Sunday, March 09, 2008

John Cassian--Wisdom for Lent

I've been meaning to do a post on John Cassian, pictured at right and in the sidebar under "About Me". The reason I have him as my profile pic, is because he has been suggested (somewhere out in the vast reaches of cyberspace) as the patron saint of transcriptionists because he is often portrayed in icons copying scripture.

Considered a saint in the Orthodox Church, Cassian was one of the Early Church Fathers and a prolific writer. John was born around 360 to Christian parents and classically educated. Like many of the Church Fathers, his spirituality was focused on aesthetics. He claimed that "Grace is defended less adequately by pompous words and loquacious contention, dialectic syllogisms and the eloquence of Cicero, than by the example of the Egyptian ascetics."

John Cassian on Anger
As Lent draws to a close, and Holy Week approaches, we should, perhaps, pause to consider some of his writings. In his work, "Of the Spirit of Anger", Cassian tells us that anger is a "deadly poison of anger has to be utterly rooted out from the inmost comers of our soul." He says that if anger rules our hearts, we cannot obtain right judgment, discretion, insight, wisdom, prudence, righteousness or even immortal life. When we are angry, we act against our better judgment and the judgment of others. We are not open to repentance.

This last week of Lent, let us root out anger at its source, confess and begin anew for Easter. Let us fast from sin and feast on God's Love.

Fasting and Feasting
• Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in them.
• Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of life.
• Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
• Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
• Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
• Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
• Fast from anger; feast on patience.
• Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
• Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
• Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
• Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
• Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
• Fast from hostility; feast on non-resistance.
• Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
• Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
• Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
• Fast from discouragements; feast on hope.
• Fast from facts that depress; feast on verities that uplift.
• Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
• Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
• Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
• Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
• Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that undergirds.

4 comments:

LifeisgreatTAC said...

Well now I know why the picture of him is in your "about me" section. Makes perfect sense.

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

As I was writing, I wondered if I had ever explained it before. Apparently not!

AutumnRose said...

Oh I love that Litany! :)

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

Me too, AutumnRose!

Dymphna's favorite quotes


"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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