Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person – the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.
An Elder said: Just as a tree cannot bear fruit if it is often transplanted, so neither can a monk bear fruit if he frequently changes his abode.
In an age when people change addresses as often as those in past generations changed their socks, stability of place is almost unheard of. When I was a young man I moved from city to city quite often. One year alone I lived in New York City, Berkeley, California and Portland, Oregon. If I hated a job, I’d move. If my social life was on the rocks, I’d move. Reinventing myself in a new location became the norm. In my attempt to discover my place in this world, I couldn’t stay in one place for very long.
As I grew older and wiser, I realized that the issues which needed to be dealt with had been avoided with each move. If I was ever to grow psychologically and spiritually, I needed to put down roots.
In Orthodox monasticism there are four vows: poverty, chastity, obedience and stability of place. Monks from the very beginning of monasticism realized that spiritual growth was not possible without struggle and a good way to avoid change was to move from place to place. If you are living with others who know your weaknesses, it is not easy to avoid change. Frequently moving from one job to another, one relationship to another, one neighborhood to another, or one city to another, is a sure way to avoid spiritual growth.
Many marriages end in divorce because the couples lacked the necessary stability of place which would have allowed them to confront those issues that needed to be changed. Moving from one parish to another is also a way many people avoid maturing in their faith. Moving from one church to another is just as destructive to the spiritual life as moving from city to city. Avoidance is the enemy of change.
Stick with the priest or confessor who really knows you. Spiritual transformation takes time and changing confessors inhibits growth, since you waste time letting the new priest get to know you. You wouldn’t consider changing medical doctors every few years, not when your doctor knows your health history and is watching out for changes in your body that need attention. How much more the soul needs the guidance of a priest who really knows us, having established a relationship of trust. We all need the guidance of one who doesn’t allow us to avoid working on that which inhibits growth in our relationship with God.
Stability can be for us the vehicle by which we are able to confront the habits, sins and vices that inhibit God from transforming our lives and making us whole. Constant movement allows us to hide from ourselves.
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OCN has partnered with Pemptousia, a Contemporary post-modern man does understand what man is. Through its presence in the internet world, Pemptousia, with its spirit of respect for beauty that characterizes it, wishes to contribute to the presentation of a better meaning of life for man, to the search for the ontological dimension of man, and to the awareness of the unfathomable mystery of man who is always in Christ in the process of becoming, of man who is in the image of divine beauty. And the beauty of man springs from the beauty of the Triune God. In the end, “beauty will save the world”.
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