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Heart and Mind

“The Hebrew word לֵב (lev) “heart” includes the mind. Hebrew does not separate “heart knowledge” and “head knowledge.” While “heart” may convey a deep commitment, the “mind” is crucial to considering and adopting the instruction. To have the instruction “on your mind” is critical to the deliberate talking to oneself needed to conform to the instruction, to meditating on it and assimilating it into one’s world view.” (NET Bible, Proverbs 6:21)


“St. Diadochos who distinguishes between the mind and the heart. He uses the term “heart” to refer to this nonconceptual form of knowing, what Augustine and Aquinas will later call “higher reason.” For Diadochos, and indeed for many others after him, the heart was not the seat of emotions (emotions would be located at roughly the same level as thoughts) but the deep center of the person. The heart communes with God in a silent and direct way that the conceptual level of our mind does not.” (Martin Laird)


“We are easily corrupted by contact with the evil spirits around us, for the “skirmish line” of spiritual warfare is within our mind. Evil thoughts must be stopped there if we hope to attain the pure heart that knows Christ. “Once we have in some measure acquired the habit of self-control, and have learned how to shun visible sins, brought about through the five senses, we will then be able to guard the heart with Jesus, to receive His illumination within it, and by means of the intellect [i.e., the nous] to taste His goodness…Our surrender to the Lord must include our whole heart, soul, and mind (Mt 22:37), if we are to unite our spirits to Christ our God. When we are truly joined to Him, He gives us the grace to obey Him. We are to strive to be at one with the Lord Jesus in every respect, following the pattern of His union with the Father, in which He knows His Father and keeps His word (John 8: 55).” (Dynamis 12/13/2021, 5/19/2020, Philokalia)


“The love of God with all one’s mind is the “love of the Truth,” and those who refuse such love are those who will perish (cf. 2 Thess 2.9–11). The mind of man is the guide of his life, directed to truth by the purity of his heart. When one loves God with all his mind, he is not “conformed to this world” but proves “what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12.2). He is the one who follows the advice of Saint Paul, and thinks solely and continually about “whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise . . .” (Phil 4.8). He is the one, in a word, who has “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2.16).” (Fr. Thomas Hopko)


“...the union of the mind with the heart is a gift of divine grace, granted in its time at God's discretion, but not at any time and not at the discretion of the ascetic. The gift of attentive prayer is usually preceded by special sufferings and upheavals of the soul which lead our spirit down into the depth of the realization of its poverty and nothingness.” (St. Isaac the Syrian)


“When people deny God or ignore Him they become vain in their reasoning and their senseless minds are darkened…From sinful arrogance there follows the inversion of truth. As Isaiah declares, men “call evil good, and good evil [and] put darkness for light and light for darkness [and] put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (vs. 20). The prophet describes what the Apostle Paul calls the debased mind (Rom 1:28). When we flaunt God and choose not to “glorify Him as God, nor [to be] thankful,” we become futile in our thoughts and our foolish hearts are darkened (Rom 1:21).” (Father John Zeyack, Dynamis 3/20/2019)

“Never lose hearty faith in Him who is your invisible Life, your Peace, your Light, your Strength, your Breath; that is, in Jesus Christ. Do not believe your heart when it becomes gross, darkened, unbelieving, and cold from plenteousness of food and drink, from worldly distractions, or finally when you live by the intellect, and not by the heart…Knowing Christ is a matter of the heart, not merely the intellect. When our hearts are illumined by faith in God, they are open to receive His presence and grace. In the ascetic writings of the Church, the heart is known as “the seat of knowledge.” (Saint John of Kronstadt, Orthodox Study Bible, Mark 6:52)

“To me, it is no wonder in a country that seems to be drifting away from God and rejecting “organized religion” that we are seeing in upward trend in anxiety and depression. While is always dangerous to be simplistic in cause and effect reasoning, I think the disordered personality that results in a tormented mind and a hardened heart, at least at the spiritual level, is linked to the rejection of God, either through outright rejection, ignorance, or apathy, and thus the rejection of the Holy Spirit within us. To not walk in the futility of our mind (Ephesians 4:17) and lack understanding due to hardened hearts (Mark 6:52), is to cultivate the Holy Spirit within, who unites us to Christ, the Logos, the ordering principle of reality, who then orders us from within, so we have receptive hearts and illumined minds and face pain, trials, and suffering as agents of our growth, not as things that destroy our mental health.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“We are not being renewed in our thinking process apart from the renewal of our spirits. Nor are we renewed in our spirits without thinking. We are being jointly renewed in the spirit of our mind. Hence as we sing psalms in the spirit, so we also sing them in our thoughts. As we pray in the spirit, so we also pray in our thoughts. The renewal of the spirit of our mind means that when the thought is clear and pure...then the spirit is rightly join to it. They are so coupled as if by a cohesive glue that we no longer speak simply of spirit but of the spirit of our mind.” (Blessed Jerome)

“Through our continued commitment of our lives in faith, the Holy Spirit provides us with a constant source of rejuvenation, dwells within us, allows us to grow as persons, to discover new ideas for the betterment of all humanity, and to enhance our growth as persons in the likeness of God. Thus, unlike other aspects of renewal, “renewal of the spirit” is not a condition that, once obtained, ceases its activity. Rather, it is a state of being that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, imparts to us an ongoing renewal, continually repairing all our human deficiencies, and propelling us to ever-increasing heights and potentials as we grow in our communion with God and His saving truth.” (Archbishop Demetrious of America)

#FatherJohnZeyack #Dynamis #StJohnofKronstadt #OrthodoxStudyBible #SacramentalLivingMinistries #BlessedJerome #ArchbishopDemetriosofAmerica #NETBible #MartinLaird #Dynamis #Philokalia #FrThomasHopko #StIsaactheSyrian

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