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The Sunflower
Conforming the Will of Man to the Will of God

By John of Tobolsk Translated by Nicholas Kotar Edited by Holy Trinity Monastery

The Sunflower
Book, 352 pages
Published: 15th August 2018
ISBN: 9780884654605
Status: Available
Format: 9in x 6in

Electronic book text (EPUB)
ISBN: 9780884654698
Status: Available

Electronic book text (Kindle)
ISBN: 9780884654704
Status: Available

Category: Spiritual Life

May our love for the Sun, the will of God, be as strong as the sunflower’s, so that even in days of hardship and sorrow we will continue to sail unerringly along the sea of life, following the directions of the barometer and compass of God’s will that leads us to the safe haven of eternity—St John of Tobolsk 

This is a thoroughly practical manual of the spiritual life that focuses on the central goal of every Christian: discerning the will of God and struggling to mold our life to it, just as Christ “humbled Himself and became obedient” (Philippians 2:8).

Saint John addresses fundamental questions: Why should we care about God’s will ? What are the benefits in following His will? How do we avoid common obstacles to living in accordance with His will? The reader will find practical and eternal wisdom running through these writings that discuss the perennial questions of why a good God permits evil. This is the first English edition of St John’s text, edited and abbreviated for the contemporary reader.

St John Maximovitch (1651-1715) was Metropolitan of Tobolsk and all Siberia. He served as a missionary in Siberia and was known for his unpretentiousness and his generosity to the poor. His veneration among the people grew after his repose and he was glorified by the Russian Church in 1916, becoming the last canonized saint of the pre-revolutionary period. He is best known today as the namesake and ancestor of the great 20th-century saint of the Russian diaspora, St John of Shanghai and San Francisco.


Editor’s Preface

Part 1

1. Discerning the Will of God and Conforming to It

2. Why Does God Allow Evil?

3. How to Recognize God’s Will in His Inscrutable Judgments

4. How to Determine God’s Will in All Events and Actions

5. How God’s Will Is Revealed in Jesus Christ, and How We Can Conform Ourselves to It

Part II

6. On Completely Committing One’s Life, Will, and Works to the Will of God

7. How Can Human Will Become Pleasing and Worthy of Union with God’s Will?

8. How Human Will Can Conform to Divine Will in Various Everyday Circumstances

9. On the Meaning and Significance of the Prayer “Thy Will Be Done on Earth as It Is in Heaven,” and with What Spiritual Disposition One Must Utter These Words

10. Which Signs Indicate That Our Will Agrees with God’s Will?

Part III

11. The Peace of Soul That Comes from Following God’s Will

12. Is It Possible to Avoid Sorrow Entirely?

13. Fashioning One’s Will to God’s Is a Pleasing Sacrifice to God

14. Human Perfection Is Contingent on the Coordination between One’s Desires and Actions and God’s Will as Revealed in the Law or in One’s Own Life

15. Conforming the Human Will with the Will of God Is the Greatest Good in Life

16. The Agreement of the Human Will with the Divine Is Truly Heaven on Earth, the Only Genuine Blessedness in Life

Part IV

17. What Prevents Us from Living According to God’s Will

18. The Dangers of Irrational, Unrestrained, and Deeply Rooted Self-Will

19. How Our Will Can Become Obedient to the Will of God in

All Things, Even in That Which We Do Not Desire

20. An Instructive Example for People Who Refuse to Follow God’s Direction

21. Factors That Incline Us to Disobey God

22. We Must Be Ready to Reject Ourselves and Submit Our Will to God Both during Times of Trouble and in the Hour

of Our Death

Part V

23. The Agreement between Human and Divine Will Cannot Occur without Complete Trust in God

24. The Essence of Trust in God

25. By What Means We Can Confirm within Ourselves a Firm Trust in God, Especially in Times of Trouble?

26. How the Saints Trusted God

27. The Many and Diverse Gifts That God Gives to Those Who Trust in Him

28. Trust in God Weakens and Dies without Acknowledgment of His Providence

29. How Greatly God Provides for All Our Needs in Life

30. God’s Providence for the Righteous

31. God’s Providence for Friends and Enemies

32. Concerning Widespread Doubt or Weak Faith in God

33. Knowledge of God’s Providence Leads to Greater Trust in God, and This Trust Gives Birth to Agreement with God and His Holy Will

Appendix: A Short Biography of the author of The Sunflower, St John Maximovich, Archbishop of Chernigov and Metropolitan of Tobolsk


Subject Index

Scripture Index

The Sunflower
The Sunflower - Conforming the Will of Man to the Will of God - Book cover

Publication Details:

Binding: Book, 352 pages
ISBN: 9780884654605
Format: 9in x 6in

Binding: Electronic book text
ISBN: 9780884654698

Binding: Electronic book text
ISBN: 9780884654704

BISAC Code:  REL011000, REL012120, REL049000
Imprint: Printshop of St Job of Pochaev

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