Friday, September 17, 2010

Passions - Why Do We Pursue Them?

What is the evil of following our passions?  The problem is that they are never satisfied.  We desire more and more of this and that and never are completely fulfilled.  The satisfaction we gain is only temporary, fleeting, always fading away.  What we truly seek is what is permanent, a longing of the Spirit, to be united with God.  The passions and their desires are false substitutes to satisfy this deeper longing.


Our greatest gift is a free will.  We can choose to do God's will which brings lasting joy, or to follow our passions seeking only temporary pleasures. One leads us to union with Him and the other.....


Elder Macarius says,
We must keep our arms polished and use them courageously in our two unceasing wars: our offensive war, the fight to understand and follow His law; and our defensive war, our resolution never to succumb to that which is contrary to His law; the law being nothing but His expressed will.
It is when we deviate from His law that we find ourselves in this unending striving for things that only bring temporary satisfaction.


The Elder says,
For, alas, no sooner does a man break God's law, than he is spiritually punished: having lost grace, he eats away his heart in vain longings, endeavoring all the while to choose for himself the best of many equally bad things. these longings and endeavors deflect his attention away from his real good, and dim his intelligence.  Soon, having become a slave to his passions, he can no linger resist their lure; then the mead of pleasure changes to the sting of retribution.
Stick to the principles and disciplines of an Orthodox Way of Life and you will be guided to make the right choices.


Reference: Russian Letters of Spiritual Direction, p 77 

7 comments:

  1. This is just a request. In the future, could you please use less provocative images? I hide to "hide" this when someone posted the link on FB, so I wouldn't have to see that inappropriate image every time I checked my page. Thank you.

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  2. The photo does depict the issue vividly. This is what we must continually fight. I have removed it from the posting. Thanks for you input.

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  3. It is still there on 20 Sept.

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  4. Must have forgotten to hit the publish button, sorry.

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  5. I kinda liked the picture of the man firmly holding the woman he loves with such passion. At least it is directed in the right place. The only provoking that the image did for me was to make me want to go home and smooch my wife's soft lips and feel her beautiful bum. The problem is yours. I immediately thought of a young married couple living their faith and enjoying each other as God intended. Someone else might think of two lusty young folks who met at a party and, well, the imagery could go on and on into sin. I hate to unload the truth but if you can't handle the image of two fully clothed people in a loving embrace how will you deal with the perverse images in life? Come out of the bubble and fight the world head on. Learn to appreciate such things for that which God intended. You never win a battle if you always flee. Learn to see a beautiful man or woman and be able to appreciate them as a perfect example of God's creative ability while understanding that it is not for you to do otherwise with. Learn to look at a person of the opposite sex who is gorgeous and reject the temptation to hold impure thoughts about them. It's like being thirsty on a hot sunny day and seeing someone drink cold water, go get YOUR water, drink from YOUR well but appreciate that their water does look nice and refreashing. The truth is if the picture was "provocative" then maybe you should get married, and if you haven't found the right person yet then "hiding" the image is possibly your own rejection of what God has instore for you, a beautiful ove life, emotional spiritual, and physical. If you are married maybe you need to take a more romantic look at your marriage and realize that God wants us to enjoy the major act of marriage or he wouldn't have made it feel so nice. If you are living the monastic life and this "provocative" picture got you fired up then you have a lot of prayer to do while re-considering your vocation to the monastic life, if you can't overcome this image you are not going to handle what else the devil has in store for you. The seven deadly sins are all the perverted forms of virtues. Try to live a virtue fill life passionately. There is a major difference. Don't let YOUR thoughts and actions be led to perversion. Keep up the strong work Deacon.

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    1. You make a good point. Marriage provides for the legitimate to pursue our sexual passions, not just for our own pleasure but for the unity in pleasure, the union of two human beings. Paul Evdokimov says, "Under the grace of the sacrament the sexual life is lived without causing the slightest decline of the inner life."

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    2. Which is why we are happy that our love, and cooperation with God has brought 8 children into the world. Hence, through sex in a way, we have participated with God in creating something eternal, a new life. God became man that we might become like God. It doesn't mean that there are less temptations, far from it, but we are called to work together to become saints. As for passions in general, well, a big juicy roast lamb and a hunk of feta might be just as tempting or "provocative" to someone during Great Lent. The truth is you will be tempted with that which you are weakest.

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