The Path of Hope
"Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but
if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore
its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have
peace with one another."
The is the fast of the First Born, the first of his victories.
Let us rejoice in his coming; for in fasting he has overcome.
Though he could have overcome by any means,
He revealed for us the strength hidden in fasting, Overcomer of
For by means of it a man can overcome that one who with fruit
He became greedy and gobbled it.
Blessed is the First-Born who encompassed
weakness with the wall of his great fasting.
Res: Blessed is the King who adorned the Holy Church with
Fasting, Prayer and Vigil.
Saint Ephrem's Hymns on Fasting
Fasting is the road to Hope.
Yet it can become a road to judgment and
sin, if a lie. So there must be the
sacrifice of a contrite heart as well as the Prayer that
Within Fasting itself are the elements of Faith and Love.
These are subordinates within the context
of Fasting itself. So that Authentic Fasting is a
sacrifice, and prayer becomes the support of the Fasting. While
Prayer outside of the context of Fasting defeats the Devil.
Fasting directly conquers the Flesh. So the way to purity as
well as temperance is through fasting.
One turns away from sin through fasting. In fact, the only way
to turn away from sin is through Fasting. Even for a saint who
fasts for others, is also fasting for himself. And the saint
knows that he must fast continually for if he is ever satisfied
or fulfilled in the things of this life,
he will have had no claims to the next.
Those who consider fasting (in its varied forms) as an Optional
part of the Spiritual Life do not have knowledge of Hope. For
while sacrifice and almsgiving defeat the World, Fasting is the
only thing capable of defeating the Flesh. In the battle of the
moral virtues and vice, the most formidable Foe is Oneself.
While the World beckons, the Flesh will burn.
Fasting makes Hope blossom.
"For if you live according to the flesh,
you will die, but if by the
spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live."
Those whose steps are guided by the Lord,
whose way God approves,
May stumble, but they will never fall,
for the Lord holds their hand.
Psalm 37: 23-24
As Christianity falls more and more, the Way of the Lord will
more brightly in the souls of the Chosen. The Way of the Cross
become a delight for them. They will rise while others will
the Apostasy unfolds, the light of faith must become as a
the hearts of the saints. As the Flesh rises, the light of Hope
overtake all desires and the light of Love must crush all fear.
Prayer, Fasting and Sacrificial Charity,
the WHOLE of Prayer, Fasting and Sacrificial Charity
and NOTHING BUT Prayer, Fasting and Sacrificial Charity.
The way of walking with the Lord should not be a great
should be fairly simple. And in the paradise to come, it will be
Faith comes by way of Sacrifice.
The sacrifice must be a Prayer (to the
Lord) and fasting gives the strength for it.
Hope comes by way of Fasting.
The fasting must be a Sacrifice (a turning
away from sin) and prayer gives the strength for it.
Love comes by way of Prayer.
The Prayer must be a Fasting (for it to be
fruitful) and sacrifice gives the strength for it.
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear
fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it
bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of
the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I
remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on
its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can
you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are
the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will
bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.
John 15: 1-5
The Day of Love
If I give away everything I own, and if I
hand my body
over so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13: 3
Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is
it is not rude, it does not seek its own
it is not quick-tempered, it does not
brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but
rejoices with the
truth. It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The Virtues are Trinitarian.
While one climbs from Faith to Hope, love
is always there as an anticipation of the final consummation of
love. Faith, Hope and Love. All of the virtues come down to
With Faith as anticipatory and Hope dividing itself up and Love
embracing everything. And Hope is many-faceted because Love is
many-faceted. Yet since Love exists as a unifying factor, it
cannot divide up into other virtues. If Hope is a request for
Love, this request becomes universal in scope. Love will always
be the answer that it receives.
To practice the virtues from the Heart so that they have effect,
one simply practices them In Love. And it is through the virtues
of Hope that are important to us that we discover Love. In fact,
we find that God Is Love.
The Algorithm of Holiness
The Primary virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love are dynamic. If one
leads, the others must concur for the leading virtue to be
successful. Therefore, standing upon the foundation of Faith, we
pray and exercise the virtues of Hope, in Love. This is the
algorithm of holiness. Then we are participating in what the
Lord finds most important, and that is for his Creation to
dance with him. To Party as it were. And when all of the members
of the Trinity can truly dance within us and within creation,
then His will is truly being done on earth as it is in Heaven.
And the final victory party, the day of the final consummation
of Love, will arrive.
The Sword of Wisdom
"For freedom Christ set
us free; so stand firm and do
not submit again to the yoke of slavery. It is I,
Paul, who am telling you that if you have yourselves
circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. Once
again I declare to every man who has himself
circumcised that he is bound to observe the entire
law. You are separated from Christ, you who are trying
to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of
righteousness. For in Christ Jesus, neither
circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything,
but only faith working through love."
For Faith to be real we must have truly chosen the Lord. For
Hope to be real we must have a personal relationship with the
Lord. And in the virtues that we choose, our Faith is put to a
great test. In fact, it is put to a Very great test. We come
before the Lord as we are and he works the work in us. It is not
we who are leading in practicing virtue but the Lord who
leads and purifies us because if we knew the way, then we
wouldn't need Wisdom in the first place.
One can choose to obey the commands of the Lord through an
effort of the will or one can choose to obey the commands of the
Lord through Wisdom, which is the wise thing to do. Wisdom is
Faith, and Wisdom is Hope, and Wisdom is Love. In differing
ways, for Faith
is as Baptism and Hope divides up in the body in different ways
and Love binds All within its bond of perfection.
Wisdom is a personal relationship with Humanity on the part of
the Lord. Which becomes clear in Christ, the Eternal Wisdom, who
frees us from even the law of the Wisdom in the old testament.
One can truly say, "Have a personal relationship with the Lord
- and do what thou wilt!" And in fact, one must be able to say
it, and Wholeheartedly say it, for the sword of Wisdom shall cut
to pieces the law within us.
In order to be truly free, we must embrace not our own wills,
but the sword which is Wisdom.
Hearts of Virtue
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness,
and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving
one another, if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love, that is,
the bond of
perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your
hearts, the peace into which you were also called in
one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ
dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and
admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and
spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."
Colossians 3: 12-16
"Our hearts are restless Oh Lord, until they rest in you."
The heart is where a personal relationship with the Lord takes
place. While our minds are clouded with false conceptions of his
ways, our hearts are truly the gateway to him. Through our
hearts, our minds are enlightened to see him clearly.
Virtues strengthen the heart. Through the virtues that are
important to us, we reach down into the level of the heart and a
personal relationship with the Lord more than our imagination
could do. In the practice of virtue that is heartfelt, our
hearts grow and our virtue is truly strengthened.
For a living Faith is passion, and a living Hope is passion as
well. The muscle of virtue is always the Heart through which we
seek the Lord.
For to men she is an unfailing treasure;
those who gain this treasure win the friendship of God,
to whom the gifts they have from
discipline commend them.
Wisdom 7: 14
But what is virtue, but Wisdom!
Many stop at Faith and are afraid to go on to Hope.
Yet our destiny lies not just in Faith but also in Hope where
the God of our Faith moves into our very life and experience.
Hope becomes the support of our Faith.
If we hang on to just what we perceive as Faith without moving
forward, as many do, then at least some of our experiences will
be shipwrecks in the Faith. If we receive the Eucharist (Giver
of Wisdom) only in Faith, forgetting the virtues that we need,
then we are not expressing our Hope and our Faith becomes
somewhat in vain.
And if the drunkard fails to seek Sobriety, and the boastful for
Humility, then is this Wisdom?
The Work of Wisdom
My son, from your youth embrace discipline;
thus will you find wisdom with graying hair.
As though plowing and sowing, draw close
then await her bountiful crops.
For in cultivating her you will labor but little,
and soon you will eat of her fruits.
How irksome she is to the unruly!
The fool cannot abide her.
She will be like a burdensome stone to test him,
and he will not delay in casting her
For discipline is like her name,
she is not accessible to many.
If one practices Temperance, one will find Temperance.
If one practices Humility, then one will eventually become
If one has temptations to Pride, then choosing a relationship
with the Lord through Humility is a safeguard against those
temptations. If one has a relationship with the Lord through a
virtue then, morally speaking, one cannot commit a serious sin
that goes against that virtue. As long as one is in a
relationship with the Lord through that virtue, sin becomes a
Yet to break the relationship to the Lord through the virtue is
not an impossibility. For it takes two to cultivate the virtues.
And this is the truth of a personal relationship. Through
prayers, sacrifices and fasting we do our part to cultivate a
particular virtue. And yet this work is easy if we have truly
chosen the Lord. And what separates Wisdom from all else is that
the work to cultivate the virtue is part of the virtue itself.
But only if we have truly chosen the Lord.
The Crown of the Wise
The crown of the wise is resourcefulness;
the diadem of fools is folly.
The virtues are an experience of God. This is so not only in the
virtue of Faith, - the first cause in the life of a believer -
but also in other virtues that characterize the truth of
experience of one's life. Through the practice of the
virtues which are important to us, we bring an offering to God
of not just our Faith but our very life.
For one begins by Faith and is consumed in Love.
Between the two is anticipation: our offering, our gifts which
we make to be consumed in Love.
All Wisdom comes from the Lord
and with him it remains forever.
Sirach 1 1:1
Get wisdom, get understanding!
Do not forget or turn aside
from the words I utter.
Forsake her not, and she will preserve you;
love her, and she will safeguard you;
The beginning of wisdom is: get wisdom;
at the cost of all you have, get
The Lord does not just give us virtues. But virtues are a
communion with Him. The Lord already works through the virtues.
So that's why we should work with him in the same way, for it is
easy to suffer when you are in a personal relationship with the
Lord through the virtues.
And the virtues work only if it is in the context of a personal
relationship with the Lord. The virtues are a personal
relationship with the Lord. The Lord does not only want our
Creed, but out life and experience. A personal relationship with
the Lord through the virtues means that we are flying at speeds
we could not possibly imagine, for if virtue is a personal
relationship with the Lord then we will most assuredly be
victorious in this Virtue.
Even in times of crosses, when one feels no respite, no
sweetness, the Lord still leads us by way of the virtue we have
embraced to obey his commands. He leads us personally in a way
in which the Lord is truly with us in the trials and
tribulations of life.
Virtues: A Communion
with the Lord
I, Wisdom, dwell with experience,
and judicious knowledge I attain.
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride, arrogance, the evil way,
and the perverse mouth I hate.
Mine are counsel and advice;
Mine is strength: I am understanding.
By me Kings reign,
and lawgivers establish justice;
By me princes govern,
and nobles; all the rulers of the earth.
Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.
There is no end to rising in virtue, for virtues are a communion
with the Lord.
Virtue is not strengthened simply by rejecting sin.
But by rejecting sin by embracing Virtue. And this calls for a
focus on the virtue to the extent that one focuses less and less
on the rejection of sin and more so on that communion with the
Lord which the virtue entails. Thereby, one truly rises in
For the Lord works on us through the Virtues. And He, rather
than to be strong in the face of temptation, is our Goal. To
rise in virtue one eventually feels a sweetness of communion
with the Lord through that virtue.