Already in his lifetime Isaac was respected and venerated as a spiritual teacher. After his death his glory increased as his writings spread. Joseph Hazzaya, who lived in the eighth century, called him ‘famous among the saints’. Another Syrian writer calls him ‘the master and teacher of all monks and the haven of salvation for the whole world’.
By the eleventh century, due to the Greek translation of his writings, Isaac became widely known in the Greek-speaking East: in the famous anthology of ascetical texts, the Evergetinon, the passages from ‘abba Isaac the Syrian’ stand on the same footing as those from the classics of early Byzantine spirituality. This is how a modest ‘Nestorian’ Bishop from a remote province of Persia became a Holy Father of the Orthodox Church of Chalcedonian orientation - a rather exceptional phenomenon in the history of Eastern Christianity.
St Isaac has exerted a considerable influence on Russian spirituality. His ascetical homilies, translated into Slavonic in the XIVth century, made a deep impression on St Nil of Sora, one of the most important monastic writers of the XVIth century. In the XIXth century major theologians, such as Philaret of Moscow and Theophane the Recluse, as well as famous secular writers, such as I.Kireyevsky and F.Dostoyevsky, were among his admirers. Dostoyevsky was deeply influenced by Isaac’s homilies and used some of them as a source material for ‘the writings of Elder Zosima’ in ‘The Brothers Karamazoff’.
The word of St Isaac has crossed not only the boundaries of time, but also confessional barriers. As early as in the ninth century, he was read by the Byzantine and Syrian Orthodox, as well as the Church of the East, each group having provided its own recension of his writings. In the fifteenth century Isaac breaks into the Catholic world, being at the same time one of the most popular ascetical writers of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In our time his writings draw the attention of Christians who belong to different denominations and follow different traditions, but share a common faith in Jesus and the ultimate quest for salvation. I remember how during one scholarly conference, where I delivered a paper on the practice of prayer in St Isaac, three people came to me, one after another: a Cistercian nun, a protestant layman, and a Buddhist monk. All three were wondering at how much Isaac’s teaching of prayer, which I expounded, is in line with their own traditions. Then a Franciscan friar came to inform me of the existence of St Isaac of Nineveh’s retreat house in New Zealand: the house is run by both Catholics and Anglicans.
One of the secrets of this ecumenical reception of Isaac lies in his own universal vision: his writings, which were initially addressed to a very narrow circle of his contemporary monastics, have proved to be aproppriate for so many people in different epochs even down to our time. Every Christian who now reads Isaac can find something appropriate for himself, in spite of the fact that the entire context of Isaac’s life was so strikingly different from our own.
Another secret of Isaac’s wide reception lies in the fact that he is always speaking of God’s love, which has no boundaries, which is beyond any concept of justice or requital, which was crucified for the salvation of the whole world and which leads all created beings to salvation. In every epoch, the Christian world needs to be reminded of this universal love of God for His creation because in every epoch there is a strong tendency within Christianity to replace the religion of love and freedom that was brought about by Jesus with the religion of slavery and fear. Isaac reminds us that it is not out of fear of punishment or out of hope of future reward that we are to keep God’s commandments, but out of our love for God. Our vocation is not to be slaves, but to attain to the freedom of the sons of God and to become ‘a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation.
10 ways to control your anger - Professional expert’s advice
I am really emotional and excitable person. I think that there are two types of anger: constructive anger and a destructive one. In order to understand the anger phenomenon I decided to investigate the nature of anger, reasons of its appearing, key factors and anger management.
What does it mean this anger? Anger is a strong indignation feeling of our emotional sphere that is attended by self-control losing. Anger is a signal of our state. Glands produce an array of hormones that have a great and deep effect on all our body. The main participants of this process are adrenaline and cortisol. They activate cardiovascular system and consequently all organs. Adrenalin causes fast heart beating, rising blood pressure. These rich oxygenated blood streams to the places are responsible for reaction. Thus some extra energy is released.
There are 4 basic ways of anger expressions:
1. Straight and immediately (verbally or nonverbally) to show your anger. It gives an opportunity to free from the negative emotions.
2. To express anger in an indirect way. In this case usually suffer persons that are weaker, not dangerous and those ones who “come to hand”, usually they are our family and close relatives. Thus we hurt our dear ones. One of the best ways is to express your anger to the person who is the source of this very anger. If it is impossible- better find some compromise.
3. Restraining anger you “drive” it deep inside. So, negative emotions store will provoke a big stress sooner or later.
4. You may foresee situation of anger feeling, try not to expand this feeling but get to know the reason, understand and solve it. A Roman philosopher Seneca said: “When you are feeling of ascending “volcano”- stand still, not doing anything- not speaking, not moving.”
Anger is a normal and natural human feeling, especially nowadays as life is really fast and we have a huge amount of information to accumulate (in comparison with our previous generations). The range of anger is rather wide: from a slight annoyance to impetuous fury. Anger can be quick and long, lasting for years in form of bitterness, vengeance or hate. Anger can lead to health issues like depression, high blood pressure, hearth diseases, stresses, alcohol dependence and obesity. If you are anger- express it. If you feel discomfort from these “negative splashes”- then we can give some techniques how to manage your emotional anger:
- 1. Take a deep and continuous breath. Count up to 50 or imagine your aggressor just naked, only in socks. This will help you to calm and smile.
- 2. Have a walk. Look at high sky. Continue to breathe deep and easily. So you appraise the situation and calm down.
- 3. Do some physical exercises. When you are angry- your body is very tensed and tough. If you stretch your muscles it will relax your body, as you will spill out all your negative energy into action. Your brains will get more oxygen and it assists to clear your thoughts.
- 4. Write down all your thoughts. Write down that you are mad and why. Avoid being rational, logical or laconic. Write on paper all you are feeling this moment. Try to write all in details. The function of this technique is to shift all your anger out of your head on paper.
- 5. Be grateful. Find someone to thank. Do you not forget about yourself. Thank that you have woken up today, thank that that the Sun is shining for you, that the sky is blue and the grass is green.
- 6. Prayer. Ask God to be with you during this anger moment and lead you.
- 7. Meditation. Close your eyes, look into solar plexus, and be all your anger, breathing deeply.
- 8. Change of places. Move yourself on your enemy’s place. And look at situation from his point of view. Better look at the situation from the ceiling. Focus on details, especially on funny and absurd ones. Strive to forgive your enemy as well as forgive truly yourself.
- 9. Go back to your childhood memories. Recollect state when you were angry. Hug this child and say: “All is ok. I am here. You are good child. I love you and I will not leave you.”
- 10. Your values. What is the most significant thing in your life? Who are the most important people in your life? What kind of person do you want to be? Think and accept that point that you are living your life, and you are living your values. There is a good man inside you that wants to help you. I wish you good luck!
I am really emotional and excitable person. I think that there are two types of anger: constructive anger and a destructive one. In order t...
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