Matthew The Poor, Orthodox Prayer Life, pp.42-54

Welcome to my new blog!
All the previous posts published on blogspot have been migrated here.
This webpage has the advantage to give you access to some of my rocks at the same time, well, when I’m done with migrating my pictures…
For now, you have information about my Next Exhibit.

This is not the greatest wordpress template, but this is the only one having a dropdown menu, and I just wanted a free dropdown menu…

And now fromOrthodox prayer Life:

“We can distinguish the 3 degress [of prayer]
by the words of the Lord Jesus:
‘Ask, and it will be given you,’ which is vocal prayer;
‘Seek and you will find,’ which is meditation;
‘Knock and it will be opened to you,’which is contemplation…

Man cannot be nourished by the word of the Gospel
without reiterating it in his heart and mind…

‘Be diligent in meditating on the Holy Scriptures
and the lives of the saints,
for constant reflection upon them
fosters thoughts of fervor,
makes prayer easy,
makes tribulation endurable.’
St Isaac the Syrian, The Four Books, 3.75

‘Hush your tongue
that your heart may speak –
this is meditation,
and hush your heart
that the Spirit may speak –
this is contemplation.’
St John of Dalyatha, Homily on the Gifts of the Spirit.

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Alexander Schmemann, Great Lent: Journey to Pascha, p.33

Apart from my personal reading for Lent this year, see my other posts of Orthodox Prayer Life by Matthew the Poor, every night, after our Vespers prayer, my husband and I read to each other a few pages of this classic by Schmemann.
By the way, reading aloud to each other is a wonderful experience – we usually alternate a paragraph each. We started doing this on the 1st day of Lent, and I have the feeeling we’ll go on after Lent.

So yesterday, we had this gem:

Sad brightness:
the sadness of the exile,
of the waste I have made of my life;
the brightness of God’s presence and forgiveness,
the joy of the recovered desire for God,
the peace of the recovered home.
Such is the climate of lenten worship;
such is its first and general impact
on my soul.”

Matthew The Poor, Orthodox Prayer Life, pp.35-40

“Through prayer,
our will becomes like that of Christ…

Prayer is an effective power
that brings us into contact
with the Christ
who is actually present within us…

If, in physical matters,
nakedness carries with itself so great a shame,
how much more shame for the person
that is naked of divine power,
who does not wear
nor is clothed
with the ineffable and imperishable spiritual garment,
namely,
the Lord Jesus Christ Himself?
St Macarius the Great, Homily 20

The stance of prayer by itself,
whether in one’s chamber
or in church,
is indeed a standing before the presence of God.
It is entering
into the sphere of the heavenly hosts
as they praise and minister.”

Matthew The Poor, Orthodox Prayer Life, pp.25-31

“We must also know that every secret converse,
evry good care of the intellect
directed toward God
and every meditation upon spiritual things
is delimited by prayer,
is called by the name of prayer,
and under its name is comprehended…

In its true essence,
prayer is a communion with the heavenly host
in praising their Creator.
It will surely end up as such
when all things are put in subjection to God the Father…

When we delve deeply into the life of prayer,
we end up with the conviction that
it is an act of glorifying God,
a divine ministry of transcendent honor….

The foundation of prayer
is paying absolute honor to God’s will:
‘Thy Will be done,
on earth as It is in heaven.’
For this reason,
prayer inevitable demands that
man relinquish his own will:
‘Not my own will,
but Thine be done’ (Lk 22.42)…

Without prayer,
man loses the meaning of his existence
and the purpose of his creation.”

Matthew The Poor, Orthodox Prayer Life, pp.23-24

“Prayer begins on God’s part as a secret call to stand before Him.
We then carry it as a free response in our yearning to speak with Him.
Afterward, prayer assumes its divine purpose
as an act of repentance and purification.
It subsequently attains its ultimate goal
as a sacrifice of love and humility
that prepares us for fellowship with God…

Prayer is the condition in which we discover our own image,
on which the stamp of the Holy Trinity is impressed…

When we lose prayer,
we actually lose the glory of our image,
and we no longer resemble God in any way.”

From Bishop Jonah’s 2010 lettre for Great Lent

This letter is very powerful and deep.
Here is the link to it:
ARCHPASTORAL EPISTLE OF HIS BEATITUDE, METROPOLITAN JONAH FOR THE BEGINNING OF GREAT LENT 2010

And here is something that talks to me a lot in it:
“The goal of repentance is the transformation of our minds and hearts,
our very consciousness.
It means the transformation of our whole life.
To engage it means that we have to embrace change“.

Matthew The Poor, Orthodox Prayer Life, pp.16-22

“Prayer has no purpose other than to glorify God…
we must therefore examine ourselves
and see
whether the ultimate aim of our prayer
is the revelation of God’s glory alone…

Mystically,
prayer is God’s perpetual call within us
drawing us
toward the fulfillment of the ultimate purpose
of our creation,
our union with God…

The eternal purpose of prayer
is man’s reacceptance
of the communion of God’s love,
once and forever.”

Matthew The Poor, Orthodox Prayer Life, pp.14-15

Today, Forgiveness Sunday, I started reading the book I received to read every day of the Great Lent. I hope to share some pearls of it every day.

“Christ has granted us not only to know Him
and believe in Him,
but also to live in Him.
he gave us the Holy Spirit not only to teach us,
but also to dwell within us,
remold us, and renew our minds.
The Holy Spirit takes every day what is Christ’s and gives it to us.

Life in Christ then,
is action,
experience,
renewal,
and ceaseless growth in the Spirit…

Prayer progressively brings about an essential day-by-day change in us…
This is brought about through God
while man remains unconscious of the change…

Prayer is opening oneself toward the effective,
invisible,
and imperceptible power of God.
Man can never leave the presence of God
without being transformed and renewed in his being,
for this is what Christ has promised.
However, such transformation will not be in the form of a sudden leap.
It will take its time and course
as an imperceptible but meticulous build-up…

When the soul ascends to the world of true LIGHT,
which is within its own being,
it begins to feel in harmony with God
through constant prayer.”

Books I read in January 2010

Starting 2010 at a good pace: 6 books read in January, 5 non-fiction and 1 fiction.

NON-FICTION:

Robert Darnton, The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future

From The Washington Post’s Book World/washingtonpost.com Reviewed by Dennis Drabelle drabelled@washpost.com This book distills Robert Darnton’s years of musing — as a historian, university professor and librarian — on the history and future of the book, whether printed or electronic. Though he is an unabashed partisan of books as they have existed since the codex replaced the scroll about 1,700 years ago, Darnton sees at least one ideal use for electronic publishing: to make widely available the results of scholarly research, with hyperlinks to the research itself where possible. “Any historian who has done long stints of research,” Darnton writes, “knows the frustration over his inability to communicate the fathomlessness of the archives and the bottomlessness of the past.” Cyberspace is the perfect solution, a medium in which such complexities can be not only suggested but also explored via links for the curious. At the end of this chapter (“E-Books and Old Books”), the director of the Harvard University Library makes clear how he thinks e-books will be classed: “as a supplement to, not a substitute for, Gutenberg’s great machine.” Darnton is alarmed about another aspect of publishing: the loss of old newspapers in their physical form, a state of affairs that Nicholson Baker has also lamented. Both writers are incensed by the way in which some libraries toss out archived newspapers (and many other items) without alerting the public. Darnton would change this, requiring “libraries that receive public money” to publish lists of their prospective throwaways, and he urges “libraries around the country [to] begin to save the country’s current newspaper output in bound form.”

good stuff, especially the first essays on the future. great balance between books in digital forms and tradicitonal shape

Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave–“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”–wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.

I finally read this book, now a classic. i was actually happily surprised and found it quite good, in its emphasis on some core values.

Archimandrite Sophrony, We Shall See Him As He Is
 
Now at the close of my life I have decided to talk to my brethren of things I would not have ventured to utter earlier, counting it unseemly…. Thus wrote Archimandrite Sophrony, then ninety-two years old, in We Shall See Him as He Is, his spiritual autobiography. In this book Fr. Sophrony, one of the most beloved orthodox Christian elders of our times, revealed to the world his own experience of union with God, and the path to that union. drawing near to God with intense love and longing accompanied by struggle, self-emptying and searing repentance, Fr. Sophrony was granted to participate in the life of God Himself through His uncreated Energies. Like orthodox saints throughout the centuries, he experienced God s grace as an ineffable, uncreated Light. It was in this Light that Christ was transfigured on Mount Tabor before His Apostles, and it is in this Light that we shall see Him as He is (I John 3:2). Born into a russian orthodox family in Moscow in 1896, Archimandrite Sophrony embarked on a successful career as a painter in Paris. There he delved into Eastern religions for a time, before repenting bitterly of this and returning to the faith of his childhood. After a brief period of theological study in Paris, he left for the ancient orthodox monastic republic of Mount Athos in Greece, where he spent fifteen years in a monastery and a further seven as a hermit in the desert. on Mount Athos he became the spiritual son of a simple monk of holy life, Elder Silouan. It was under the guidance of Saint Silouan that Fr. Sophrony experienced divine illumination, knowing God intimately as Personal Absolute as the one Who revealed Himself to the Prophet Moses as I AM and Who became incarnate as man in Jesus Christ. In 1959, Fr. Sophrony founded the Monastic Community of St. John the Baptist in Essex, England, which has since become a major orthodox spiritual center for all of Western Europe. Elder Sophrony reposed in 1993, at the age of 97.
 
Very deep autobiography touching to many essential Orthodox themes. I loved very much the chapter on LIGHT. This is a book with which you can meditate, or share with others.
 
Allan Smith, The Volokolamsk Paterikon
 
Funny, Amazon didn’t even manage to type the title correctly!!
This is the first time this Paterikon is translated and published in English. It is accompanied with many notes and explanations about the historical and political context, quite complex.
I am not familiar with the source language of the Paterikon, but the translation does not flow well. too bad.
 
Bruce Wilkinsen, The Dream Giver

Bestselling author Bruce Wilkinson shows how to identify and overcome the obstacles that keep millions from living the life they were created for. He begins with a compelling modern-day parable about Ordinary, who dares to leave the Land of Familiar to pursue his Big Dream. With the help of the Dream Giver, Ordinary begins the hardest and most rewarding journey of his life. Wilkinson gives readers practical, biblical keys to fulfilling their own dream, revealing that there’s no limit to what God can accomplish when we choose to pursue the dreams He gives us for His honor.

Very easy read, but not bad at all. Writen as a parable. Energizing

FICTION:

Philippa Gregory, The Boleyn Inheritance

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Returning to the scene of The Other Boleyn Girl, historical powerhouse Gregory again brings the women of Henry VIII’s court vividly to life. Among the cast, who alternately narrate: Henry’s fourth wife, Bavarian-born Anne of Cleves; his fifth wife, English teenager Katherine Howard; and Lady Rochford (Jane Boleyn), the jealous spouse whose testimony helped send her husband… and sister-in-law Anne Boleyn to their execution. Attended by Lady Rochford, 24-year-old Anne of Cleves endures a disastrous first encounter with the twice-her-age king—an occasion where Henry takes notice of Katherine Howard. Gregory beautifully explains Anne of Cleves’s decision to stay in England after her divorce, and offers contemporary descriptions of Lady Rochford’s madness. While Gregory renders Lady Rochford with great emotion, and Anne of Cleves with sympathy, her most captivating portrayal is Katherine, the clever yet naïve 16th-century adolescent counting her gowns and trinkets. Male characters are not nearly as endearing. Gregory’s accounts of events are accurate enough to be persuasive, her characterizations modern enough to be convincing. Rich in intrigue and irony, this is a tale where readers will already know who was divorced, beheaded or survived, but will savor Gregory’s sharp staging of how and why.

 wow, first time I read something by P. Gregory. I actually started by listening to it, and there was one reader for each character, and excellent readers at that! Sounded almost like theater. When I had to give back the audiobook and finished by reading the book, I ciould still hear the voices.
this is great historical novel stuff, and I will now go back to the whole series, reading them by chronological order of events – which is not the way the books came out. but I found a link on the web putting all her books in the historical chronological order

BEAUTY

WILL SAVE

THE WORLD