October192014
Solitude and the Emptying of Self

The hermit in the desert is called to a life of death, poverty and suffering. It is a life of impracticality and uselessness according to the standards of the world. The solitary is inferior on all levels, even the spiritual and yet it is precisely in this state of emptiness and inferiority that the ultimate goal of unity with God is achieved. For when one ceases to strive for the things of this world, to honor the social conventions of society, to be reduced to nothing in the eyes of the world around them and to choose silence and solitude that the point of the hermit’s life is actualized. In poverty so great and deep, one is surrounded by God in a way that the affluent are not. To cease to regard self as poverty stricken is to simply exist in a way that is authentic. In nakedness and hunger, one is a stranger to this world, a wanderer in the desert and yet this is perhaps a more authentic and honest condition of the human soul than to remain in the world and be engaged actively in community. The spirituality of the desert, with its doubts reduces the hermit to silence and it is in this state that God is ever-present despite uncertainty and nothingness.

This emptiness and nothingness that is found in solitary places is not without purpose. To escape into the silence is not selfish but is actually the very opposite in that it is a death of self, a forgetfulness of striving. It is a death of our very person and identity. This death is to die to self and to live for Christ alone. To be a solitary is to be a brother of the martyr. One does not become a solitary in order to heighten self-consciousness or to find pleasure in self but it is the opposite. It is possible to turn our backs on society without hating it and perhaps it is even a greater form of love for it than remaining in it would be. Without this emptiness and death of self found in the silence we are unable to love because we will not possess a self that is deep and realized, empty and without motives or strivings of our own. This is the only gift that we are able to offer someone in love. Without solitude, it is hard to know the love of God and how can we truly give love unless we receive much more than we have ever had before? It is through solitude that we are aware of God’s transforming divine mercy, by which we can experience emptiness and also God’s perfect love through which we can love others.

It is empty people that our society so desperately needs today to speak with a prophetic voice, calling society away from the noise, the confusion and the sickening desire that seeks to find fulfillment in passing pleasures and in self.

Solitude and the Emptying of Self

The hermit in the desert is called to a life of death, poverty and suffering. It is a life of impracticality and uselessness according to the standards of the world. The solitary is inferior on all levels, even the spiritual and yet it is precisely in this state of emptiness and inferiority that the ultimate goal of unity with God is achieved. For when one ceases to strive for the things of this world, to honor the social conventions of society, to be reduced to nothing in the eyes of the world around them and to choose silence and solitude that the point of the hermit’s life is actualized. In poverty so great and deep, one is surrounded by God in a way that the affluent are not. To cease to regard self as poverty stricken is to simply exist in a way that is authentic. In nakedness and hunger, one is a stranger to this world, a wanderer in the desert and yet this is perhaps a more authentic and honest condition of the human soul than to remain in the world and be engaged actively in community. The spirituality of the desert, with its doubts reduces the hermit to silence and it is in this state that God is ever-present despite uncertainty and nothingness.

This emptiness and nothingness that is found in solitary places is not without purpose. To escape into the silence is not selfish but is actually the very opposite in that it is a death of self, a forgetfulness of striving. It is a death of our very person and identity. This death is to die to self and to live for Christ alone. To be a solitary is to be a brother of the martyr. One does not become a solitary in order to heighten self-consciousness or to find pleasure in self but it is the opposite. It is possible to turn our backs on society without hating it and perhaps it is even a greater form of love for it than remaining in it would be. Without this emptiness and death of self found in the silence we are unable to love because we will not possess a self that is deep and realized, empty and without motives or strivings of our own. This is the only gift that we are able to offer someone in love. Without solitude, it is hard to know the love of God and how can we truly give love unless we receive much more than we have ever had before? It is through solitude that we are aware of God’s transforming divine mercy, by which we can experience emptiness and also God’s perfect love through which we can love others.

It is empty people that our society so desperately needs today to speak with a prophetic voice, calling society away from the noise, the confusion and the sickening desire that seeks to find fulfillment in passing pleasures and in self.

October172014
October162014
October142014
nuitnuitnuit:

Russian Orthodox Clerical Vestments

nuitnuitnuit:

Russian Orthodox Clerical Vestments

(via phil0kalia)

October132014
dramoor:

(via Orthodoxy)

dramoor:

(via Orthodoxy)

4PM
4PM
[A]lthough we must not despair of the possibility for our conversion and salvation no matter how weak [because previously ignored] is the call for conversion to a virtuous life, we must always think timidly and fearfully of our weak condition. Might we have sunk so far that we have reached the final opportunity to receive a grace-filled awakening? Could we have barred all inroads that divine grace, ever desiring our salvation, might take to act upon us? Is this the last time that grace may be drawing nigh unto us with the aim of bringing us to our senses and putting a stop to our disgraceful condition? Thus, as weak as such a call may be, we must ever more speedily rush to make use of it with all firmness of intention, though this may require more discernment, and intensify it to the fullest extent of human freedom. Obviously, such intensification is nothing other than the opening up of ourselves to this seeking and sought-for grace. We must open up, for through our falls we have become more and more hardened and closed to grace, in first one and then another respect.

St. Theophan the Recluse 
–The Path to Salvation, p. 125

[A]lthough we must not despair of the possibility for our conversion and salvation no matter how weak [because previously ignored] is the call for conversion to a virtuous life, we must always think timidly and fearfully of our weak condition. Might we have sunk so far that we have reached the final opportunity to receive a grace-filled awakening? Could we have barred all inroads that divine grace, ever desiring our salvation, might take to act upon us? Is this the last time that grace may be drawing nigh unto us with the aim of bringing us to our senses and putting a stop to our disgraceful condition? Thus, as weak as such a call may be, we must ever more speedily rush to make use of it with all firmness of intention, though this may require more discernment, and intensify it to the fullest extent of human freedom. Obviously, such intensification is nothing other than the opening up of ourselves to this seeking and sought-for grace. We must open up, for through our falls we have become more and more hardened and closed to grace, in first one and then another respect.

St. Theophan the Recluse 

–The Path to Salvation, p. 125

3PM
October122014
“And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. (Revelations 8:4)”

“And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. (Revelations 8:4)”

5AM
signum-crucis:

Of what use is it to make the Sign of the Cross upon your body if the Sign of the Cross is not upon your heart?God does not want us to simply make pictures of His signs,but to act upon them.
— St Augustine, On Psalm 50:1

signum-crucis:

Of what use is it to make the Sign of the Cross upon your body if the Sign of the Cross is not upon your heart?
God does not want us to simply make pictures of His signs,
but to act upon them.

— St Augustine, On Psalm 50:1

(Source: nativethoughts, via the-violent-take-it-by-force)

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