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Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica Paperback – October 5, 2009
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2 Corinthians 12:9
Elder Thaddeus of Serbia was born two months premature, and as a child suffered many physical ailments. He describes himself as one totally different to all the other children his age. He considered himself, even from his youngest years as not belonging to this world, and this was indeed his calling - to draw people away from this world that is dying and to the world that is eternal - that is the kingdom of heaven. As one who suffered from depression, nervousness and anxiety, it was the Elder's wish to completely withdraw from the world and dedicate his life in seclusion to the Lord. However, this was not the Lord's wish, and for this reason after much labour, sacrifice and suffering on the part of the Elder thousands of the faithful began to flock to him in search of spiritual advice and healing...
As the title suggests, the book centres around Elder Thaddeus' teachings in relation to our thoughts and how whenever we think negatively, this negativity is transferred to our neighbour. He teaches that negative thoughts are not our own, but rather demonic and encourages prayer (particularly the Jesus prayer), as a means of expelling such thoughts. Elder Thaddeus cites numerous examples of how life changing and salvific this prayer is, and how people have miraculously changed for the better through the Prayer of the Heart.
The book also focuses on family life, repentance, spiritual struggle, inner peace, on the Holy Mother of God, on the Orthodox faith and other issues of importance to the Christian.
This is an excellently written book. The Elder's teachings are a great treasure for all Christians struggling and suffering in this world. Priceless pearls of wisdom indeed. Highly recommended reading.
I go back to it when I come upon hard times, and it puts me at ease. Elder Thaddeus is certainly a holy man.
I gave this book a four star rather than five rating because I share some of the concerns of our one-star Amazon reviewer, Ms. Wilkes; even if she only read 85 pages and quit.
This book is an example for me of how we must read the words and sayings of severe monastics and ascetics within the context of their extreme hysicastic stillness and intense, God focused lives. Most of us are called to what yogis and other Eastern religious practices refer to as the "householder" path. Indeed the history of the church gives us two roads: monk/nun/celibate...or married/householder. Some of what the elder says will be jarring to those on the householder way, even if the whole focus of the book is the every day battle we take on with self talk. I've worked in sales for years as a small businessman. This is 90% of our challenge. Same with moms raising small kids I'd say.
I started this book, I have to confess, a bit wary as I'd heard that a popular abbot friend of mine didn't like it. Contrarily, I did like it; but was put off by 5% or so of what I found. But I did agree with elder Thaddeus about not spoiling children; his words are not unlike Elder Porphyrios of Wounded By Love on this point. Neither holy men, of course, had children of their own as physical parents. Another interesting sidebar: This elder struggled with depression. And, (some will connect the two) he played the accordion. He loved music in fact, found it soothing, self soothing. In the chapter on inner peace, his interesting point about opposing evil being itself evil will spark a good talk around any table.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The chapters of the book are well-orgonized. The book itself is very interesting, easy to read. I wish I had more such books like this book.Published 1 month ago by Dmitriy
As someone who is struggling deeply at the moment in my spiritual and mental journey through life, I found this book very encouraging. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Divad Allesnik
Great insights r.e. Life and being a Christian. I actually encountered new ideas in this book, and had to agreePublished 3 months ago by David K.
Wonderful read. I am Christian Orthodox and this is my type of reading material.Published 4 months ago by Br. Anthony