[An e-mail exchange]
Dear Fr. Michael,
If you are looking for a blog topic, I’d love to hear you explore motivation within an orthodox understanding of existence. Education is locked in the intrinsic/extrinsic dichotomy (I think they’re two sides of the same coin and arise from an individualistic understanding of humans) and I have some of my own ideas, but you could help my thinking by sharing yours.
I think the quote from St. Silouan on love that I posted this morning gets at motivation. I think you are right about intrinsic and extrinsic as self centred categories (inside me and outside me). Love is also both inside and outside. Longing (to love) is inside leading to “ecstasy” which motivates my actions. But love is all directed outward. Of course, without God, love “grows cold” pretty quickly. Being loved helps keep the flame of love lit. This is why spiritual exercise is so very important. Through prayer, liturgy, and spiritual reading we rehearse (remember) God’s love for us, and this helps keep the flame of love for others burning within us. It is not our struggle alone. We join in the love of God. In fact, it is really the love of God in us that produces longing. God Himself is in us loving the world through us. But we are leaky vessels of the Grace of God. We need to continually return to the Source.
God bless you!