Unifying all of one’s spiritual tendencies into a single path provides one with great capability. But that is very difficult to achieve, as there are tendencies that will resist it. Therefore, an inner warfare starts off inside man, in order to defeat the disobedient [forces]. This is how Blondel describes that strategy:
“There is in man a multiplicity of tendencies, of appetites that are more or less concerted or divergent, a «poly-psychism» that has been likened to as a large «nation» governed by reason and will, in which one finds both submissive and disciplined citizens, and recalcitrant and dissident ones. What has been called ascesis and spiritual combat is nothing but the manifestation and method that can be applied in this inner «history», in this «militia hominis adversus et propter semet ipsum». (…) Because any definite and determined position will be countered (out of a spirit of contradiction) by the «party» of the displeased. (…) Any of our initial efforts is like a war declaration against the softness and shallowness of the living energies, which they, too, have an instinct of conservation and independence”. This awakens within us an “alien or hostile awareness and new wishes that rise against one’s will.” (L’Action, vol. II, pp. 194-196I).
The really tough fight starts only within those who have decided to lead a life that is more compliant with the godly commands.”
Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae, Note #1 re: “St. Maximus the Confessor” (Philokalia (III), Humanitas, Bucharest, 2004, p. 182)
By Metropolitan Michel Philippe Laroche
As a young priest, I knew Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae very well, in the 70-80s, as I met with him both in France, where I received him in my home, and in Bucharest. I had already met the great Starets Cleopa and Fr. Petroniu from Sihăstria Monastery, as well as Fr. Benedict Ghiuş, who reposed in the Lord at Cernica and who was my spiritual Father, and who all told me about the experience of the Jesus Prayer.
The conversations I had with Fr. Stăniloae concerned the great importance that he saw in publishing the Romanian translation of the Philokaly, which he considered the most important work of his life, and, more generally, its dissemination in both the Orthodox and the Catholic world – as his view was not ecumenical, but universal.
He never spoke to me about his practice of the Jesus Prayer, but his preoccupation and rigor regarding the publication of good translations of the Philokalic texts place him in the lineage of the great starets who all shared that interest – and to whom we owe, before him, the first schools of translation and publications of the Philokaly – such as St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite, St. Ambrose of Optina, and above all, St. Paisios Velichkovsky. Continue reading
By Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae
At the basis of all existence is an existence without a prior cause. In other words, there must have been Something there, from eternity. There could NOT have been – at some time [in the beginning] – just “nothing”. There has [always] been Something, which comes from eternity. Now, this causeless Thing must have perfection, it must comprise everything in it. And this is God. And a perfect existence – an existence which isn’t minor, from which no “nothing” can ensue, must have, first of all, a conscience. Then it must also have love. So an aeternal God – a God who comes from eternity, Who is the source of all existence, Who is the basis of existence, Continue reading