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Interior/Inner Life

“Sin works in the soul and heart, but most terribly in the mind (Romans 1:28) or nous, which is the center or eye of the heart according to the Church Fathers. Sin corrupts and distorts the governing of our being at the very core so that our inward faculties become deranged. If we allow sin to rage freely, we risk become fully debased. As this inward struggle unfolds, it leads us to physical acts of the flesh. Sin always begins inside us, within our interior life; only secondarily does it manifest as physical action.” (Dynamis 7/6/2021)

“It is easy to fall into the devil’s trap of spiritual stagnation. In this lethargy of the spirit,  we do not see beneath the surface of our souls. We think that we can rest in the false assurance of our salvation and enjoy a cozy relationship with God. But in today’s reading of Romans 7:14-8:2, we may be surprised at Paul’s description of his inner conflict. He writes, “I delight in the law of God according to the inward man, but I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind” (OSB vs. 22-23). Today we learn to look beneath the complacency of our hearts to the true state of our souls and the inner struggle that we are called to wage…Until we reach the end of our life on earth, our “ultimate concern” must be the condition of our soul….Therefore, if we are to grow in faith, we…must come to terms with the inner struggle within us. Our inner sight will prove that we need the Holy Spirit to stir up our hearts against the stagnation of our souls.” (Fr. Basil)

“…the truth of our inner life is that it is often marred by toxic shame. Even experiences of mild, healthy, shame can trigger a storm of toxic shame when that is a dominant part of your inner world. This reality is made more complex by the fact that the experience of shame is so painful that it is generally morphed into other, less painful emotions (most commonly, anger or sadness), meaning that we live unaware that the pain of our life is actually rooted in shame. The result is a culture (and a Church) filled with people who are often clueless about the true nature of their inner life. That which is broken within us (or which functions in a broken manner) is often too toxic to touch. It colors our perception of the world around us, as well as our perception of ourselves and God. When this is translated into a growing culture of wounded anger, the result is predictably disastrous.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Our secular culture offers a myriad of opportunities to do harm to yourself. And each way destroys some faculty of your mind, and then corrupts your soul. On the other hand, when you come to appreciate the gift God has given you in Christ, you will enjoy entering into the inner temple, for there only will you discover true peace. If you have no inner peace, you will do anything but listen to the sweet silence of your heart. You will search for any distraction that will set you free from your inner self: TV, cell phones, noise, parties, anybody who will enslave you and tell you it’s the only way to enjoy life. And of course you will do anything rather than to pray, because prayer will only remind you how far you are from the Lord of love.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)

“There is no conflict between transcendence and immanence, but there can be a distinct difference in emphasis. God is transcendent, beyond our wildest dreams. He is making zebras and mosquitoes. He is giving us breath and focusing the retinas of our eyes. Yet He is so immanent, so small, that He “fits” inside the Eucharist. Heaven is earth transformed by love when we live the life of love; the suffering of earth is transformed into a foretaste of heaven when we move guided by the inner center of love.” (Albert S. Rossi, PhD)

“The spirit of Christianity is a spirit of ‘internalization’…Only internal spiritual experience leads to cognition of God.” (Ivan Ilyin, A. Calmet)

“It is another thing to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ...[but there is a] difference between having something be true of you in principle and fully appropriating it, using it, and living in it—in your “inner being” (Eph 3:16) or “in your heart” (v. 17).” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“The Lord looks at the inner depth of the heart, at what the heart longs for and what it desires. And if He sees that a soul cannot come home, the Lord will, in His own time, cleanse it and draw it to the center, and the soul will find peace. However, if in the innermost part of the heart there is something unclean, something that is attracted to this world and is bound to it, then our wandering will last a long time and we will endure much sorrow and suffering.” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

“The Lord takes from His disciples all food for vanity. He wants the altar of the heart to be purified of that vile idol, and from everything that applies to such idol worship. The Lord commands us to do all of our good deeds in secret. Even almsgiving and fasting must be done in secret! Even our prayer must be spoken in the inner room of our heart. Our good deeds not only must be hidden from people, but from our own selves; so that their praises may not wither our soul, and that our heart itself may not praise us — becoming an adulterer with vanity, instead of a faithful spouse of humility.” (St. Ignatii Brianchaninov)

“Laws and rules do not necessarily provide for inner formation but only tell us what to do, how to behave, and what proper actions to take. As impersonal instructions, they are subject to interpretation, evasion, and infraction…we must turn within and address our inward life in order to purify the state of heart and soul. The whole of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) is concerned with this very need.” (Dynamis 5/16/2019)

"Inner watchfulness is a primary element of our life in Christ, and far more important than following outward events. Our Lord makes this abundantly clear when He says that His second advent will be apparent to all. Our foremost need, then, is to keep watch over ourselves all the time.” (OCPM 8/18/2017)

“As for outward works they are ordained for this purpose that the outward man may be directed to God. But the inner work, the work of God in the soul, is the chief matter.” (Meister Eckhart)

“If wrong actions occur, it means that our inner state is wrong; and it is this inner state which determines our worth before God…There is no benefit in researching the whole world, if you haven’t researched your inner world…” (Unseen Warfare, Papa Demetri)

“When we admit to God the inner desires and temptations raging within us, we learn to heed only His voice.” (OCPM 10/8/2016)

“…we must do continual inner work on ourselves first before we are ready to preach and teach the truth of God…we should always be continually working on ourselves spiritually to grow in God’s likeness revealed to us in Christ. God will provide us with opportunities as we grow to help others.” (Sacramental Living)

“The word for heart in the original [Biblical text] is nous, an inclusive term for the interior life that often refers to the innermost center of our heart or spirit…Our nous is a place deep within us: a quiet, inner temple where we may encounter God. Yet before such a meeting can take place, we must turn our heart, mind and will solely to the Christ, without distraction or false remembrance.” (OCPM 1/22/2016, 12/19/2015)

“Let us attend from the heart to what the Lord is saying and open our inner eye to the deeper spiritual levels of existence... If we become deadened by routine and by the constant enjoyment of life’s good things, we may find that we lack all interior blessing.” (Dynamis 10/16/2013)

“…God is preparing us through our daily efforts for a great inner conquest…External circumstances can never serve as excuses for the deficiencies in our interior life.” (OCPM 2/11/20126, Elder Sergei of Vanves)

“It is another thing to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ...[but there is a] difference between having something be true of you in principle and fully appropriating it, using it, and living in it—in your “inner being” (Eph 3:16) or “in your heart” (v. 17).” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Many of us do not seek Christ or seek Him secondarily after we put our energies in other areas first. We tend to feed our minds with thoughts of gain, entertainment, pleasures and other things either in lieu of Him or before Him. But He tells us to seek first Him and His kingdom and all of the things we desire will be given to us (Matthew 6:33). This is not the prosperity gospel guaranteeing riches but rather a message to us that if we seek Him and wisdom first, our earthly life will be one of inner peace and joy, and that our needs will be met.” (Sacramental Living)

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