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“Jeremiah [8:4-13] identifies four obstacles that block us from saving repentance: rejecting of the word of the Lord; following our own will; holding onto delusions; and refusing to return to Him…Our greatest obstacle when standing before God is our pride, our delusion of self-reliance.…the pathological love of self and of others is an obstacle to our relationship with God.” (Dynamis 2/20/2019, 1/29/2020, Abba Isaiah)

“God is always Self-giving; it is a question of removing the obstacles that make it difficult to receive this Self-gift. This receptivity is what contemplative practice cultivates….One of the most precious things we learn is non-condemnation. When we see the judgmental thoughts finally disappear in the ground of awareness, much of what had seemed worthy of condemnation now seems just right the way it is. Whether our own or those of others, imperfections are seen to manifest the same ineffable vastness as virtues do. These same imperfections may be considerable indeed and pose a real obstacle; yet there is no need to condemn. Thorns are as much a part of a rose as the flower. What gardener condemns the compost for being full of rubbish?” (Martin Laird)

“One of the great paradoxes of the spiritual life is that our struggles are not separate from the luminous vastness within each of us. We don’t get rid of struggle to discover this open space; nor does its discovery necessarily rid us of our struggles. The riddle of the obstacle is solved not by pushing it away or by holding on to it, but by meeting it with silence and by discovering in this meeting that sacred ground, which upholds both joy and sorrow, both struggle and freedom from struggle. When we realize this we will struggle less with our struggles and we will have solved by our own silence the riddles that guard the doorway into the silent land.” (Martin Laird)

“..we should expect to be tested. We are being “pruned,” challenged, tested, put upon like faithful Job in the Bible. Christ calls us to “abide in Me. ” It means that we must go through the difficult times and come out even stronger in our faith. The one who abides stays put. He or she doesn’t whimper or consider it unfair to be tested. Yes, of course God is still filled with love; but He prepares us for heaven by placing obstacles on earth that will make us stronger.” (Very Rev. Vladimir Berzonsky)

“Unlike the mere human surrogates, Jesus Christ not only takes us through this world and into the next, He refuses to do our living for us. Mere human role models normally enjoy having camp followers and clones—it enhances their self-importance and strokes their egos. Our Lord Jesus cannot be reduced to a mere role model. He insists that we work out our own lives and deal with the challenges, face the obstacles and overcome all the tests on the way. To live life to the fullest is to become our own role models. When He left us, the Holy Spirit came to be with us and even within us. God in the Spirit never makes our decisions for us, but He enhances our freedom to choose life enhancement or surrender to a reduced way of life.” (Very Rev. Vladimir Berzonsky)

#Dynamis #AbbaIsaiah #MartinLaird #VeryRevVladimirBerzonsky

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