Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Gaining Control Over the "Flesh

We need to take care of our bodeis by giving them what they need.  But this does not mean to give in to what it desires.  We need to act with control as determined by reason and good intentions.  Theophan says, "Give the body what it needs but deprive it a little, and leaving it behind, turn entirely to the soul."

Saint Theophan advises us that the flesh should be persecuted in all it parts and functions so that it can be transformed into a keen weapon of righteousness.

Here are the rules Saint Theophan outlines for persecuting the flesh:
1. Govern your senses, especially sight and hearing; bind your movements and hold your tongue.
2. Show you authority over the senses by forcing them to be attracted to beneficial subjects.
3. Measure the amount of food needed by the flesh. It should be simple and healthy.... Do the same with sleep. 
4. Struggle with your flesh until it is humbled.  Once it is used to this modest and rough environment, it will become your mute slave.  Physical effort fosters virtues of solitude, silence, endurance, vigilance, labor, patience, purity, and virginity.
5. Remember that this friend of yours (your body) will end up in the grave.
6. For the most enduring success, the law of constancy must be observed. ( establish a rule and make it a regular part of your life)
7. The most important physical labors that persecute the flesh are fasting, vigils, labor and purity.

Reference: Path to Salvation, pp 263-264

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