consequences in this story were more lenient than the Old Testament law: Num 15:30-31 But anyone who acts defiantly,e whether a native or an alien, reviles the LORD, and shall be cut off from among the people. For having despised the word of the LORD and broken his commandment, he must be cut off entirely and bear the punishment. Dt 18:20 But if a prophet presumes to speak a word in my namel that I have not commanded, or speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.   01:08:38 Tyler Woloshyn: I felt the part where St. Savvas mentioned to Iavokos that if he could not manage a pot of beans he could not manager a monastery. It is simple yet very enlightening.  God gives us so many graces and gifts, yet at times I know where I can do much better and not looking to throw out those pot of beans when frustration over life goals or discernment does not work out immediately.  Humility is a very wonderful thing.  Even the smallest of actions can be teaching moments.   01:10:36 Debra: If you can't do the time, don't do the crime   01:10:50 Carol Nypaver:

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter One: On Renunciation, Part VII

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 21, 2022 66:07

    Thank you one and all who participated in tonight's group. Your comments brought to life the already powerful writing of St. John Climacus in an extraordinary way! Synopsis: This evening we read the final four paragraphs of Step One of the Ladder “On the renunciation of the world.”  Climacus emphasizes the importance of letting the beginning of the spiritual life be good and strong so that the end of our lives may correspond to the start. To begin well is to end well. Thus, we want to begin the spiritual life with zeal and fervor for the Lord and without a fear of mortifying the flesh or depriving oneself. Lack of courage can mask itself as prudence and so prevent us from engaging in the ascetical life. As one Saint said, “Heaven is not for cowards.“ We are engaged in a spiritual battle and we wage war against principalities and powers who are relentless and seeking to undermine our efforts. Our determination then, to serve Christ, must be unambiguous. Whatever state we find ourselves in we must zealously pursue God and His love. All are called holiness and while we must be discerning about the path forward that we take we must clearly understand that we must invest ourselves more and more each day.  St John also emphasizes the importance of community. There are certain dangers in traveling the spiritual path alone. If one falls -  there is no one around who will pick him up out of despondency. In this regard, St.John refers to the Lord's teaching: “For where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am in the midst of them.”  St. John concludes by asking one question: “Who is the faithful and wise (monk) person?” It is he who has kept fervor unabated until the end of his life and has not ceased daily to add fire to fire, fervor to fervor, zeal to zeal, love to love. It is such a beautiful way to end the first step on renunciation. What we renounce we renounce for one purpose - to free us in order to love God unimpeded. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:08:40 Robyn Greco: Hi Father, Hi everyone. Hope everyone is well this evenng   00:08:52 FrDavid Abernethy, CO: hello Robyn   00:12:53 Sr Mary of our Divine Savior solt: Happy Easter -- Great to be here -- Alleluia   00:13:17 Rachel: Happy Easter!   00:19:33 Anthony: In my opinion, only great love can motivate a person to do what is repugnant - self sacrifice, or even a Cross.  So maybe Love can overcome spiritual sloth.  You  need to find the love, though.  It must be almost tangible, more tangible than self-love or false prudence.   00:22:22 Robyn Greco: 2 small meals and one regular meal, is that really a fast though? it doesn't seem to be   00:24:21 Ren: This is why we should never resent those who enter the vineyard at the ninth hour, so to speak. There are so many great things to be gained by spending one's youth, and whole life, laboring for Christ.   00:25:55 Debra: What was that book/author again?   00:26:38 Ren: Adalbert de Vogue   00:26:42 Eric Williams: A point worth considering: hundreds of years ago, it was normal to go to bed shortly after sunset, sleep 3 hours or so, get up for maybe an hour, and sleep again for 3 hrs or so. Humans haven't had biphasic sleep since the invention of electric light. Vigils seem less extreme when viewed in light of biphasic sleep.   00:26:49 Robyn Greco: Does St John have any of these spiritual actions for those who are not well in body or does he not get into that? Thank You   00:27:01 Debra: Thank you, Ren   00:28:11 Sr Barbara Jean Mihalchick: Benefits of fasting for the spiritual life:   00:29:07 Andreea and Anthony: I have always been troubled by devotions to saints that self-mutilate and that is exalted as proof of their holiness. Example St. Rose of Lima, a saint from my birth city. What you said about having the right balance between disciplining the body and torturing the body struck a chord with me. What are we to make of these saints?   00:31:09 Sr Barbara Jean Mihalchick: We recognize that everything comes as a gift; Fasting purifies our eating; Fasting calls us to hunger for the Lord; Fasting deepens our sense of hope and expectation; Fasting stirs our repentance and compunction; Fasting controls our desires; Fasting intensifies our prayer.   00:35:15 Eric Williams: "Do not test the Lord, your God." Taking up extreme practices willy-nilly is testing God - a temptation for which Jesus demonstrated refusal.   00:35:50 Sam Rodriguez: Father, you made the distinction between mortifying the bodily passions and spiritual passions. St. John of the Cross represents that division as a progression. For example, in Ascent of Mount Carmel, it's a movement from the "Night of the Senses" (which is more bodily & our sensory engagement) to the Night of the Soul (leading to growth in Faith), then Night of the Memory (growth in Hope) and then Night of the Will (growth in Charity) as a culminating moment to the Journey. Similarly the first 8 chapters of Dark Night of the Soul is concerned specifically with the "spiritual" versions of the Seven Deadly Sins. Which presumably is for those who, if I'm not mistaken, have already passed through the Night of the Senses. If I'm wrong in giving this account, please correct me. But I'm curious whether St. John Climacus and other Desert Fathers would see this "progressive" approach as overstated--that it must all be addressed simultaneously and whether the same would apply for pursuit of the Theological Virtues.   00:37:43 Rachel: And Theresa of Avila! Among others..   00:38:17 Andreea and Anthony: Btw, what page/paragraph are we on?   00:38:31 Ren: Page 59. Paragraph 25   00:38:37 Andreea and Anthony: Thanks!   00:38:49 Rachel: Thank you Sr. Barbara   00:44:36 Ambrose Little: But he's gonna keep sayin it.

    The Evergetinos -Vol I, Hypothesis XX, Part I

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 19, 2022 74:07

    This evening we started a new Hypothesis, number 20. The focus is on receiving the advice of the fathers and how important it is not to develop an individualistic approach to the spiritual life. Asceticism can very quickly become something of our own making. Whenever we are guided simply by our own judgment, spiritual practices can very easily lead us into pride. The longer that we are in such a state, the greater the danger of falling into delusion. One who thinks he is above the elders' or anyone else's judgment, he who seeks no one else's counsel, will come to experience the greatest darkness. We are part of the living body of the Church and God has given us that which is most essential for our sanctity. Despite the darkness that we see within the world and sometimes see within the life of the Church, we do not want to lose sight of God‘s Providential care and the guidance of the Spirit. Nor do we want to lose sight of those God has put on our path to help support us and guide us. Such an attitude requires from us an openness to the guidance of the Spirit in our lives. Above all it requires humility. Our path as Christian men and women is distinctly the path of humility, the path of the cross, and so we must never be deluded to the extent that we place our own judgment above others.  In the end such an attitude will eventually lead us to place our judgment above God himself. From such a tragic darkness - we may never emerge. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:16:39 Anthony: Look at the history of Family Radio for a contemporary example.   00:18:33 John White: O felix culpa! O happy carbuncle!   00:18:52 carolnypaver:

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter One: On Renunciation, Part VI

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 14, 2022 72:34

    We picked up this evening with Step One “On Renunciation of the World”. St. John‘s focus is on entering into the spiritual life, the ascetical life, fully. We are not to make excuses out of our past sins or let them become impediments to our engaging in the spiritual battle. Psychologically they can become exactly that. Shame can make us hold back from opening ourselves to God and the healing that He alone offers. Likewise, fear of what lies ahead and the discipline involved can keep us from investing ourselves fully. Rather, we are to respond as if we were called by an earthly king; eagerly leaving everything to go to him and remaining alert lest he should call us day or night. We would never give ourselves over to sloth or cowardice knowing that we would find ourselves under the king's judgment. Thus, we are to enter into the spiritual life unfettered by worldly concerns. Whether one is a monk or living in the world, one must have God as the beginning and end of all things - the very center of our existence. He must be desired and loved above all things.  If this is true then we will charge into the “good fight” with joy and love without being afraid of our enemies, the demons. They know the movements of the mind and the heart, the patterns of behavior that they observe within us and whether or not we are scared. Therefore, John tells us, we must enter into the battle courageously for no one fights with a plucky fighter.  Naturally St. John begins by focusing on the early moments of the ascetical life. God by design protects the novice in the spiritual life in order to keep him from falling into despondency. He hides the difficulty of the contest. However, if God sees a courageous soul He will allow him to experience conflict and to be in embattled in order that he might be crowned all the sooner. Thus, God will allow us to be tested if it will perfect our love and virtue and if He sees our zeal for Him. --- Text of chat during the group: 00:09:34 Robyn Greco: i could listen to you preach anytime Father, because you're such an excellent teacher   00:18:20 Ren: The number of men who started chuckling just then was pretty fantastic. Caught on camera! :-D   00:18:40 Debra:

    The Evergetinos - Vol I, Hypothesis XIX, Part IV

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 12, 2022 72:58

    Tonight, I have to say, was one of the most beautiful groups on the Evergetinos that we have had to date. I do not say this lightly given how wonderful the past groups have been; but this hypothesis (19) opens up for us the meaning of obedience in such a way that one begins to understand that it is a virtue to be loved precisely because it draws us into love.  Obedience is therapeutic; it brings about healing for the soul. It place one in a right relationship with God and so heals the wounds of sin. Obedience leads to intimacy; he who does the will of My Father in heaven is my mother, my brother, my sister. We are drawn into the most intimate relationship with a Most Holy Trinity, Christ tells us explicitly, so much so that He and the Father will come to us and serve us when we have been faithful.  Indeed we already know the fruit of this in every celebration in Holy Mass. We need to only ask ourselves: “Who is it that sits at this table and who is it that serves?”  Christ has made himself the obedient One and through His obedience has given us all; nourishing us upon His life and love. Our obedience allows us to respond in kind; it removes every impediment to our giving and receiving love. --- Text of chat during the group:  00:05:53 Rachel: Hola everyone.   00:07:56 Rachel: Road rage?   00:24:45 Ambrose Little: I remember reading St. Francis de Sales recommending that readily assenting to requests, even of our inferiors (e.g., even one's small children), is a kind of obedience. It is submitting our will to that of another.   00:26:23 Sarah Kerul-Kmec: Elder Paisios is a great example of this. giving over his will to a small child in an act of obedience   00:29:11 Daniel Allen: Would it be correct to equate obedience then as laying aside one's own ego and preference to respond to the need of the other? Not to over simplify the topic but also trying to understand the common theme among the examples presented.   00:30:38 Rachel: It seems in this type of obedience to the reality of the person right in front of you God is not only trying to teach you something but He is offering Himself! This is the perfect example of what St. Maximus just said   00:34:18 Fr. Ben Butler: Yes, agreed. Well said about confession.   00:34:59 Ambrose Little: I think so, Daniel. It's a sacrifice of ego on behalf of another. Easier said than done!   00:35:06 Daniel Allen: Sorry question is above just prior to Rachel's   00:38:41 Rachel: Wow   00:43:54 Forrest Cavalier: Is there a footnote about the camel in your English translation?   00:51:12 Forrest Cavalier: Marriage vocations are delayed, too.   00:52:16 David Robles: Father David, maybe it would be useful to point out that we do not obey the commandments as an exercise in ethics, or finishing a to do list, a set of rules, a legalistic requirement. For the Fathers , obedience to the commandments is something dynamic, nothing less than our participation in the Life of the Holy Trinity. The commandments are also therapeutic. Following them heals us. Finally we have the promise of the Lord Himself who in the gospel of John tells us, "whoever obeys my commandments is the one who loves Me... And the Lord promises that He and His Father will come into the heart of such a one and dwell in him.   00:55:47 Rachel: Obedience seems to be very closely related to purity of heart.  David Robles just expanded on that point I think.   00:55:52 Rachel: I'm so sorry!   00:57:17 Ambrose Little: John 5:19; 31 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise…. “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”  John 10:30 "I and the Father are one." Divine union is often seen as the culmination of the contemplative life.   01:02:44 Rachel: What if one ( no this is not pertaining to me) finds  there is a request or advice given by someone that contradicts what their conscience tells them? What if the person is a confessor or spiritual director? For a parent or spouse or friend this seems pretty clear cut but a confessor or spiritual director?   01:02:57 Rachel: LOL   01:04:37 Erick chastain: it is interesting reflecting on obedience after palm Sunday. I found myself wanting to make more sacrifices for Jesus after seeing how much our Lord lowered himself for me.   01:09:12 Ashley Kaschl: Seems like Newman is on the mind, because these paragraphs and sections are reminding me of the last part of a quote by St John Henry Newman,    “Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away.    If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.”   It seems that obedience is tied up, then, in trust and hope, and that these sections we're reading demand a sort of stretching of our trust in God's plan and will for our lives to its limits so that God can show us the depths where we might find joy in our obedience no matter the circumstance.   01:10:02 Ashley Kaschl: Sorry

    The Ladder of Divine Ascent - Chapter One: On Renunciation, Part V

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 7, 2022 66:29

    As we step further into this first reflection of St. John Climacus on Renunciation, we begin to see how he paints with broad strokes. His intention is that we would begin this journey with a clarity of focus. Our asceticism is to be driven not by our own will or by fear or by hope of reward - but by love.  So often, we can turn the ascetical life into a matter of endurance, or self-punishment rather than a means of healing and drawing us into deeper intimacy with God. Thus, all the images that John uses in this first step call us to let go of our preconceived notions of the spiritual life and of God. We are to allow Him to draw us forward and Bis Spirit to guide us along the path that fosters our sanctification and salvation.  God wants us to enter this path with zeal and fervor. Love must fuel the fire within the heart that makes us run with swiftness when Christ calls us. We are to run with love and be motivated by desire. God and the pursuit of divine things cannot be set aside anything within this world as comparable in value or importance. God must be the beginning and end of all that we do. We must be ever so careful not to become calculating in our view of the spiritual life and never asceticism as another means of self-help. In fact, the self must be set aside in order that we might constantly gaze upon the face of Christ. It is Love that motivates us and beckons us and it is this Love alone that will bring us to what our heart longs for the most.  --- Text of chat during the group: 00:09:25 Cindy Moran: Good Evening!!   00:09:46 kevinferrick: Yes good eve!!!   00:13:59 Edward Kleinguetl: In a secular culture that is at war with the values of the Gospel   00:23:20 iPad (10)maureen: Sorry it was on by mistake   00:30:12 Bridget McGinley: Wow Father, that insight is profound as with the comparison of the Biblical texts. Thank you   00:30:18 Eric Williams: Stone is a building's foundation. Brick structures are built on top. Should pillars be built on bare earth? I don't know, but my guess is that doing so makes a structure vulnerable to ground eroding underneath. So, we must start our ascent will a solid foundation, for to attempt advanced ascesis too quickly would invite disaster. We might ask ourselves how firm the ground is under our ladders.   00:33:34 Ryan Schaefer: I think it is easy to focus on how much energy we put into putting awareness in Christ, rather than directly focusing on Christ. Does that make sense? Something that I have been thinking about this past week.   00:33:52 Andreea and Anthony: What page/paragraph are we at?   00:34:06 Anthony: 14   00:34:11 David Robles: Father, if a good foundation is Love and Chastity (see #8), and Innocence, fasting and temperance, which take time to learn (see#10), how can we attain to that in the beginning to be used as a foundation? In other writings Love is the summit of the spiritual life. What kind or measure of love do we need at the beginning? How is that love different from the kind of love that is our goal?   00:34:13 Carol Nypaver: 56. 14   00:36:58 Joseph Caro: Wow, I really love your interpretation of #14 Father. I thought at first it was good to build on stones. . .but your interpretation made me notice that the first two people are building structures (a stable dwelling place, either way  -- pillars on bare ground might not be within building codes but it would make a house anyway) whereas the third is running free. That's a strange juxtaposition that is only illuminated by your explanation.   00:37:13 David Robles: Thank you Father. That makes sense!   00:39:47 Eric Williams: I don't mean to belabor the point, but I may have insight as a runner. Attempting to run a race or a hard workout without warming up first could lead to either injury or poor performance. So, this metaphor doesn't strike me as very different from the others.   00:40:49 Sam Rodriguez: We live in a time of celebrity Priests and Catholic speakers that can often engender a cult of personality, self-promotion, and product-mindedness in much of our current catechetical offerings. When one contrasts that phenomenon against what St John Climacus, it seems to point to some concerning implications as to the spirit as to how current and future generation of Catholics might be formed, if not checked   00:41:39 Rachel: This is a pernicious temptation where when one is trying to avoid multiplicity they are in fact focusing too much on self   00:41:39 Sam Rodriguez: *contrasts that phenomenon against what St. John Climacus is saying   00:42:42 Andreea and Anthony: Everyone is needed in the Lord's kingdom. My wife and I have benefited greatly from Bishop Barron and Fr. Mike Smitz, Fr. Dave Pivonka, etc   00:45:22 Anthony: Simplicity vs multiplicity. It may be better to smoke or drink in peace of heart on one's own porch than to listen to many Catholic teachers on YouTube.   00:46:03 Sam Rodriguez: Oh I agree, Andrea and Anthony. And I'm not saying its intrinsically bad. But I'm saying it *can* be bad... and i'm not pointing to any particular Priest/Speaker... and quickly acknowledge that many are wonderful and holy... but i'm speaking to the aggregate impact that such phenomenon can have to people seeking to give their life to ministry.... the glitz and allure of celebrity can be distracting... and launching a ministry such as that can sometimes rely upon self-promotion, which inherently carries spiritual risk and must be checked...   00:46:33 Andreea and Anthony: Judge not that you may not be judged. We cannot know how God is acting in someone else's souls   00:48:26 Sam Rodriguez: If you re-read what I'm saying in those past two comments, there is no judgment intended to be expressed. This is merely a caution flag being waived. Nothing more.   00:48:29 Ren: My mind is also turned to the man found building a barn on the night he is going to die, and to Christ speaking of the destruction of the physical temple, and the enduring nature of the temple of his body. Everything in the New Testament, and here in this chapter, points us towards a less earthly, less secure (in one sense) way, and towards total abandon to the person of Christ.   00:52:01 Anthony: And it came to dust because it was intended to receive Messiah.  But when Messiah was rejected, the earthly glory was dismissed..  It's a warning for our cathedrals and basilicas too.   00:52:16 Robyn Greco: sorry im late   00:58:12 Sam Rodriguez: Amen, Father. Thank you   01:04:01 Ambrose Little: ❤️   01:05:51 Robyn Greco: i lost my spot can someone tell me where on page 57 we are? thank you   01:06:08 Rachel: I wonder at the examples of monks who fell away because of the lack of clarity Fr. Abernathy was speaking of a few minutes ago. The clarity Father A speaks of seems to be one received at every moment, from Our Lord through union with Him in whatever degree and capacity we are able to in that moment.                    In relation to St. John C., we will be pulled down by fears manifested in different idols and desires. The labor and grief also seem to be the pain that comes from the Divine Sculptor chipping away our illusions, of self and more importantly God Himself. Consumed by God Himself Also, ! I am not too sure what sublimation, that you mentioned means, so I will have to look up what you meant and how that related to what your were saying and how it relates.     01:06:15 Erick chastain: the joy of virtue should not exclude tears of compunction though   01:06:55 Rachel: Yes, Erick, a joyful sorrow. :)   01:07:43 Rachel: I was thinking the same thing. btw and am not afraid to say it lol   01:08:25 Rachel: What is peace?   01:12:37 Andreea and Anthony: Listening to the story about the Franciscan whose gift to the poor was destroyed by them before they could benefit, should we draw the conclusion that building on a large scale for others is always a mistake and a way of self-aggrandizement? For example, should Pope Saint John Paul the Great not have started any of the “big projects” he started such as World Youth Day, visiting so many countries, the work of the Catechism, Theology of the Body, etc … Should Saint Teresa of Calcutta not have built any of the homes for the poor? THAT was the way SHE was called to be the face of Christ in the world …   01:12:55 Andreea and Anthony: From Anthony: Regarding the idea that as soon as we try to enter the kingdom things go south, that seems very discouraging. Why would anyone then attempt it? It seems to me that God allows trials in accordance to what we need for the salvation of our souls, not allowing the devil to crush us immediately.   01:14:00 Erick chastain: joy should include suffering and  compunction, it is not a worldly joy   01:14:54 Erick chastain: suffering with christ   01:17:04 Cindy Moran: Thank you so much!   01:17:12 Rachel: Thank you   01:17:21 Sam Rodriguez: Thank you. Father!!   01:17:24 Rachel: If you say so lol   01:17:38 Rachel: Yes, it is drinking pure light   01:17:48 Ann Grimak: Thank you