Daily Meditations

Thoughts on Asceticism, the Difficulty of Love and Burdens

Thoughts on Ascetism and the Difficulty of Love

Compiled by Michael Haldas, July 1, 2016

“St. Paul notes that “faith works through love” (Gal. 5:6). This describes the very heart of the ascetic life. Only love extends itself in the self-emptying struggle against the passions without becoming lost in the solipsism of asceticism for its own sake. It is love that endures the contradictions of reality without turning away or reducing them. And it is love that finally comprehends the reality hidden within the contradictions that confront us.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“If we are not willing to endure hardship for God and neighbor, if we refuse to practice asceticism, we will always be too weak and selfish to practice perfect and selfless love. True love and compassion mean self-denial.” (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“Love comes from God (1 John 4:7). We’re not very good at this kind of loving, and the only way we can be is through the empowering work of the Holy Spirit.” (Foundation Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13)

“If you find that there is no love in you, but you want to have it, then do deeds of love, even though you do them without love in the beginning. The Lord will see your desire and striving and will put love in your heart.” (St. Ambrose of Optina)

“The ultimate goal of Christ’s prayer, and indeed of life itself, is for the love of the Father to dwell in each person.” (Orthodox Study Bible, John 17:26)


Thoughts on Burdens

Compiled by Michael Haldas, July 5, 2016

“Loving God is not simply “the first and great commandment” (Dt 6:5; Mt 22:36-37). It is the life-giving response of the believing heart, and thus transforms the commandments from burden to grace.” (OCPM 5/28/2016)

“God’s laws are no burdensome. They can be reduced to two simple principles: Love God and love others.” (Life Application Study Bible, Mark 12:29-31)

“Jesus never promised that obeying Him would be easy. But the hard work and self-discipline of serving Christ is no burden to those who love Him…If you feel that the weight of your circumstances is too heavy to bear, maybe it’s because the burden is yours, not His.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 John 5:3-4, Jennifer Rothschild)

“Our hearts are much distressed and burdened, so we go to prayer and maybe spend much time pouring out our petitions before the throne. And too many times we get up immediately, rush out of His presence and often try to answer the prayer by some efforts of our own.” (John Wright Follette)

“May we allow His faithfulness to beam through us and lighten the burdens of others.” (Bruce Carroll)

~Michael Haldas, https://www.ancientfaith.com/contributors/michael_haldas.

Michael Haldas is an author, a religious educator and a speaker. He wrote Sacramental Living: Understanding Christianity as a Way of Life (published by Eastern Christian Publications), a book which he presented special editions of as gifts to Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in private audiences. Michael is also published monthly in Theosis Magazine and he has authored several Orthodox Christian themed articles for various publications. Additionally, he has recorded and contributed to multiple YouTube, DVD and CD educational projects. He teaches adult religious education and high school Sunday school at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George in Bethesda, Maryland and has worked with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Religious Education Department to create educational lessons and materials.


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