don’t write ’em like they used to…

Uncategorized Add comments

You just don’t read things like this in today’s writings on spirituality:

If you aspire to the spuriousness of human praise as though it were something authentic, wallow in self-indulgence because of your soul’s insatiability, and through your greed entwine yourself with avarice, you will either make yourself demonic through self-conceit and arrogance, or degenerate into bestiality through the gratification of belly and genitals, or become savage to others because of your gross inhuman avarice. In this way your faith in God will lapse, as Christ said it would when you accept human praise (cf. John 5:44); you will abandon self-restraint and purity because your lower organs are unsatedly kindled and succumb to unbridled appetence; and you will be shut out from love because you minister solely to yourself and do not succour your fellow beings when they are in need.

Like some polymorphic monster compounded thus out of multifarious self-antagonistic parts, you will be the implacable enemy of God, man and the animals.

When our desire and intelligence, in a way that accords with nature, aspire to what is divine, then our incensiveness is for both of them a weapon of righteousness wielded solely against the hissing serpent that would persuade them to indulge in fleshly pleasures and to relish men’s praise.

But when we fail to act according to nature and direct our desire and intelligence to what is contrary to nature, transferring attention from what is divine to purely human matters, then our incensive power becomes a weapon of iniquity in the service of sin, and we use it to attack and fight against those who would restrain the passions and appetites of the other powers of our soul.

Thus, whether we are engaged in ascetic practice or are contemplatives and theologians, when we act according to nature we prove ourselves to be among the faithful members of the Church, and when we act contrary to nature we become bestial, savage, and demonic.

–Nikitas Stithatos, 11th century Constantinople monk

Comments are closed.