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Archive for April, 2011

The Ascesis of Having Good Thoughts

This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!

While positive thinking should not be practiced as some kind of law that forces God to respond positively towards us, we should try to be positive, thankful and glad. Using the call to be “green” and to avoid global warming, someone exhorted us and encouraged good thoughts by saying: Don’t contribute to global whining!

Being positive, noticing the many  blessings in our life and being grateful are acts of will and discipline requiring attention and prayerfulness. Ascetic practice requires discipline, will, cutting off of certain thoughts and desires. So does being positive and nurturing good thoughts and positive attitudes. Being negative, hopeless or down about everything is also a habit. Elder Paisios was a great teacher concerning thoughts, likening thoughts to airplanes looking for a ready airfield to land upon. He showed us two habits of thinking by describing the difference between the bee and the fly. We can be like a bee who seeks the nectar of flowers in a field of cow dung, or like a fly that  seeks only rotting piles in a beautiful field of flowers. We have to look for our desired heavenly goal amidst life’s journey even when surrounded by problems. We struggle for patience oftentimes in the midst of irritating circumstances, for hope in the midst of adversity, for love where there is animosity. These circumstances represent the field where we find virtue and grow in virtue within our life in Christ.

Your thoughts control your life, Elder Thaddeus teaches us.

Let us take on the ascesis and discipline to  rejoice in the day that the Lord has made and to face it with hope and zeal, looking to Him for sustenance–Give us this day our daily bread. And let us look to imitate the attention and zeal of the saints in fulfilling God’s holy will in the context and contest of this day by the ascesis of good thoughts.

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