True Life In God & Lorenzo Scupoli

Discussion in 'General discussion' started by Stephen, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. Stephen

    Stephen Member

    A Venetian priest in the latter part of the 17th century wrote a book called ''Spiritual Combat'' later edited by Nikodemus and Theophan the Recluse to be known in the Orthodox world as ''unseen warfare''.

    In the writings Scupoli uses the phrase ''True Life in God'' in quite a few places and it's the only time I've ever heard the phrase ''True Life in God'' being used by anyone in the writings I've read or that of the homilies of Church fathers etc etc outside of the actual messages of True Life in God. Has anyone else noticed this or read this book?

    I just thought it was interesting and wanted to bring peoples attention to it. Great book by the way.

  2. David

    David Well-Known Member

    Well, Stephen, my answer to your question was going to be 'no' but then I remembered being told that the precise phrase does appear once in the Poem of the Man God. I can find precisely where if needed.

    But I can add a further piece of information which I now find interesting. I did a google search of the title of this thread- True Life In God & Lorenzo Scupoli and found a very surprising result in a link to a page I uploaded on to one of my many websites:

    The article is titled Reflections on True Life in God and is written by Brother Andrew of the community of Anglican monks in Crawley, England. Brother Andrew refers to Scupoli's book although he appears not to have noticed that the phrase True Life in God is used in it.

    Brother Andrew's article is a very substantial one on Vassula's mission and I hope one day to find time to read it!
  3. Stephen

    Stephen Member

    I have actually not read the unedited version of Unseen Warfare, that is, the original one by Scupoli ''Spiritual combat'' so whether or not it's edited in by Nikodemus or Theophan or is in the original edition I don't know. I have, however, found it interesting that Poem of the Man God mentions it and Lorenzo Scupoli. It makes me wonder because I remember we discussed before the similarities in writing of True Life In God and Poem of the Man God. But reading Unseen Warfare I see similarities between the actual teachings of Jesus in True Life in God messages and scupolis work. I would encourage anyone unfamiliar with Unseen warfare to read it as I think if you're looking to progress in your spiritual life it's nice to read alongside TLIG and other works like the Philokalia.

    I can find the page if needed but it's on the chapter towards the end of the book on coolness and dryness of spirit. It's rare I'd read a book from start to finish again and I've only ever done it with anthony de mellos awareness and the way of a pilgrim but looks like Unseen warfare will be given another flick through the moment I reach the end. It just the type of book that like True Life in God messages I couldn't put down when I first got hold of it. Scupoli really draws you in. I gave it to my wife to read and she got through the first few pages and said, "nope I can't seem to enjoy this" haha oh well I guess we are called to read certain books or something. What an amazing book!
  4. andree

    andree Well-Known Member

    Thank you Stephen for this. I love getting recommendations of good spiritual books that fit in with the spirituality in TLIG. I see it's available on Amazon but I'm trying to avoid using that site so will look for it elsewhere. Do you have any idea how the edited versions differ from the original ? It is in reading the Poem and the Notebooks that I have come to fully appreciate what a fierce battle took place to protect that work and get it out there in print as is and so I would like to avoid copies that are edited in any way. And on a sidenote, another thing the Notebooks helped me to understand is why Vassula doesn't have a spiritual director!

    I confirm what David says about TLIG appearing once in full in the Poem book. I have access to a search function in French and found it in book 7 where Jesus says "There is sadness in all places where there is no true life in God."

    I am interested in this subject. One lesson that I got from TLIG is when Vassula was complaining to Christ that she felt as cold as a stone and he gives this mystical explanation about it:

    do you love Me?

    You know I do, Lord, but at times I feel as cold as a stone! How ungrateful I must be!

    every time you have this feeling it is I who uses your love to warm up other souls who are in need of warmth; souls who are cold toward Me, do you understand now?
    This lesson was hugely useful to me. Does Unseen Warfare gets into this sort of thing?
  5. Stephen

    Stephen Member

    "This is true life in God! To desire and seek God for the sake of God, and to possess Him and partake of him in the way and measure he wishes.'' - Unseen Warefare, chapter seven on warmth of heart and on cooling and dryness of heart, pg 246.

    That's the quote there from the book. When I speak of an edited version I'm not referring to the Poem but Lorenzo Scupoli original writing of Spiritual Combat. It was gathering dust on the shelves when an Eastern Orthodox monk Nikodemus saw its value, and then he did not change the wording only edited bits and pieces on prayer to suit the eastern expression of prayer but that is all. Theophan the Recluse also made a few further adjustments. I have not read the original spiritual combat I think because it was difficult to find. There was someone selling it for 60 us dollars somewhere and there was no way I'm handing that over for a book haha. You can find the book on ebay that is where I got it. My wife likes to use Amazon but I've always been an ebay person because I like using paypal. I got the edited version for 15 euros.

    The very chapter I took this quote from above deals with as you can see on cooling and dryness of heart. Unseen warfare touches absolutely everything. No stone is left unturned and of all the mystical writings I find it to be the most consumable as sadly lots of Catholic writings of Catholic mystics from 12th - 16th century have been abandoned with no modern translations given. Some of the writings are very old English and make for a painful read. Unseen warfare though is just the most plain talking book on the subject I've read in a while and condenses what can be a very difficult subject for some into bite size pieces. If you're unable to find a spiritual director then unseen warfare makes for a fantastic substitute until you do. The Eastern Orthodox hold this book in high regard and consider it a companion to the Philokalia and I can see why. It's the one thing I've only ever seen the Eastern Orthodox really show appreciation for that is western and so there's a flavor of nice ecumenism there.
  6. andree

    andree Well-Known Member

    Thanks Stephen, I have put this book on my wish list.

    I also wanted to clarify this statement in my post:

    Just so that readers don't misundertand, I didn't mean to imply that the Poem or any other of Maria Valtorta's writings are edited, but precisely the opposite! Maria Valtorta wrote everything as soon as she saw/heard things and even corrected certain entries when errors were pointed out by Christ Himself. She reread the typed manuscripts and corrected them too, chastising her spiritual director on occasions for not being vigilant enough with transcription. Even the smallest of errors, the omission of a word or an addition were considered costly mistakes, as Christ shows through examples in a few lessons in the Notebooks.

    What I meant to say above is that in reading the Notebooks, I understood how man's pride leads to errors in translation, even in the case where there is good will because man is still presumptuousness in thinking that he understands everything in God's Word and tends to want to restrict It to his earthly understanding. Those books have given me a better appreciation of the struggles that Vassula also has faced over the years in dealing will all the translations and versions of the Messages, which she feels intensely protective about.

    Anyway, thanks again for clarifying about the edits in Unseen Warefare.
  7. Stephen

    Stephen Member

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