The Intercessions of Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim on My Behalf Regarding the Jesus Prayer

About a year ago, I was reading the Light and Life Publishing book, by Anthony Coniaris, Confronting and Controlling Your Thoughts According to the Fathers of the Philokalia. I posted a few times citing portions of the book and reflecting on my struggle to practice such oneness of mind and to practice the Jesus Prayer. I also read Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim’s translation of a couple of works of St. Paisius Velichkovsky, much of which dealt with the Jesus Prayer. (At the counsel of one of our parishioners, a man more mature than me, I deleted those posts.) I also spoke with our parish priest about the Jesus Prayer and practicing it.

It was difficult for me to make sense of some of what I was reading and the counsel I was receiving. I now see that such counsel was not essentially contradictory, but it felt to me as though I was being encouraged in two opposite directions, to both pursue and avoid the same things. I was quite confused.

But I knew better than to simply trust my own thoughts, or work toward my own conclusions on the matter. So I simply stood still, neither pursuing nor avoiding what I had been counseled on, and just maintaining my modest and irregular practice.

One thing I did do, however, was to ask the intercessions of one of my patrons, Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim, on my behalf, that I might be brought to both correct thought and correct practice on the matters that were confused in my own mind.

For the next several months, however, I shied away from reading certain books on the Jesus Prayer, did not post on it, and simply continued what I had been doing, doing it no more nor no less than had been the case. I had one book on my shelf, Igumen Chariton of Valamo’s The Art of Prayer (Faber and Faber), which I frequently was drawn to read, but hesitated to do so, because I did not think I was at a point in my life where I would be making useful gain of such reading. I was concerned that reading it apart from a state of readiness to both receive and to practice the teaching would end up being spiritually harmful to me.

Recently, I have sensed a change, not only in heart but in act, in which I have found myself more ready to receive and to practice whatever may be given me in reading Igumen Chariton’s book. And in so doing, I have at last, about a year later, received the answer to Blessed Seraphim’s prayers on my behalf.

I wanted to share that extended passage with my readers, but I do so without identifying in any way the specific questions I wanted resolved. Absolutely everything of this sort must be brought to one’s spiritual father. If the passage, of itself and out of any context of my own life, is helpful to others, it will be no surprise, for St. Theophan the Recluse is a well-recognized saint. But for my part this post is nothing more than a marker of an answer to prayer.
Continue reading “The Intercessions of Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim on My Behalf Regarding the Jesus Prayer”

And After I Post This, I’ll Pray the “Our Father” and Go Beat My Wife and Daughters

I’ve been home sick all weekend. And crap like the following just makes me crankier.

The Church of England continues to make itself a laughingtock:

MISGUIDED and distorted versions of Christian belief have contributed to domestic abuse in Britain, says the Church of England. And the Church itself has not done enough to protect victims.

The report, which has been backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, says that domestic abuse is as “prevalent among Christians” as among other groups and identifies problem areas in Christian tradition.

It warns clergy that the bride’s traditional marriage vow to “obey” her husband could be used to justify domestic violence as could referring to God as “He” and “Lord”.

Bad theology, such as using the Virgin Mary “to reinforce norms of female passivity and obedience”, has even been used to convince victims to forgive their abusers and not take action against them. . . .

One serious example, the report notes, is how the theology of self-denial and redemptive suffering in the Crucifixion of Jesus has “undermined people’s recognition of the evils being done to them and implanted masochistic attitudes of acceptance, or even celebration, of their afflictions”.

One would like to know of the statistical, objective measurements the committee used to establish such a direct correlation between use of the masculine pronoun to refer to God and wife-beating.

Oh, sorry. That would be expecting too much. We already know traditional theology is bad for you. What do we need with objective measurements?

[H/T: to some unforgotten blog or probably the Webelves.]

The Identity of the New Testament Text

From The Identity of the New Testament Text — Wilbur N. Pickering [h/t Fr John]

There are over 5,000 extant (known) Greek manuscripts (hereafter MSS, or MS when singular) of the New Testament. They range in size from a scrap with parts of two verses to complete New Testaments. They range in date from the second century to the sixteenth. They come from all over the Mediterranean world. They contain several hundred thousand variant readings (differences in the text). The vast majority of these are misspellings or other obvious errors due to carelessness or ignorance on the part of the copyists. However, many thousands of variants remain which need to be evaluated as we seek to identify the precise original wording of the text. How best to go about such a project? This book seeks to provide an answer.

Of course, I am not the first to attempt an answer. Numerous answers have been advanced over the years. They tend to form two clusters, or camps, and these camps differ substantially from each other. In very broad and over-simplified terms, one camp generally follows the large majority of the MSS (seldom less than 80 and usually over 95 percent) which are in essential agreement among themselves but which do not date from before the fifth century A.D., while the other generally follows a small handful (often less than ten) of earlier MSS (from the third, fourth and fifth centuries) which not only disagree with the majority, but also disagree among themselves. The second camp has been in general control of the scholarly world for the last 110 years.

The most visible consequence and proof of that control may be seen in the translations of the New Testament into English done during these 110 years. Virtually every one of them reflects a form of the text based upon the few earlier MSS. In contrast to them, the King James Version (AV) and the New King James Version (NKJV) reflect a form of the text based upon the many later MSS. Thus, the fundamental difference between the New Testament in the American Standard Version, Revised Standard Version, New English Bible, Today’s English Version, New American Standard Bible, New International Version, etc., on the one hand, and in the AV and NKJV on the other is that they are based on different forms of the Greek text. (There are over 5,500 differences between those two forms.)

The link above is to the entire book-length text. Very interesting reading.