The mind learns, the heart knows


“We tend to separate the mind from the heart. We like to fill the mind; yet, we forget the hearth. Or else, we fill the heart with information that should fill the mind. Nevertheless, the two work differently: the mind learns; the heart knows. The mind is educated; the heart believes. The mind is intellectual, speculative; it reads and speaks. The heart is intuitive, mystical; it grows in silence. The two should be held together; and they should be brought together in the presence of God.”

Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, In the Heart of the Desert

Is It Ever Good To Be Impulsive?

sanmarcos1H/T: (here)

Hieromonk Alexis (Trader)
Although in most cases from a Christian perspective, impulsivity needs to be kept in check, there is such a thing as a good kind of impulsivity. We see such “blessed impulsiveness” in the Apostle Peter and in the other Apostles who left their nets to follow Christ. There was no careful weighing the proposition or slowness to move, but instead a ready, cheerful, almost instantaneous wholehearted obedience. “They did not delay, they did not procrastinate, they did not say, ‘Let’s return home and talk about it with our relatives,’ but ‘they forsook all and followed,’ even as Elisha did to Elijah. Christ desires for us to have this kind of obedience, so that we do not delay for even a moment” (Saint John Chrysostom, Homily 14 on Matthew). This kind of “impulsiveness,” furthermore, brought about a beautiful transformation. Throughout Scripture, we see other examples of this blessed impulsiveness: “For if the graceless soul obeys God it puts off its ungracefulness, and becomes full of grace. ‘Saul! Saul!’ it was said, ‘why persecutest thou me?’ and he replied ‘and who art Thou Lord?’ ‘I am Jesus.’ And he obeyed, and his obedience made the graceless soul full of grace. Again, He says to the publican ‘Come follow me’ and the publican rose up and became an apostle: and the graceless soul became full of grace. How? By obedience. Again He said to the fishermen ‘Come ye after me and I will make you to become fishers of men;’ and by their obedience their minds became full of grace” (Saint John Chrysostom, Homily 2, on Eutropius). On the other hand, there are also examples in the Gospel of those who carefully weigh their choices, choose wrongly, and would have been better to follow their first enthusiasm like the young rich man who asked what he should do to attain eternal life.

In like manner, psychologists recognize a difference between functional and dysfunctional impulsivity, which is a fancy way of saying impulsivity that brings good results versus impulsivity that brings bad results. If dysfunctional impulsivity is expressed with the notion of “not thinking before one acts;” functional impulsivity is associated with “being quick on one’s feet.” Over twenty years ago, S. J. Dickman developed a scale for measuring functional and dysfunctional impulsivity. In various studies, functional impulsivity has been associated with venturesomeness, risk taking, enthusiasm, sociability, a high energy level, and optimism. Moreover, those with functional impulsivity were able to make decisions without waiting for a complete knowledge of the results of their decisions. In other words, they don’t waste their time and procrastinate, which also prevents people from completing what they want to get done. And while those with dysfunctional impulsivity certainly need assistance, there are some forms of impulsivity that can bring blessed results as we can see in the calling of the Apostles.

For those in the Church, though, the difference between dysfunctional and functional impulsivity is not simply based on the results, but on the state of the soul. The rational, not particularly impulsive, young rich man who did not accept Christ’s offer to follow Him was, according to the Fathers, very much bound by the love of his possessions that did not enable him to respond freely and easily to Christ’s most gentle presence. Saint John Chrysostom remarked, “In this example, see how strongly his passion manifested itself. Even though he came to Christ with joy and boldness, the passion so overwhelmed him and weighed him down that it did not allow him to answer Christ when commanded to cast aside his riches, but silenced him and caused him to go away dejected and sullen” (Homily 53). Just as passions can make one more impulsive in a dysfunctional way, so the passions can make one less impulsive in a functional way!

For those who are impulsive, it is certainly worthwhile to cultivate the positive traits of the functionally impulsive, namely optimism, maintaining a high energy level, and taking a risk when it comes to following the way of Christ. Responding to God immediately or straightway (εὐθέως) as the Apostles did is a powerful virtue that contains within it, humility, hope, obedience, and love. Going the extra-mile, turning the other cheek, and being a cheerful giver are examples of letting blessed impulses guide us. Those impulses certainly need to be cultivated. And they are certainly functional in so far as they have the function of keeping us on the path that leads directly to the kingdom of heaven.

Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos


The Lord, in His Providence of the salvation of the world and mankind through the ages of ages, chose the Most Holy Virgin Theotokos of all peoples and of all those who appeared on this world, that through her He establish salvation and His coming to this world. For this is her birth so glorious and magnificent and significant for many reasons. We read in the life of her parents Joachim and Anna that they lived piously and righteously before God, and by God’s providence, for a long time they didn’t have children, they were without seed and fruit for which they suffered shame before the whole nation of God Israel. But God seeks the most strong characters that through them He establish that which is for our salvation and to show their virtues, regardless of whether that might seem humbling and as some sort of a exception or apostasy. Very often God establishes the salvation of the world through such people. Thus, through Sts. Joachim and Anna the Most Holy Virgin was born, She who would bear in her all-pure womb – through the Holy Spirit – the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The holy and righteous Joachim and Anna, out of their thanksgiving for the gift of their freedom with which the Lord crowned them, made a promise to dedicate their child to God’s service in the Temple, so that from very early on she was the handmaiden of God. Having grown up in the Jerusalem Temple she consecrated her soul and body through her ceaseless prayers and the building up of her faith, so that she herself became the Temple of God. This life of her’s from her early childhood is a wondrous mystery, a mystery of great piety and God’s great providence. But how great then is the mystery which the Lord established when He decided to bend the heavens, to come down and dwell in Her all-pure womb for us and our salvation. All of that is so significant, beautiful and magnificent that the human tongue cannot describe it, nor can the mind of the archangel grasp it, for it is the deepest mystery of God’s love which encompasses the whole universe and every man – each of us. For us and our salvation God allowed, predestined and ordered it so for the salvation of this world, to dwell in the womb of the Most Holy Virgin, to receive from her human nature and to truly become a man – a man who bears in Himself divinity, so that through His human nature He might unite us with God, lift us up to the heavens, to bless  us, cleanse us, enlighten us, that he might grant us new life, new joy, a new state, a new feeling.

From a homily of Bishop Joanikije of Budim and Niksic ,
September 21, 2009, Monastery Kosijerevo, near Niksic

Professor Emeritus

H/T: (here)

At the solemn academy, held on Monday, September 14, 2015, in the Rectorate Hall of the University on the occasion and in commemoration of the Day of the University and the 207th anniversary of the University in Belgrade, retired Bishop of Zahum and Hercegovina Professor Dr. Athanasios Jevtic was presented with the recognition of Professor Emeritus.

The Yellow Well

Fr. Milovan Katanic:

Вечнаја памјат…Memory eternal to author of “Access to Shock and Suspense”, Miroslav Josic Visnjic, native of Stapar, who passed away today, September 8th.

Originally posted on Again and Again:


I’ve been reading a book,  Access to Shock and Suspense, which tells the story of women condemned to the “barren island” or Goli Otok and Sveti Grgur Island, both used for political prisoners in the late 40’s and early 50’s Yugoslavia.  My cousin gave me the book some years back as we were leaving Stapar. She wanted me to have it because not only is the writer a native of Stapar, a small town outside of Sombor where I was born, but he also makes many references to the town as one of the women narrating the tale is from there as well.

Anyway, the author writes in one place and I translate loosely:

Every house in the village here had their own well, built out of stone and mortar, draw wells or with wheels. But this salty water the people used for their livestock and watering gardens.


View original 159 more words

The Dinner Table

thanks_2012hermitageHis Grace Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West of the Orthodox Church in America gave the homily yesterday at the Diocesan Days celebration of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America. He spoke on the theme of the gospel reading which was about the marriage feast.

He made an interesting observation. “I don’t know about you,” he said,”but I can’t eat with people I don’t like.” Never thought about it, but I suppose it’s true. He added, what do we do when our children are misbehaving or we’re upset at them for whatever reason; what do we tell them? Go to your room! You’re excused from the dinner table! There is something mystical, almost sacred about our dinner table. I would add something, though. The dinner table is perhaps the only place left – outside the church – where it’s rude and inappropriate to be on your electronic gadgets. We came to the table hungry but we’re hungry for more than just food. We’re hungry for fellowship, to both talk and listen to one another. To enjoy our meal but also, and more importantly, the company of one another.

After all, unless we enjoy each others company we’ll both go away hungry.

New Saints of America

Saints Sebastian and MardarijeThe annual Diocesan Days of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America officially begins tomorrow at St. Stevan’s Cathedral in Alhambra, California. This year’s celebration will also include the canonization of St. Sebastian of Jackson and San Francisco and St. Mardarije of Libertyville, two missionaries and teacher and enlighteners in the early history of the Serbian Church on this continent.

His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej will officiate at the liturgical celebration together with many other hierarchs from Serbia, Serbian hierarchs from the East and Midwest, together with Orthodox hierarchs from the pan-Orthodox community. It will be a unique event in the history of the Serbian Orthodox Church here.