“living with disability is its own ascesis”

(For an explanation of the word “ascesis” scroll to the end of this post)

This quotation is from a comment  to a post on the weblog Glory to God For All Things by Father Stephen Freeman entitled Fools For Christ- Remembering What Matters: http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2007/06/25/fools-for-christ-remembering-what-matters/
In response to this post, Father Mark said, on June 26, 2007 at 2:16 pm,

The motif of the “fool for Christ” is one that I’ve struggled to understand for quite some time. It’s become even more important in recent years as we’ve struggled to be parents to a child with autism and to show hospitality to other families with similar trials. In a way, living with disability (and in a household with a disabled child) is its own ascesis. I hope and pray that it is a way for us to know God.

I especially like the way Peter Bouteneff concludes his essay “What Kind of Fool am I?” in the festschrift for Bp KALLISTOS:

“Don’t be a iurodivy [fool], the Church says, but like him be a prophet. Be intellectually pure and humble. Be a person of prayer. Check your conformity, shun ideologies, and tell the truth.”

We deeply appreciate your truth-telling. Please remember us in your prayers.

Ascesis, from an outline of a Presentation on Being Christian in a Post-Christian World, by Herman Engelhardt:

A. Life as ascesis: seeking freedom from the passions and deceptions of the world
1. All of life is a struggle to turn from loving oneself with all one’s heart, soul, and mind to loving God with all one’s heart, soul, and mind, and one’s neighbor as oneself in the light of right-believing, right-worshipping love of God. Unholy love harms.
2. Any goodness that does not lead beyond itself to holiness is a false goodness.
3. The ascetic journey from oneself to God is, as the Greek ascesis indicates, not only an exercise, practice, and training, but an all-encompassing way of life.
4. Days and periods of fasting are times when the Church aids us to increase our efforts to turn fully to God through fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.
5. Yet, the secular world aims us in the opposite direction, from God to ourselves and the false goodness of self-satisfaction and self-indulgence. Consider the world displayed in television, movies, and popular music and its everyday acceptance of sinful lifestyles.

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