Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Spiritual Warfare

St Michael
Dear Students and Friends,

In these times, there are many disturbing happenings in the world. We know these happenings have a spiritual component. What weapons does our Lord give us to fight spiritual battles?

Join Veronica Hughes, St. Paul, and other Saints of the Church for a 2 part podcast series on Spiritual Violence to explore the weapons we Christians use to fight our battles in our quest to understand our Lord’s words, “the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”

Listen to Part One.

Listen to Part Two.

These podcasts are courtesy of the Orthodox Christian Network.

You can receive one credit for each podcast you listen to. Simply listen, fill out the Podcast worksheet, and send it to else10@gmail.com.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Struggle for Virtue -- Suggested Answers

Dear Students and Friends,

Below you will find suggested answers to the questions posted on October 1. If you have any questions, let's discuss! Send your thoughts to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.

Introduction -- Q & A

  1. In the book’s introduction, Bishop Averky says that many people see asceticism as a “fanatical monstrosity or self-torture.” Before you read the Introduction, what was your definition of asceticism?

    Here you may have written your own thoughts about what asceticism meant to you prior to reading this book. You might agree with Bishop Averky that “Normally, asceticism is understood as self-restraint … but without any thought of why and for what reason this is done…” (See the bottom of page x in the book.)
  2. What does the “practice of asceticism” entail?

    The practice of performing good works … that is, works of love for God and works of love for one’s neighbor, or such works as would demonstrate that we are indeed striving to love God and neighbor with true evangelical love. (See the bottom of page xii and the top of page xiii)
  3. Why is the ascetic life described as a “fight” or a “struggle”?
[It is a struggle to force] oneself to perform good works and to suppress the soul’s evil habits and aspirations that resist them … ( Page xiv, bottom)

Asceticism can also be thought of as “spiritual training” as described in I Corinthians 9:24-27.
  1. However, “good works” are not enough. What does Bishop Averky say counts more?

    “Works are limited … the main thing is not works but man’s inner disposition” (Page xvi). Doing it out of duty, or to be seen by others, or because of true love.
  2. How are evil habits “like shackles”?

    “They deprive him of his moral freedom and keep him like a prisoner” and “making the person into a pitiful, weak-willed slave” (Page xvii). Also read Romans 7:18-25.
  3. Some Christian denominations have definitions for “the chief end of man.” What does Bishop Averky say this is?
Some Christian denominations say the chief end of man is to glorify God. However, Bishop Averky states that “man’s success in the spiritual life … drawing near to God and entering into communion with God“ (Page xix).
  1. Why is asceticism for everyone?

    “Everyone is equally called to battle with sinful passions and evil habits in order to free themselves from the oppression of the power of evil … “ (Page xxi and xxii)
  2. What is the will of God for man?

    Perfection, holiness and sanctification (theosis) (Pages xxii and xxiii).


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Reading "The Struggle for Virtue" -- Introduction Questions

Dear Students and Friends,

Please forgive my delay in posting questions to guide your reading of "The Struggle for Virtue: Asceticism in a Modern Secular Society" by Bishop Averky.

By now you have read the Introduction, so I want to pose the questions below as a way for you to reflect on the important content of this chapter. You can receive one credit for answering these questions. Simply read the Introduction, answer the questions, and send your answers to else10(at)gmail(d0t)com.

On Friday, I will post some thoughts and possible answers for the questions. May your studies be blessed!

Questions on the Introduction

  1. In the book’s introduction, Bishop Averky says that many people see asceticism as a “fanatical monstrosity or self-torture.” Before you read the Introduction, what was your definition of asceticism?
  2. What does the “practice of asceticism” entail?
  3. Why is the ascetic life described as a “fight” or a “struggle”?
  4. However, “good works” are not enough. What does Bishop Averky say counts more?
  5. How are evil habits “like shackles”?
  6. Some Christian denominations have definitions for “the chief end of man.” What does Bishop Averky say this is?
  7. Why is asceticism for everyone?
  8. What is the will of God for man?