Author Topic: Spiritual warfare?  (Read 510 times)

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Offline Ainnir

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Spiritual warfare?
« on: July 17, 2017, 12:29:23 PM »
I'm not sure where to put this, actually.  A Protestant relative is struggling with opposing Protestant views of the subject, so asked me about the Orthodox view (more backstory, but that will suffice).  This isn't a subject I've delved into much, though I can (and did) offer vague notions and fuzzy opinions--with a lot of disclaimer attached.  And a few links.

Is there a basic "framework" for this we can briefly touch on when the subject is broached, or is this sort of discussion with heterodox people better left un-discussed?

Offline IXOYE

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2017, 12:56:06 PM »
There is a book called, "Unseen Warfare" which is a manual about Spiritual Warfare. 

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2017, 01:03:28 PM »
I'm not sure where to put this, actually.  A Protestant relative is struggling with opposing Protestant views of the subject, so asked me about the Orthodox view (more backstory, but that will suffice).  This isn't a subject I've delved into much, though I can (and did) offer vague notions and fuzzy opinions--with a lot of disclaimer attached.  And a few links.

Is there a basic "framework" for this we can briefly touch on when the subject is broached, or is this sort of discussion with heterodox people better left un-discussed?

It's inseparable, it seems to me, from the usual threefold way of Orthodox spirituality- praxis, contemplation (or illumination), theoria. There's lots of publicly available material on this and specifically what's called spiritual warfare.  Apart from the Bible the most important stuff comes from desert fathers like Saint Macarius and Evagrius. The most famous names are the Philokalia and the Ladder of Divine Ascent, to which can be added the ascetical homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian and more recent books like Saint Ignatii Brianchaninov's The Arena and Saint Theophan the Recluse's The Path of Salvation. The aforementioned Unseen Warfare is an Orthodox reworking of a Catholic text by Saints Nikodimos the Hagiorite and Theophan the Recluse.
Quote
But it had not been in Tess's power - nor is it in anybody's power - to feel the whole truth of golden opinions while it is possible to profit by them. She - and how many more - might have ironically said to God with Saint Augustine, "Thou hast counselled a better course than thou hast permitted."
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 01:05:25 PM »
I'm not sure where to put this, actually.  A Protestant relative is struggling with opposing Protestant views of the subject, so asked me about the Orthodox view (more backstory, but that will suffice).  This isn't a subject I've delved into much, though I can (and did) offer vague notions and fuzzy opinions--with a lot of disclaimer attached.  And a few links.

Is there a basic "framework" for this we can briefly touch on when the subject is broached, or is this sort of discussion with heterodox people better left un-discussed?

Our framework is generally that of asceticism. Particularly, the spiritual exercises developed by the monastics of the Sinai Desert.

Protestants who are obsessed with "spiritual warfare" tend to think of it as glamorous combat with black magic. For the most part, real spiritual warfare is with the sin that reigns in our own body (Rom. 6:12). The concept is that the Evil One gains power over us via the "passions," i.e., the bodily lusts and emotional reactions (this is based on, among other things, Jam. 1:14). With constant prayer and practice, and the help of experienced brethren and fathers, the body can be brought under control and sin avoided to the glory of God. This isn't glamorous or magical, but a daily humiliation and hope.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2017, 04:30:19 PM »
Those all sound like books I should have read months before this came up.  :D  Seems to be the nature of things.
I do have a couple of those, unread; the prospect seems kind of intimidating, but I'll peruse the ones I've got. 

Our framework is generally that of asceticism. Particularly, the spiritual exercises developed by the monastics of the Sinai Desert.

Protestants who are obsessed with "spiritual warfare" tend to think of it as glamorous combat with black magic. For the most part, real spiritual warfare is with the sin that reigns in our own body (Rom. 6:12). The concept is that the Evil One gains power over us via the "passions," i.e., the bodily lusts and emotional reactions (this is based on, among other things, Jam. 1:14). With constant prayer and practice, and the help of experienced brethren and fathers, the body can be brought under control and sin avoided to the glory of God. This isn't glamorous or magical, but a daily humiliation and hope.

This was part of my "vague notions," so I'm glad that bit wasn't off, at least.  My terminology was more basic, too.   :D

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2017, 04:31:27 PM »
There is a book called, "Unseen Warfare" which is a manual about Spiritual Warfare.

Is this the Roman Catholic book that caught on in Russia? I'm dubious of its value.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2017, 04:34:02 PM »
Those all sound like books I should have read months before this came up.  :D  Seems to be the nature of things.
I do have a couple of those, unread; the prospect seems kind of intimidating, but I'll peruse the ones I've got. 

Our framework is generally that of asceticism. Particularly, the spiritual exercises developed by the monastics of the Sinai Desert.

Protestants who are obsessed with "spiritual warfare" tend to think of it as glamorous combat with black magic. For the most part, real spiritual warfare is with the sin that reigns in our own body (Rom. 6:12). The concept is that the Evil One gains power over us via the "passions," i.e., the bodily lusts and emotional reactions (this is based on, among other things, Jam. 1:14). With constant prayer and practice, and the help of experienced brethren and fathers, the body can be brought under control and sin avoided to the glory of God. This isn't glamorous or magical, but a daily humiliation and hope.

This was part of my "vague notions," so I'm glad that bit wasn't off, at least.  My terminology was more basic, too.   :D

You definitely don't need to read the Philokalia to be conversant in this concept. In fact, most people haven't read it (it's several volumes, only recently completed in English), and I'm told by priests that most who have probably shouldn't (no opinion, myself). The Sayings of the Desert Fathers series are very short, and fun.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2017, 04:38:25 PM »
Those all sound like books I should have read months before this came up.  :D  Seems to be the nature of things.
I do have a couple of those, unread; the prospect seems kind of intimidating, but I'll peruse the ones I've got. 

Our framework is generally that of asceticism. Particularly, the spiritual exercises developed by the monastics of the Sinai Desert.

Protestants who are obsessed with "spiritual warfare" tend to think of it as glamorous combat with black magic. For the most part, real spiritual warfare is with the sin that reigns in our own body (Rom. 6:12). The concept is that the Evil One gains power over us via the "passions," i.e., the bodily lusts and emotional reactions (this is based on, among other things, Jam. 1:14). With constant prayer and practice, and the help of experienced brethren and fathers, the body can be brought under control and sin avoided to the glory of God. This isn't glamorous or magical, but a daily humiliation and hope.

This was part of my "vague notions," so I'm glad that bit wasn't off, at least.  My terminology was more basic, too.   :D

You don't have to overload yourself with reading; you can focus on shorter texts like Saint John Cassian's "On the Eight Vices" to get the gist. A lot of this stuff you probably already know in outline at least. Prayer, fasting, and a sober examination of one's thoughts are the chief weapons.
Quote
But it had not been in Tess's power - nor is it in anybody's power - to feel the whole truth of golden opinions while it is possible to profit by them. She - and how many more - might have ironically said to God with Saint Augustine, "Thou hast counselled a better course than thou hast permitted."
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2017, 04:39:16 PM »
There is a book called, "Unseen Warfare" which is a manual about Spiritual Warfare.

Is this the Roman Catholic book that caught on in Russia? I'm dubious of its value.

It's actually pretty good. It was extensively reworked by Saint Theophan into a thoroughly Orthodox book. However, I prefer Saint Theophan's own The Path of Salvation.
Quote
But it had not been in Tess's power - nor is it in anybody's power - to feel the whole truth of golden opinions while it is possible to profit by them. She - and how many more - might have ironically said to God with Saint Augustine, "Thou hast counselled a better course than thou hast permitted."
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2017, 05:15:00 PM »
There is a book called, "Unseen Warfare" which is a manual about Spiritual Warfare.

Is this the Roman Catholic book that caught on in Russia? I'm dubious of its value.

That would be The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.
My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2017, 05:17:59 PM »
There is a book called, "Unseen Warfare" which is a manual about Spiritual Warfare.

Is this the Roman Catholic book that caught on in Russia? I'm dubious of its value.

That would be The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.

:P That too.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2017, 06:25:17 PM »
I'm not so sure I've got the basics down.  Regardless, shorter texts sound good.  :D  Free and undisturbed time is at a premium at this stage.  But I'll keep the others for future reference; thanks y'all.  :)

Offline nothing

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2017, 06:31:07 PM »
There is a book called, "Unseen Warfare" which is a manual about Spiritual Warfare.

Is this the Roman Catholic book that caught on in Russia? I'm dubious of its value.

It's actually pretty good. It was extensively reworked by Saint Theophan into a thoroughly Orthodox book. However, I prefer Saint Theophan's own The Path of Salvation.

Thank you for the recommendation.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Offline nothing

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2017, 06:47:35 PM »
It's inseparable, it seems to me, from the usual threefold way of Orthodox spirituality- praxis, contemplation (or illumination), theoria. There's lots of publicly available material on this and specifically what's called spiritual warfare.  Apart from the Bible the most important stuff comes from desert fathers like Saint Macarius and Evagrius. The most famous names are the Philokalia and the Ladder of Divine Ascent, to which can be added the ascetical homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian and more recent books like Saint Ignatii Brianchaninov's The Arena and Saint Theophan the Recluse's The Path of Salvation. The aforementioned Unseen Warfare is an Orthodox reworking of a Catholic text by Saints Nikodimos the Hagiorite and Theophan the Recluse.

As someone re-learning the ropes, sort of speak, would Ladder of Divine Ascent be good for a novice? I have it but not sure if its for those more spiritually advanced. My priest has asked me to read The Law of God as part of my catechism.

I will be asking my priest this week how I should go about a prayer rule and how to pray. I have this prayer book: http://stjohnsbookstore.com/prayer-book-in-accordance-with-the-tradition-of-the-eastern-orthodox-church/

I try to read a few chapters from a synoptic gospel daily. I am also listening to Fr. Hopko's podcast on the Divine Liturgy and have Fr. Schmemann's For the Life of the World. I have found Fr. Hopko's podcasts particularly illuminating and my priest gave me a DL for Children book which has made the Liturgy much easier to follow along.

Just wanted to give you an idea of what I have in front of me, as I don't have too much time after the work day and I'm battling with listlessness (not sure if a demon or my depression, but I've asked St. John Cassian to intercede and pray to God for me).

God bless you Iconodule.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 06:56:56 PM by nothing »
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy steadfast love; according to Thy abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin!" - Psalm 51:1-2

"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2017, 07:10:35 PM »
As someone re-learning the ropes, sort of speak, would Ladder of Divine Ascent be good for a novice? I have it but not sure if its for those more spiritually advanced. My priest has asked me to read The Law of God as part of my catechism.

If your priest has you reading The Law of God, I'm going to guess that he'd think The Ladder a bit too advanced for you.
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2017, 07:11:30 PM »
The Ladder of Divine Ascent is beautiful but can be tough going. For early ascetic literature the sayings of the desert fathers or some of the early texts in the Philokalia might be the best start.

Actually I would probably recommend two modern books first- His Life is Mine by Elder Sophrony and Wounded by Love by Elder (now Saint) Porphyrios. These are both very concise, readable books that cover a wide range of key spiritual topics, by wise men who understood a lot about modern life.

Read the classic ascetic literature in small occasional nuggets and take time to reflect on each little passage.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 07:12:57 PM by Iconodule »
Quote
But it had not been in Tess's power - nor is it in anybody's power - to feel the whole truth of golden opinions while it is possible to profit by them. She - and how many more - might have ironically said to God with Saint Augustine, "Thou hast counselled a better course than thou hast permitted."
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Offline nothing

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2017, 07:15:54 PM »
As someone re-learning the ropes, sort of speak, would Ladder of Divine Ascent be good for a novice? I have it but not sure if its for those more spiritually advanced. My priest has asked me to read The Law of God as part of my catechism.

If your priest has you reading The Law of God, I'm going to guess that he'd think The Ladder a bit too advanced for you.

Thank you Mor. I have asked my priest the most basic of questions regarding living the Christian life as I feel utterly lost and confused, eventhough I am aware of much of the basic material for years now. I really do feel I'm at "Step 0". Sometimes Fr. Hopko says something on his podcast that contradicts something my priest has said, and I'm at a loss on who to trust. I have poor discernment as I feel like a newbie all over again.

I won't read the Ladder until I get the OK from my priest.

I will stop derailing this thread now with my unimportant issues.

The Ladder of Divine Ascent is beautiful but can be tough going. For early ascetic literature the sayings of the desert fathers or some of the early texts in the Philokalia might be the best start.

Actually I would probably recommend two modern books first- His Life is Mine by Elder Sophrony and Wounded by Love by Elder (now Saint) Porphyrios. These are both very concise, readable books that cover a wide range of key spiritual topics, by wise men who understood a lot about modern life.

Read the classic ascetic literature in small occasional nuggets and take time to reflect on each little passage.
Thank you for your advice once again Iconodule. I will check out those two books. Please pray for me.

Sorry I have not returned your PM yet. I have read and contemplated on it, but it has helped me.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 07:25:19 PM by nothing »
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy steadfast love; according to Thy abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin!" - Psalm 51:1-2

"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2017, 07:26:12 PM »
Wounded by Love by Elder (now Saint) Porphyrios

+100
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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2017, 07:35:17 PM »
Thank you Mor. I have asked my priest the most basic of questions regarding living the Christian life as I feel utterly lost and confused, eventhough I am aware of much of the basic material for years now. I really do feel I'm at "Step 0". Sometimes Fr. Hopko says something on his podcast that contradicts something my priest has said, and I'm at a loss on who to trust. I have poor discernment as I feel like a newbie all over again.

It's hard to respond without knowing what the conflicting advice is, but as a general principle, it's not unheard of for there to be apparently conflicting advice.  If we limit ourselves to the writings of saints and other "received" authors, many questions will be answered one way by some and another way by others.  In my experience, the right answer in such cases is whichever one that helps you become holier, healthier, more at peace, etc.

Quote
I will stop derailing this thread now with my unimportant issues.

You're fine. 
The whole forum is Mor. We're emanations of his godlike mind.

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2017, 07:40:07 PM »
I will stop derailing this thread now with my unimportant issues.

Derail away; I know the feel.  :)

Offline nothing

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2017, 07:54:05 PM »
Thank you Mor. I have asked my priest the most basic of questions regarding living the Christian life as I feel utterly lost and confused, eventhough I am aware of much of the basic material for years now. I really do feel I'm at "Step 0". Sometimes Fr. Hopko says something on his podcast that contradicts something my priest has said, and I'm at a loss on who to trust. I have poor discernment as I feel like a newbie all over again.

It's hard to respond without knowing what the conflicting advice is, but as a general principle, it's not unheard of for there to be apparently conflicting advice.  If we limit ourselves to the writings of saints and other "received" authors, many questions will be answered one way by some and another way by others.  In my experience, the right answer in such cases is whichever one that helps you become holier, healthier, more at peace, etc.

Quote
I will stop derailing this thread now with my unimportant issues.

You're fine. 

My priest is practically a walking and talking Orthodox Encyclopedia Britannica, so I'll ask him a question or topic and he will belabor on for what seems like hours. I don't mind this because I'm not much of a talker anyway and prefer to listen. Anyway one topic veered into the idea of "God is in control" and I know that's something Fr. Hopko strongly disagreed with over the course of 3 podcasts in his Speaking the Truth in Love series. I happen to side with Fr. Hopko, but I don't necessarily have any strong convictions over it. I believe in some sense God is in control but then you introduce theodicy and other issues that really challenge the idea. You're right though, contradiction is the wrong word, conflicting is better.

Maybe we can take this elsewhere, but I'm having issues with "individuality" as understood in the Orthodox tradition. In your post you said "whichever one that helps you", which has been a stumbling block for me lately. In an abstract theological way, we cease to be ourselves in Christ but how are we recognized as individual persons, if at all?

I'm kind of hesitant to ask these kind of questions because well on the one hand I'm just a dilettante and beginner in Orthodoxy. However I'm still looking for clarity on what a person is as understood by the Orthodox. The body, soul, spirit, etc.

Dee Pennock wrote in her God's Path to Sanity that the soul is immortal, but then you have Fr. Hopko saying that's not so, that the Orthodox aren't platonists. You can see my confusion.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 08:00:16 PM by nothing »
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy steadfast love; according to Thy abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin!" - Psalm 51:1-2

"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Offline IXOYE

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2017, 08:13:18 PM »
There is a book called, "Unseen Warfare" which is a manual about Spiritual Warfare.

Is this the Roman Catholic book that caught on in Russia? I'm dubious of its value.

St. Nicodemos and St. Theophan edited it.  So this is the name of the Orthodox version of a book by a Roman Catholic priest.

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2017, 10:25:19 PM »
There is a book called, "Unseen Warfare" which is a manual about Spiritual Warfare.

Is this the Roman Catholic book that caught on in Russia? I'm dubious of its value.

That would be The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.
I love that book. It is the most Orthodox non-Orthodox book I ever read.  :P
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 10:25:29 PM by TheTrisagion »
The term planet earth is an innovation which has arisen in recent centuries with the error of heliocentrism.

If one wants to confess a pure doctrine of Orthodoxy, they should be careful not to refer to the earth as a planet, unlike the current Pope as well as Patriarch Kirill and Patriarch Bartholomew, who regularly speak in error when they refer to our planet earth.

Offline Justin Kolodziej

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2017, 11:07:11 PM »
Maybe we can take this elsewhere, but I'm having issues with "individuality" as understood in the Orthodox tradition. In your post you said "whichever one that helps you", which has been a stumbling block for me lately. In an abstract theological way, we cease to be ourselves in Christ but how are we recognized as individual persons, if at all?
Even if we're one in Christ, we all have different functions in the Body of Christ, as I think some guy named Saul or something like that once said. I still feel like an appendix though.
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2017, 09:46:47 AM »
My priest is practically a walking and talking Orthodox Encyclopedia Britannica, so I'll ask him a question or topic and he will belabor on for what seems like hours. I don't mind this because I'm not much of a talker anyway and prefer to listen. Anyway one topic veered into the idea of "God is in control" and I know that's something Fr. Hopko strongly disagreed with over the course of 3 podcasts in his Speaking the Truth in Love series. I happen to side with Fr. Hopko, but I don't necessarily have any strong convictions over it. I believe in some sense God is in control but then you introduce theodicy and other issues that really challenge the idea. You're right though, contradiction is the wrong word, conflicting is better.

This profound questions demand extraordinarily subtle answers, that tend to break the categories of normal systematic thinking, and two apparently conflicting statements might be arrows pointing in the same direction from different places. Theodicy is a very thorny issue; every time I find a model that seems to satisfy at first, problems later arise. Most recently I encountered Bulgakov's kenotic understanding of creation that seems to address some problems, but how far it goes I can't really say.

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Maybe we can take this elsewhere, but I'm having issues with "individuality" as understood in the Orthodox tradition. In your post you said "whichever one that helps you", which has been a stumbling block for me lately. In an abstract theological way, we cease to be ourselves in Christ but how are we recognized as individual persons, if at all?

Christ didn't incarnate as an abstraction but as an individual and the effacing of individuality or hypostasis is not the meaning of our unity in Christ. Only persons become Christlike.

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I'm kind of hesitant to ask these kind of questions because well on the one hand I'm just a dilettante and beginner in Orthodoxy. However I'm still looking for clarity on what a person is as understood by the Orthodox. The body, soul, spirit, et

Dee Pennock wrote in her God's Path to Sanity that the soul is immortal, but then you have Fr. Hopko saying that's not so, that the Orthodox aren't platonists. You can see my confusion.

Actually, in common with the Platonists, Christians recognize that anything created is by nature impermanent. Only by God's grace can we be immortal and it is a relative immortality. The question of the composition of the soul is relevant here, though, as  the opinion is found in some places that the spirit or nous, as something in-breathed by God, is an uncreated energy of God, and it is by virtue of this that man's soul is immortal, as opposed to animal souls.   
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But it had not been in Tess's power - nor is it in anybody's power - to feel the whole truth of golden opinions while it is possible to profit by them. She - and how many more - might have ironically said to God with Saint Augustine, "Thou hast counselled a better course than thou hast permitted."
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

Offline FatherGiryus

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2017, 11:29:19 AM »
In the end, we live in a world that we are not capable of understanding, made by a Creator who exists outside of time and limits.

Let that sink in for a minute.

It is impossible for us to really comprehend our reality, just as our own pets at home don't understand electricity, computers, photosynthesis, canning, the chemistry of paint, etc.  We can spend a great deal of time wracking our brains over abstract concepts, but that's mostly because we refuse to acknowledge how much bigger God really is, and assume that the world was made according to our design.

The opposite is true: we are an end-product of a process beyond our limited capability to grasp.

This is why these details are not dogmatized by the Church, nor do the Scriptures speak of them in a concrete way that meets our intellectual criteria.

Instead, we are offered a standard more in keeping with our level of awareness: love others, and love God.  We do that by being conscious not of physics or metaphysics, but His love for us.

I think most people (but not all for sure) struggle with all the other questions because they have not accepted the finality of Divine Love and how the answer for us is right there.  Some folks cannot accept God's unconditional love for themselves or for others.

But, if we really accepted the premise that God loves us, we certainly would not have a problem with any scenario regarding 'free will' versus 'divine will.'  If there is unending love, then it will all work out, whether I understand it or not.  The right things will happen, because in the end all things will be restored.  That's the promise.

We can spend sleepless nights debating what we should do or not do, but the Lord's Prayer is our final appeal.  We should never take ourselves so seriously that we lose sight of the most basic truth: God is Love.
You can't find wisdom in the mirror.

Offline Ainnir

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2017, 01:02:09 PM »
Thank you, Father.  :D

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2017, 02:47:44 PM »
The question of the composition of the soul is relevant here, though, as  the opinion is found in some places that the spirit or nous, as something in-breathed by God, is an uncreated energy of God, and it is by virtue of this that man's soul is immortal, as opposed to animal souls.

Any particular texts you'd recommend along these lines?
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2017, 02:48:31 PM »
The question of the composition of the soul is relevant here, though, as  the opinion is found in some places that the spirit or nous, as something in-breathed by God, is an uncreated energy of God, and it is by virtue of this that man's soul is immortal, as opposed to animal souls.

Any particular texts you'd recommend along these lines?

Is it not a common theme?
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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2017, 03:09:23 PM »
The question of the composition of the soul is relevant here, though, as  the opinion is found in some places that the spirit or nous, as something in-breathed by God, is an uncreated energy of God, and it is by virtue of this that man's soul is immortal, as opposed to animal souls.

Any particular texts you'd recommend along these lines?

Is it not a common theme?

The idea that "the spirit or nous... is an uncreated energy of God"? No, unless I've been completely oblivious to what many were saying.
"Fear not to follow with pious feet the corpse of Hafiz, for though he was drowned in the ocean of sin, he may find a place in paradise." - Hafez

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #30 on: July 18, 2017, 03:49:18 PM »
The question of the composition of the soul is relevant here, though, as  the opinion is found in some places that the spirit or nous, as something in-breathed by God, is an uncreated energy of God, and it is by virtue of this that man's soul is immortal, as opposed to animal souls.

Any particular texts you'd recommend along these lines?

Is it not a common theme?

The idea that "the spirit or nous... is an uncreated energy of God"? No, unless I've been completely oblivious to what many were saying.

I have to confess I overstepped in my terms. The precise origin and character of the nous is rather mysterious but the notion that it is some piece, so to speak, of God himself is an error. But its close affinity with him (image and likeness) along with his suffusing grace render it immortal.
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But it had not been in Tess's power - nor is it in anybody's power - to feel the whole truth of golden opinions while it is possible to profit by them. She - and how many more - might have ironically said to God with Saint Augustine, "Thou hast counselled a better course than thou hast permitted."
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles

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Re: Spiritual warfare?
« Reply #31 on: July 18, 2017, 04:08:52 PM »
Ahh, I get what you're saying now, thanks.
"Fear not to follow with pious feet the corpse of Hafiz, for though he was drowned in the ocean of sin, he may find a place in paradise." - Hafez