More from Fr. Maximos

Fr. Maximos tells Markides: "We lost the knowledge of God at the moment when we transformed the Ecclesia [Church] from experience into theology, from a living reality into moralistic principles, good values, and high ideals. When that happened," Fr. Maximos said humorously, "we became like tin cans with nothing inside." (p. 55)

Perhaps this explains my discomfort with the "Christian Right", and my concern that they are often neither one nor the other.

Fr. Maximos continued: "Learn how to accept sorrows as divine gifts, including personal failures. Through experiences of grief human beings have the opportunity to place the stone of their heart into a grinder and turn it into dust. They must go through these sorrows of the heart. Through grief they may come out victorious. Life itself is a form of askesis [ascetical effort]. People just don't recognize it and lose heart."

"What does not kill me gives me strength," [Markides] muttered, quoting the well-known aphorism.

"Right," Fr. Maximos replied and nodded. [Markides] was almost certain that he had never heard of Nietzche. (p. 60)

I'm almost certain neither of them have ever heard of Conan the Barbarian. :)

And Fr. Maximos tells a story of his own spiritual father, the Elder Paisios: "One day old Paisios was visited in his remote hermitage by a group of five obnoxious young men, full of pride and arrogance. He patiently spent several hours showing them extra attention. But a theology teacher who was present became irritable and impatient. 'How could you tolerate them?' he asked him. And the elder replied, 'Have you ever wondered how God could tolerate you?'"

Now there's something to noodle on this Lent...

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