Path to Sanity: An Ancient Christian Alternative to Secular Psychology
by Dee Pennock
Format: Soft Bound
This book brings the reader together with holy physicians of the soul in ancient Christian Traditions, offering superbly clear examples of the patristic method of diagnosing and healing many disorders of the soul that are now being widely treated with brain-crippling drugs. Addresses violent mood swings, uncontrollable willfulness, anger, depression, suicidal urges, ambivalence in decision-making, built-in self-defeating programs, ignorance of oneself, inability to control thoughts, being "possessed" by passions, compulsive physical appetites, social isolation, inability to love and feel loved, demonstrating just what the Fathers say about recovering sanity in the love of Christ. The author, a Stanford graduate and a veteran editor and author, worked at Harvard with Fr. Georges Florovsky. Early reviewers have dubbed this book a "must read" for spiritual health and sanity.
Available from Light and Life
"If we have health of soul (so called ‘sanity’) our energies work to benefit us, now and eternally. With illness (‘insanity’) our energies keep working to cause us pain and distress, psychological and spiritual damage. The greatest benefit we are capable of achieving is being in harmony with God’s perfect (all-loving and divinely wise) will for us. Obedience to God’s will, therefore, is the ultimate sanity." p.11
"The saints in the mainstream of what we call patristic teaching, because they are known as Fathers of the Church, are the only ones who can lead us into this sanity. They diagnose our mental conditions with perfect accuracy. …And when we practice what they prescribe, it restores our soul." p.11-12
"What is a passion? Passion is an unnatural movement of the soul, says Maximus the Confessor, just as a physical disease is something unnatural to our body… 'Passion is an excessive feeling, or appetite, going beyond what is reasonable. Passions are a disturbance of our soul contrary to our nature, in disobedience to reason. Passion is not natural and it ruins our nature instead of fulfilling it- Clement of Alexandria” p.30
"Here are patristic descriptions of the three basic passions in human nature-VAINGLORY: Wanting the approval of people more than the approval of God, enslavement to idols, cruelty, hatred of repentance; SELF-LOVE: Attachment to what is carnal, rather than to what is spiritual, inability to love others, willfulness, anger and depression; PRIDE: Ignorance of oneself and one’s need for God, self-exaltation alternating with despair, going out of one’s mind, hearing voices, frenzy." From the back cover
The Church Fathers prescribe a therapeutic method or cure for all of these problems and more. Mrs. Dee Pennock offers us a detailed description of the way to healing in her book; Path to Sanity. It is fascinating reading!
Path to Sanity, Dee Pennock, Light & Life Publishing Company, Minneapolis, MN 2010,
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
St Seraphim of Viritsa
This was from Me
by St Seraphim of Viritsa
Have you ever thought that everything that concerns you, concerns Me, also?
Things that concern you concern the apple of my eye. You are precious in my eyes and I love you; for this reason, it is a special joy for Me to train you. When temptations and the opponent come upon you like a river, I want you to know that,
This was from Me.
I want you to know that your weakness has need of My strength, and your safety lies in allowing Me to protect you. I want you to know that when you are in difficult conditions, among people who do not understand you, and cast you away,
This was from Me.
I am your God, the circumstances of your life are in My hands; you did not end up in your position by chance; it is precisely the position I have appointed for you. Weren't you asking Me to teach you humility? And there - I placed you precisely in the atmosphere, the school where they teach this lesson. Your athmosphere, and those who live around you, are merely performing My will. Do you have financial difficulties and just barely make it? Know that,
This was from Me.
I want you to know that I dispose of your money, so take refuge in Me and know that you are dependant upon Me. I want you to know that My storehouses are inexhaustible, and I am faithful in My promises. Let it never happen that they tell you in your need, "Do not believe in your Lord and God." Have you ever spent the night in affliction? Are you separated from your relatives, the people you love? I allowed it to affect you so you turn to Me, and in Me to find consolation and comfort. Did your friend or someone to whom you opened your heart, deceive you?
This was from Me.
I allowed this frustration to touch you so that you may learn that your best friend is the Lord. I want you to bring everything to Me and tell Me everything. Did someone slander you? Leave it to Me; be attached to Me, in Me your refuge so that you can hide from the contradiction of the nations. I will make your righteousness shine like light and your life like midday noon. Your plans were destroyed? Your soul yielded and you are exhausted?
This was from Me.
You made plans and have your own aims; you brought them to Me to bless them. But I want you to leave it to Me, to direct and guide the circumstances of your life by the hand, because you are the orphan, not the protagonist. Unexpected failures found you and despair overcame your heart, know
That this was from Me.
Because with this tiredness and anxiety I am testing how strong your faith is in My promises and your boldness in prayer for your relatives. Why, is it not you who entrusted their cares to my providential love? Is it not you who now leave them to the protection of my All Pure Mother? Serious illness found you, which may be healed or may be incurable, and nailed you to your bed.
This was from Me.
Because I want you to know Me more deeply, through physical illness, and to not murmur against this trial I have sent you. And do not try to understand My plans for the salvation of people's souls in various ways, but unmurmuringly and humbly bow your head before My goodness. You were dreaming to do something distinct and special for Me and, instead of doing it, you fell into a bed of pain.
This was from Me.
Because then you were sunk in your own works and plans and I wouldn't have been able to draw your thoughts to Me. But I want to teach you the most deep thoughts and My lessons, so that you may serve Me. I want to teach you to sense that you are nothing without Me. Some of my best sons are they, who are cut off from active life, to learn to use the weapon of ceaseless prayer. You were called unexpectedly to undertake a difficult and responsible position, supported in Me.
I entrust these difficulties to you, and for this reason the Lord your God will bless all your works, in all of your paths. In everything your Lord will be your guide and teacher. On this day in your hands, My child, I gave this vessel with the divine myrrh, for you to use freely. Remember always that every difficulty that you will come across, every offensive word, every slander and criticism, every obstacle to your works, which could cause frustration and disappointment, every revelation of your weakness and incabability, will be anointed with this oil,
This was from Me.
Know and remember always, no matter where you are, That whatsoever stings, will be dulled as soon as you learn in all things, to look at Me.
Everything was sent to you by Me, for the perfection of your soul.
All these things were from Me.
From Life-Miracles-Prophecies of Saint Sraphim of Viritsa pp143-147, Translated by Fr. Nicholas Palis, Orthodox Kypseli Publications, 2005, Thessaloniki, Greece
Apolytikion of St Seraphim of Viritsa
As a bright star of Russia you shone in Viritsa, Oh venerable Father Seraphim. And from the power of the Holy Spirit, guided, with the light of your miracles, you spiritually illumined our country. For this, taking refuge in your tomb with compunction we cry out: Intercede to Christ God that our souls be saved.
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