Wednesday, January 29, 2014

All PRAYER, READING AND MEDITATION are aimed at purity of heart -

 an unconditional and totally humble surrender to God, a total acceptance of ourselves and of our situation as willed by him.  It means the renunciation of all deluded images of ourselves, all exaggerated estimates of our own capacities, in order to obey the will of God as it comes to us in the difficult demands of life in its exacting truth.  Purity of heart is then correlative to a new spiritual identity - the "self" as recognized in the context of realities willed by God - Purity of heart is the enlightened awareness of the new man, as supposed to the complex and perhaps rather disreputable fantasies of the "old man."

     Meditation is then ordered to this new insight, this direct knowledge of the self in its higher aspect. (CTP 68)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Your LIfe!

Are you sure that the meaning of your life is the meaning God intends for it?  Does God impose a meaning on your life from the outside, through event, custom, routine, law, system, impact with others in society?  Or are you called to create from within, with him, with is grace, a meaning which reflects his truth and makes you his "word" spoken freely in your personal situation?  Your true identity lies hidden in the call of God to your freedom and your response to him.  This means you must use your freedom in order to love, with full responsibility and authenticity, not merely receiving a form imposed on you by external forces, or forming your own life according to an approved social pattern, but directing your love to the personal reality of your brother, and embracing the will of God in its naked, often impenetrable mystery.

We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios. (SSM 133)

Science and Technology are indeed admirable in many respects, and if they fulfill their promises, they can do much for man.  But they can never solve his deepest problems.  On the contrary, without wisdom, without the intuition and freedom that enable man to return to the root of his being, science can only precipitate him still further into the centrifugal flight that flings him, in all his compact and uncomprehending isolation, into the darkness of outer space without purpose and without objective. (FAV 224)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Everyday martyrdom

We can be a martyr even without the bloodshed. Whenever we set aside our unhealthy desires and avoid the traps of iniquity, we are a martyr - witness to the power of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Birds are fooled, and the animals of the forest, by the very charms that bring their destruction. Caves as well as food deceive them. They do not know how to avoid evil, and they are not restrained by the law.

Law is given to humanity, and we choose a doctrine of life, from which we remember that it is possible to live carefully, and recall our own place, and get rid of things that cause death.

Whoever abandons rule condemns himself severely: he will be bound with iron, or lose his position, or be executed - he loses what he ought to be enjoying.

We have been warned by example. Do not commit serious iniquities. We have been transformed in baptism; have charity, and run away from the bait of the mousetrap, where there is death.
Many martyrdoms are made without shedding blood, Not to covet the property of other people; to wish for the benefit of martyrdom; to control our tongue; to make ourselves humble; never to use force willingly or fight back when force is used against us - these things will give us a patient mind. And then, know that we are a martyr!

-Commodianus, Instructions, 48

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Owning a Slave is no Measure of Worth
Riches ought to be used in a reasonable way, and it is necessary to overcome avarice and share them generously with others.

The love of beautiful objects must not become purely selfish.  If it does, we shall end up not knowing what the true beauty is like.  It would be sad indeed if people were to say to us: ‘Their land, their slaves and their capital assets are worth fifteen million, but they themselves are only worth three pennies.’

If you separate owners and slaves, you will see that the owners are not different from slaves.  In fact they are very like them.  If there is any difference, it is that the owners are weaker and more prone to illness than their slaves.

We must continually repeat those amazing words of the Lord: ‘Sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, where there are neither robbers nor rust.’ [cf. Matt. 19:21; 6:20]

The truly rich are not those who keep their riches to themselves but those who give to others.  Happiness comes not from possessing wealth but from giving it away.  Whatever is generously given away becomes a fruit of the soul.  It therefore becomes the soul’s wealth.

                                                                                                                     Clement of Alexandria
                                                                                                                    The Teacher, 3, 6 (PG8, 604)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

For in [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
To be filled, something must first be empty, as anyone knows who has started to fill a water glass at table, gotten distracted by conversation, and gone on "filling" the glass when there was no empty space left for the water.  Saint Paul wrote elsewhere about the self-emptying of Christ.  What he calls to our attention here is the need for our own. We cannot share in the fullness of the deity that fills us as the Body of Christ unless we make room by emptying ourselves of anything that offers no space for God.  The words of Saint Paul call to mind the holy of holies, the room at the heart of the Jerusalem temple kept all but empty to receive God.  We sometimes build other rooms in our inmost self and furnish them for other gods.  The prophet Ezekiel described an "idol room" in the much desecrated Jerusalem temple of his day.  Do we have an idol room, where we keep all the false gods whom we honour with our obedience and our sacrifices?  Their name is legion: public opinion, unnecessary financial gain, self-satisfaction, pleasure, comforts of all sorts.  They are all demanding of our time, our attention, our energy.  We recognize them best when they decree that we have no time to pray, no time for Divine Liturgy, no time to do a kindness, no time to listen to the stories of our children or the aging laments of our parents, because we must be at the beck and call of a TV program, an exercise class, a golf game, overtime work to pay for things we do not need... we all know them.  There is room for only one God in the inner temple of the Christian self - the one "who is the head of every principality and power."  With his help, let us drive out that other crowd, with all its demands, so that our inner emptiness may be filled not with their clutter but with the fullness of God in which we share through Christ.
                                                      - Sister Genevieve Glen, O.S.B.