"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

Saturday 23 July 2011

LORENZO SCUPOLI Witness to a Common Tradition

Lorenzo Scupoli was born in Apulia in 1530 and died in 1610.   In 1569, he  became a member of the Theatine congregation which was dedicated to the reform of the Church, especially the clergy, and to combat the Reformation of Martin Luther.   In 1577 he was ordained a priest; but in 1585 he was suspended a divinis after a false accusation and remained suspended till shortly before his death when he was completely cleared and his good name restored.   During the time of humiliation and frustration,  he accepted all that happened with humility, and offered his sufferings up to God.   If he were canonized he could be patron saint of suspended priests, because, for him, it was a way to sanctity.

In 1589, while suspended, he published "The Spiritual Combat" which went into sixty publications in twenty years and in several languages, noy only the usual ones, but also Greek, Armenian, Arabic and Japanese.

  In Greece, it was translated by St Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain who was a mystic and spiritual father in his own right.   He is most famous for his compiling the Philocalia which is of immense spiritual importance in Orthodoxy and is one of the major causes of the revival of the Hesychast school of spirituality.   He also translated the Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola, attributing them to a "wise man"..   He combined being profoundly loyal to his own Orthodox Tradition, while being completely open to ours, recognizing, in spite of the differences of emphasis, the common Tradition behind both.   Would that some abbots of the Holy Mountain were as open nowadays!!

In the 19th Century, "Spiritual Combat" was translated into Russian by St Theophan the Recluse (1815 - 1894) who also helped to translate the Philocalia into Russian.  His own spiritual emphasis was to aim at continuous prayer,not just praying frequently, but always.

  I chose Lorenzo Scupoli as subject for this post because I heard him referred to in an Orthodox podcast as an Orthodox spiritual writer and decided to put the record straight; not snatching ownership for us papists but rejoicing in a common Tradition.  To read the Spiritual Combat yourself, please click on the title below.

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