Evagrios the Solitary – On Passions and Thoughts #3

The voids inside oneself from social distancing can become a time to deepen your relationship to God.

Evagrios the Solitary, also known as Evagrius of Pontus
Lived 346 – 399CE (disputable) as an early ascetic pioneer
Texts on Discrimination in Respect of Passions and Thoughts
Number 3

Let us stand firm in the fear of God, rigorously practicing the virtues and not giving our conscience cause to stumble. In the fear of God let us keep our attention fixed within ourselves, until our conscience achieves its freedom. Then there will be a union between it [this freedom] and us, and thereafter it will be our guardian, showing us each thing that we must uproot. But if we do not obey our conscience, it will abandon us and we shall fall into the hands of our enemies, who will never let us go. This is what our Lord taught us when He said: ‘Come to an agreement with your adversary quickly while you are with him in the road, lest he hand you over to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer and you are cast into prison (Matt. 5:25). The conscience is called an ‘adversary’ because it opposes us when we wish to carry out the desires of our flesh; and if we do not listen to our conscience, it delivers us into the hands of our enemies.

Continue reading “Evagrios the Solitary – On Passions and Thoughts #3”

talk about your social distancing. . .*

“I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life.  I am it.” Astronaut Michael Collins, Apollo 11

Remember Astronaut Michael Collins on the first moonwalk 50-years ago?  No, I don’t either. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Actually I do.  About every 2-hours Michael Collins, in the Command Module, Columbia, flew over Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong after their descent to the lunar surface in the Lunar Lander, Eagle, and were the astronauts who first walked on the moon.

. . . and one plus God only knows what on this side.  I feel this powerfully — not as fear or loneliness — but as awareness, anticipation, satisfaction, confidence, almost exultation.  I like the feeling.

Let’s backtrack a little.  3-Days earlier the Columbia crew fired their main engine, for TLI, that is Translunar Injection.  This ‘burn’ set their trajectory away from orbiting earth in favor of traveling to the moon.  That is: they pointed the Columbia to travel to where the moon’s position would be 3-days (approximately 40-degrees) ahead of the moon’s present position.  You have to plan ahead, you know.

I have fortunately lived in the space-era, the ‘space race’ — ‘we HAD to beat those Russians’ to the moon, no second choice in the matter!  Amazing what a little ‘friendly competition’ can accomplish.  President Kennedy said in outlining the mission to go to the moon AND RETURN safely, “. . .not because it is easy, but because it is hard.” Continue reading “talk about your social distancing. . .*”

Things of this world

1 Corinthians 7:31

[paraphrasing] This age will pass away but use the things of this world “lightly”, do not put your trust in them but trust God.

Advertising is meant to grab and hold the human attention; and usually works very well. Which is why advertisers continue, endlessly with their ads.

Buy this. Do that. You can’t live without this!  Be happy, spend money.

Amongst many of the ‘worldly pulls,’ Christians are to live ‘apart’ from worldly things — Ideas, religions, philosophies, societal rituals. . .  Holiday traditions, family traditions, and the notion, “When in Rome do as Romans do”. . .  Cars, airplanes, other physical items too numerous to mention.

 

The things of this world help us in our daily living

And teach us realities of Heaven

Of God, and Christ and the Holy Spirit

But they are not Heaven

They are symbols, and are transient

-Jeff

Purifying and the Yardstick

James: 4:8  “purify your hearts” (ease your double mindedness)
Mark 4:24  be careful how you measure — what you use in measuring

What is the criteria you use when measuring yourself?

When you take stock in who you are, or “judge” yourself, be mindful of the standard you are using and choose the Standard God would have for you.

Put Others First

But can you truly, always put others ahead of yourself?

Philippians 2:3

This passage reveals a mindset we are to nurture: place other people higher than yourself.

An intriguing principle, and a virtue residing in the arena of a “matured” Faith, carrying a high degree of difficulty because to achieve God’s standard, you attach reigns to yourself.

But can you truly, always rank others ahead of yourself?

 

Loving, Thanking, & Assuming

These 3 aspects of the Christian faith have been on my mind recently.  So I will help us to be mindful about all 3.

We need to check ourselves every now and then to make sure what we are saying and doing have perception as loving acts.  Sometimes in the way we treat other people we say things or do things and the other people don’t see, may not perceive this as a caring act.  We can mean well but they may not take it that way.

To be thankful for everything is an overwhelming aspect of the Christian Faith.  It’s difficult to be thankful when things are not going, or at least you perceive they’re not going well.  In this world we suffer losses and setbacks, heart aches and failures, but move your attitude to a place where thankfulness arises.

And the third item, this morning: assuming, can catch us off guard.  We know that other people think differently than I / we think: have different terminology, define words differently.  But it is fairly easy for me to go through my daily life thinking that other people, since they’re doing the same things — get out of bed, eat breakfast, go to work, buy groceries, meet with friends or family, go to church, watch a movie, read a book — are gathering the same ideas that I am gathering.  And as such, are forming the same opinions and attitudes as myself.  But there is a good chance they are shaped differently by these same experiences.

Be mindful.

-Jeff

Make “My Monet”

. . .is the pic you made, making, yet to make.

The title could be “Make Your Monet”, but I wanted you to think personally about yourself.

As Monet, amongst the world’s best painters of art from long ago, created masterpieces to capture the world for thought and reflection: inspiration and drive, to spark memories and taunt us to re-order our mental dispositions — make your personal marks, that is brushstrokes, for and with God.

I say for God and with God because your are working to showcase God’s working in you, yet not alone for God has taken up residence in you:

∞ Prods
∞                   Illuminates                                Initiates
∞         Follows                                        Precedes
∞    Guides                                                                           Waits to see
∞                                 Can’t wait to see what you do
∞      Shows His Love                         Undergirds

 

Your “Monet” is how you “paint” God’s “colors”, or influences in your life. Continue reading “Make “My Monet””