Sometimes You Choose the Life, and Other Times it Chooses You

Attacked by a group of robbers in his desert cell, Moses fought back, overpowered the intruders, and dragged them to the chapel where the other monks were at prayer. He told the brothers that he didn't think it Christian to hurt the robbers and asked what he should do with them. The overwhelmed robbers repented, were converted, and themselves joined the community.
- from The Life of St. Moses the Black, here (http://southern-orthodoxy.blogspot.com/2008/08/when-black-becomes-white.html)


To the Void which is a Deprivation

Visualize a man opening up the access panels of his mind and pulling out all the components that have God's image stamped on them. The problem is that they all have God's image stamped on them, so the man can never stop. No matter how much he pulls out, there's still more to pull. I was that man. Because I pulled out more and more, there was less and less that I could think about. But because there was less and less that I could think about, I thought I was becoming more and more focussed. Because I believed things that filled me with dread, I thought I was smarter and braver than the people who didn't believe them. I thought I saw an emptiness at the heart of the universe that was hidden from their foolish eyes. Of course I was the fool.
-Dr. J. Budziszewski

When we tear off the veil of the world, we will find nothing. Firstly, because the bridegroom who cometh has yet to arrive, and secondly because we are the one wearing the veil.


The Slinky of Divine Ascent

And, friend, know that always
Experience teaches one, not words.
A ladder rising wondrously to heaven's vault:
Ten steps that strangely vivify the soul.
Ten steps that herald the soul's life.
A saint inspired by God has said:
Do not deceive yourself with idle hopes
That in the world to come you will find life
If you have not tried to find it in this present world.
Ten steps: a wisdom born of God.
Ten steps: fruit of all the books.
Ten steps that point towards perfection.
Ten steps that lead one up to heaven.
Ten steps through which a man knows God.
The ladder may seem short indeed,
But if your heart can inwardly experience it
You will find a wealth the world cannot contain,
A god-like fountain flowing with unheard-of life.
This ten-graced ladder is the best of masters,
Clearly teaching each to know its stages.
If when you behold it
You think you stand securely on it,
Ask yourself on which step you stand,
So that we, the indolent, may also profit.
-St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent
The nature of acquiring and learning, of transforming data into knowledge, can be illustrated as traversing a spiral. Picture a Slinky set at an angle, with one side higher than the other. If you were climbing along the track of that slinky, you’d find yourself climbing upwards, then down, continually coming around and around to the same ‘position’ upon it, but with each successive circuit, a little bit higher than before… and then downwards again, though never quite as far down as before, and always coming back up just a little bit higher than the previous time.
-Blogodidact (http://ping.fm/k8xQB)