November 5th, 1981, Serial No. 00688

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Monastic Spirituality Set 5 of 12




Now, that matter of renunciation, renunciation of the world, in other words, is typical for monastic treatises. And in the Source Petunia edition, they refer to the first treatise of Abba Isaiah, which is from the same period, from the same period. But also that institution of Kashin, number four, was, if I hold up this, on the Institute of the Renunciants. So renunciant was a title, actually, for monks, those who renounce the world. St. Gregory writes in the same way, the ad renunciati, and that's the word I think in Latin that tells you. So monasticism, monasticism would define the renunciation of the world, which throws you into that whole paradox of, well, if the world is good, then why is it renounced? And then you have to very carefully understand what you mean by renunciation and renouncement.


To renounce is not to condemn, it's to take another attitude towards it. And then we get around to this business of calling it as to the apophatic life, which means the life that is not the simply affirmative life, but the way that affirms by a kind of denial. Or you could say the critical way, in a sense, or the way that rejects the surface in favor of the depths. There are a hundred ways of saying it, however you want to do it. So his first discourse on renunciation was kind of a total program. It's not talking about one circuit, it's talking about the whole thing. And so it kind of gives a, I don't know if that would be a structure, but something like a basic look at this particular way of monasticism. And we're going to find out that this particular way of monastic life is really typical. It's very close to the way of the Willis and Benedict, and it's also very close to what you find at Cashin's Institute for the Centevitical Life, because what Dorothy is talking about


of course is the Centevitical Life. But this is basic monasticism. If a person doesn't learn that, if he doesn't master that, he's probably not even a monk. And solitude, without this kind of journey, without this kind of learning, this kind of sanctification, is a very dubious thing. It can be a cloak for nothing more than this point in his life. It's hard to analyze this kind of thing, because it's not an analytical treatment, it's not a system, it's not a structure that Dorothy is talking about. We've gotten into this before, but it's like he's circling around one thing, talking about one attitude. As you read on in here, you'll be delighted, I'm sure, that some of his discourses, because they're so meaty, they're so real, he's really doing the nuts and bolts of monastic life,


of simply living between people. And a lot of the things that he says there, you'll recognize in your own life, in your own experience with one another, are only slightly magnified. In other words, the sins will be a little bigger in here, and the sanctity will be projected lower. But it's the stuff that you live, that you're living in. For the people in monastic life, it's what you're living in. I wanted to review a bit that first discourse, rather appropriate, because I don't want to bore you with continual repetitions. He starts out by talking about the creation, the fall, and the state of sin. And this is basic for a monastic life. If we don't believe we're sinners, we may as well go home, because then there's no reason for doing what we're doing. And yet that doesn't mean that what we're doing is concerned basically with sin. It's not. That's the place, our core, the starting point, the jumping-off place. Or rather, it's the jumping-off place for us. But it's not the beginning, because the beginning is the creation, which is a period of infirmity, which is a period of us, which is a period of you.


And then the state of sin, getting back to the original theory we were moving on. Then the incarnation. And what the incarnation means, practically speaking, is the work of Christ left to us. His model, His teachings, worked in His commandments, which Dorotheus talks about in Baptism. So the Word and the Spirit worked to us. The Word in the form of the commandments, and the Spirit worked in the form of Baptism. And the commandments and Baptism being the means against the sins and the passions. And this, talking about things, what was it, a lack of a kind of positive way of looking at, or of discussing the monastic journey, is a continual problem in this kind of literature. Because you'll notice that they're always talking about getting healed from their sins. It's as if, in Burdjieff's language, it's a theology of salvation, of redemption, rather


than a positive image. But that's the language, isn't it? The thing that's happening is positive, but the language tends to be negative. Even at the end of Dulcethy's life, remember, it's a question of his having been freed from his sins. Your sins are forgiven, now you can go in peace. We're not used to that language. That it's enough to have your sins forgiven. Well, if we hear that language, our tendency is to interpret it in a minimal sense, meaning you just sneak across the threshold of the Kingdom of Heaven. But that is supposed to mean total glory, in some way. Total blessedness, total sanctity. The two things, we don't see the distance between the two things. The minimal salvation and total salvation. Even in the... Well, we'll get to Dulcethy's life later, which is important. OK. Baptism is supposed to put off your sins, and then the commandments are the way to root out the passions which are underneath the sins, that is, the roots that are still in


your heart. And we can find a lot of fault with that. The last time we talked about that information, we marked the monk and his view of how baptism is much deeper than baptism as a whole thing. Now, following the commandments is inside the gift of baptism, somehow. Makes it real. Makes it experienced, and makes it do its work. Executes its work completely. The conscience is awakened. Later he's got a conference on the conscience, a discourse on the conscience, in which he talks about it as a spark. He's got a wonderful question on the conscience, which reminds us of Martin's true self. The key passion is pride, and the key remedy is humility. He talks about moving from the poverty of disobedience to the way of obedience. Obedience to the commandments of God, and mediating, in some way, or some other. The key to the commandments is a spirit of compunction, of changing heart. And the opposite is self-justification.


And what you get as you read Dorotheus, as you go throughout, throughout the book, you can make these two columns, and there are two types of attitudes for obedience to God. There's a right way and there's a wrong way. There's the way of humility, of love, and there's the way of self-love, self-will, self-justification, the whole thing. The same thing. You find it goes on and on, but not quite as clearly. Maybe just as clearly. And what he's doing continually is to take the stuff of human life and discern it. The concrete examples, in terms of these two columns, in terms of these two ways, the monastic way and the non-monastic way, the way of God, the way of Christ, and the way of the flesh, the way of self. So it's a dualistic view, very practical. Very simple. Besides the commandments, the monks give gifts to God, he says, which were their virginity


and their poverty, which is not something that's required of a deacon. Crucifixion to the world, crucifixion of the world. No middle two in that situation. And he talks about the habit. And I don't know why he put the habit right in there, at that point. He just got down to it. He said, when you're in the world, you give up. You left the world, you give up everything. You don't get stuck in life. And then he goes off and spends a couple of pages discussing the symbolism of the habit. And then he picks up where he left off. And he talks about cutting off of self-will and of desires. And then finally, the state of tranquility that you arrive at, by the cutting off of desire, of being without desire. The state of tranquility, which is apparently the same thing as passion's purity of heart, or vagrious apatheia. He talks about it in a whole different way. And he gives the examples, these stories. And he refers to the life of docility. He doesn't quote it here. He gives it as a factor. And then he talks about these various monks who accomplish marvelous things,


or are saved miraculously because of their obedience. And it reflects the same kind of story that you find in the life of St. Benedict. A lot of other monastic literature. It's classic in the life of St. Benedict. When Haussler writes about the different ways of spirituality, in that article which Benedict Locke gave me, one of the great finds of him, The Great Currents of Eastern Spirituality, a classic article from 1935. He writes about the different ways of spirituality. You've got the way of spiritual sentiment, where you've got a fire in the heart, like hesychasm. You've got this glow, this warmth in the heart that you follow. You've got the contemplative way, like the vagrious way. You've got prayer itself as an activity, like the intellect. And it's a very Greek way of looking at things. And everything sort of is put into this intellectualist scheme. And everything is subordinated to contemplation. And then you've got this simple way of humility and of obedience, which doesn't talk very much about spiritual experience. And it was the way, the little way, that emerges into this.


And then you've got a couple of other ones that he talks about. And this way of Dorotheus is very much the way of humility, obedience, because one's almost perfectly aware of something. And you could say it's the safe way, the sure way, the sentimental way, the basic way. And if it's incomplete in that way, it would be incomplete in not telling you the heights of contemplative experience, the later stages of the solitary life, for example. But it's the basic training. It's the basic and universal training for the master. It's also Christ-consciousness. This business of self-will and so on, and desires, it's worth paying a lot of special attention to. This will get to about page 89. Here's where he sort of swings into his summary.


He got into an earlier summary where he boils down the commandments to that one text of Jesus. Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart. These are bolder commandments for some definite value. And here he does the same thing, but he boils it down to his cutting off of desires. If therefore we desire to be set free and to enjoy perfect freedom, learn, let us learn to cut off our desires, and so with God's help in a little while we shall make progress and arrive in a state of tranquility. For nothing helps men so much as to cut off self-will, for thereby a man prepares away from all other virtues. So there you have it. It's so simple that it seems pointless to continue to talk about it. But what has to be done is it has to be related to our actual experience. It has to be tied to our life so that we can really relate to it. Notice he talks about freedom and tranquility being in the same form.


If a traveler is on his way, he prepares for this state. From this cutting off of self-will, a man, for him, he cures from self-tranquility, and from tranquility he comes with the help of God with the end of indifference. Indifference is not a positive word for us, but it corresponds to purity of heart. Finally, he comes not to have any of these extraneous desires, but whatever happens to him he is satisfied with, as if it were the very thing he wanted. And so, not desiring to satisfy his own desires, he finds himself always doing what he wants to. And not having his own special fancies, he fancies everything within the heritage to him. Thus he is found, as we said to be, without special attachments, and from this state of tranquility he comes to this state of total indifference. We will see how much profit it earns us to cut off a little by little our own will, and it is the story of Josephine, the first woman. How does that strike us, that model, that idea of not having any self-will, and therefore really being pleased with whatever happens to us? Because as people born right now, right here and now, in this age,


we don't start on that vigorous relationship with everything. That kind of idea, that kind of model. Is that what we want? We talk the opposite, in that our capacity for pleasure is continually patented to encourage, to educate our capacity for pleasure, for self-satisfaction, for self-will, for the choice of this particular article which is going to make you happy, or this one, or that one. We talk about that so much that we run out of time now. But it's happening all the time in the world. But also, the whole modern age has made us believe that it's a matter of finding ourselves. We can look at this and take an attitude towards it, but we have to come back to it again and again and again. Because it is valid. It is valid. It's as if everything isn't so good.


It's as if everything isn't so good. It's as if it's a... One of our very short points about those two ways, the way of humility and the way of decadent humility, and so on. This is a way of truth, in fact. There's another side to it. The side of creativity. I think so, yes. That is, when one's deep will is open to God, then it is able to be picked up, as it were, by his creativity. It's able to be used by the Holy Spirit. Or, to put it better, it's able to collaborate, to be picked up by the Holy Spirit and assumed as a collaborator in creativity. Which is not only the creativity of the individual.


It is God's creativity of work and children. But God's creativity, working through his creativity, not just working through his passivity, that's the point. Our creativity itself becomes open so that God's grace can come inside of it and it becomes that kind of collaborative work. I think that normally we think that that's a lot easier than it is. We think we're going to be ready for it a lot earlier than we are. And hence, we set off to do something. We're inclined to do this. We set off to do something which seems to be a creative work of God and it turns out to be, in some kind, an evil trick. Or at least that before long we find that we have taken this thing over with so much attachment that it's very difficult for it really to be God's work anymore. It's so important to us, the success of it in a particular way that it has to go, or our particular proprietorship of it, that it's very difficult for it really to be God's work anymore. We don't have the detachment for it. It's like what he's talking about here is the first stage.


And this is the stage of purification which makes a person ready for God's work and then God can work through the person. He doesn't talk about that. He doesn't talk about that. And hardly any of the Lord wants to. I wonder what it is. I wonder what it is. Well, I'm getting the ego out of the way so that...


Most people just underestimate that. Because most people are content to go along on the level of success but not questioning success, not being skeptical about those things. And there remains all of this of self-attachment, self-love, pride, and everything. And it doesn't get opened up until the thing gets challenged, until there's a reversal, an unsuccessful failure. And that, bang, just goes business. This is the way that you find like in Silouan. Silouan is the example of the person who has arrived at this, the way that he talks, perfectly without attachment. And he's a child. He's a child, but a mature child. Where the childhood, the openness that Rana talks about, is strength, is pure strength. The same thing is true of saint Therese. Now, we don't want to have to say that that exhausts the possibilities of human nature.


One simply becomes that way, open and empty, as it were, in the meantime. One's life may also be filled. But in a way, that doesn't matter, because this is the work, this is the means, this is the needle's eye that a person has to go through. At least in a master's practice, that's what it's about. And to get to perfect freedom, one needs to become a child to this extent. One needs to become a saint. And that's disagreeable to us. That's repugnant to us. Because we're too sophisticated. It seems like backing down. It seems like a regression. And very often, it's hard for us to have enough confidence in the institution, or in the spiritual father, or in the setup, or in God himself, to let ourselves go that far, to become that something. But that, somehow, is where it's at. And if we don't allow ourselves to be put through that, as it were, through any community, or through obedience, or in the life itself, then God would not give us anything. If we have enough time.


If life is long enough. And if we don't just completely turn away from it. Notice the connection between humility and this self-worth. There's a connection between that, sort of, the dimension of consciousness or the dimension of intellect, or self-image, or the way that you think of yourself, and the way that you think of others, consequently. And then there's the other thing of desire, or will. The connection between intellect and will. And implicitly, also, memory. Because when we talk about self-image, we talk about memory. Our whole consciousness, our whole insides, our whole interior, our whole self, in a way, is all one. And that tends to express itself, tends to operate along these lines. Just along the way we think, and then the line of what we want. And then underneath that, somehow, the presupposition, the level of presupposition, sort of, is like the level of memory, or the level of the unconscious, or the level of, as they say, self-image today,


which is not an image, but it's as if it were. It's as if a picture that we have of ourselves. And hence the way other people are, and hence the way the world is taught, you know, is basically flawed. Because it's somehow predicated on this refusal of a truth, of a mortality, or some permission, or whatever. Or vulnerability. Let's take a look at this life of Doctor Josephine, which is back earlier in my book. It starts on page 37. Because what he's saying here is typified by this life, which is certainly not an example of self-fulfillment, in that very sense. In fact, it doesn't give you that feeling of self-fulfillment or that feeling of somebody who's really arrived at the fullness of human nature, even at the end.


He's cut off. Josephine dies after five years, and he doesn't become a spiritual master. He never shows that he is really developed. All you see is the simplicity. He's completely transparent. And it's no wonder that the elders would ask why he should be honoured in the way he was. We don't see anything. He's invisible. And so that's hard. Hard to wrestle that up as a model. Okay, he was a page, and so he was in a kind of, what do you call it, a noble environment. It was a sort of pampered environment, the way it would be. And in the military, he was completely ignorant of the faith, and delicately bred. A lot of the people who became monks were like that. And he had this vision of the torments of the death and hell. And notice where his motivation seems to come from.


Just sheer fright, as it were. At least that's the way it's expressed. But you wonder if it was. Particularly the vision of the lady, which reminds us of St. Francis' lady experience. This vision of the great court, and of the lady and so on. And it sounds like the motive is really negative. It sounds like the motive is the pure power. But that's the language. I think there's a lot more to it. It certainly wasn't all just plain theory. So that's already something else. If it's real confuction, I know what the original was, but I want to check it. Confunction is already joy. He was probably captivated by the experience.


He was completely taken. And even though he still didn't know any language, or even a negative language of fear, to say why he wanted to, or what he wanted to do. The motivation was not just that. A man, the way you're living, is not suitable for that. So he took it to a monastery. And so he comes with a classic request. I want to be saved. And the abbot confides it to Dorotheus. He didn't want him to be with the brethren, for fear that he would commit some crime or be pursued or put to justice. I guess he was a queer duck in the monastery with his accompanist. Elite and military circle. So the abbot must have thought there was something fishy about it. Didn't want him to live in a community, become one of the community, and then get plucked out of the club. With scandal. And this famous training on fasting by Dorotheus.


He starts out very merciful. And very methodical. He starts out with two loaves and gets him down to one and three quarters per day. And very gradually, after a while, he got down to half a loaf. And he starts to get too big. It's a very efficient way of getting, easing somebody out of the world. And holiness. Because if he lived longer, he might have sinned. How to get him into heaven. So, he works. We better rush this guy into heaven. We'll starve him to death. Before he does something else. He got him into the impulse of militia further.


Before he could think twice about his vocation. So, he was a charmingly simple character, too. See, he was kind of crude and rough at that. Or at least impatient. He'd get mad when he'd work. Somebody would be irritable, and he'd go up, and sit down on the floor and cry. And Dorotheus would say, God forgive you, up now. And he'd get up and cry. He'd do it. He opens his inward thoughts completely. And Dorotheus is, is really sharp, and really, really severe. He doesn't let him have any satisfaction, because all he sees here is his defiling of those satisfactions. And apparently, knowing exactly how far he can go,


it's a matter of the discernment of how much you can ask of somebody, how much you can expect of somebody. The way he behaves with the bread there, that is nuts. And then catching, knowing what an attachment is. And things that he would see first, things like this business of the mind. He could have, he could have approached that in another way. Taking a stroke away from that, he'd say, this is a moment. Imagine what would happen from the viewpoint of the manuscript. There'd be a series of articles in National Press that would be quoted, and a psychiatrist would be appointed to look down on the novice mistress and so on and so on. How do you think about all of that? How specific? How do you collect it? Whether that specific kind of value is there,


and you can be told what you have, what you need, or not to, that sort of thing. I don't know of any place where it is. I don't know of any place where it is. And part of the reason is, what's happened to West Japan in the last 400 years doesn't seem to permit that kind of thinking anymore. In other words, that could fit a certain culture in an appropriate, another culture, where education is more widespread, and where people are trained in responsibility and maturity, so that there's a danger of breaking the norm, I would say. I think very occasionally, because for a scrupulous person, especially, the spiritual father ought to tell him, you do exactly that, and you won't have anxiety. I don't know anywhere where this kind of thing is used methodically. Or rather, I'm sure that it's used, especially in some women's communities, but not wisely.


In other words, it's used because the novice mistress doesn't know what she's doing. She's being too childish. If it's done with wisdom, it can be OK. But the trouble with this kind of thing is that, for instance, that knife thing, the way Dorothea sets him up, it's God or the knife. What is it, sir? Do you want to become the slave of this knife and not the slave of God? Is it true that it pleases you so much and that you're bound by it? What could happen with that kind of treatment if you're not careful? The knife becomes a silly thing, a little thing, becomes so fascinating, becomes so alluring, pitted against, given all this weight and so on, that it becomes a disproportionate attachment and obsession. I used to have a work that was not just about a knife, but it becomes fascinating just because it's forbidden, because it's suggested that it can't compete with God.


I'm picking out a couple of words because, obviously, this treatment is more wise than that. To make... And even the words, I don't want to seem to be criticizing, because what he's doing is attempting to put the thing in, to make it and so on. It's only that it can't go the other way. Yes. That's right. But the fact that a small thing is picked like that, that a big deal is made out of a small thing, that has the danger of setting up that polarization, that temptation, that fascination, so that it does it, he'll go back at midnight with a candle and just fondle the knife or something. But evidently it didn't work that way. Evidently what he was doing


didn't work. What I mean is, did he forbid him to touch it? Put it over there and never touch it again. Okay, that's the thing. At a certain point, you have to be able to take it and leave it alone. At a certain point, it should sort of fade into insignificance, so it's no competitor for God, so somehow it's insignificant. Okay? Okay. And similarly, there are other things that fix a lot of attention on a specific object, whether it be something you care about. But not us, because Josephine was so passionate about it. This is a method. I think in the East, probably, they're talking a little bit much about not the knife and the book.


It has to be done kind of carefully. Because what has to be protectable, what has to be preserved and not broken? It's the spirit of the hand, or his heart, you can say. He has to be treated in such a way to allow him to keep his positivity. That the training does not become a temptation which overcomes him in a sense of turning him bitter, turning him cynical, breaking the relationship with his spiritual father, making him vulnerable, critical, for something of importance. And I think that you can only talk about those things when it's a likely big violation. In other words, when there's nothing around to get excited about. And so one gets excited and one doesn't. That's right.


That's the situation as you mentioned it earlier. I've seen so much but that was a great day in my life. It was brilliant. I can't believe it. Now this business about the disciple, which illustrates his obedience, his simplicity once again. We don't get any view that Dosothi here is anything but simple beauty. We don't get any suggestion that he knew at a certain point. We don't know anything about his consciousness. But he knew at a certain point. Knew better, but did it anyway. He just does it. Now this presented to us


as a model. We don't know whether Dosothi is dumb or whether he's humble or retentive. That's the way it is. So that illustrates and indicates that he was really working on himself and doing it in an intelligent way. That's right. That's right. Yeah, yeah. Comes pretty close though to looking at it. You see him sitting on the floor crying. He was somehow battling himself. And you see how close


that humility brings you to the appearance of being a dummy. And that's part of the one of the hardest aspects ever. It's seeming like a dummy also to other people. Like the proof of Christ. It's right on the border. Questions about Holy Scripture. So he really, really mistreats a man. Okay. Asks him for rings of Jesus. Sends him off to the Abbot. And the Abbot smacks him. And he didn't even complain. And so it was always. When he consulted any of the elders about his thoughts he accepted the advice he was given and never returned it as something to give. His training was hard and by our standards perhaps very poor. Remember this is real about him. Although this is almost almost exactly verbatim


a life of decency as you find it in the text. He's taken it right out of him. Hardly left anything out as far as I can see. Yet this is his language. That's all he puts in common with you. Really. Well and good in the spirit of the Church. Never seeking to gratify his own will or to satisfy the burden of his will. None of this tuberculosis. The other question here is Does it... Is this just a timidity? Is this just sort of a cowardice that makes him like this? That makes him like that? Or is it courage? You see him sick like that and still behaving like that


you feel you have to improve his courage. The fact that he doesn't let himself be bullied. Even in sickness does he report against his own will. That's where you see the interiorist trigger right there. Where he tells her about the thing and says well I don't want it just the same. Courage. Courage he says. That's a very tender passage there. He's asking her about his prayer. Never mind the prayer


just remember God as it is. In the original it says Just think that he's in front of you. He's so concerned about his sins. And the grand old man the great old man gives him a joyful reply. Usually the great old man's replies are great old replies. They always come off with a lot of what would you call it a lot of warmth of some kind. He's got a special tone. They're always sort of celebratory letters. It's a question of death. He's going to die. In an instant he has become rich and from a slave he has become a good man. I think that's an adaptation to scripture passages from the Old Testament.


That God can make a man rich in sin. As last death as he was at the end of his tether and could have driven him he's sent to ask the old man he has permission to die. Allow me to depart for I cannot do any more. Go forth in peace. Take your place in the presence of the Holy Trinity. And then the grumbling about Dostoevsky who never did any it reminds us of the death of Zosimov and the Redis massacre. Father Farrakhan the oldest head of the monks they were tough guys what did he ever do he put Germans to no special penances and only a short time in the monastery that he should merit to do that. It reminds me of the twelve things in the gospel the elder brother the workers in the vineyard


the ones who have been there all day grumbling about the penny given to the eleventh hour worker a whole bunch of things in the gospel. And it was true he could never fast a whole day he was never able to be up for a whole night office no special mortification these things are all physical these things are all external but what has been written about here is his internal mortification this is his refusal to give in to his own will and his sort of passive mortification of his own will most of those things we are talking about his obedience and his patience in obedience and in his work his patience for the horrible world of Dorothy and so on but not about the external things themselves it's the way that he relates to them it's his attitude it's the way that he relates to the external situation and to the things that he has to do and the things that are done to him it's not the things themselves that are heroic


he doesn't do anything heroic it's his attitude he was never able to be up for a whole night office we've never seen it practically special concessions you don't have to take them as a model but they did not know what he had done his obedience in all things and his complete surrender to his own will his simplicity of the reproof and his pure discernment and loyalty I don't know how much of this is exactly from the source from the text I didn't check it but most of it is some of them went on murmuring until God made known the glory reserved for Josephie because of his enormous obedience as this holy monk who comes to visit him has a vision among them in a place of honor was one who had been more than a boy it was Josephie and they glorified God who had brought him so true to the perfection of glory through a simple obedience and humility that's exactly what you find in the text


at the end of the life of Josephie so that's the model for the way and this brings the what do you call it the question of the monastic life to its sharpest this kind of model because that's what the monastic life is about there's one dimension that's left out pretty much there that we would want to bring out the dimension of positive love of the brothers it's implicit in his obedience and in his life but his life is expressed here in a vertical dimension in vertical terms not in horizontal terms they don't say that Josephie loved the brothers that he was a good brother not even that he was patient towards his brothers because it's mostly put in terms of something about his work in the infirmary


and how he was very patient and so on so it's nothing about a kind of a positive or outward monastic life that was not his situation but it's largely the way that it's presented that's the the view of the monastic life with that term yeah we don't see much else except his obedience to his superior spiritual father and to his situation it's almost it's a solitary life there's a statement about his interior struggle with his situation with the monastic life and through the mediation of his father or actually his father's name because he relates to the great old man who was an atheist and also to Galileo


but not to his brothers there's no notion of communication with his brothers no exchange or sharing in some way with his brothers, only service a sort of cheerful patience to a few so there's something, there are a couple of things missing here that we would consider very dispensable to monastic life now we can say that it's a missing term partly of course because this is emphasizing his particular virtues and is really pointing out a particular way he's given us as a model for the way of Dorothy which is to say, it's not really the way of Dorothy it's the universal that's an example you really have to meditate on


and think about and it's something that challenges our own self-image and not that we have to always put ourselves in the wrong but we really have to question our own expectations, our own presumptions and so on in the light of this kind of thing there's a dialogue that has to take place between that notion that image, that model of monastic life, monastic perfection monastic perfection or whatever baptism and the commandments are much more accentuated in Dorothy he's more theological in that way you don't get that same basic scriptural foundation


so well even though he's very biblical in other ways but he uses more of that thing of a praxis of theoria in that he gets from a diocese and the diocese gets from a Greek philosopher the active-life contemplative work Dorothy is not nearly as interested in structures schemes, dualities like active-life, contemplative-life and ladders as Cassius nor is he interested much in the difference between cenobitical life and paramedical life, even though we're close to them going on now he doesn't dichotomize and polarize things as Cassius does it seems he's more evangelical, he's more faithful to the gospel message than Cassius I'm quite sure there's this basic context of the history of salvation which is not nearly as clear in Cassian the creation and the fall of redemption there's not very much on contemplation


here, but remember in Cassian's institutes written for the cenobitical life there's not much on contemplation it's in the conferences that he gets to and it is mentioned by Dorothy as he knows talking about Adam and the state before the fall he's much closer to the institutes but the way of Cassian and the way of Dorothy is incompletely the same that is as far as the cenobitical message is the same thing remember in Cassian the importance that he gives to the discernment of the elders to the knowledge of the leaders and this this discourse of Abbot Parnufius in the fourth institute of Cassian very close renunciation is nothing


but the evidence of the cross and of mortification and then he goes on talking about being dead to this world the fear of the Lord is our cause um Crux Nostra Timor Dominus a beautiful expression Dorotheus later has a conference a good one on the fear of the Lord and this business about being crucified to the world and the world crucified to the monk and the business about not taking up the things you have given up and to give up big things not to take up other things and so on and remember this this is typical this sounds just like Dosothi that you may be able to attain all this observe these three things in the congregation in chapter 41 of the fourth institute as the psalmist says first I was like a deaf man and heard not and as one that is dumb or does not open his mouth I became as a man that hears not and in his mouth there are no reproofs


so you should also walk as one that is deaf but dumb and blind so that putting aside the contemplation of him who has been rightly chosen by you as your model of perfection the one elder that you're supposed to take as your model you should be like a blind man and not see any of those things which you find to be unedifying or be influenced by the authority and fashion of those who do these things and give yourself up to what is worse than what you formerly condemned if you hear anyone disobedient or insubordinate or disparaging another or doing anything different from what was taught to you you should not go wrong and be led astray by such an example to imitate him but like a deaf man as if you had never heard it, you should pass it all by if insults are referred to you or to anyone else or wrongs done be immovable and as far as an answer and retaliation is concerned, be silent as one that is dumb like a lamb always singing in your heart this verse of the psalmist I said I will take heed to my ways that I offend not with my tongue and so on I was dumb and was humbled and kept silence from good things


but cultivate above everything this fourth thing which adorns and graces those three of which we have spoken about that is, make yourself as the apostle directs a fool in this world that you may become wise exercising no discrimination and judgment of your own on any of those matters which are commanded to you but always showing obedience with all simplicity and faith it's the same thing it's hard for us to accept that kind of model unless we can see the treasure pretty clearly before us where do we see the treasure? we see it in the word we see it in the scripture in the New Testament in the promises of Jesus and also this monastic literature is never quite balanced it always has, it awaits the promise of Jesus the balance, first of all, of the word the word of the gospel and secondly, the balance of the


guidance of the Holy Spirit in our own life which tells you how to apply gospel and this to your particular situation to this here and now and to these brothers and to this particular problem I'm reminded, as I said, of Saint Therese and her way, this little way of this also that stuff we've been reading from Rana about childhood as openness and as simplicity we have to look hard at this simplicity and decide exactly what we mean by it and in what way one can be simple and not grow backwards simple and not regressive simple and not stupid simple and not renounce, not bury the light that God has given to us we have a terror of burying the light that God has given to us of burying the intellect


the awareness, the sensitivity, the conscience conscience and consciousness the sense of responsibility the independence, the free will the freedom, the whole thing the whole thing comes together with it and we have a horror of burying it now how can one be simple and not renounce or to what extent can one adopt the simplicity that Dorotheus is preaching that Docety is exemplifying without killing the spark how can one be true to that spark that we're given that we cannot betray and for which Merton is such a a roaring prophet of that spark of the voice of the the voice of the individual of God speaking to the individual through his own mind his own intelligence his own freedom that's the thing that the best modern thinkers I think bring out and hold up before you in some way it has to be brought together


with this simplicity I think it can be brought together I think somebody like Rahner knows how to bring it together with that notion of childhood because everything that he writes he rotates around this notion of the inviolability of human freedom and the human intellect and so on the point within the individual where he is one with God he is the image of God sort of what conscience speaks anyway there's the individual conscience and this sort of collective submission to the simplicity to the humility to the wisdom what seems an absolute renunciation of that individual conscience that we see in in Diocletian even your own self


it doesn't hate even his own self and that's precisely what's in question here but what does it mean to hate our father and our mother? it doesn't it doesn't mean to hate her yeah you're renouncing the attachment to creativity rather than the creativity itself I think because I don't think there's any gift that we have that's inherently bad or inherently unusable it's only because we can't get unstuck from some of our gifts that they become a problem it's only because we can be so hungry for what would you call it for self-affirmation


or for a sense of self-worth that our gifts our gifts are just too appetizing for us they're like they're like candies anything like that is such a sure shortcut to making us distinctive and putting us on top and giving us that ego feedback that we want that they become irresistible goodies to us and that's why, because of our attachment that fatal trap that they contain for us we have to stand back from them until we get detached from them and then God can somehow if we become transparent then they can be distinctive and it's always to do evaluation we value ourselves according to our mother, our father, our sister, our brother our friends, or even ourselves it's a long paradox that's why I value if you only know how to be self-knowledgeable then you know how to value that's true and it's also your inherent value that is, the value of you is the image of God as you, your value as you which nobody can take away from you those other things, somebody can always take them away


or we can lose them but that we can't lose, and until we really believe that we can say it all day and we still don't believe it until we believe it then we still have need of caution we still can't use some of those gifts and things because we'll fall into the trap because we'll idolize them the real candy for us is the thing that makes us number one that gets attention for us that makes us distinctive, that separates us from the rest that's the caribou of the eagle and somehow until our taste gets converted to something more substantial to something more true this wave is necessary to us we'll come back to this thing because this model of docency is essential in the whole way of docency and yet as I say, not completely


it's not meant to doesn't say everything about life apart from like Jesus says, unless you become as a child you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven he doesn't say that's exactly what that's we don't know what a child is from the outside we only know when we have the kingdom of heaven open up within us and when things themselves become transparent to us so that we can see them as they are I guess we won't have another quest for a little while I suggested that you