The Arena
The Arena

Episode · 4 months ago

Canceling Ourselves - Cultivating Godly Despair


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The Gospel Revealed: An Exposition of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 


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Now available at patristic nectar,doorg patristic, nectar, publications is pleased to present a new elevenlecture series by father josiah treu, entitled the gospel revealed anexposition of saint paul's epistle to the romans. This most famous of all saint paul'sletters is a majestic proclamation of the christian gospel, a gospeldescribed as the power of god. We healed from heaven for the salvation ofall, who believe the great apostle sets forth the dire need of all human beingsfor god's saving work in jesus christ, as well as the majestic fruits thatattend faith in the lives of christians. Here in sixteen chapters, saint paulexpounds many themes that have captured the christian imagination for twentycenturies and now the arena with father josiahtrenta, in the name of the father and of theson, and of the holy spirit. I heard that beautiful gospel text just now andwas struck especially by the promise of a single eye of pure eye, and that isthat we will be completely full of light. Wouldn't you like to becompletely one hundred percent full of light? This is our destiny. This is ourdestiny. There's no darkness in paradise, but it's our calling now it's ourcalling now i've entitled my homily this morning, brothers and sisters,canceling ourselves, canceling ourselves, i subtitled itlearning to cultivate godly despair, canceling ourselves, learning tocultivate godly despair, it's a terrible grief! Is it not to seethe exponentially increasing acrimony in our culture to witness the grotesque eruption of socalled cancel culture, a culture that is plain nasty, plain nasty in which great delight is taken in getting someone fired or ruining theirreputation or just matting them or abusing them?Verbally, the incredible increase of thisparallels, i think the decline in faith, the decline in religion and the fear ofgod, the core of which, of course, is a call to be concerned about your ownsoul, to think about your own sins and toinvest in your own salvation when you're doing those things. How muchtime do you have left to be obsessed about other people's wrongs and to spending time in smashing them down and getting badthings to take place? No, this eruption of judgemental sm is the fruit ofabandoning repentance and confession. It has a particular expression and onethat, to my mind, is exceedingly dangerous in something that has beenpushed by the likes of klaus schwab, the founder of the world economic forumof whom i spoke so last week or the week before this is the man behind thegreat reset. That's the title of his...

...very famous book he's been pushing aform of value laid in capitalism. Unfortunately, it sounds nice values incapitalism. If there's a weakness in capitalism is that it lacks values, it can easily become something that isnot supportive of moral life. He calls it stake, holder, capitalismand he's been promoting it and it's been become popular with many corporations.He compares it to. He opposes it to share holdercapitalism, where companies make decisions to please their shareholders.Now he says no, we should make decisions as corporations according tovalues more to support values. The problem, of course with that is who ishe to decide values if he had said we need to infuse values into capitalismand therefore we're going to gather the bishops of the church together and asktheir input on what values we. As the governors of these great corporationshould focus on, then perhaps we might be able to applaud, but that's not what he means. He meansit's time for us to stop being so patient with those darn religiouspeople who are such a problem to the world.It's time for us to get the corporate heads together and to end this kind ofblind service to people know we are going to use ourpower and our money and our corporations to advance our agenda, an agenda that i think they describe ase s: g, environmental, social and governance. These were the three areasof moral or value input that mister schwab would like companies to focusfocus on the result of this is now that cancelculture is spreading into our corporations and beginning to trickledown into the normal person's life. I'll give you an example. Several years ago i met a young man, avery talented and inspiring young man who was born without arms and legs. His name is nick. He served a serbianchristian, nuk boeviks. I met him at the world congress of families in saltlake city, where he was a speaker. He is become an incredibly influentialspeaker about christian faith about positivity aboutovercoming the obstacles of life. Can you imagine this man who has no armsand no legs? Many of you have seen him. I think i sent a video of him to youall back in the day. I think in two thousand and fifteen, i'm sure you readall of my emails very carefully m anyway. I read an article this weekthat was an interview of nick nick was recently cancelled by his bank. Why was he canceled by his bank? Whydid his bank remove services from him because he had done the terribleterrible thing of deciding that he was going to do more public? Speaking inbehalf of the pro life cause, he would speak in defence of unbornchildren and put more of his attention to this subject. The result is that he was informed that his bank no longer wanded him. He has since created a board andcreated a new bank, fascinating...

...endeavour on his part. How do we live in the midst of thiscancel culture? Well, dear ones, we aren't called to be conformed tothis world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. For us, we have to avoid being suckedinto this fast running stream of judgmental sm, especially dangerous. Is it to have atwitter account? It's almost built into the very structure of twitter tofacilitate this kind of thing. I remember a couple years ago, whenjordan peterson was here speaking at the fox theater and at the end i stayedaround with a number of people presider and i and to have a little question andanswer session with him, and someone was asking him about the acrimoniousnature of our culture and how they could avoid it, and he said it's almost impossible,because it's built into the form of communication, it's actually built intothe structure of twitter, it's very difficult to be on such a platformunless you have incredible intentionality, not to let the form of the technology as well asits use affect you. We believers stay away from this as though it'spoison, because it is judgemental, is the death of the soul.It's the opposite of the christian faith. For us, our goal is to cultivate godlydespair. What does that mean? I can hear some of you saying really father you're, actually promoting despair. Yes, not death, dealing despair, not thekind of despair that is leading to drug use and suicide across our land, nogodly despair. What is that? What is that? Well, it's what jesus means inthe sermon on the mount when he puts a blessing on us when we mourn blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Rememberthat the beatitudes reveal the essential character of christians. Thisis how we live an imitation of christ and for us learning to more and coltivalori. Thevirtue of mourning is what i mean by developing godly despair. It's what paul meant in the epistle today, if you heard, i know you were dazzled by thatliterary masterpiece which was the epistle from second corinthians to day,where paul is describing his life and the life of the apostles in the world.I particularly loved one of the last phrases where saintpaul says this describing himself sorrowing, but all was rejoicing. This is the way of the apostles. Thisis the way of the christian to be sorrowing and at the same time i was rejoicing. This is us saint john of sinai in the seventhcentury, in his famous ladder, gave theological expression to this reality of godly despair whenhe described and made up as far as we can tell philologies suggests that the worddidn't exist before saint john of sinai. The greek word harmonie joyful sadness, joyful sadness which he uses todescribe the very core of the heart of the christian. It's what we mean bygodly despair, saint john develops.

Jesus is teaching and saint paul'sexpressions, and no one takes this theme in the history of theology. No onetakes this theme, brothers and sisters of cultivating godly despair to greaterexpression than the saint, whose feast we keep on this day to day the eleventh of july, twothousand and twenty one is the second time in the history of the church thatwe have celebrated the feast day of saint sophrone. The athenae, who wasglorified november, twenty seventh on the feast day of saint james, thepersian two thousand and nineteen we have a beautiful icon of saintsophrony in the back of the church. Next to his spiritual father, saintsiloane and saint siloane, who reposed in the lord in nineteen thirty, eightsaint sophronia in a nine hundred and ninety three saint silo on first and then saintcephron, taking his spiritual, father's teaching and developing it further,have expressed the importance of godly despair more than anyone, saint philon, of course, is so famousfor this call. These beautiful words quote: keep yourmind in hell and despair, not unquote. Keep your mind in the hell and despairnots, saint sufran developed his spiritual father's statement. Further,he said, stand on the brink of despair and when you cannot bear it any longer,step back and have a cup of tea, a classically english twist there step back and have a cup of tea. What is this about? What kind of despair are we supposed toalways be on the brink of? Why are we supposed to be near thissense of sorrow? What is same? Solan and sane siphon:what are they trying to get to? Well? Let me just answer that by askingyou a question: do you think it's good to think aboutyour past sins? Is that a good thing to think about your own sins? Maybesince you did twenty years ago thirty years ago, since that you've confessed, since thatgod has forgiven, is it good to think about them? It's not an easily answeredquestion. Is it the answer? I think is yes and no? Yes, and no. We know from the apostle paul that heconstantly thought about his past since, at the end of his life writing hispastoral epistles to his spiritual son, timothy, the bishop of ephesus. He saidthis is a trustworthy statement worthy be of acceptance by everyone that trifjesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom i am number one protos first, and then he goes on to talk about howhe was a persecutor of the church of god. He murdered stephen standing right there, providing themoral authority to those godless men who crucified our proton arter, anarchdeacon stephen paul was holding their coats, giving them his fullsupport and then hunted us down. Paul, neverforgot that the christ saved a murderer, and that was him, and what did it do for him? Thatremembrance that remembrance kept his feet on the ground gazing into the hell of his own,abominable heart, kept him connected to...

...reality, who he is apart from god, what god has given him? At the same time, saint paul was ableto say something else describing his own background, his own accomplishments and failuresand his epistle to the philippians. He said this forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.I push on to achieve the high calling the great prize in christ jesus, so there's a there's, a way in which wehave to remember and there's a way in which we have to forget exactly what does that mean? This isthe very core of saint siloane and saint sophrone emphasis. I was struck on just how important thisis this topic. Last night in the vespers, i wrote down all of the phrases in thehimni for saint cefron last night. That relates to our theme this morning.You'll be amazed, listen to this in the text for vespers and ortho, some ofwhich we just chanted. We say these words. We call sophrony aluminary a blessed morning. We say that he was led by the wisdom ofself condemnation. He was a teacher of repentance. Helearned holy humility was the greatest of the virtues he accepted suffering asa blessing and the surest path to the kingdom of heaven joyful sorrow floodedhim as he practiced his spiritual father's words keep thy mind in helland despair. Not he had a heart full of tears and godly delight. Is that notjust an exact replication of what saint paul says? Sorrowing yet alwaysrejoicing? He had a heart full of tears and godlydenied. He found self hatred as the only sure way to pleasing god. Did you hear that he found self hatred as the only sureway to place, in god wounded in his deep heart by the humility of the landand our saviour? He acquired self condemnation as hiscompanion and then this, the climax of it all thou didst, teach us holy father totake upon ourselves the false of our brothers. Is there a greater opposite to cancelculture than that by the spirit of god? We learn tocancel ourselves. We learn to live in the truth of who we are apart from thelove of god, never pretending that we aren'tjustified by our faith in christ. Jesus, not pretending that the lord hasn'tprovided everything we need to be cleansed forgiven, washed deified, but never thinking that that's us byourselves holding those two things together, whowe are by our own choices, apart from the grace of god, and what we havebecome and are called to become. That is completely filled with light to havea pure eye. These two things we hold together, brothers and sisters. At thesame time, we know that godly despair kills a certain kind of hop that is demonic, hope in yourself.

One of the greatest stumbling blocks tochristian progress is over confidence in your own power, which forgive medoesn't exist. We attribute many things to ourselvesonly because we don't acknowledge the grace of god in our life, which under girds every good thought,every good motion, which is why the saints always teach us wheneveranything has been accomplished, say glory to god. Thanks to god, this kind of god they despair, killshope in ourself, and it secures our hope. In god, we will hope in god, inasmuch as wedon't hope in ourself. God gives us the energy of godlydespair so that we can acquire a desperation over our own hearts, whichwill lead us to seek god and what he has to give us will grasp death, and that's what saint siloane and elder sofrony meanwhen they talk about gazing into the depths, will take death seriously will see death as the fruit of ourhearts. The wages of sin is death. When we look hard inspired by the energy of god, theydespair will understand how horrible death really is and that it iscompletely from us and that godly despair will make. Thegospel appear, the radiant diamond that it is in our life. We will hold on to jesus our saviourwith so much happiness, kiss his feet with so much joy. Fear ever letting goof him if we can only gather the proper despair in the face of death. This is why you know, in some smallmeasure, we've had such an increase in the progress of the gospel this lastyear when covin unmated, the fake, steriledeathless, secular culture, at least deathless in practice by our studious,hiding of it when covin revealed it what happened so much progress in spiritual life, somany people running to the church, all across the west and probably the east two. But a lot ofmy friends aren't there. So i don't hear these stories grasping death is how we grasp thegospel. Seeing our sins is how we gain repentance, because the way up is firstdown you go down and then you go up and there's no other way up, but down the way to joy is to embrace sorrow.The way of humility is the way to glory. The embrace of suffering is the path toa stable peace. No one teaches us that more than saint siphonia, the athenioand his spiritual father, saint selon, may god help us to cancel ourselvesbrothers and sisters so that we don't cancel anyone else. You know every aggressive opponent of the church, every uniquely awful heresy. We oppose with complete vigor, ofcourse, and we will always do that. The light, while all was fight the darkness.The truth, while i was oppose, lies in error, but the people who hold thesethings. We will never oppose the people who hold these things weseek,...

...for goodness sake. I used to hold thesethings if it wasn't for the grace of god, thisheretic would be dead and doing nothing for the kingdom of god and how aboutyou? How about you we're not trying tocancel any one? We're just trying to cancel the devil's works happy feasting. We hope that you have enjoyed and havebeen edified by this presentation offered to you by patristic nectar,publications, a non profit organization committed to nourishing the spirituallythirsty with the sweet teachings of the holy fathers. If you are interested inother available titles or if you would like more information on patristicnectar publications, please visit our website at www, dot, patristic nectar,dot, org. Again, that's w w wdot, patristic nectar, dotal.

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