Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sheehan Quote

Father Stephen recently cited an article by Dr. Donald Sheehan on the concept of "Memory Eternal" as used in the Orthodox Church, in commemoration of his recent repose in the Lord. Most of us have probably read Father's post; I thoroughly recommend reading the article by Dr. Sheehan. I quote the article's final words here (emph. mine):

"[In an opening quotation of Zosima's biography] is the most beautiful understanding of Memory Eternal both in Eastern Orthodoxy and in Dostoevsky. It is the soul's seeking out what is precious - that is, what is unceasingly alive - even in the darkest, most afflicted of circumstances. And the crucial point, in the novels and in the Church, is that such seeking can succeed most fully and directly through what Dostoevsky calls 'a whole life's obedience' to the historical Orthodox Church and Her long traditions of fasting and prayer. For in this obedience, we avoid the terrible fate of those who (like Ivan Karamazov) seek to find themselves in themselves. Instead, like Alyosha and (in the end) Dmitri, we come to understand that we are precious not in our self-assertion but only in our self-emptying."

May the memory of our brother, the professor and subdeacon Donald Sheehan, be eternal.

1 comment:

Darlene said...


What a poignant article that was. I was deeply moved by the graveside encounter with his father. And the waking to the Jesus Prayer was overwhelmingly beautiful.

I have, on occasion, been blessed to be taken to another place in ecstasy in the Spirit. I consider such occasions nothing short of glorious, and the Holy Spirit's moving within the depths of my soul, an expression to which the rest of my being is subservient. To experience the Holy Spirit pleading and interceding in such a way as Dr. Sheehan wrote is truly a gift of great benevolence. That he was not Orthodox at the time is simply wondrous in that it shows the beginning of his journey to the Church by the prodding of the Spirit.