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Christians or Stoics? #383513 07/29/12 11:07 PM
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HeavenlyBlack Offline OP
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Why do some Byzantines act like the mystical ideal we're supposed to be striving toward is some kind of stoic hardheartedness? Does being sinless, aware, and at peace mean that we also despise all earthly things --- all pleasure and beauty and warmth? I really can't help but get suckered into this though when reading -- or reading about -- ascetical works. Surely we're not supposed to be sour-faced? No offense if I've gotten something wrong, I'm just new to all this and I find it confusing. I mean, I feel guilty for listening to music sometimes!

I hate sentimentality and emotionalism as much as the next guy (probably more seeing as I'm autistic) but IDK.

Last edited by HeavenlyBlack; 07/29/12 11:09 PM.
Re: Christians or Stoics? [Re: HeavenlyBlack] #383516 07/30/12 12:53 AM
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Thomas the Seeker Offline
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An interesting question to pose a few days before another Fast. For full disclosure, it is a Fast of which I have only within the past few years become aware and one which I have yet to engage.

But having engaged a fairly rigorous Lenten Fast I can state with utmost confidence that those who Fast well Feast even better. The fact that there are periods when Fasting itself is forbidden is a testimony to the balance that can be maintained through the rhythm of the liturgical year.

Re: Christians or Stoics? [Re: HeavenlyBlack] #383517 07/30/12 01:29 AM
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Christian asceticism should actually open one's heart and mind to the wonders of God's creation and the beauty that surrounds us. We are not dualists, who exalt the spirit and despise the material, for God created all things visible and invisible, and He saw that they were good. On the other hand, we do not allow the flesh to dominate us; we do not relish sensuality for its own sake, and we attempt to master the disordered passions precisely so as to be able to see clearly the will and hand of God in all creation.

Re: Christians or Stoics? [Re: HeavenlyBlack] #383551 07/30/12 01:19 PM
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HeavenlyBlack Offline OP
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I'd love to take on the full fasting calendar, but aye if eating nutritiously during those seasons doesn't wipe out my limited resources. On SSI and food stamps a cheesy carnivorous diet is much cheaper than a vegan one. But I mean no slight on asceticism from what I said. Even when I do practice the Wednesday and Friday fasts I feel so much better and much more in control of myself. I just have a lot of emotional problems so reading about monastic life and reading the ascetic works of the fathers can trip me out. Obedience, suffering, hardcore penance. I get to a point where I feel like I'll never be acceptable to God. I had a very powerful contemplative experience a year back and when it ended I felt stuck between the world and Heaven. All I wanted was to throw myself into a friary or monastery and I couldn't because of my mental illness. So I've got an itch for perfection and no way to really scratch it as a layperson.

Re: Christians or Stoics? [Re: HeavenlyBlack] #383716 08/03/12 02:09 AM
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Father Deacon Ed Offline
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None of us will achieve perfection. That belongs to God alone. We are called to be holy, and even that takes a lifetime. Each of us faces challenges in our attempts to become what God has called us to be. I confess that sometimes I envy a friend's daughter who has Down's Syndrome. She is such a sweet child, full of love that she gives unconditionally. There's no pretension about her. What you see is what you get. She will never read the Church Fathers, never understand the call to holiness, and yet she is already holier than I will ever be.

Monastic life consist of falling down and getting up, falling down and getting up. We can all do that no matter what our station in life. The fact that you are dissatisfied with where you are in your spiritual journey simply says that you recognize that you are on a journey and that you haven't arrived yet. Theosis is a lifelong process. Each day we begin anew our search for God who is always present to us and who always calls us beyond our comfort zone.

I will keep you in my prayers.

Fr. Deacon Ed

Re: Christians or Stoics? [Re: HeavenlyBlack] #383722 08/03/12 11:32 AM
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StuartK Offline
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So why would autism keep you out of monastic life? And, inter alia, most monks are laymen, too.

Re: Christians or Stoics? [Re: StuartK] #383743 08/03/12 05:16 PM
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HeavenlyBlack Offline OP
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Originally Posted by StuartK
So why would autism keep you out of monastic life? And, inter alia, most monks are laymen, too.


Not just autism, but a bipolar form of schizophrenia as well. Among possible other things. I'm very anxious and emotionally unstable, and not always levelheaded. Hence my being a spiritual spastic whistle

Last edited by HeavenlyBlack; 08/03/12 05:18 PM.
Re: Christians or Stoics? [Re: HeavenlyBlack] #383746 08/03/12 05:53 PM
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Sounds like a monastery would be a very good place for you.

Re: Christians or Stoics? [Re: HeavenlyBlack] #383757 08/03/12 09:24 PM
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Aye, from being the parent of an Asperger's young adult I know that many autistic people crave routine, stability, and predicatability.

The schedule and order of monastic life which other people might find stifling and oppressive might well prove to be comforting and reassuring to someone on the autisitc spectrum.

Re: Christians or Stoics? [Re: HeavenlyBlack] #383758 08/03/12 09:30 PM
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I get what you're saying, and to an extent I agree. The stability would be nice. But try telling that to the people who judge the vocations LOL. Already got turned away from a Franciscan friary.

Re: Christians or Stoics? [Re: HeavenlyBlack] #383800 08/04/12 04:59 PM
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Several Orthodox monasteries in Ohio. Just visit.

Re: Christians or Stoics? [Re: HeavenlyBlack] #383807 08/04/12 09:34 PM
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StuartK Offline
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Already got turned away from a Franciscan friary.


Yes, our modern, up-to-date Catholic Church only has room for bright, shiny people.

Re: Christians or Stoics? [Re: StuartK] #383809 08/04/12 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
Already got turned away from a Franciscan friary.


Yes, our modern, up-to-date Catholic Church only has room for bright, shiny people.


You can't help but wonder how many Saints would have been turned away in times past.

Re: Christians or Stoics? [Re: Athanasius The L] #383815 08/05/12 02:33 AM
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Lester S Offline
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Originally Posted by Athanasius The L
Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
Already got turned away from a Franciscan friary.


Yes, our modern, up-to-date Catholic Church only has room for bright, shiny people.


You can't help but wonder how many Saints would have been turned away in times past.



Which leads me to this follow-up question: would having a "checkered" past prevent someone from entering even the priesthood, from the perspective of the Eastern Christianity, even when such sins associated with the past in question have been absolved, when I had confessed them?

Re: Christians or Stoics? [Re: HeavenlyBlack] #383822 08/05/12 05:24 PM
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There are only two things which debar someone from being ordained in the Eastern Church, regardless of repentance and absolution: first, having been married more than once (or being married to someone who has married more than once); second, having borne arms or shed blood.

As to checkered pasts, ask St. Augustine about his concubine and his flirtation with Manicheism.

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