From Isaac of Stella

"So, brother, make for yourself a hidden place within yourself, in which you can flee away from yourself and pray in secret to the Father." Isaac of Stella

Passing From Self to God: A Cistercian Retreat, Robert Thomas, OCSO Cistercian Press, 2006, p. 4

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Mustard Seed

"...For, amen I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from hence hither, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you."  Matthew 17:20

This sounds like one of the easily disproved promises of Jesus, for no mountains are moved, no limbs are regrown for amputees, and there is much death and suffering in this world.  How can we understand this saying?  Perhaps considering His words in the way of the "death of self " can open this for us.  In the great submersion, in the death of self, of the passing of the old man and the growth of the new man- the Christ, the realization of the oneness of the Logos and the connectedness of all things we can see that which is behind all things, that the actualization of the love of the Logos is the world and all its wonders.  Some are healed for His glory.  Some are left in suffering for His glory.  In all it is in Him and for Him, and when we are perfectly united in His will then "all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."Julian of Norwich  The Stoics have taught us that those things which neither lead us to virtue or tempt us to vice are indifferents.  So much in this life falls into this category.  Schopenhauer showed us that that which is the death of egotism is good, and that which extends egotism is evil.  If a man lays down his life and his will and takes up Christ, is this not the ultimate good?  And united so with the Logos, with Christ, is there anything impossible to us, although the idea of "us" or "me" takes on a very different meaning in this state?

I must remember the promises of Christ the next time I am discouraged.  Nothing shall be impossible for you.  In the Logos all is actuality itself.  And all things shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lenten Tears

The path has been steep and rough this past week on the trek to our resurrection event.  Resentment and despair are vicious enemies, and can seem to hammer relentless at the door for attention especially when I am tired.  I am glad for them because they show me how little I have forgiven others, and how shallow my hope really is.  It is all very well and good to tell oneself to die to self and turn always to God, but the self dies hard.  There was an interesting blog entry by Jules Evans in which he discusses the possible internal realities of polytheism, or of multiple spiritual beings.  His discussion is well founded in modern neuroscience, and there is a nice, accessible discussion in William Irvine's "On Desire" which goes into greater detail of the multifocal subrational nature of our minds.  Are perhaps our demonic temptations a similar phenomena of more nasty reptilian desires creating desires discordant with the life of the new man, the christ presence within?  Perhaps such discord is the inevitable result when one strives for salvation?
So I must dust my self off and confess my sins and inadequacies.  I must apologize to those I offend with my churlishness and forgive them.  A brother wrote yesterday in his blog of a method from the Philokalia for dispelling rancour in your heart- that one must pray for that person whenever you think of them.  This I must do, now and always.