Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why We Can't Get Rid of A Passion even When We Struggle Against It.

It is a common complaint that even when one struggles to rid themselves of a passion it just wont go away.  The more we struggle our passion seems to get more intense.  Why is this so?  Why does it not just disappear based on our efforts?

Elder Paisios has this to say,
We should know that when we strive to free ourselves from a passion and it doesn't go away, it is either because we have egoism and pride, or because we criticize and condemn our fellow workers.
Is it not true that the things we don't like in ourselves we condemn in others?  Do you see what this is doing to us?  As we judge others the standard for our own behavior increases and we sub-consciously justify our own condition with the failings of others.  We are put ourselves above others in our criticism of them.  As a result we develop even greater pride.  Then, when we think we are making progress, we may feel superior to others and criticize them even more.  Have you noticed how those who attend Church every Sunday tend to be the ones who criticism those who only come periodically?  Isn't it the recent convert that tends to have the most vocal criticism of those who are not Orthodox or even of his fellow Orthodox parishioners? Isn't the smoker who has just quit the most vocal about how nasty a habit it is and is the one who campaigns to stop others from smoking?  It is this judgmental orientation that makes our struggle so difficult.  We make a personal effort filled with pride.  As we exert our self-will the passion only gets stronger and more difficult to eliminate because of our pride.  

When we humble ourselves and seek forgiveness and help from God, we receive His grace which helps us overcome the passion we are attacking.

A final thought from the Elder,
You should struggle while you are young, because when you get older you can do nothing; older people get annoyed even at the draft coming through a keyhole.

Reference: Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain, p 127


  1. How true! It is so easy to think we are making such great progress and are holier than the other guy, when in fact, we just fell down another notch because of an increase in pride.

    Lord, have mercy on me, and help me to see the log in my own eye...

  2. ..i feel this post was written for me..ive never heard the struggle explained this way before..i am very pridefull and judgemental..God help me

  3. thank you for this post!


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