Saturday, July 9, 2016

Different Kinds of Energy - St. Gregory of Sinai

 In every beginner two forms of energy are at work, each affecting the heart in a distinct way. The first comes from grace, the second from delusion. St. Mark the Ascetic corroborates this when he says that there is a spiritual energy and a satanic energy, and that the beginner cannot distinguish between them. These energies in their turn generate three kinds of fervor, the first prompted by grace, the second by delusion or sin, and the third by an excess of blood. This last relates to what St. Thalassios the Libyan calls the body's temperament, the balance and concord of which can be achieved by appropriate self-control.


-- The energy of grace is the power of spiritual fire that fills the heart with joy and gladness, warms and purifies the soul, temporarily stills our provocative thoughts, and for a time suspends the body's impulsions. The signs and fruits that testify to its authenticity are tears, contrition, humility, self-control, silence, patience, self-effacement and similar qualities, all of which constitute undeniable evidence of its presence.


-- The energy of delusion is the passion for sin, inflaming the soul with thoughts of sensual pleasure and arousing phrenetic desire in the body for intercourse with other bodies. According to St. Diadochos it is entirely amorphous and disordered, inducing a mindless joy, presumption and confusion, accompanied by a mood of ill-defined sterile levity, and fomenting above all the soul's appetitive power with its sensuality. It nourishes itself on pleasure, aided and abetted by the insatiable belly; for through the belly it not only impregnates and enkindles our whole bodily temperament but also acts upon and inflames the soul, drawing it to itself so that little by little the disposition to self-indulgence expels all grace from the person thus possessed.

from The Philokalia: Volume IV, edited and translated by G. E. H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Bishop Kallistos Ware, (London: Faber and Faber, 1995), pp. 261 - 262.

God's help is greater than the demon's malice ( Part 3 ) - Basil bishop of Seleucia

 The devil showed the same ignorance during the
time of Christ’s baptism inthe Jordan River.
After he heard the voice coming from the heavens,
“This is My beloved Son” (Mt. 3:17), he said to Christ,
“If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down” (Mt. 4:6). If the devil had known that he was speaking to God, he would not have attempted to scare Him by ordering Him to fall down
[from the roof of the Temple]; because for God
there is no height or depth.
St. Mark the Evangelist relates that the demons
spokein this manner:
“What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth?
” (Mk. 1:24). 

He does not address Christ as the Creator of man but as a citizen of Nazareth. “Since you are a visible being,” says the devil, “you should act accordingly. We see a human, but we feel as if we are being expelled by God. The lashes we are  receiving do not seem to be coming from an inhabitant of Nazareth but rather from someone who has descended from Heaven.
Reveal to us your nature through your works.”
“What have we to do with You, Jesus, Son of God?” (Mt. 8:29).
What are you saying, O devil?
You have the audacity to question,“You have
come now?”
Him Who created time and appointed the day of Judgment?
Alas! The devil is unaware that He Who has come is the eternal God, Who confirms His arrival in the form of a servant. He is unaware that the Lord and
God of all is wearing the [human] cloak, which he received from David.
The devil belittles Christ based on what he sees, but he is simultaneously invisibly thrashed by the power of Christ’s Divinity. This is why he rants using phrases containing both impudence and supplication.
“What have we to do with You, Jesus?
I implore You, do not torment me” (Mk. 5:7).
The demons suffer prior the Last Judgment because they are commanded to stop afflicting human beings:
“For He ordered the unclean spirit, ‘come out of the man’” (Mk. 5:8).
Furthermore, Christ the Master, desiring to
demonstrate to everyone present His incomprehensible Divine Providence for people even when they are immersed in terrible suffering, asks, “What is your name? And he [the demon] answered saying, ‘My name is Legion: for we are many’” (Mk. 5:9). 

Christ did not ask because He was unaware of his name, but rather to reveal to us how many murderous demons had taken hold of the human body, and that, despite all this , they were never able to put him to death. A multitude of demons that launched an onslaught on a single person, with the intention of putting him to death, were incapable of vanquishing him.