The Ascetic Heart
The Ascetic Heart: This piece written by an unnamed writer beautifully reflects upon what has been lost among Christians, especially in the West. The Spiritual life involves the whole self if it is a matter of true love. While we are often willing to busy ourselves with so many things in the world and to engage in physical exercise, we tend to fail to invest ourselves fully in the most important relationship of all and to do the very things necessary in order to offer ourselves to Christ with a pure and undivided heart. The writings of the Philokalia understand that ascesis expresses a love that tries to restore the darkened image of God in man to its original beauty through grace and personal effort. The fathers heeded St. Paul's call to "train yourself to be godly. For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come" (1 Tim. 4:7-8).