From the Pastor-Nov. 2017

Nov 4, 2017 by

   In recent newsletter issues, we have looked at two inseparable teachings of the early Egyptian fathers.  As we saw, the first one teaches that unless we gain our sense of selfhood, not from others, but solely from God, we will not know peace.   Knowing that our ultimate identity comes only from God’s love for us grants us a wholesness of self.  This is necessary for us to be able to love God and others in a healthy way.

The second of these inseparable teachings was expressed by Abba Anthony, who said: “Our life and our death is with our neighbor.  If we gain our brother [or sister] we have gained God, but if we scandalize our brother [or sister], we have sinned against Christ.” Roberta Bondi interprets this to mean that “the fulfillment of our deepest purposes and our profoundest longings for God can never be separated from our love of God’s own images, ” namely, other people, “amond whom we live.  We find ourselves in God not for a self-fulfillment that will make us independent from the need for other people but in order to love.”

Next time, we will begin to look at the role the passions and virtues play in our ability to love “God’s own images among whom we live.”

 

Blessings to you,

Betsy Caudill

Roberta C. Bondi, To Pray & to Love: Conversations on Prayer with the Early Church (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991), p.96

Bondi, p. 96

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