Friday, April 8, 2011

When Passions Strike, Seek the Lord

Attacking the thoughts that lead us to actions that are not in keeping with the teachings of Christ is a simple matter.  Attack with vigor!  We have to see them as something we hate and forcefully take a stand and they will desist. Of course it is most helpful when we have developed a prayer practice which is with us at all times  (i.e. the Jesus Prayer).  Then we will know when and how to subdue the attack.

St. John the Dwarf says,
 I act as a man sitting under a tree who looks attentively around him.  This man as soon as he sees wild bests coming towards him to eat him, immediately climbs up the tree, and the bests, after coming up tp the tree, walk around for a while and go away.  And I, as soon as I observe mental beasts coming toward me in passionate thoughts, immediately rise up in my mind to the Lord, and the beasts cannot get to me as they are forced to scatter every which way.
Here is a parable from St. John the Dwarf.
There was in a certain place  a beautiful woman of questionable behavior.  the ruler of this country took pity on her, that such a beauty would perish, and when he found the opportunity, he said to her, 'Give up your immoral ways, and I will take you to my house and you will become my wife and the mistress of many treasures.  Just watch that you are faithful, or else there will be such trouble for you as you cannot seven imagine.'  She agreed to this, and was taken to the ruler's house.  Her former friends, seeing that she had disappeared, began searching for her, and found out that she was with the ruler.  Although the ruler was a terror, they did not despair of enticing the beautiful woman back to themselves once again, knowing her weakness. 'We have only to go up behind the house and whistle; she will know who it is and immediately run out of the house to us.'  that is just what they did.  they went up behind the house and whistled. the beautiful woman, hearing the whistle, started.  sSomething from her previous life stirred inside her.  But she had already come to her senses, and instead of running our of the house, she rushed in the inner chambers to the ruler himself, and immediately calmed down; she did not even hear the whistling that continued outside.  Her friends whistled a few more times, and went off with nothing.  

The lesson is clear.  When we are tempted we can escape by retreating to our inner chambers of our heart and stand before the Lord, "Lord have mercy on me a sinner."  If we do this any passion will leave us undisturbed.

Saint Theophan advises,
Learn this story by heart and always act according to it meaning.  You will see how quickly inner peace that has been disturbed by the appearance of passions is restored within you.


  1. Thank you for this lovely blog which I have read through a link offered by the Poor Clare sisters of Hawarden in the UK. Although I am a Catholic, I feel very close to the spirit of the Orthodox Church. God bless you

  2. Icon by Michael Goltz,,

  3. Very apropos for this later part of Lent; the temptations and thoughts come heavier right about now. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for posting the credit for this very nice icon. Please accept my apology for not including it. With images so abundantly available on the Internet I must confess to being a bit lax in this matter.


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