Friday, October 4, 2013
- Τα δάκρυα που προέρχονται από την αγάπη του Θεού.
- Τα δάκρυα που προέρχονται από τον φόβο του Θεού και ταπεινώνουν τον άνθρωπο.
- Τα δάκρυα που προέρχονται από τη μνήμη του θανάτου και της κολάσεως.
- Τα δάκρυα που προέρχονται από την ενθύμηση των αμαρτιών.
- Τα δάκρυα που προέρχονται από τη λύπη και τον πόνο της καρδιάς, γιατί έχει λυπήσει τον Θεό.
Τα παρακάτω δάκρυα ανήκουν στα πονηρά και τραυματίζουν την ψυχή του ανθρώπου.
- Τα δάκρυα της αλαζονείας.
- Τα δάκρυα της οργής.
- Τα δάκρυα που προέρχονται από την περιφρόνηση των άλλων και τις δοκιμασίες.
- Τα δάκρυα που προέρχονται από διάθεση εκδικήσεως.
- Τα δάκρυα που προέρχονται από το πνεύμα της ηδονής.
- Τα δάκρυα που προέρχονται από την κενοδοξία.
- Τα δάκρυα που προκαλούνται από τον διάβολο από τον χορτασμό της καρδιάς.
Τον καιρό του πένθους μπορεί ν’ αρχίσει με κακά δάκρυα και να τελειώσει με πνευματικά…
«Δεν έρχεται το πένθος από τα δάκρυα, αλλά τα δάκρυα από το πένθος».
Since the devil has as nourishment the passions and pleasures of the senses, he too will die as he is deprived of this nourishment. “The strong lion perishes for lack of prey” (Job 4:11). St. Neilos has noted that the devil is often referred to as an “ant-lion,” just as the passions are. This means that at first these passions appear as something very small, but later become great and strong like lions. Do you see, dear brother, what great enemies you have to defeat? Do you see that by cutting off the passions of the senses, you are also going to put Satan to death? But alas this cutting off and this victory cannot be won without a war. It is like the external wars, no one can win a victory without first waging a war against the enemy. It is certain that you have to experience a great struggle in each of your senses both from the point of view of habit and of the enemy.
For the bad habit desires to draw each sense toward its pleasurable object when it is present. On the other hand, the enemy desires to wage a great battle in the memory and imagination of the mind in order to achieve its consent to enjoy that pleasure, so that, in doing so, the devil can also enjoy the same pleasure. But you must stand courageously and never consent to the will of the enemy. Say to yourself that iambic proverb of St. Gregory the Theologian: “No one can excel by beginning from cowardice; it is the victories that bring praise.”
An ancient people recognized their children to be their genuine offspring only after placing before them a viper and observing them catch it courageously. You too, dear brother, must make the enemy realize that you are a true child of Christ Who is your heavenly Father, and who has overcome the passions and the devil-through the courage you demonstrate in fighting against the evil passions of your senses. And if the enemy stands to fight you, be not afraid to tell him what that brave Spartan said to Xerxes: “Oh king, you managed to sail the sea and to cut a channel across the peninsula of Athos, but you will not pass the side of one armed Spartan.” For this reason then show the enemy that you are not a slave of your senses, but lord and king. Show that you are not only flesh and blood, but a rational mind, appointed by God to be leader and sole ruler over the irrational passions of the body. Say to yourself that wise proverb about evil habits: “The best learning for man is to unlearn evil.” Now, if I have learned, wrongly, to give to my senses their sensual objects, and this wrong learning has brought about a bad habit, and this bad habit a still further bad condition, why can I not now learn to do the opposite? Let, therefore, the good learning become a good habit and the good habit a good and permanent condition. If, in doing this, I am to experience difficulties and bitterness at first, let me experience them. Afterward I will be able to experience both ease and joy. The first efforts to learn and practice the virtues and establish the habit of virtuous living are often very bitter and most difficult for the senses. The activity that follows after these initial efforts to acquire the habit of virtuous living is very easy, ineffably sweet, and enjoyable. Briefly we can say that angels are invisibly present, holding crowns in their hands. Christ himself is the one Who will crown you every time you are victorious in the battle against the evil passions of the senses and you do not succumb to them. St. Basil said: “Suffering brings glory, and tribulation brings crowns.” But you have been beaten once or twice (I hope not!). Be not completely overcome. Stand firm and courageous, calling upon God for help. If you do so, the grace of God will come directly to your help and will not leave you to be completely overcome by the enemy. Do you want to be sure of this? Follow me and let us travel to Sodom. Have you come? Behold the five kings of Sodom mentioned in Holy Scripture (Gen 14), who were then under the hegemony of the Assyrian king Chedorlaomer and who were paying tribute to him and to the other kings with him for ten years. In the thirteenth year they rebelled and did not want to pay the tribute to the Assyrian king, who then declared war on them. It appeared soon afterward that the five kings were subdued and captured by the Assyrians. What happened next? When Abram heard about this, he ran to their aid; he fought, he won, and he liberated them for the sake of his nephew Lot.
St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain - A Handbook of Spiritual Council – Chapter 8; Guarding All the Senses in General pp. 136-145 (“The Classics of Western Spirituality” series.)
The reason why the grace of Baptism is not preserved is because the order, rules, and laws of an upbringing which is adopted to this end are not kept. The chief causes of this are:
1) Going away from the Church and its grace-giving means. This starves the sprout of Christian life, disconnecting it from its sources, and it wilts as a flower wilts when it is placed in a warm place.
2) Failure to pay heed to one's bodily nature. People think that the body may be developed in every way without harm for the soul, while actually in the bodily members is the seat of the passions, which develop together with its development, become rooted in and take possession of the soul. Penetrating the bodily members, the passions receive in them a place to settle, or they make out of them a certain unapproachable fortress and thereby secure power for themselves for all the time to come.
3) A development of the powers of the soul which is undiscriminating and is not directed towards a single aim. People do not see the aim ahead of them, and so do not see the path to it. From this, despite all the concern for the most contemporary education, people do no more than to puff up in themselves curiosity, self-will, and a thirst for pleasures.
4) Complete forgetfulness of the spirit. Prayer, fear of God, and conscience are seldom taken into consideration. If there is outward good order, the most inward side of life is always taken for granted and therefore always left to take care of itself. During the time of learning, the most important thing is covered over by secondary things, and the one thing needed is overshadowed by a multitude of others.
5) Finally, when one enters into the age of youth without first putting in place good principles and the determination to live in a Christian way. Further, when one does not restrain the attractions of youthful life in a proper order, but gives oneself over to all the thirst for impressions, through amusements, light reading, the heating of the imagination by fantasies, indiscriminate contact with those who are like oneself, and especially with the opposite sex, an exclusive concern for learning and giving oneself over to the world by means of fashionable ideas, rules, and customs, which are never favorable to the life of grace but always arm themselves hostilely against it and strive to smother it.
Each one of these causes, and even one of them, is sufficient to quench in a young person the life of grace. But it happens for the most part that they act together, and one unfailingly draws another in its wake; and they all together so obstruct the spiritual life that sometimes not even the slightest trace of it can be noticed, as if a man has no spirit at all and was created not for communion with God, does not have the powers foreordained for this, and has not received the grace which gives him life.
Excerpt from "The Path To Salvation" By Saint Theophan The Recluse .
Life in the world is like a manuscript of writings that is still in
rough draft.When a man wishes or desires to do so,he can add
something or subtract from it,and make changes in the writings.
But the life in the world to come is like documents written on clean
scrolls and sealed with the royal seal, where no additions or deletion is possible.
Therefore,so long as we are found in the midst of change,let us
pay heed to ourselves;and while we have power over the manuscript of our life,which we have written by our own hand,let us strive earnestly to add to it by leading a good manner of life,and let us erase from it the failings of our former life.
We have power to erase our debts from it as long as we are here.And God will take into account every change we make
in it,so that we may be deemed worthy of eternal life before we go before the King and He sets His seal upon it.
For so long as we are in this world,God does not affix His seal either to what is good or to what is evil,even up to the moment of our departure when the service of our fatherland is completed and we set out upon our journey.
And as the blessed Mar Ephraim says,we should make our soul
like a ready ship that knows not when a wind will come upon it,or
like an army that knows not when the trumpet of battle will sound,or like a tenant who knows not when the master of the house will give order to depart,And if,he says,merchants are so well prepared for the sake of a little gain,though they will perhaps soon return from their voyage,how much more should we make ourselves ready,and prepare ourselves in advance,before the coming of that decisive day, that bridge and door into the new age
May Christ,the mediator of our life,grant us to arrive at that decisive judgement in full preparation, He that hath glory,worship,and thanksgiving unto the ages.