Running a marathon or doing the bare minimum

For me, it is also unreasonable to let oneself be eaten by mosquitoes. Just as it is unreasonable to have a locusts and wild honey diet, and wear camel hairs for garments (Wear something other than jeans and basketball shorts with t-shirts? Really? :D). And yet, Jesus did not criticize him for that and had him in very high regard.

However, I don’t think it is possible to truly be ascetic without being radical. Our reasonable minds cannot and will not understand the spiritual. For our minds it would be, like Kierkegaard would say, absurd. And yet, when we study the lives of spiritual saints - we find an incredible amount of absurdities. And still, their lives also show that they achieved their spiritual goals. It is a paradox, yes.

But going back to your OP. It is not a matter of a bare minimum but a matter of increasing one’s faith and avoiding it to be dead.

I’m afraid that you have misunderstood, my friend. :slight_smile:

I was not referring to you, but rather to my coreligionists who would attack Catholics for “doing the bare minimum.” That sort of judgmental behavior, is, at least by my estimation, a sign of insecurity.

Please forgive me for not being as clear as I should have been.

You’re right. Jesus, the Prophets, and John the Baptist were all ascetics who did radical things. Even St. Paul disciplined his body. But how do you distinguish between true asceticism and people who struggle with OCD scrupulosity? People with OCD always feel like their sinning in some minor way and it interferes with their daily lives. I’m an average joe trying to navigate my way through the world. I’m no ascetic/saint.

Thanks for the clarification. No worries. This is an internet forum. Miscommunication is bound to happen.:slight_smile:

I explained that in my first response to you, which you seem to have ignored.

And what if your spiritual confessor is wrong? Does a person totally submit his conscience to his/her spiritual confessor? I don’t think ministers are qualified to deal with mental illnesses.

It’s actually not considered proper to undertake any kind of fast, especially a severe one, without the advice of one’s elder… St. Macarius’ story is perhaps not meant to be emulated, but contemplated. If one’s elder suggests you or another is at that level of asceticism, then you may ask the elder if such a response is appropriate for you.

That is just the sort of thing one would tell their spiritual father, so that he could tailor their ‘exercises’ according to their particular condition and guide them to a healthy spirituality.

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