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Σάββατο, 21 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

HUMAN SEXUALITY AS UNDERSTOOD BY THE ORTHODOX CHURCH





HUMAN SEXUALITY AS UNDERSTOOD BY
THE ORTHODOX CHURCH

Dear People,

        The following two articles are about human sexuality as understood by the Orthodox Christian Church.  The first one is written by Metropolitan Nicholas of Mesogaia, Greece.  He is steeped in the Patristic teachings of the Orthodox Church and I believe he has a good handle on this important issue of our humanity.  After I discovered this article by the Metropolitan, I found another article about the same subject written by Saint Nicodemus of the eighteenth century.  Although these two leaders of the Church are separated by three centuries, they are inspired by the same patristic sources of our Church.  

        Both Metropolitan Nicholas and Saint Nicodemus agree with the Fathers of the Church who say that God would not have created both sexes if it were not for the anticipated fall of Adam and Eve.  Our all-knowing God knew that the fall would take place because of man’s carnal desires and that is why He created the two sexes.  They say that God would have preferred to have created us like the angels who reproduce themselves without the need of coming together in sexual intercourse in order to produce offspring.   The teaching of the Church concerning the two sexes is that the purpose of the married state is the procreation of the species.  The Church understands that the purpose of the married state is the restoration of our ancient beauty that prevailed in the Garden of Eden before our fall.  We now are called to bring about the restoration of this spiritual beauty by navigating through the problems of our carnal appetites.  We are called upon to transform our animal state by sanctifying our human sexuality.  This is why the Church has emphasized virginity, sexual purity and self-control.  The two following articles give a God-inspired commentary on this important issue of our humanity.

+Fr. Constantine (Charles) J. Simones, February 20, 2015, Waterford, CT, USA, 860-460-9089, cjsimones300@gmail.com


THE TEMPTATION OF ADAM & EVE

WHY DOES THE CHURCH HAVE SUCH STRICT RULES
CONCERNING SEXUAL CONTACT?

        There are many people who say that the Church is too involved with the issue of love between sexes. These people say, that with what the Church says about these issues chases people away from the life of the Church and they no longer listen to what the Church says.  Is it possible that this means that the Church is teaching the truth?  Does this indicate, at least, that the Church is not a demagogic organization?  It is, of course natural, that if the Church wanted to attract people and approach the issue broadly, it would not take such an inconvenient position on this issue.  Extensive research has been done on the issue of the two sexes by Metropolitan Nicholas in his book “Freed from the Gnome.” This is spelled out by the Synodal Committee on Bioethics of Greece.  Let us now look at what it says.

        Metropolitan Nicholas says in his book: “The studied opinion of the Fathers of the Church is that if the fall had not taken place, God would not have created the two sexes.  God’s original plan was that man would be more like the angels and they would reproduce themselves like angels do, without the need for the two sexes coming together.  But since God knew before hand about the fall of mankind, He created the two sexes before Adam and Eve became aware of their carnal appetite.  Following the fall of man the sexes were different.  Their existence, anatomically and physiologically defined them as having one purpose, the procreation of the human race. As a result of this, the struggle of every Christian now is the restitution of that ancient beauty; the return to that glory when Adam was first created.  This struggle must navigate through the changes in the carnal appetite.    The change from man’s fallen animal state takes place only through sanctifying his sexuality which resulted from his fall.  This is the reason that the Church has so wisely emphasized the virtue of virginity, purity and self-control.  It attracts the attention of every faithful person for the need to overcome the sexual passions.

        With the reproduction of children, the plan of God is fulfilled for humanity.   Our reproductive organs fulfill the purpose of our existence and mankind becomes a co-creator with God in the creation of new beings according to the likeness of God.  The reality of man’s beginning is essentially a holy act; it is the history of every human being. It renders marital relations a holy act, a sacrament. And it is for this reason that another sacramental act is needed in order to basically give marital relations license and validity.  It is like a priest before his ordination. He cannot perform any ecclesiastical act.  It is like when you are not baptized you cannot receive Holy Communion.  It is the same thing with men and women before marriage are not given the license to come together in the holy act of conjugal relations.  The performance of one sacrament presupposes a previous sacrament.  Marriage does not only make things right with fallen mankind.   It gives birth to a man of grace.  It gives man the opportunity to become more like God as much as his genome biologically determines his likeness with animals.  He has the ability according to divine grace to participate in the divine nature of God.  His free will can change his genome.  The genome of man is life giving in order to humble him. His free will is divine in order to transform him to become god-like. This is done in order to verify God’s promises to him.
        In addition to this, the Elder Paisios, in the book by Athanasius Rakovali says: “Fr. Paisios told me about this subject:” “Fleshly desire is a passion.  It is generated by the mindset of man.  If a person is spiritual, he does not have these desires.  This is not because he is not capable of having these thoughts but because his spiritual state does not allow him to have them.”

        All human beings have fleshly desires.  These desires are inherited from one’s parents.  We can see this in a child that is born of carnal parents. When he is still a very young child he has these fleshly desires.  This, of course, is nothing to be concerned about.  It can be healed.   It is like a like a plant with soft shoots.  It has not yet become hard needles.  It can be easily banished with a good spiritual father who has the spirit of discernment and understands what it is.  This is so because all plants at the beginning have only two leaves. 

        All human beings have fleshly desires, some more and some less.  Let us say one person is 30% spiritual, another is 40% and another is 60%.  The most that I have encountered is 75%.  Only Joachim and Anna were completely spiritual people and the Virgin Mary was born of them after much prayer. 

        A person cannot live without food and water.  But nothing will happen to a person who does not have fleshly desires.  The only things that will happen to him is that he will struggle spiritually just like he will suffer with his other passions; anger, egotism, vanity, and love of self.  Following a person’s marriage, coming together as husband and wife is allowed for child-bearing and for the mutual fulfillment of one another.“

        This is the purpose of having the two sexes.  It is a purpose that cannot be degraded by the vulgarity of the egotistical relationships that we encounter today.  We should struggle to elevate the purpose of the two sexes to the original glory in which Adam was created.  This can only be done in the Church by participating in the Grace of Christ.  We pray for this.”

Metropolitan Nicholas of Mesogaias, Greece    
Translated from the Greek by:

+Fr. Constantine (Charles) J. Simones, Waterford, CT, USA, February 11, 2015, 860-460-9089

ADAM & EVE EXPELLED FROM PARADISE
SAINT NIKODEMUS OF THE HOLY MOUNTAIN ON
OVERCOMING OUR HUMAN PASSIONS AND ACQUIRING
SANCTIFICATION FOR OUR SOULS AND BODIES

        St. Nicodemus was born on the Island of Naxos, Greece in 1749.  Greece was then groaning under the brutal rule of the Ottoman Empire.  He was an ascetic monk, mystic, theologian, and philosopher.  His life’s work was the revival of traditional Orthodox Christian practices and patristic literature.   He wrote ascetic prayer literature and influenced the rediscovery of Hesychasm (prayer of the heart, using the Jesus Prayer), a method of contemplative prayer from the Byzantine period.  He is most famous for his work with St. Macarius of Corinth on the anthology of monastic spiritual writings known as The Philokalia (This literally means love for that which is spiritually beautiful) .  He was canonized a Saint of the Orthodox Christian Church by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1955. According to his biographer, he was possessed of a keen mind, an accurate perception of things, intellectual brightness and a profound memory. He studied initially under Archimandrite Chrysanthos, who was the brother of St. Kosmas Aitolos.  He then traveled to the cosmopolitan city of Smyrna in Asia Minor where he attended the famous theological school there.  He studied theology, ancient Greek, Latin, French and Italian.  You must remember that Smyrna at that time was known as the Paris of the Middle East.  It was a vibrant commercial and intellectual center of the Christian East.

        As you read this wonderful study on overcoming our human passions and acquiring sanctification for our souls and bodies, I believe you will get a greater understanding of the Original Sin of Adam and Eve and how it has impacted the human condition.  In reading this study, I believe that St. Nicodemus has unlocked the mystery of sin and how humanity lost Paradise through our human passions.  He also spells out the great spiritual battle that each one of us must go through in order to acquire salvation by controlling our passions and developing a Christ-centered life that will save our bodies and souls.  You will notice as you read this commentary that in every case, all the Saints, without exception, deal directly with the passions of their bodies and once they are successful in doing this, then only do they acquire Divine Grace and salvation for themselves.  I have taken the liberty to edit the English translation for I believe that the text has been electronically translated into English and it did not flow freely.  I pray that you will be spiritually uplifted by the writing of this great Saint of the Orthodox Christian Church.

Edited by:
+Fr. Constantine (Charles) J. Simones, Feb. 5, 2014, Waterford, CT, 860-460-9089

WHY THE HUMAN MIND IS ENSLAVED TO PHYSICAL PLEASURES

        “There are two reasons why the mind is enslaved by physical pleasures.  The first and main reason is the fact that after the disobedience of Adam, his body received the whole of its existence and constitution from physical pleasure that was passionate and irrational.  Henceforth, man is sown with physical pleasure; he is conceived with physical pleasure and he grows and matures in the womb until the time of birth with physical pleasure.  This is what the Prophet David was referring to when he wrote: “For behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5). The second reason that follows the first is the fact that even after birth man is nurtured with physical pleasure.  Throughout the early years of childhood (and to a greater extent even during the nine months of pregnancy), the power of reason is not developed and the mind is unable to utilize the senses of the body in order to activate its own energy and be preoccupied with its own rationality and spiritual delight.  Consequently the body uses only the physical senses not merely for its necessary nourishment but also for its passionate fleshly pleasures.  And to make things worse, the body draws in the mind into participating in this activity. The body enslaves the mind to the same physical pleasures that it enjoys.  Saint Theodore of Jerusalem spoke about this in his philosophical treatise: 

        He says: “Because the mind is possessed by passionate perception, we have the duality of desire and anger.  These are irrational tendencies and under the influence of natural desire and not of reason, it becomes a habit of the soul that penetrates all parts of our being and it is difficult to uproot.  Thus the order is reversed.  In other words, the physical, passionate senses are developed and strong while the mind, the intellect, is not yet mature.  In fact the mind is considered to be imperfect although it is actually very powerful.  Consequently, the mind can be enticed to consider the physical pleasures as good, in the very same way that they are considered by the bodily senses.  Thus our sense of reason, which is intended to rule one’s life, is subservient to the passions of the body and we end up for the better part of our lives enslaved by the worst of our humanity.  This is why evil is older than virtue.”

        St. Gregory of Nyssa seems to be in agreement with St. Theodore of Jerusalem on this subject: He says: “The faculty of bodily pleasure comes into active being at the time of our birth, while the mind must wait until the appropriate age for it to become active (mature).  Because of this the passions rule over the mind (intellect) even when it is somewhat developed.  This is why it is so difficult for us to acquire the understanding of what is truly good for us. We first receive the experience based on the passions of the physical senses and thus perceive them to be good on the basis of what is easy and pleasing for our bodies.”  (My note: we call this situational ethics.)

        How bitter, tiresome, and painful this early use of the senses becomes later on for our unfortunate minds.  During our childhood years, our teenage years, when the mind is in a sort of stupor and led by the passions, the irrational and instinctive passions receive their fill of physical pleasure, as they are indulged in without any restraint. This happens because during this early stage of life the mind is unable to activate its own powers through its bodily functions that are not yet developed to receive it.  Moreover, the passions have already become accustomed to the habit of physical pleasures by the time that our reasoning powers have matured.  If the passions are deprived of reasonable controls which in turn direct our senses toward sin, who then will be able to tell me to restrain them?  For example, once the eyes become accustomed to looking passionately at the mature beauty of living bodies; once the ears become accustomed to the pleasing sounds of certain music; once the sense of smell is delighted by the fragrance of myrrh and aromatic things; once the tongue and the mouth become accustomed to rich and tasty foods; and finally, once the sense of touch is accustomed to fine and soft clothing, who will be able to convince people that what they have enjoyed up to now is not true and rational pleasure, but rather irrational and temporal pleasure? (My note: these are the earthly and worldly pleasures in which we overindulge). 

        Who will put a muzzle on the passions that silently contradict, disagree, and assert themselves as the only pleasures that are to be recognized for it is only them that have been experienced and not the immaterial and spiritual?  Will the mind do that?  Unfortunately, while the mind knows that such pleasures are appropriate for irrational animals it cannot yet bring about this change.  Remember that the mind too, together with the physical senses enjoyed during those early years the passionate pleasures and considered them to be good.  Thus the mind at this stage of life finds itself in a state of narcosis or rather it is bound by the five senses like they were five steel cables.  In this condition the mind suffers and is troubled because it sees that while it is really the ruler of the body, it has become its slave.  And yet, whether it wants to or not, the mind tends to join in with the passions in enjoying the physical pleasures.   Who then will be able to convince these physical passions to change this situation?  Can our imagination and inner understanding do this?  But even this faculty of ours has been tainted with passionate images and idols which have over the years been indelibly impressed upon it.  Thus at this stage of the game it rather serves our purpose to excite through our memory the mind and the passions in order to enjoy the same pleasures.  Who then can help?  Can the heart help?  Unfortunately, even the heart is filled with fleshly desires that have been accumulated over the years.  This causes the heart to force the mind, the imagination, the physical senses and the entire body to enjoy the same passionate physical pleasures.  Not only this, but the devil himself, who rules over our carnal pleasures, excites the mind, the heart and the senses even more.   The Holy Fathers of the Church have said that the devil, though bodiless, finds pleasure in enjoying the bodily pleasures of men and women.  And metaphorically speaking, these pleasures are but the dirt and dust that mankind was condemned to eat through the serpent: “And dust you shall eat all the days of your life.” (Gen. 3:14).  St. Gregory of Sinai wrote about this saying: “Humanly speaking, because the demons lost their angelic joy and were deprived of divine pleasure, they have acquired a sort of materialistic nature through their physical passions and desire to eat, as we do, the dust of the earth.”

HOW THE MIND IS FREED FROM THE PASSIONS
AND FROM PHYSICAL PLEASURE

        After the period of our childhood and the full development of reason takes place, our minds may learn on their own or may learn through reading Holy Scripture and the Holy Fathers that it is natural and appropriate for pleasure to be found in something completely different than the passions.  What happens then?  The mind which is naturally rational, prudent, loving, and good cannot endure the passions of its body to be enslaved by material things.  The mind cannot continue to be a prisoner of the passions:  the king (the mind) should not be a slave; the ruler cannot be ruled; he who by nature is the ruler and the authority cannot become the subject.  The mind, finally, cannot bear to endure the harm that the passions that will eventually bring, such as annihilation and hell. 

        It is to this end that the mind undertakes its entire struggle against the passions.  At first it seeks to show that it was created by God to be the ruler and the king of the body.  That is to say, it seeks through the assistance of Divine Grace, courage, will power, and all of its knowledge to uproot the passions of the body.  It attempts to uproot those long standing and entrenched habits of the passions which have been acquired in dealing with the physical world.  And it does this in order to become free of those habits which are like a bitter tyranny caused by the death-bearing pleasures of the passions.  The mind also seeks to subdue the passions.  This struggle is truly a mighty one because the mind comes to the knowledge of this truth late in life.  For if the soul had not been overcome by the evil one our task would have been simple to keep it pure. But because it has now forged itself into a strong link with the passions, it is now very difficult to break this bond and to liberate the soul from the worship of matter and to have it acquire the habit of virtue.  And how is this done?  How indeed are the senses liberated from the physical passions and in turn placed under the obedience of the mind?

        Here is a good example from life that can help us.  When a certain king plans to subdue an enemy city that is fortified by strong walls, he cuts off the food supply to those people in the city and thus causes them such hardship that they in time decide to surrender themselves.  The mind uses the same strategy in subduing the physical senses, the passions.  Little by little the mind deprives every sensory faculty of its customary bodily and pleasurable passions.  It no longer permits them to indulge themselves and thus brings them under its control.  (My note: fasting, prayer and confession).  All the time that this method is being utilized to control the passions, the mind does not stand idly by.  Having now control of the passions, man’s soul acquires a certain sense of ease and freedom from bodily concerns.  The mind now turns to its own natural spiritual nourishment.  This is done by the reading of Scriptures, acquiring a virtuous lifestyle, honoring the Ten Commandments of God, praying more and understanding the purpose of God’s creation of the physical and spiritual world.  It then turns to the divine, spiritual writings and deeds that are found in the lives of the Saints, and the Fathers of the Church such as the anthologies of the Philokalia, Evergetinos, St. John of the Ladder and St. Symeon the New Theologian. 

AS THE PASSIONS ORIGINALLY ATTRACTED THE MIND TO PHYSICAL
PLEASURE, THE MIND NOW ATTEMPTS TO BRING THE PASSIONS
BACK TO THE SPIRITUAL PLEASURES OF LIFE

        In addition to its own efforts to nourish itself spiritually, the mind also attempts as much as possible to bring under control the passions so that they too may enjoy with it spiritual pleasures and thus become accustomed gradually to prefer them.  This is how it happened before with the mind when it became accustomed through the passions to prefer physical pleasures.  At first, generally speaking, the body attempted through the passions and the physical pleasures to make the mind and the spirit of man fleshly, earthly.  On the contrary now, the mind seeks purposely through the enjoyment of the immaterial and spiritual realities to uplift the body also from its physical heaviness and in a sense make it spiritual, as St. Maximus has witnessed in many of his writings.  Here is one example: He says: “When desire is added to the sense of perception, it becomes a passion of pleasure procuring for itself a specific image.   When our passions are moved by desire it again makes the perception it receives into a passion of pleasure.  When the soul is attracted against its very nature toward physical pleasure through the body, it imposes upon itself an earthly experience.  Knowing this, the Saints seek to move toward God through the natural tendency of the soul. While at the same time they try to familiarize the body with God through the practice of Christian virtues, hoping in this way to beautify the body with spiritual exercises.  (My note: the sanctification of our bodies)

        St. Gregory the Theologian also spoke about this important issue saying that this is the reason why the soul was joined to the body; to be for the body what God is for the soul, that is, to instruct and guide the body and to bring it home to God. He says: “The soul was joined to the body perhaps for other reasons which only God who joined them knows and anyone else who has through God understood these mysteries. As far as I am able to know together with those who are with me on this issue, there are two reasons why the soul was joined to the body.  One reason is that by struggling against the lower things of our human experience, the soul may inherit heavenly glory.  The other reason is so that by drawing the lower part of our human experience into itself and to a degree elevating it from its carnal heaviness, the soul may draw the body upward toward God.  Thus, that which God is to the soul, the soul becomes to the body, instructing and guiding through itself its fellow servant, the material body, to become familiar with God.” (My note: to become god-like).

        There is an interaction and mutual influence of the soul with the body and also the body toward the soul, according to metaphysics.  The attributes of each communicate with each other because of the ineffable and natural bond which unites the soul and the body, even though the exact reason for this union remains essentially unknown to all philosophers and theologians.

THE FALL OF ADAM—THE REASON FOR THE LORD’S COMING

        This then is the nature of that most renowned fall of our forefather Adam.  He rejected the spiritual nourishment and pleasure and lowered himself to the pleasures of the bodily passions according to the commentaries of the Holy Fathers.  From the Fall of Adam, we too have inherited that primordial drive toward the physical, the earthly, and toward the fleshly.  This is why St. Theodore of Jerusalem wrote: “Adam, by using the senses wrongly, marveled at the physical beauty of the world and considered the fruit to be beautiful to look upon and good for eating.  By tasting of this fruit, he gave up the enjoyment of spiritual things.”  “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took it and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Gen. 3:6).  According to St. Maximus, that tree of knowledge of good and evil is the passionate perception of the visible creation for by participating in it, it produces both pleasure and suffering.  The tree of knowledge of good and evil is also the passion of the body, in which the activity of irrationality clearly abides and in which man has experienced.  Although man received a divine commandment, he was not able to live up to this commandment.” 

        St. John of Damascus says about this: “The tree of knowledge of good and evil can be understood as the visible and pleasurable food which appears to be sweet but which in reality brings him who partakes of it into union with evil.  For God said, ‘You must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’ Naturally, physical food requires continual replenishment for it is subject to decay.  He then who partakes of physical food finds it problematic to attain incorruptibility.”  For as soon as the passions know and experience the good that is perceived in passionate pleasure, they also experience evil, for the sister of pleasure is suffering.  This is why in general all the passionate pleasures are called painful pleasures.

        In connection with this subject St. John Chrysostom wrote: “What is easier than eating?  And yet I hear many saying that even eating is a wearisome toil.”  In agreement with the above St. Gregory of Nyssa also wrote: “In the fruit of the forbidden tree there are two opposite elements co-mingled. God said that those who partake of it will die, just as one does who suffers the evil effect of poison that has been mixed with honey. By the same token, as far as pleasing the senses is concerned it seems good, but as far as the destruction of the partaker is concerned, it is the ultimate evil.”  

        From the point of view of the coming of the New Adam, Jesus Christ, it can be said to be our liberation from seeking and loving only visible things. It also indicates our desire to love and enjoy spiritual realities, thus indicating our true love for what is indeed better.  Those who wanted to achieve this goal easily, that is, cutting off worldly pleasures and seeking after the enjoyment of the spiritual goals were the true philosophers and ascetics of the world.  They abandoned the inhabited world where there are always so many traps for sinful attacks and went to live in deserts and in the caves of mountains.  In not finding there the usual causes of worldly pleasures, they were more readily able to subdue the passions and in a relatively short time were also able to rise up to the sweetest enjoyment of the spiritual world.

THE NATURAL AND UNNATURAL PLEASURE OF THE MIND

        I beseech you to do this very same thing.  You have come to know precisely on your own, being prudent, and through the Scriptures, being a lover of learning, that the natural pleasure of the mind is to be always preoccupied with and nourished by the beauty of spiritual realities.  St. Maximus wrote:  “Intelligible things are food for the mind.”  You have also come to know that the tendency of the mind toward the pleasures of passionate things is contrary to the natural state of the mind; it is a tendency that is forced, passionate, corruptive, and entirely foreign to the mind.  St. Isaac the Syrian wrote that “when the mind is attracted by physical things, it partakes of the nourishment of beasts and becomes, so to speak, beastly.”  According to St. Kallistos, only spiritual pleasure can be properly called pleasure and be primarily pleasure because while enjoying it, it continues to give us pleasure long after the event.  On the contrary, passionate pleasure according to the flesh cannot be properly called pleasure.  Passionate pleasure uses the name pleasure falsely, for in the enjoyment of pleasure, afterwards it brings sorrow to the heart.

 Again, St. Kallistos wrote: “This is what should properly be called pleasure, namely that which by nature and reason cannot be condemned. It is that which lasts and is always active, bringing joy and gladness to the heart even after it is fulfilled.  Anyone therefore who would desire it, let him seek pure pleasure that is not mixed with sorrow. Pure pleasure is intelligible and spiritual pleasure.  For this is indeed the true and sure pleasure of the heart.  Carnal pleasure that is not of the mind and the spirit is even wrongly called pleasure; for it is induced and as soon as we indulge in it, it creates bitter regret.  It is clearly a lie to call it pleasure for it is a spurious and counterfeit pleasure.”

        St. John Chrysostom wrote: “The passions are harsh executions of the body, in fact they are worse than that, for they strain it and enslave the body with bonds not made by hands.”  (My note: demons?).  It seems to me too that pleasure is like a rough file smeared with oil, which when a cat licks it also ends up licking its blood with its own tongue.  Or it may be like a fly trapped in honey. It tastes sweet to the fly but is at the same time entrapped in the honey and then dies.  Pleasure is also like bait that is superficially sweet; when it is swallowed it brings about a painful death.  This is why the wise Solomon wrote” “For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall.”  (Proverbs 5:3).

        For a long period of time now our passions have become accustomed to pursuing physical pleasure.  These physical pleasures have also enslaved your mind with them, not permitting it to be nourished by thoughts that are natural, proper and spiritual. Because of this you have not been able to enjoy the appropriate spiritual growth in life.  What must you do?  I have reminded you by what I have so far written that it is necessary to seek as much as possible to govern your five senses with great prudence.  To those that are essential, that is those which sustain and nourish the body, give them what they need.  Those which are not essential but only create pleasure must be cut off.  In this way you will prove yourself to be lord of your passions and you will be able through your will to liberate your passions from the corruptive, painful, and false pleasures of the world.  You can also train your mind from the distracting attempts of the devil, leaving it thus free to return to the more desirable things which are truly good.

        According to St. Basil the Great, it is truly inappropriate for man to allow the senses to be filled with passionate things and by doing this hindering the mind from its own proper activity to seek after spiritual things.  He wrote: “I consider it inappropriate to allow the senses unhindered to be filled with their own matter, while the mind is shut out of its own proper activity.  For just as the passions are to physical things so is the mind to intelligible things.”  Our passions then have in a way become hooked to the physical pleasures, not only during the early years of our youthful life, as we have indicated thus far, but also during the later years of our life. Our own mind and the mind of the whole human race have also been hooked upon the enticement of the same physical pleasures.  Consequently, we have been tragically deprived and have lost that blessed and true pleasure of life.  By the same token, if these passions of ours are not freed from the physical pleasures, the mind itself will not be able to be freed from them and return to its natural pleasure.  It is impossible for this to happen in any other way.

ΔΟΞΑ ΤΩ ΘΕΩ ΕΝ ΤΟΙΣ ΑΓΙΟΙΣ ΑΥΤΟΥ
GLORY TO GOD IN HIS HOLY SAINTS



       

  

        

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