Brothers in Christ all,
I feel the pain myself when I sense that others are seeking that path which they believe to be Gods Will for themselves, yet feel divided in themselves as to what this division between the spirit and the flesh means. There is no easy answer, yet the wisdom of the Fathers often guide on our path.
I must reply because I have myself, though in the "Roman Catholic" tradition of monasticism, had fetl very drawn to live the lives of the desert fathers, from my early teenage years. Yet, for thirty odd years now, God has been pleased to lead me in ways which I have cannot categorize as monastic, but 'spiritual.' I have found that looking at my life in this way has allowed me the freedom to accept the will of God where I am. This has meant a different kind of suffering for me, because I have no other to rely upon but pure grace; that is, no physical ties with comparing myself with others and all. It hurts in oey way, yet is freeing on another.
Secondly, the spiritual masters, hint at the fact that our own fallen nature, because it needs purification, will find ways to rationalize God's will for ourselves. For example, John of the Cross reminding others that perfection is leaving self and clinging to God. Today I read a passage from St. Gregory Palamas, "To the Nun X..."[#58] that when the soul transcends all the forms of intelligibility and concepts it must "stand deaf and speechless" before God. This pretty much sums up all of our contemplation here and in the next life. I don not say that the monastic system is not perfecting souls, since we know this would be a very false gesture, but that as Rev Black and others have posted, that God can choose to lead a soul along ways certain to Himself and to whom he leads.
Thirdly, last year I posted a question about the divine light and those souls who experience it on the holy Mountain. In regards to this, I see the need for a wise spiritual director who can confront our own evil tendencies; moreover, that the Holy Spirit can use to guide us inwardly to accep tour own limitations. If we can find this kind of person, one in a billion on the planet, then we have the essence of fidelity. I think that the traditions all confirm the need for a wise director who is compassionate to our weaknesses.
Lastly, please pray for me also, since I find myself constantly surrounded by those who want evil in their lives are happy with living in hell, and want to justify their own destruction by wanting others to follow them.
Edited by M.C. Steenberg, 01 January 2008 - 12:42 PM.
Removed long quotation of full previous post at end of message