S04 Ep10 – The Shattering of Loneliness – Book Study Part 2

Chapters 3-4

Chapter 3

Brings up Lot, as a very mediocre character.

He addresses the question, “Why did Lot’s wife look back?”

And he essentially points out: What did she have to remember?

She has the instruction of a half-baked man, who tell her that she and her family must flee, but does not tell where to or why.

By contrast the memories of her home are so much stronger and the inquisitiveness of their predicament so pressing that she looks back.

In this way Varden says that she points to the need of believers to make Christ’s call clear to their times.

Lots wife here, struggled not so much with sin, although there are valid patristic interpretations which point to this. It would seem that Lot’s wife is struggling with nostalgia.

A hope for the past in the present, and an unwillingness to let go of the lesser goods of the past, for the greater goods God is presenting to us.

No hope has been communicated to her of the future. All her hope is in the past.

Thus vice is not the only struggle we face. It’s also the ordering of goods in our life as well. (Page 66 Kindle edition)

 ‘Remember Lot’s wife’ – With Luke’s Gospel ‘Christ speaks of those who have left house or wife or brother or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God (Luke 18:29)… to follow ‘God’s shining agent’ may come at a cost that seems unbearable’ Page 68 

We have to let go of things in life, that may cause pain, to be closer to God.

‘Cutting ourselves off from temptation, whatever that may be – a detachment from all that was and is, for what God wills it to be.’ – being mindful of what we allow ourselves to consume.

Erik Varden makes the point that Lot’s wife sacrifices her future for the sake of her past, by her conscious decision to look back at all that she leaves behind to follow God’s call.

In the sense of nostalgia, how often do we look back on things, look back into past, or pains and hurts of the past rob our future.

She does not allow herself to be redeemed.

Reference the idea of our spiritual life, must always be moving forward. Looking back = stagnation.

 ‘It shows that conversion must be constructed in aspirational, not reactive terms; as an option for what is good, not against what is thought bad – or dangerous’ – Page 75

How often do we do this? How often do we go into battle with the world precisely because where another person stands we see to be bad or even dangerous and we battle to prove them wrong instead of being motivated and inspired by the goodness we’re wanting to protect AND share. 

Personal conversion is not just turning away from something, but turning towards something.

Chapter 4

“Each celebration of the Eucharist is pristine”

In other words it’s not a repeat performance. Instead its the premiere. Man is drawn into the drama of Jesus Christ by virtue of the liturgical action. Makes it a reality of the Crucifixion in front of us, in the now.

The Eucharist is not a prize for good behaviour – to be worthy is to assent to the realisation of Christ’s example in my life. 

To be worthy of the Eucharist is to allow Christ to define my past, present and future, by allowing his example to guide the meaning of my life. 

There must a consistency in my behaviour, speak and think that reflects the reality that I am trying to be like Christ. And if there is an inconsistency or we fall then it is time for repentance

‘A certainty dawned: I had not to be nostalgic for what had been or for what I might have become…. Instead I had to Love what I was and to seek what I ought to be’ 

In Healing

‘For healing to spread through our consuming of it, we must be consumed by it, by the saving reality it represents.’ (Page 95)

In an interview, Bishop Varden talks about an image that he was given by an old Anglican friend right before his solemn profession.

It was of a Monk crucified, which at first was a bit confronting for him, but when he read the message on the back he says it changed his perspective. The message effectively said that “this is an image of a Christian who is so fully conformed to Christ, that he no longer contemplates the suffering Christ on the cross, but looks out on the world that Christ is saving through the eyes of Christ crucified”

Talk about sobering and inspiring! Consuming love is transformational, not just in receiving and nourishing, and sustaining us but in healing and transforming us to become like him, not only in his actions but seeing the world with his eyes and with his heart. 

Reminds me of ‘Christ has no body now on earth by yours’ – St Teresa of Avila

Next week – Chapters 5 and 6


Padre – Family in hospital to pray for everyone in the hospital.

Stina – PAUSE App – By Wild at Heart – 30 days to resilient (morning and evening guided part reflection and part contemplative prayer)

If you enjoy our Show Notes, you can listen to our Living Fullness Podcast on Spotify, Apple podcasts, directly from our website or watch our guest interviews on YouTube! Also check out our social media pages Living Fullness Podcast on Instagram , the closed Facebook group for links and discussions, and Virtue Ministry on Facebook and Instagram.

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