Friday, March 21, 2014

PATH TO SANITY Lessons From Ancient Holy Counselors on How to have a Sound Mind.


Lessons From Ancient Holy Counselors on 
How to have a Sound Mind.

  Path to Sanity is a book written by Dee Pennock, a blessed woman. The  subtitle is: Lessons From Ancient Holy Counselors on How to have a Sound Mind. It is paperback with 214 pages, being a valuable treasury of knowledge concerning the most important subject of mental and spiritual health and illness, based on the teaching of the Church Fathers and Saints. It is about sanity and insanity not as the world teaches, but as taught by the holy Fathers. There are many different theories concerning man but she, in her book, by faithful research, understanding and lucid presentation has opened the oyster showing us  the pearl of great value,

   What is man?  He is a creature, so important to God as the reason for all creation. There can be no greater plan than God’s eternal plan to form a man and then mankind in His own image and likeness. Adam, was not that man, as he was created in the image, and by his disobedience and sin he failed to ascend to the likeness of God. The Godman, our Lord Jesus Christ is the man, sinless and the perfect image and likeness of God. All me are called to struggle to become like Christ in this present life, that they may  reign in glory with Him for ever.  The struggle for holiness and perfection  cannot take place in the future life, for this life is the arena of the struggle but in the next life is the awarding of crowns.

  What is man? Man is body and soul which comes from clay ( Greek “houn” clay not dust). And the spirit breathed into him from God, which caused man to become a living soul. St.  Paul refers to man as being body, soul, and spirit, asking God to bless all three, which, he says, constitutes the whole man.   

Dee Pennock writes: 
     “Scripture teaches that we have a body, soul, and spirit (1Thes. 5:23), that we are composed of three parts; that is, body, soul, and spirit (Isaac of Syria) Our spirit makes us alive, makes us living creatures.  It is the breath of life that God put into us when He breathed into Adam the breath of life and Adam became a living soul (Gen. 2:7).  Saint Anthony writes: Life is union and junction of spirit, soul, and body. Death is not the destruction of these parts, but disruption of their union. God preserves it all even after this disruption.”  (P 18)

  ‘So we are three things, body, soul, and spirit.  Or we can say we are two things, with one of them having two parts.  We can say we are body and soul if we take the soul to mean our soul plus the spirit of God added, the soul being different from the life of which it partakes.  (Justin Martyr ). The soul itself is not life, but partakes in that life bestowed upon it by God, as the prophetic word declares [of Adam] he became a living soul, teaching us that by participation of life the soul becomes alive; so the soul and the life it possesses must be understood as two separate existences” (Irenaeus) P19)

   Knowing who and what we are, ought to rouse us up from inaction to realize that our potential honor is far beyond every nobility or royalty, for we bear within us the eternal God himself, and are destined to become gods like the immortal God! 

    Jesus Christ is our Savior and we are saved only through Him, and concerning salvation, the western mind reaches an enigma.   For many believe: “I am saved by my faith and that’s it.”  Having no connection to the Church they can never find the true purpose of Christ’s incarnation, as you cannot be saved simply by believing. Jesus 

Christ is also our high Priest and is being continually sacrificed in the Mystery of Eucharist, concerning which, He says: “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you.”  Jesus is our Professor teaching us many things, but what is the thrust of His teaching?  As our Professor, he teaches us how we must become exactly what He is – the perfect image and likeness of God. That this is apparent in Christ’s exhortation: “Be holy for I am holy”. “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  “Whoever breaks the least of these commandments . . .”   He declares that we must become like Him, and we cannot achieve this perfection by ourselves. We must offer all that we can and He will supply the rest. As a great help, He sends us His Spirit to be our Guide and Comforter. Like any work, this divine work requires divine food, and he feeds us with His Body and Blood, being the Bread which came down from heaven.  This has been the Church’s holy tradition for almost 2,000 years, ignored by the Papacy and Protestants.

Dee Pennock writes:  
     “So we were not created to have any spiritual defects that are not in Christ, who has none. No spiritual defects which were inherited through our flesh as a result of the fall of Adam are natural” (P28).

     If we remain in our sins and continue to break the divine law we can only look forward to torment and permanent separation from God, for breaking God’s law is called iniquitous, which means “lawless.” The greater evil is not sins, which are forgivable, but the refusal of the only cure which is repentance, for which we ought to be most grateful and take advantage of while we are able. The day of our deep repentance and confession of our sins will become a day of great joy and happiness, not only to the end of our lives, but for ever. 

Dee Pennock writes:
   “As soon as we see and want to be rid of sin and passions in ourselves, we are already beginning the healing process of repentance that can take us into heaven. 

St. John Chrysostom tells us: ‘Great are the medicinal powers of repentance.’ Also,  'Repentance there is, and great is the force it has, in that it is able to set free from the burden of sins even him who has been utterly immersed in them, and to establish in safety him who is in danger’ (St. John Chrysostom).  ‘When by zeal for a good life you wash away the passions stuck to your heart, then Godly beauty will once more shine forth in you; you will once more take on your original image and become blessed’ (St. Gregory of Nicaea P40-41).

   There is an insanity that is known among men, but there is a much more dangerous and deadly insanity that is almost unknown. The Logos of God is the only source of sanity.  When the Archangel Lucifer rebelled against God the Logos, who rules over creation, he became insane, losing right reason, and breaking from the Logos, he already is foretasting his future torment. Whoever refuses to place his faith in Christ and follow Him will become insane, condemning himself to unbelief, despondency, envy, and all other evils.

Dee Pennock writes: 
     “Some saints called the process of cleansing our souls of passions, The Sane Way. What is sanity?  It’s being able to hold your soul in your hand. When the Psalmist writes, ‘My soul is always in my hand’ (Psalm 119:109), he means he is always in control of the actions of his soul. He is not allowing any other person or outside influence to push it around. How do you become able to hold your soul in your own hand, and have sanity? By having your mind in control of your soul, and having Christ as the Lord of your mind, say the holy physicians. Blessed Anthony describes how it works: ‘In the body is the soul; in the soul is the mind; and in the mind is the Logos Christ; Intelligence is what carries a person into this sanity. What is intelligence? The saints say it is your soul’s capacity to recognize and pursue what brings you the utmost benefit that you could ever receive in your lifetime, which is eternal (p 179-180).

     Path to Sanity by Dee Pennock is an excellent source for clergy and laity, for it is the Fathers speaking through this blessed woman. Available from Orthodox Christian Center and Mission,16.95 Email:


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