"The principal human tendencies that lead us away from living well"
Finding Happiness: Monastic Steps to a Fulfilling Life Abbot Christopher Jamison
We are now into the Eight Thoughts listed by John Cassian (later sensationalised as Seven Deadly Sins). Central to them according to Jamison (yet left out by Pope Gregory) is “Acedia”, the spiritual carelessness which we would all recognise. What is the relevance of the list, from gluttony through to pride, in our twenty-first century existence? Jamison suggests that it provides a framework within which people can develop their self-awareness – which he carefully defines to mean “attentiveness to my way of relating to people and to things”. Hard to quarrel with that, from a spiritual or a secular point of view.
As we now turn (not without a barely repressed snigger) to the three chapters on Gluttony, Lust, and Greed, we can agree or not that an interior discipline of thoughts is needed or that “spiritual hygiene” is as vital as medical hygiene. But we can learn at least something about ourselves and how we want to live our lives if Jamison’s suggestions help us to “recognise our demons while also helping us to contain them”.
Do join us.
Sunday evenings at 7, monthly at Wychwood Library (OX7 6LD), open to all
December 9th : Gluttony, Lust, Greed
January 13th : Anger, Sadness
February 3rd: Vanity, Pride - and a summing-up of the whole book with the participation of Fr Geoff van der Weegan, Prior of the Order of Anglican Cistercians