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Define: THE PLACE (Part One)

November 8, 2013

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Ikon Archangel Salathiel by L Thiel

Several years ago, while a catechumen in a Greek Orthodox Church, I discovered an old book in the library.  You know how it is when you see something and you feel your name written on it? Well, this is how I felt then when I saw its title and took it from the shelf. It was summer and I had been in the church for only five months. THE PHILOKALIA, Prayer of the Heart, drew me in. I remember I had to get a chair to stand on to reach it. By December of that same year, I had the four  volumes, translated from the Greek and edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware. I dug into these texts right away, and began taking notes. After a while, I moved into other works. Last night, I found myself directed back to Volume One, beginning with page 36 and working in reverse.

OUTLINE TEACHING ON ASCETICISM AND STILLNESS IN THE SOLITARY LIFE

In Jeremiah it is said: ‘And you shall not take a wife in this place, for thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters born in this place: … they shall die grievous deaths’ (Jer. 16: 1-4). This shows that, in the words of the Apostle, ‘He that is married cares for the things of this world, how he may please his wife’, and he is inwardly divided, and ‘she that is married cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband’ ( 1 Cor. 7: 32-34). It is clear that the statement in Jeremiah, ‘they shall die grievous deaths’, refers not only to the sons and daughters born as a result of marriage, but also to those born in the heart, that is, to worldly thoughts and desires: these too will die from the weak and sickly spirit of this world, and will have no place in heavenly life. On the other hand, as the Apostle says, ‘he that is unmarried cares for the things that belong to the lord, how he may please the Lord (1 Cor. 7-32); and he produces the fruits of eternal life, which always keeps there freshness.

Such is the solitary. He should therefore abstain from women and not beget a son or daughter in the place of which Jeremiah speaks. 

I had marked this section, and in the margin I wrote in purple ink: ??? NO (which I underlined), and I circled “in the place” (where I have it in bold) in the last line, and I wrote in the margin beside it: DEFINE: THE PLACE.

At that time, the words of the mystic, Evagrios the Solitary, struck me as off, particularly where he says: but also to those born in the heart, that is, to worldly thoughts and desires … And so, I shall share in why. First, what God advocates for Jeremiah in that passage is, notwithstanding, the error of the mystic, is a call to regeneration. This is a recreating of livelihood unto the Father. If one can move away from the man vision and into the Spirit in this passage, one will see a ‘new children’. This has everything to do with spiritual knowledge, and the first born of [this] marriage.

Paul’s message in 1 Corinthians has been devilishly misinterpreted and misused. Paul speaks of the marriage of generations. What He says is … if you remain unmarried to the old wine, you remain fresh within the Life Eternal, which would be THE PLACE–our Heavenly Station. This really has nothing to do with remaining solitary. In truth, it has everything to do with the uniting of one to [this] PLACE, where one is never of a solitary field. At times, it may feel lonely, as if no one on the entire earth sees as you see, for what you experience is Spirit of God, rather than merits of man, but these are merely periods at the end of the sentencing. These say to the Yearling: This has died. Cut it from the Life, for we are now in a new season–a new growth. One is continuing within the move toward the generation of God Lineage.

‘He that is married cares for the things of this world, how he may please his wife’, and he is inwardly divided …

What is meant by “inwardly divided” is a severing within man–a tearing of allegiance ‘away from’ THE PLACE. When you unite with Angel and come into the Spirit, there is a move from the worldly to the Spiritual Way, and this involves a uniting.  Man has been gifted One within the One, that is God, for his recommendation in [this] PLACE. If he does not seek [this] council fervently, how will he enter? If he continues repeating within the old, he divides … and divides … and divides within self, and becomes of many wives or husbands and weakens the Gift on Love–our Sacramental Union.

And so, I return to where I first tasted used wine, to define and renew within a NEW Vision, a generation untold.

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Peace and Love

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