“Do you wish to know more fully and clearly how all the apostles have entered into communion with us by means of thought, word, and deed and how, through this communion, they have taken responsibility for our trials and temptations? Using thought, they open up and explain the Scriptures for us, commending prophetic utterances, persuading us to believe in Christ as the Redeemer, giving us the assurance to worship him as Son of God by nature, praying for us, weeping, dying, and whatever other faithful actions come from thought. By means of words they exhort, admonish, reproach, rebuke our lack of faith, cast in our teeth our ignorance, interpret the Scriptures, clarify the times, confess Christ, preaching that he is the crucified one, the incarnate Word . . . . By means of deed, they are persecuted, sneered at, made indigent, afflicted, mistreated, imprisoned, killed, and whatever other things they suffered on our behalf. In this way, then, for the sake of community, they accepted responsibility for our trials and temptations: ‘Whether we are being afflicted or whether we are being consoled,’ he says, ‘it is for your salvation and consolation’ [1 Cor 1.6]. They received the law from the Lord when he said, ‘No one has greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ [Jn 15.13]. They themselves have handed on this law to us, saying, ‘If the Lord laid down his life for us, we too ought to lay down our lives for our brothers [1 Jn 3.16], and again, ‘Bear one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ [Gal 6.2].” (Mark the Monk Counsels on the Spiritual Life [SVS Press 2009] pp. 248-289)
The past month has been incredibly busy for me: a week-long denominational event at the end of September, two other retreats, an upcoming trip out of town. This has meant little time for blogging here. But I’ve still been doing lots of writing, including four posts which have been (or will be) published elsewhere this month. Here they are:
- A review of Chris Haw’s new book From Willow Creek to Sacred Heart over at the Englewood Review of Books. (Posted Monday, October 15)
- A reflection on Evagrius the Solitary’s teaching about relationships called “If You Have Friends” for the House of St. Michael the Archangel. (Posted Tuesday, October 16)
- A post about the lessons I’ve learned from St. Mark the Ascetic which should post later this month on the Conversations Journal Blog.
- A post about integrating faith and writing as a pastor which may show up later this month at the blog of the creative writing ministry Antler.