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Cassian Conference

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Animals recall the Kingdom of Heaven to come because they're so peaceful sometimes.
They can go perfectly where they are, in a sense, in perfect contentment like children,
whereas we're always restless and always worried.
It takes us 20 years of meditation to get there.
To get to that point. Not even that.
Admire the cats, too.
Because the cat is where it is.
Last time we finished Conference 16 on friendship, and we thought it was worth spending some more time on that.
So, on the subject.
And actually we've got two principal subjects here, and one of them is friendship and what that is, what friendship is.
It takes a little clarification.
And the other one is anger.
And connected with anger is the question of patience, being patient with one's brother.
So we wanted to read some other things about that.
In the Sayings of the Fathers, Book 16 on Patience.
Why, why?
I'll read a couple of those sayings.
Number nine.
Abbot Pullman said,
Whatever travail comes upon you shall be overcome by silence.
Now, if we put that together with what Cassian has said in this conference, we find a flagrant contradiction.
We talked about that last time.
Silence is not the only remedy when you're talking about a relationship between two people.
Silence does not solve everything.
Even the Gospel tells us we have to go and be reconciled with our brother.
And Cassian tells us about the kind of silence which is full of anger.
Now, this is an illustration of the fact that you can't trust in just the words when you're talking about these things,
but you have to ask what is underneath the word, what's meant by the word.
What does the Father really mean?
So Pullman's talking about, he's not talking about a relationship between two people,
he's talking about the monastic life in general.
Even injustices that may be put upon you, and sufferings and afflictions and so on.
But there may be a time when that silence is not enough.
And Pullman himself proves it in a couple of places.
There's a beautiful story, maybe we'll run into that one.
Number 11.
A man who saw a religious person, a monk, carrying a corpse on a bed said,
Are you carrying dead men? Go and carry the living.
That's really good.
I didn't understand that for a long while, what he was talking about.
What he means is, remember this is in the chapter on patience.
What he means is you're wasting your time carrying dead people around, carrying bodies.
He's not really reproaching the monk, but he's using this as an opportunity to teach a lesson.
The work of a monk is to carry people, to carry living people, which means to bear his brothers.
The work of a monk is to be patient.
How much patience?
How long?
How long?
There's a limit.
There's a limit to patience.
With animals.
The catchment doesn't say a word about cats.
It's cold out there.
And that's a good expression.
Go and carry the living.
Now, what does that do for us, mentally, psychologically, spiritually?
It tells us that when we are oppressed by a brother, when somebody hurts us,
when somebody has got our goat in some way, that that's exactly the way it should be, doesn't it?
In other words, that that's our work, is to bear that.
In a sense, that's our cross.
In the sense of community life, one's cross is the relationship with one's brother.
So, we always feel that something is out of joint, that something is wrong,
and it shouldn't be that way when that happens, but that's what it's all about.
That's what's supposed to deepen our prayer and so on, and deepen our charity.
If we just consider it in the light in which it hits us,
as this fellow has done something terrible to me and I can't stand him,
I never want to see him again.
Well, we haven't done our work yet.
Our work somehow is to get from that point to the point of charity.
As Cashin talks about later on, he says,
make your heart large enough so that that anger or whatever,
that injustice can flow into it and just be drowned in that ocean of greatness of heart.
Which is lovely to talk about, but very hard to do.
Where do you begin, exactly?
You begin, I guess, by looking at it. We'll talk about that later on.
Begin by trying to see it objectively and to analyze it, in a sense,
instead of just letting it sting as it is and turn into hatred.
Like Maxima says, detach the passion from the image,
which means detach the passion from the other person.
Also, detach the passion from yourself.
And then what have you got?
You've got the anger isolated out there somewhere.
Then look at it.
Various things you can do with it.
Try to find its causes.
And then bring it into your prayer in some way.
But consider it to be your work, that's the thing.
You see, that's your work.
Which is much more important than making fruitcakes or anything else.
Is to work through that passion.
When you do that, you've really got something,
if you can work through that passion.
Of course, it takes years.
But every time that we achieve a little victory.
But you see, it's important for us to know what our work is,
rather than to be putting our attention or energy into something else.
And thinking that this is just kind of a distraction from our principal aim,
which is to pray or something like that.
But this is in the center of our work.
But you say, to carry someone on your back, what does that mean exactly?
It means to bear your brother with patience.
It means to be patient.
In other words, it means to find out ultimately,
work your way through anger to charity.
If you think of Jesus, for instance, think of him carrying his cross.
What was he carrying when he was carrying the cross?
The cross is only a symbol, right?
You can say he was carrying the sins of mankind,
you can say he was carrying us.
That Jesus was carrying man,
was carrying the human race on his back when he was carrying the cross.
Because you can read his whole work in terms of patience.
You can say that the monk has to do the same thing.
Which isn't to say that all of our life is on a horizontal level,
but that's what the cenobitical life is about.
If you read the Fathers about this,
they'll talk about obedience and that kind of patience
as being the work and the burden of the cenobitical life.
Obedience being the vertical dimension
and this patience with your brother being the horizontal dimension.
Which makes it sound very grim, you know,
but of course, if the work is accomplished,
then there's a lot of joy that comes out of it, too.
That's the thing.
As a person gets through to the point of freedom,
from that narrowness of heart that Cashin is talking about
to the wideness of heart that makes him able to be joyful
even in the midst of being hurt and so on.
And all of the friction that he might have on the outside.
See, those sayings sometimes are worth worrying about
when you don't understand them,
until you get some kind of a thing out of it.
And it may be that you would understand this one a different way from me,
but that's what came to me after reading it a number of times.
Go and carry the living.
Our work is to bear one another.
St. Paul talks about that, too.
He says, bear one another's burdens.
St. Benedict very much talks about it.
The following one, in the same line.
They said of a monk that the more bitterly anyone injured or assailed him,
the more he was well disposed to them.
For he said, people like this are a means to cure the faults of serious men.
People who make them happy do their souls harm.
How do you like that?
For it is written, they that call thee blessed deceive thee.
That's in Isaiah, but you get similar words in the Gospel where Jesus says
when men praise you and when they say all manner of nice things about you,
look out because that's the way they did to the false prophets.
But when they persecute you, that's just about right
because that's what happened to the prophets before you.
He says, people like this are a means to cure the faults of serious men.
Now, who are the serious men?
The serious men are the men who know what their work is, you see,
in the light of the previous saying.
And so they know that this is their work and they're serious about it.
They're going to do it.
They put their nose down to the grindstone, as it were.
And so they work through this.
And he says, to cure the faults, that's kind of deep in a way
because it's not just a matter of learning the virtue of patience,
but somehow your sins are being rubbed out when you do that.
Your own faults are being cured by bearing the faults of others,
which is a kind of symmetry, isn't it, in the scheme of salvation?
Your faults are healed by bearing the faults of other men.
And you see how sin and penance are so related in that sense.
You could theorize, maybe this isn't true, but you could theorize
and you could say, well, most of our asceticism, what is it?
Our asceticism is only a training for the real asceticism,
which is in bearing the living,
which is in bearing the burden of sin as it is reflected onto us
by other people mistreating us and so on.
As Origen said that the monastic life was a preparation for martyrdom.
There wasn't any monastic life as such, there wasn't that name.
He said the ascetic life was a preparation for martyrdom,
which is that, you see, in the most extreme case.
Persecution, suffering and being put to death.
As if two phases.
The one phase of training and then the other phase of the real work.
But that's an exaggeration.
And that would suggest that the monastic life comes to an end
at a certain point in the menu.
But you see how those things are related.
The serious, the serious men.
Those are the ones that have this insight into this thing
and they also have enough resolution so that they go through with it.
That's hard. Maximus the Confessor writes a lot like that.
He says, when you get mistreated and so on,
don't be indignant, don't be angry.
He says, that's what you've got coming to you for your faults.
As if he were to say, in the words of Hemingway,
that you've got a death to die and you're going to do it tomorrow,
you're going to do it some other day.
I always remember there were a couple of...
Hemingway wrote a book on war, during the Second World War, I guess,
with some glorifications of war.
He was a fool in that respect.
But there were a couple of wonderful sayings in that book
and one of them was, sayings for listening courage,
and one of them was, well, you have to die,
we have a death to repay to God
and it may as well be today as any other day.
That kind of total detachment,
which enables a person to give himself to something.
Well, there's a little of that in this, too.
The idea is that you have to die to yourself
and the person who helps you to do it is helping you out
rather than hurting you.
It's nice in the mind,
but when the situation comes up
it's another thing to really hold on to that.
Because your emotions will boil and steam
and erupt against it.
The thought of death
Remember, that notion of...
Remember, Cassian says somewhere,
keep the notion of death, the thought of death in your mind.
And that's another angle, that's another way
in which the thought of death
heals this particular thing of anger.
Yes, Saint Benedict does.
Not in that light, I don't think.
Not in the light of anger.
Patience.
Now, Maximus the Confessor,
I refer you often to his Centuries on Charity
because they're really a beautiful
summary of the monastic life.
In these terms, of course.
Also, that ascetical book of his,
the Libra Asceticus,
which is in the same volume,
in ancient Christian writers,
in the same line, describing the work of Christ.
Those sayings of his on charity,
are they contained in another book?
Yes, they're in two books in the library.
One of them is ancient Christian writers.
It's about... I don't remember what number it is.
19 or 20.
The other one is
Early Fathers from the Philokalia.
You know, the first volume of those two
volumes of extraction of Philokalia.
The last thing in the first volume
is the whole of his Centuries on Charity.
All 400 of them, yes.
So it's all there.
It's a pretty good translation, I think.
So there's only one book that has them all?
No, both books have them all.
Well, you have to look at both books to get...
No, no. I mean, all of them are in each of those two books.
We've got several copies of that Philokalia one.
We've only got one copy of the
ancient Christian writers one.
And book 17 on charity
was very closely related to this.
A few sayings.
Abba Anthony
also said,
From our neighbor our life and death.
If we do good to our neighbor, we do good to God.
If we cause our neighbor to stumble, we sin against Christ.
In the light of what Gashon said about
not letting anger remain either in your brother's heart.
Number six.
Abba Agathos said,
I never went to sleep intentionally while I kept a grudge against anyone,
nor did I let anyone go away to sleep while he had a grievance against me.
Very simple,
but not so easy to do.
I don't know why these things are so hard,
why it's so difficult for us to deal with these emotions.
It's the real spiritual battle.
And all of the fear that's in our nature,
our instinctive fear and everything is involved in it.
Is that why the asceticism has to be pretty radical?
I mean, you know,
compared to the normal way
in people of the world or something,
where we really go,
it seems like a why so much and at the same time,
because it's so negative, it's so rooted in us.
That's the reason.
Because in the world
there are a couple of things you can say about that.
One thing is in the world that largely people don't go that far.
In other words, they're going to live life on a certain level, right?
Largely on an exterior level.
That's one way.
That doesn't get all the way to the truth to say that.
But most people stay there on the exterior level.
And they don't want to get any deeper
because it's too difficult and too painful.
Besides, they're kind of extroverted anyway.
The stream tends to carry them along that way.
But the people who do really grow to spiritual depth in the world
have to go through the same thing.
But they may not go through it in an ascetical way.
You see, they go through it precisely in this way,
in relationships with other people,
and having to love people
in spite of all of the suffering that's in it.
Like Victor spoke once of that lady
who had the drunken husband, I guess,
that beat her and mistreated her,
and she stuck with him.
Well, that's the same thing.
It's the same battle.
As living in a community with somebody
who treats you badly
and who makes you suffer a great deal.
It's the same thing.
It's the same fight,
and it purifies a person in the same way.
Even though it's done in great simplicity by this woman,
she doesn't know any of this theory and so on.
And she doesn't have any pretensions
of arriving at great spiritual heights
or becoming a contemplative.
But she has to fight the same battle.
To try not to hate.
It's very difficult to live close to another person
and not to have resentments
and things like that stored up.
God is present in it because it's love.
How's that?
God is present in it because it's love.
Yeah.
If it's love,
that's bringing God into the relationship.
To work from our instinctive resentment and anger
and even hatred
through to love
means to draw God into the relationship,
as it were,
according to his word.
He gives you the commandment.
It's sort of the blueprint.
You say,
Well, here's the blueprint,
but how can I make it
unless you're in it?
And so he comes into it to make it.
But there's a lot of suffering involved in that.
A lot of purification has to happen when it happens.
I remember a woman
who was a very good woman
and was a married woman.
She said to me,
Why is it so difficult for us to live together
without hating one another?
And I think maybe it's because the devil is in it too.
Maybe it's the devil
that gives that particular twist to our feelings
which turns just suffering into hatred,
which turns it against another person,
in that way.
I don't know.
Maybe that's it.
I make it sound very bad.
Maybe I have a blacker heart than other people,
but I find that to be very real.
That anger has kind of a murderous quality about it.
It's very overpowering when it takes position.
People are very different.
Some people explode and then they forget it
and other people smolder, you know.
And they're all burning inside all the time.
I suppose it's better to have the first kind of temperament
as far as just anger is concerned.
They've got some great...
A lot of these sayings and stories are cases,
remarkable examples of patience.
Like when Abhijan and these monks go out
into the desert
and one of the brothers is leading them
and he loses the way
and they don't want to show him up
to make him feel bad by telling him,
you've misled us.
So Abhijan says,
well, if we say anything to him he'll be grieved.
Look, I'll pretend that I'm tired
and say I can't walk and we'll lie here until daylight.
And so they did so.
They stayed there until daybreak
so that they should not abuse the monk
who had wrongly guided them.
That sort of sensitivity,
extraordinary sensitivity to the feelings of another.
This expression,
not to grieve another brother,
that's great sensitivity.
In other words, to hurt oneself
rather than grieve the other.
It's very, very hard to do.
A real test of luck.
There's a little lie there too, huh?
Yes.
We'll get into that in the next conference,
number 17,
where Keshen talks about the whole question of lies.
It's surprising that a lot of the fathers
don't have the same puritanical feeling
about lying that we do.
Abba Pullman said this,
There is nothing greater in love
than that a man should lay down his life for his neighbor.
Remember, that's Jesus in the Gospel.
When a man hears a complaining word
and struggles against himself
and does not himself begin to complain,
when a man bears an injury with patience
and does not look for revenge,
that is when a man lays down his life for his neighbor.
Now, he's talking about a monastic interpretation
of that saying of Jesus, right?
Because ordinarily the monk isn't called upon
to lay down his life in shedding his blood.
That's a rarity, isn't it?
I mean, not one person, maybe, in a million,
is called on to do that, right?
So how does that saying of Jesus apply to everybody?
Since the Gospel, you know,
is meant to be for our everyday lives.
And how does it apply to the monk,
who is not very often called upon to be a martyr?
So Pullman makes that kind of exegesis
and I think he's right.
He's in a direct line, you see,
and in a very practical way,
which happens to us all the time.
In other words, to overcome oneself
and one's own instinct, one's own inner impulse,
in order for the good of a brother,
even a brother against whom one is moved,
whom one does not like at that moment,
against whom one is angry,
that is to lay down one's life for one's neighbor.
He's saying that your life
is what's most alive in you at that moment.
It's your heart at that moment
and if your heart is angry,
to lay down your life is to lay down that anger, right?
Because you are that at the moment,
from a certain point of view.
As far as your feeling is concerned.
There's one about the monk who was making baskets
and he had them all finished
and he was putting the handles on them
and then another monk nearby says,
I don't have any handles, what am I going to do?
So he took off the handles he had put on his own baskets
and took them to the nearby monk saying,
I don't need these, take them and put them on your baskets.
Another lie, by the way.
And he allowed the brother to finish his baskets,
but left his own unfinished.
Which is a symbolic playing out, as it were,
of this business of preferring brother to self.
Preferring a brother's needs to your own needs.
Or laying down your life for your brother.
Doesn't that come to,
when people ask us,
do we need their help?
We might need their help,
but we say, no, don't bother.
The white lie there.
Sometimes, however, it's good for the other person
to be able to give us help, you see.
Whereas this case,
it's a case of one person really suffering deprivation.
It's either you or me.
This is the case, it's you or me.
There are many cases like that, isn't there?
They don't happen to us that often.
One of us is going to lose out,
so I'll lose out rather than letting you lose out.
That's the situation here.
The other situation,
it may be good for the other person to make that sacrifice
if he's making it to the Lord, you see.
The theory of Brother Anthony and Father Menard
that if I ask you for money to build my seminary,
I'm doing you a favour
by relieving you of that unnecessary wealth that you have
in order to serve God and gain grace by that.
So you should be grateful now.
Give it to me.
I think Father Pedro used to have a line like that too.
I've never had the brass to approach anybody like that.
So, it's kind of complicated
because there can be different motives,
different effects when a person offers to help you.
Yours often, when somebody offers to help me
and I say, No, thanks,
it's because, a couple of reasons.
We don't want to be bothered
with another person's fooling around in what we're doing.
Or, we'd rather be self-sufficient
and not be put in the position of having to thank anybody
or owing anybody anything.
Too often it's that way, you see.
They say it's harder for us to accept help than to give it often
because to accept it we have to be humble.
And often a person will offer to give you help
because he wants a little bit to be in a superior position,
the position of a person who's giving help.
Or because he needs to be needed, as they say, that sort of thing.
It's very complex.
It's a forest of different human impulses and so on.
Sometimes, very often,
even if we don't absolutely need the help,
it's good just to say thank you and to accept it.
In that way, you're putting yourself aside,
in a sense, to accept the help
because you'd rather not have it.
It's an annoyance to you, you know.
But he wants to give it.
It happens a lot.
Here's a good saying.
Number 19.
An old man was asked,
How is it that some struggle away at their religious life
but do not receive grace like the old fathers?
Now, this is a question that can be asked every day in a religious life.
I mean, we ask it.
Why doesn't the monastic life seem to be full of life and fervor
and enthusiasm the way it was in the days of the desert
or St. Bernard or St. Romeo?
And the old man said,
Because then charity ruled,
and each one drew his neighbor upward.
Now charity is growing cold,
and each of us draws his neighbor downward,
and so we do not deserve grace.
That's beautiful.
He's saying,
Well, it hardly needs to be interpreted, you know.
What does he mean by drawing one another downward?
It could mean many things, in many ways.
But he's saying that there's a lack
of drawing one another upward as we should.
Now, how do we draw one another upward?
Well, it might partly be by exhortation.
But largely, I think,
it's the matter of that intensity of relationship,
that intensity of union, of love, of friendship,
whatever you want to call it, you see,
which somehow draws God into the relationship.
And it's just good to meditate on that,
meditate on that saying around our own life,
I mean, our own experience,
in the light of that saying.
How we draw one another upward
and how we draw one another downward.
We draw one another downward in very subtle ways,
simply by not helping the other.
We draw one another downward
just by standing back from the other very often
and not caring, you know.
Which isn't to say that we should always be in a big mush
of sentimental intimacy and all that, you know.
But that there should be concern
and there should be always sort of this beating,
that kind of circulation of the blood almost,
of trying to raise upwards,
trying to edify, trying to move forward,
that sort of thing.
And always sort of to have our brother's
spiritual good in mind,
not in too, you know, dictatorial a way.
There's a whole lot in that saying, right?
I haven't really pointed to much of it.
Remember, that was the saying of Jesus
that in the last days charity will grow cold,
will grow cold on the earth.
And when the Son of Man would come,
will he find faith on the earth?
Now, drawing one's neighbor downward
also obviously can be in things that we say.
Things that we say which are negative
instead of positive.
The least little negative trend
that's given to a conversation and so on,
and pretty soon the conversation
is a negative conversation,
it's a strange phenomenon.
The big difference between,
and just becoming critical about things
and becoming critical about people
doesn't matter much who it is
or what it is that we're criticizing,
but pretty soon the tone of the thing is negative
and pretty soon we're getting a satisfaction
out of the negativity of the conversation.
It's a weird thing the way it happens.
We get some kind of yield,
some kind of self-satisfaction
out of criticizing other things
and other people.
Here's a good one.
Farmer had a quarrel.
Number 22.
Two old men lived together
for many years without a quarrel.
You may have heard this before.
One said to the other,
Let us have one quarrel with each other,
as is the way of men.
Before we die, let's have one fight
because we haven't had that experience
and everybody else has.
And the other answered,
I do not know how a quarrel happens.
And the first said,
Look, I put a tile between us, a brick,
I put a brick between us
and I say, That's mine.
Then you say, No, it's mine.
That's how you begin a quarrel.
So they put a brick between them
and one of them said, That's mine.
And the other said, No, it's mine.
And he answered, Yes, it's yours.
Take it away.
And they went away,
unable to argue with each other.
That goes along, you know,
with the helping the thieves
to carry away the stuff on theirself.
It's the same psychology.
About anger.
Now, I found there's a whole section
of the Institutes on Anger,
and that's Book Eight of the Institutes.
So here I was looking for
a lot of other references, you know,
and I overlooked that
and I didn't catch it.
So perhaps now is not the time
to study that in detail.
But I'd like to refer you to it
and just give the final gist of it.
Book Eight of the Spirit of Anger,
which, now remember,
these are identified with demons here
in Kashinology.
And the spirit of anger
is something that comes into you.
The demon is almost identified
with the passion, behind the passion.
It begins on page 257,
goes to page 263.
And the gist of it simply is
that it's never justified
to be angry with your brother.
It comes down to that.
That the only justified anger
is anger against your own passions,
or against the devil,
or whatever you want to call it then.
He says,
Whatever source of anger you have,
it has the same bad effect.
From almost every cause,
the emotion of wrath boils over
and blinds the eyes of the soul.
Blinds the eyes of the soul.
That's good.
In other words, it cuts a person off
from truth.
And bringing the deadly beam
of a worse disease
over the keenness of our sight
presents us from seeing
the Son of Righteousness, Christ.
It doesn't make any difference
what you put over your eyes, he says.
Whether it's righteous or unrighteous,
that's good.
Righteous in quotation marks.
Because you blind yourself anyway.
And then most of the rest of it
is just sort of commentary
on an explanation of it.
What is the sun
which should not go down on your wrath?
Here's another good sort of
allegorical interpretation
in chapter 10 here.
Let not the sun go down upon your anger.
So he says,
The sun is the mind,
it's the noose or reason,
which is called the sun
because it looks over
all the thoughts and discernings
of the heart.
It should not be put out
by the sun of anger,
lest when it goes down,
the shadows of disturbance
together with the devil or author
fill all the feelings of our hearts.
And overwhelmed by the shadows of wrath
is in a murky night
we know not what we ought to do.
So he set aside the adjectives there.
What he's saying is
that, first of all,
he said that anger clouds
the sun of righteousness, right?
Anger clouds the mind.
And then he says,
Let not the sun go down
upon your anger.
Let not your discernment,
your reason.
But he means,
when he talks about the noose
and when he talks about the mind,
there he's talking about
something very deep.
He's talking about the discretion,
discernment.
He's really talking about
the heart in the end,
the light of the heart,
as it were,
which is the deepest light in you.
He says,
Let that not be put out by anger,
but let that overcome the anger.
That's what it means.
But he doesn't say,
Don't wait.
He does say,
Don't wait until sundown,
but instantly,
when he applies it in this way.
So that's not a bad interpretation.
And then he talks a lot about
that business of being angry
still and being silent,
and hypocrisy and so on,
and the need for reconciliation,
the need for open reconciliation.
And then he talks about
the people who go into solitude
before they've overcome
the passion of anger.
It's a good section.
Fairly rich in content.
Here's the last chapter.
Wherefore, the athlete of Christ
who strives lawfully
ought thoroughly to root out
the feeling of wrath.
It's as if he's saying
that the thing itself is wrong,
no matter what the cause for it,
which is not necessarily to say
that it's a...
You don't have to say
that it's a sin to say that,
you only need to say
that it's in your way,
that it's keeping you
from love and from contemplation,
keeping you from the goal.
You don't have to say
it's a big sin.
It may be in certain cases.
And it will be a sure remedy
for this disease
if in the first place
we make up our mind
that we ought never
to be angry at all,
whether for good or bad reasons,
as we know that we shall
at once lose the light
of discernment
and the security of good counsel.
That's that sun of righteousness
he was talking about,
let not the sun go down.
And our very uprightness
and the temperate character
of righteousness.
If the main light
of our heart
has been darkened
by its shadows, you see.
So he's identifying
that with contemplation
and with charity
and with purity of heart
just as back in the first conference,
you see.
Or ahead of the first conference
because we're in the institutes here.
Next, that the purity of our soul
will presently be clouded
and that it cannot possibly
be made a temple
for the Holy Ghost
while the spirit of anger
resides in us.
Lastly, that we should consider
that we ought never
to pray nor pour out
our prayer to God
while we are angry.
And then finally,
he puts before you
the thought of death.
It's the same,
very much the same doctrine.
The next book here
is a book on dejection
or despondency or depression.
In the fourth chapter,
he says,
sometimes this depression
comes from the fault
of previous anger.
We were talking about
that anger,
which is allowed
to smolder
and not expressed,
turns into self-hatred
and depression.
Okay.
Also, in Evagrius,
Evagrius writes a lot
about the passion of anger.
He was sort of
the first one to analyze it
the way he does
among the early Christians.
And in his Practicos,
if you look in
Fr. John Yud's index
to this book
under anger,
you'll find all the references.
I'll just give a couple of them.
The most fierce passion
is anger.
This is Practicos,
number 11.
In fact, it is defined
as a boiling and stirring
up of wrath
against anyone
who is given injury
or is thought
to have done so.
It constantly
irritates the soul
and above all,
at the time of prayer,
it seizes the mind
and flashes the picture
of the offensive person
before one's eyes.
Then there comes a time
when it persists longer,
is transformed
into indignation,
stirs up alarming experiences
by night,
frightening dreams
and so on.
This is succeeded
by a general debility
of the body,
malnutrition
with its attendant pallor
and the illusion
of being attacked
by poisonous wild beasts.
And his big principle
is that
anger gets in the way
of prayer.
And if you have anger
in your heart,
you can't pray.
This comes out more
in the chapters on prayer
than it does
in the practicals,
I suppose.
In the practicals,
he talks about
how you get rid of anger.
Turbid anger
is calmed
by the singing of psalms,
by patience
and almsgiving.
But Gashin says
something else is needed,
because he's talking
about the solitary
remedies here,
but Gashin says
you've got to be
reconciled to your brother.
Let not the sun
go down
upon our anger,
lest by night
the demons come upon us
to strike fear
in our souls
and render our spirits
more cowardly
for the fight
on the morrow.
For images
of a frightful kind
usually arise
from anger's
disturbing influence,
dreams.
Indeed,
there is nothing
more disposed
to render the spirit
inclined to desertion
than trouble
and irascibility.
There's a footnote
by John E. Edgerton
who remembers
as a psychiatrist.
Was the keen awareness
of Agrius had
of the evil consequences
of anger
in all its varied forms,
that is,
the consequences
of resentment, hatred
and, when inverted,
sadness and depression,
based solely
on his experiences
with man
and knowledge of himself?
Or was he also impressed
with the place of anger
in classical Greek literature
and especially in Homer?
Anger that is
far sweeter
than trickling honey
grows in men's hearts
like smoke,
is quoting Homer.
About this
business of anger,
there's a lot of
contemporary
discussion of anger
and assertiveness
and so on.
The
essential principle
nowadays is
that anger
and these emotions
need, first of all,
to be allowed
to surface,
they need to be recognized
and then often
people say,
in some way
they need to be expressed.
It doesn't mean
that they have to be
acted out
by punching somebody
but they have to
have some outlet,
some outlet.
And you find
very different
versions of this
from people
who recommend
quite an aggressiveness
to people
who tell you
how to turn
the anger
into assertiveness,
which is not aggressiveness
but is a kind
of activity
which uses that energy,
to people
who tell you
how to
work out
the anger
in communication
that is
with the other person,
which is a hard thing
to do,
it takes a lot of courage.
This Powell,
I don't know
if you know
many of these books.
John Powell
is a Jesuit.
He's written about
four or five books
about this size.
This is one
of the first ones,
Why Am I Afraid
to Tell You
Who I Am.
And in it he collects
a lot of contemporary
psychology
from different
sides.
And in this he talks
about dealing
with emotions
very largely.
And I'll quote
you just a couple
of things
as a resume
of his
doctrine.
Here he's saying
that the
secret
of personal
growth
is communication.
So this
of course,
this kind of
theory,
completely horizontal
theory,
has to be
integrated
into the
monastic life.
It's one element
which has to be
integrated,
because he leaves
out the vertical
dimension
almost entirely.
The dimension
of prayer,
the ascetical
dimension,
the dimension
that Cassian
is talking about,
you see.
He talks about
the horizontal
dimension,
which Cassian
talks about
as reconciliation
with your brother,
which he talks
about as
communication.
But involved
in this is also
the recognition
of the emotion
yourself.
And a lot
of our problems
are because
we don't
recognize
the feeling
that we have
in ourselves
for what it is.
And we
press it,
we push it
down.
So,
he's got
certain rules
for what he
calls gut-level
communication.
You may or may
not like that
expression.
Words,
rules.
I always
like things
with numbers
on them,
and he's
got these
numbers.
One,
emotions are
not moral,
that is good
or bad.
No,
that's number
two.
Here's number
one.
Rule one.
Gut-level
communication,
translated
into civil
terms,
is emotional
openness and
honesty,
must never
imply a judgment
of the other.
That is,
one has to
learn to
express his
emotions.
You don't
say that
you're a bum,
but you say,
I feel angry,
something like
that, you see.
It doesn't
imply judgment
on the other,
either in
paying yourself
for as you
express it to
the other.
Second,
emotions are
not moral,
that is good
or bad.
Emotions in
themselves are
not good
or evil.
It's only
when you
give yourself
to them,
right,
when you
act them
out,
when you
accept them,
when you
allow them
to fructify
in you,
that they
carry on
that moral
quality.
Emotions are
natural,
the way
they spring up.
Three,
feelings must
be integrated
with the
intellect and
will,
which means
that you
can't
repress them,
you have
to bring
them into
the light,
you have
to bring
them into
the light
of that
sun of
righteousness
that
Keshen is
talking about.
Keshen is
talking about
the intellect
and the
will,
which are
illuminated
by grace,
whereas
Powell is
not
explicitly
talking about
that.
So,
you've got
to recognize
what's in
you,
and then
you've got
to freely
decide what
you're going
to do
with that
emotion,
whether to
act it out,
whether to
suppress it,
whether to
communicate it
to the other
person,
or whether to
talk about it
with another
friend,
maybe,
or with a
confessor or
somebody,
in order to
get it off
your mind.
Rule four,
in gut-level
communication,
emotions must
be reported.
Now,
this is the
hardest part
of all.
It means you've
got... you're
supposed to
communicate the
emotion to the
other person's
concern.
If you're angry
at somebody,
you should
tell him,
only it's very
delicate the
way that you
tell him.
I'm not
giving this as
gospel,
but only as
a kind of
representative
point of view,
which really
adds something
to the
picture which
Cashin is
giving us,
you see,
in dealing
with our
emotions.
Rule five,
with rare
exceptions,
emotions must
be reported at
the time that
they're being
experienced,
not later on
after you feel
flaccid.
And that's
hard too.
It takes a lot
of courage to
do this sort
of thing.
And I think
he's kind of
an extremist
on it.
I don't think
it's always
as prudent
as he would
seem to
suggest.
He's not
reckoning enough
I think,
on that other
dimension.
I think the
trick is to
know when
it is good.
The trick,
because you
can do it,
but how
and when?
If the
other person
at that moment
is too
sensitive,
you can
just touch
off something
hopeless,
you know.
You both
get yourselves
into a
state out
of control.
Because the
other person
didn't know it
and he's
going to
say,
oh,
that's how
he thinks
about it.
Yeah.
And then he
starts thinking
about it
and he gets
mad.
And he
hasn't read
the book.
So here
we've got
some rules.
I've found
some more
numbers.
The healthy
reaction and
the unhealthy
reaction.
He's got an
example here.
And this is a
situation of an
argument,
okay, where
you're getting
angry.
You're having
a discussion
with a
member of
your family
or a
friend.
There are
several
differences of
opinion and
very gradually
voices and
blood pressures
rise.
You are
beginning to
feel the
stress of
strong feelings.
What should
you do?
Okay, here's
the sequence.
The healthy
reaction.
First, be
aware of your
emotions.
Turn your
mind briefly
away from the
argument and
pay direct
attention to
your emotional
reaction.
Ask yourself,
what am I
feeling?
Is it
embarrassment
because his
arguments sound
better?
Is it
fear?
Is it
superiority?
And so on.
Unhealthy.
Ignore your
emotional reaction.
Just push it
down and
don't recognize
it.
Pretend that
you're not
feeling it.
Just try to
sort of force
your way through
and keep your
eye on the
argument in
spite of it.
Secondly,
healthy.
Admit your
emotion.
Unhealthy.
Keep denying
your emotions.
The healthy
reaction.
Turn your
full awareness
towards the
emotion.
Take a good
look so you
can identify
it.
Estimate,
too, how
strong it
is.
It is
anger and
pretty high
voltage,
too.
Number three,
investigate
your emotion.
The healthy
reaction.
If you
really want to
find out a
lot about
yourself,
ask your
anger how
it got
there and
where it
came from.
Trace the
origin of
your emotion.
You may
not be able
to uncover
the whole
family tree
of your
present
emotion,
but you
may just
get a glimpse
of an
inferiority
complex to
which you
have never
admitted.
Whereas the
unhealthy
reaction is
just to
keep fighting,
that is,
keep focused
on the
argument and
how you're
going to
win.
Number four,
the healthy
reaction.
Report your
emotion.
Just the
facts, no
interpretations or
judgments.
For instance,
let's cool this
down for a
minute.
I'm getting
too worked
up and I'm
starting to
say things I
don't really
mean.
It's very
important not
to accuse or
judge in
this report.
Do not tell
him that it is
his fault that
you got so
angry.
It really isn't
his fault.
It's something in
you.
Don't blame him
even to
yourself.
That's not
easy either.
So this takes a
real kind of
inner strength
to be able to
do this sort
of thing.
Number five,
integrate your
emotion.
That's the
healthy reaction.
Having listened
to your
emotion and
having questioned
it and reported
it, now let
your mind judge
what is the
right thing to
do and let
your will carry
out the judgment.
Say, for
example, let's
start again.
I think I've
been too
defensive to
listen to you.
I'd like to
try again.
Or would you
mind if we
dropped the
subject?
I'm afraid I'm
getting too
touchy to
discuss
anything.
Okay, now
I've just
given you a
little sliver of
what he has to
say there.
But you sort
of get the
idea.
I haven't
given you the
reasons he
gives why that
kind of
communication is
so important.
But you see
that a lot
of what he
says there is
implicit maybe
in what
Cashin says
about not
leaving your
anger in
silence,
burying it
under the
...
exactly thinking
of it that
way.
He's probably
saying, well,
you should go
to your
brother and
say, look,
I'm sorry
that I
offended you.
I'm sorry
about this
whole thing,
even if it's
not your
fault,
something like
that.
Whereas this
is a deliberate
attempt to
express emotion.
There's a
principle, a
presupposition
under that,
isn't there,
that it's
healthy to
express emotion
to communicate
it, that it's
necessary to
do that.
I don't know
if Cashin would
say that.
I don't think
Cashin would
say that,
as a matter
of fact.
He'd say, no,
you've got to
keep that emotion
inside.
What you
should do
is not
necessarily
dissimulate it,
lie about
it, but
you've got
to overcome
it with
charity,
something
like that.
But
he's saying
you've got to
express it.
And that's
the contemporary
point of view.
Some people
put it a lot
more strongly.
It'll tell you
how to win
the argument,
or how to
hold your own
and forget
about the
other fellow.
Whereas
Powell has
Christianized
it somewhat.
But that's
to be reckoned
with when we
talk about
these emotional
things, about
these relationships,
that sort
of thing.
Now, I've
been very
unfair to it
because I just
wanted to take
a look at it
for a moment.
Some other
time maybe we
can talk about
it more.
I don't
pretend to be
an expert
on it.
Also, I've
had no practical
experience in
that kind
of thing.
You see,
the encounter
group is
typically where
you work
that sort
of thing out.
And there
are all kinds
of encounter
groups, from
the sensitivity
group where it
can be pretty
violent to
something which
may be quite
in a religious
context.
Have any of
you had any
experience with
any of
those things?
Just a little
bit.
With some
friends.
If you've
got a
prior
commitment
to working
work at
that sort
of thing.
I imagine
it can
work out
pretty well.
If
everybody's
agreed,
well, we're
here for
this now.
We're
going to
do this.
It's
another thing
where the
other person
has not
made a
commitment
to it,
and you
just decide,
well, I'm
going to
operate on
this principle
now.
Brother
William, he
was telling
me the other
day, he
said, we
have a thing
we do in
our community.
Once in a
while we'll
have a
conversation
and we'll
deliberately
ask at
various points
in the
conversation,
where is that
coming from?
What you
said or
what I
said, what
is the
motivation for
that?
What's the
feeling behind
that?
Let's
identify it.
And they
do that,
the three of
them.
That's the
sort of
exercise you
can do
based on
a prior
commitment.
A very
useful thing
it can
be.
And one
reason why
it's useful,
a couple
reasons,
is you
stand aside
from your
own feeling at
that point.
You don't
identify yourself
with your
feeling, you
see, but you
stand by and
you detach
yourself from
the feeling and
you attach
yourself to
your brother so
that you can
look at it
together,
right?
So that does
something,
doesn't it?
It's possible
that that would
help to arrive
at a union
and a deeper
plane between you
and your
brother, stepping
completely beyond
that feeling that's
there.
Possible.
I don't know
if it works
that way.
But in a
small group it
could be a good
way to operate.
Interesting to
try it.
Only the
trouble with
those things is
you get to a
point where you
can't say
everything that's
in your heart.
You can't
admit to
every feeling
that's in
your heart.
Unless
you're very
close to
that group,
unless you
know the
people very
well and
you're very
much committed
to the group,
or unless
you're not
committed to
them at all.
For instance,
if you go to
Esalen for a
weekend and
you come from
Detroit or
something like
that, you
can be as
frank as you
want to because
you'll never see
those people
again, right?
I mean, you
probably wouldn't
be bashful about
saying anything
that was inside
of you as long
as they didn't
know you and
you were never
going to...
There's no
relationship.
Or if you're so
deep into the
relationship that
you have that
confidence in
everybody that
you can say
everything that
you feel and
not be afraid
of offending
them or
alienating them
or disgusting
them or
whatever, you
in between where
most of our
life is, is
very difficult to
be that frank.
There's probably
something that has
to be worked
in gradually.
With experience
you have to find
how far you
can go.
But then you
always arrive at
the question,
well, now,
we're assuming
here that the
real light, the
real theater of
operation is
between my
brother and
me, but isn't
it between myself
and God?
You've got two
completely different
theories there, you
see.
Now, do they
overlap or do
they contradict
one another?
I'm inclined to
think that they
overlap, but that
you have to find
the relationship
between the two
sort of by
prudent experiment
and by discernment.
So you see
what the fruits
are of both
of those things.
And our
way is primarily
the vertical way,
of course,
traditionally.
Excuse me.
Working these
things out by
prayer and, as
the father says,
as Gautam said,
by patience, you
know, by working
within your own
heart to work it
out.
Bringing it into
the light, but
working it out in
the light of God
and between you
and God and
your own heart.
And then, when
necessary, being
reconciled to
your brother.
But that
forum of the
horizontal sphere
with your brother
is not the
principle one as
it is with
all of these.
It depends also
very much on how
you're living.
If you're living
close to one another,
as you are down
here, especially
when people are in
a tight
centripetal setting,
the horizontal
thing is going to
be much more
significant than
when somebody is
living alone,
right?
And has
less relationship
with his brother.
That's obvious.
Right.
On the question
of friendship,
I'd like to read
just a little from
C.S. Lewis.
This book,
The Four Loves
of Deception and
Friendship.
His idea of
friendship...
He distinguishes
friendship from
the other three
kinds of love,
and those kinds
are, first of all,
likings and
loves for the
subhuman.
He's got more
than...
And then...
That's a very
mild sort of thing.
Then affection,
which is between
people who
simply, just like
old shoes,
sort of,
they're just
close to one another
until they
gradually develop
a sort of
harmony.
Nothing...
It doesn't
need to be very
deep.
And there's
friendship.
And there's eros,
which is romantic
love, which has
a sexual element
in it also.
And then finally
there's charity,
or agape.
Now, how does
friendship fit in
between these
others?
The four real
kinds of love
are affection
and friendship,
eros and charity.
He starts out by
saying that
friendship is
not much
appreciated in
our day.
In fact, people
don't think about
it much at all.
And the reason he
says it is because
it's, in a way,
the least natural
form of love.
It has not
such strong
natural forces
behind it.
Another answer
is that that
takes a little
explanation.
Remember, he's
distinguishing it
from eros.
He's distinguishing
it from romantic
love, which has
any sexual element
in it at all.
So almost by
definition he's
calling it a love
which is not
based simply on
natural attraction.
And I think that
his idea of
friendship is a
rather English
idea of friendship.
It's kind of
rarefied.
It's kind of
platonic, you
might say, in
a sense.
I don't know
if that's
accurate.
It's the
friendship of
two people who
share a common
interest, okay?
That's his
definition of
friendship.
Two people who
are interested in
the same thing.
He says another
reason why it's
not much appreciated
nowadays is because
few people experience
it.
The possibility
of going through
life without the
experience is
rooted in that
fact which
separates friendship
so sharply from
both the other
loves.
Friendship is,
in a sense, not
at all derogatory
to it, the least
natural of loves,
the least instinctive,
organic, biological,
gregarious, and
necessary.
It has least
commerce with our
nerves.
There is nothing
throaty about it,
nothing that quickens
the pulse or turns
you red and pale.
It is essentially
between individuals.
The moment two
men are friends,
they have, in
some degree, drawn
apart together
from the herd.
The species,
biologically considered,
has no need of it
because it doesn't
reproduce the species.
The pack or herd,
the community, may
even dislike and
distrust it.
There is always
a strong distrust
of individual
friendships.
In particular
friendships, they
were called in
the religious life,
in the religious
community.
And they were
often suspected of
having a basis either
of homosexuality,
something like that,
or of murmuring,
or of discontent
and kind of rebellion
against the structure,
against the superiors
of the community,
that sort of thing.
And partly just
this element.
The leaders of the
community very often
do.
Headmasters and
headmistresses and
heads of religious
communities,
colonels and
ship's captains,
can feel uneasy
when close and
strong friendships
arise between
little knots of
their subjects.
Okay, I'm just
going to read you
a few snippets
of this also.
Is he saying that
one shouldn't
have that kind
of friendship?
No.
No, he's not saying
that.
What he's going to
say in the end
is that friendship
is very double-edged.
That is that you
can share a
common interest,
which is either
good or which
is evil, okay?
So you can be
drawn together
into friendship
in either a
positive or
negative way,
which I think
is true.
everything depends
on the common
interest,
on the bond.
So he's being a
little critical there
about the community
and so on,
and about authority,
and that it is
suspicious always
of friendship.
Maybe it shouldn't
be.
It's implicit there.
Friendship.
Now, companionship
or clubbableness
is the matrix
of friendship.
It's a much,
it's a weaker
relationship.
Friendship arises
out of mere companionship
when two or more
of the companions
discover that they
have in common
some insight or
interest or even
taste which the
others do not share
and which,
till the moment,
each believed to be
his own unique
treasure or burden.
The typical expression
of opening friendship
would be something like,
what, you two?
I thought I was
the only one.
You get the idea there.
There's an interest
which somebody has,
there's a solitary interest,
and then somebody,
he finds out that
somebody else shares it,
you know,
and so a certain type
of music or literature
or whatever.
Or potentially also,
you see,
a spiritual interest,
and that's where it
becomes interesting
for us,
this theory of his
about friendship.
Suppose two people
share precisely
their spiritual quest,
their spiritual goal.
Now that's what
Cashin is talking about
when he's talking
about friendship,
isn't it?
He says that's the basis.
He talks about it
in terms of equal purpose
and equal virtue,
right?
Having the same
goal in life,
the same basic interest
which is monastic
perfection,
which is the kingdom
of God,
which is Christ,
which is contemplation
also.
And being more or less
at the same level in it,
which we weren't
too sure of
when we read it.
Lovers seek for privacy.
Friends find this
solitude about them,
this barrier between
them and the herd,
whether they want it
or not.
They would be glad
to reduce it.
The first two would be
glad to find a third.
I'm not sure
that's always true.
If the element
of a shared interest
is very great,
it will tend to be true,
though,
rather than the directly
interpersonal element.
And it won't be
an exclusive friendship.
Now, the kind of friendship
that is negative
in a religious community
tends to be the
exclusive friendship,
negative from the point
of view of charity,
where if a third person
comes you don't want
to keep them outside
because some of it
is kind of jealousy
in the friendship.
In our own time,
friendship arises
in the same way.
For us, of course,
the shared activity
and therefore the companionship
on which friendship supervenes
will not often be a bodily one
like hunting or fighting.
It may be a common religion,
common studies,
a common profession,
even a common recreation.
All who share it
will be our companions,
but one or two or three
who share something more
will be our friends.
And this kind of love,
as Emerson said,
do you love me,
means do you see
the same truth?
Or at least,
do you care about
the same truth?
The man who agrees with us
that some question,
little regarded by others,
is of great importance
can be our friend.
He need not agree with us
about the answer.
It's okay.
I think he's kind of
narrowly defining friendship there,
but it's a useful definition
because it brings clarity
to the question.
He says that friendship
is like companionship,
it's kind of a concentration
of companionship.
The companionship
was between people
who were doing something together,
hunting, studying, painting,
or what you will.
The friends will still
be doing something together,
but something more inward,
less widely shared
and less easily defined.
Still hunters,
but of some immaterial quarry.
Still collaborating,
but in some work
the world does not
or not yet take account of.
Still traveling companions,
but on a different
kind of journey.
And here we feel
a very great closeness
to the spiritual life,
you see, to the monastic life,
possibly to a monastic community.
Hence we picture
lovers face to face,
but friends side by side,
their eyes look ahead,
they look ahead
towards the goal,
the interest that they have.
That is why
those pathetic people
who simply want friends
can never make any.
The very condition
of having friends
is that we should
want something else
besides friends.
Where the truthful answer
to the question,
do you see the same truth,
would be,
I see nothing
and I don't care
about the truth,
I only want a friend.
No friendship can arise.
Though affection,
of course, may arise.
There would be nothing
for the friendship to be about.
And friendship
must be about something
even if it were
only an enthusiasm
for dominoes
or white mice.
Those who have nothing
can share nothing.
Those who are going nowhere
can have no fellow travelers.
It so happens
that that comes
very close to the heart
of the meeting
of a monastic community,
I think.
And that the people
are drawn together
precisely by their
common goal.
And so,
they don't sit there
looking at one another,
but they sort of
are drawn
into the
intense movement
towards that common goal,
which becomes
a common thing.
And the more
intent they are
on that goal,
the closer they're
drawn together.
That's what Cashin says,
right?
Where he says,
the strength
of the friendship
depends on the purpose
and the virtue,
which means
the speed
or the energy
with which they're
moving towards
that goal.
That's what
holds them together.
Which may sound
very mathematical,
but it's really
in terms,
in terms of love,
in terms of
the ultimate reality.
Some of the things
that he says
about friendship
don't hold up so well
for a monastic
community,
however.
One of them
is the fact that
friendship,
he says,
is a completely
free thing.
That is,
you can't be
constrained
in any way
to be friends
with anybody.
Some of you
take it voluntarily.
Well, that's not true
in a monastic community,
is it?
Because you join
a community
and then others
join it after you
and you don't
choose all of those
people, right?
It's not a completely
spontaneous thing.
It is up to a point
when you say,
well, I want to be
a member of this group.
Yes,
after that.
So that's
something that
cuts across the theory.
Of course,
we do not want to know
our friend's affairs
at all.
Friendship,
like Eros,
is uninquisitive,
unlike affection,
I guess.
You become a man's
friend without
knowing or caring
whether he is married
or single
or how he earns
his living.
What have all these
unconcerning things,
matters of fact,
to do with
the real question,
that is,
do you see
the same truth?
In a circle of true friends,
each man is simply
what he is,
stands for nothing
but himself.
No one cares
two pence about
anyone else's family,
profession,
class,
income,
race,
or previous history.
Of course,
you will get to know
about most of these
in the end,
but casually.
They will come out
bit by bit
to furnish an illustration
or an analogy
to serve as pegs
for an anecdote,
never for their own sake.
This is the kingliness
of friendship.
We meet like
sovereign princes
of independent states,
abroad,
on neutral ground,
free from our context.
This love
essentially ignores
not only
our physical bodies,
but that whole embodiment
which consists of
our family,
job,
past,
and connections.
That's interesting,
interesting to debate
because
is it true
or is it not?
It strikes
a lot of resonance
with monastic community
where precisely
we're not encouraged
to talk a lot
about the things,
especially in the old days,
to talk about the things
that we were
or had
or were connected with
before we came
into the monastery.
St. Benedict says,
don't talk about
the things outside
of the world.
But
can we carry that
completely
to its...
Because what it seems
to do,
does it not,
is to abstract
from the whole person
and take off
a piece of him
and just associate
with that.
Right?
In other words,
I abstract from
the total existence
of this person
and I simply
remove the section
which is interested
in the same thing
I'm interested in,
stamp collecting
or rare books
or whatever it is
and I deal with that.
Well,
that's a pretty
rarified
and dehumanized
kind of relationship,
isn't it?
However,
in the spiritual life
it may begin
to have some meaning
because remember
that we're talking
about the person's
deeper being
when we're talking
about the spiritual life,
when we're talking
about the monastic
or contemplative life.
It's not just a section
of his personality,
it's the whole deeper
self of the person,
right?
Now,
for that deeper self
these things
of background
and family
and age
and experience
are a little bit irrelevant,
right?
So,
there's more sense
to it
in the monastic life,
in the contemplative life
and yet for me
it's still not
completely convincing
because he's abstracting
friendship here
and isolating it
a little bit too much,
I think.
He's being too analytical
but in being too analytical
he's being extremely helpful
because he helps us
to see it,
you know,
clearly.
But then we have to
let it merge back
into the totality
of the person
and into the totality
of the relationship
which,
if it's really interested
in the person
is also going to be
interested in the human person.
I mean,
the person
also that we see,
you know.
Well,
where did you get
that hole in your head,
you know?
How did...
Various things.
I mean,
the person,
you're interested
in the concrete person
also.
Not only
in his,
say,
in his true self
which somehow magically
you see beneath
all of the rubbish
on the surface,
you know.
So,
there's a lot of truth
to that
in the monastic life.
Ask Brother Angelus.
That's one thing
he always objected to
was any curiosity
about everybody's background.
Yeah, he mentioned that.
Every once in a while
he slips into
baseball language.
He used to be
a pitcher in high school.
Yeah.
But if you get to know
about,
you know,
you come closer somehow
if you know about
the guy's background
and all.
Sure, sure.
You see,
we need these human helps
and he's abstracting
from them almost totally.
And in the old theory
of the monastic life
you're abstracted
from them totally too.
I mean,
you don't care
where a person comes from
and his family,
but you do care.
You care about him
in his totality.
And you don't just care
about the common interest
but you care about him too,
you know,
as a total person.
So,
I think his definition
of friendship
is too narrow
but it helps us
to see it clearly.
Because you can
take his definition
and reintegrate it
with what you know.
Especially about
how the Lord
brought the person about,
you know.
That is the most interesting.
Okay, now,
he's not talking about
the spiritual path
so that's another thing.
So spiritual friendship
is going to
add other dimensions,
isn't it?
Hence,
if you will not
misunderstand me,
says the exquisite
arbitrariness
and irresponsibility
of this love.
I have no duty
to be anyone's friend
and no man in the world
has a duty to be mine.
No claims,
no shadow of necessity.
Friendship is unnecessary
like philosophy,
like art,
like the universe itself.
For God did not need
to create.
It has no survival value.
Rather,
it's one of those things
which give value
to survival.
Well, that's beautiful.
I don't know if it's
a hundred percent true
but it's beautiful.
And yet we see
in a community,
if we're going to define
monastic community
as friendship
then we have to say,
well, at a certain point
we've got a duty
to be friends with people.
At which point
it separates itself
from the kind of friendship
that he's talking about,
precisely.
And you can't say
if you talk about
friendship as involving
a certain affection,
that's another difficulty
because affection
doesn't come about
because you want it to come about
because you decide
that it's going to be there,
does it?
It's something that precedes you
more or less.
You like a person
because you like him
and you don't know why
very often.
It's not something
you give reasons for.
And it's not something
you do on purpose
even though your decision
may be very much
connected with it.
It is prior to the decision
in a way.
Prior to the decision
of friendship,
in other words.
So it's not all
as deliberate
and intentional
as he may put it.
Now, here, no doubt
we're mixing it up
with these other
levels of love
like eros and affection
or whatever.
But that beautiful
freedom of friendship,
that's something
he's got there.
And then he goes on
and he talks about
all the negative possibilities
of friendship.
I don't need to
go into that.
So he's not just
He's talking about
the positive possibilities
of friendship.
He does talk about
sort of the accidental
qualities
of friendship.
In reality,
a few years' difference
in friendship
being free of all
the certain
accidental things...
We think we have
chosen our peers,
our friends,
but in reality
But in reality, a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles
between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another, so on.
The accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting, any of these chances
might have kept us apart.
But for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances.
A secret master of ceremonies has been at work.
Christ, who said to the disciples, you have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, can
truly say to every group of Christian friends, you have not chosen one another, but I have
chosen you for one another.
Now, this is especially true in a community, because we believe that the community is a
result of the Holy Spirit, giving people a particular vocation, so.
Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out.
It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others.
They are no greater than the beauties of a thousand other men.
By friendship, God opens our eyes to them, so a kind of epiphany of, what, of the image
of God, really, in man.
They are like all beauties derived from him, and then in a good friendship, increased by
him through the friendship itself, so that it is his instrument for creating as well
as for revealing.
So, some good things to say, I guess we won't be able to spend any more time on that subject.
I don't know if there are any things you wanted to discuss about it.
There's an article by a certain Giovanni Tabacco called Privilege of Amoris on Friendship and
Fraternal Affection Among the Early Canaubes.
It's a good article, but unfortunately it's in Italian, it's never been translated.
And the friendship was quite intense among St. Ronaldo and his first disciples, the first
generation of Canaubes, surprisingly so.
The amount of affection, too, you know, the amount of emotion.
It's difficult for us to empathize with it, because we come from a different age.
You know, what sort of bothers me is when, let's say you're in the community especially,
and when you just, you see someone and something comes over you that's pretty overpowering,
where you just don't have much like for that person.
Yes.
How do you deal with that?
There's no way that you can overpower that feeling, I don't think.
It may be with you for years, and so that's a real test of charity.
In a sense, you can say that friendship, in the way in which Lewis is talking about, can't
be there, right?
Or probably won't be there, because friendship, it seems to involve a certain affection, a
certain feeling.
Although, there are so many things, so many ways of working at that.
One of them is obviously to work at developing a common interest, something like that.
To find something in a person that you can relate to, I suppose that's the secret, just
on a natural level.
Maybe he has one thing in common with you that you can relate with, so find that.
Another way of looking at it is find something in him which you admire, you see, which is
the same thing on a deeper level, because it means you relate to it subconsciously in
some way.
Ways like that.
And really the basis is what?
The basis is faith, in that case.
The basis is faith that, on a deeper level, he is likable, worthy of love, and I can learn
to love him.
You have to believe that, otherwise you won't be able to do anything with him.
And sometimes it's very hard, because it involves all those obstacles we were talking about
before, all of the hidden subconscious things in ourselves, fear and everything else.
Because often when we really don't like a person, when we enthusiastically don't like
a person, there's something pretty strong in us, down deeper, that's causing it.
Okay, so next time we can go on with number 17.
Number 17 is about making promises that may not seem quite so relevant to the monastic
life.
He doesn't talk there explicitly about monastic profession, which is surprising, but I guess
it's because they didn't really have that kind of...
They didn't understand it that way in those days.
And then we'll close this series of conferences, and then we'll go back afterwards to the one
on chastity, if I can make a resume out of it.