Saturday, September 17, 2016

Maintain Calmness and Simplicity - Don’t Struggle Directly With Temptations ( St. Porphyrios )

The Way of Love involves uniting ourselves with Christ. Our efforts should be continually focused on how we will be united with Him and keep Him continually in our heart. Our love for Christ is what must dominate both our mind and heart.

St. Porphyrios says,

What is holy and beautiful and what gladdens the heart and frees the soul from every evil is the effort to unite yourself to Christ, to love Christ, to crave for Christ and to live in Christ, just as Saint Paul said, ”It is no longer I who live, Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). He advises us to make our struggle with calmness and simplicity. We don’t gain by forcing ourselves to be good or forcing ourselves to pray. We need to do things naturally and calmly. We need to do them because of our love of Christ. With love there is no need for forcing. When we love Christ we enthusiastically long for time in prayer and to participate in the Divine Liturgy and the Sacrament of Holy Communion and Confession.

Likewise when we love God we should not struggle with temptations. When we do we only acknowledge the strength of the temptation and it gains control in you. When temptations arise focus on your love of God instead of attacking. When our mind is filled with Love of Christ there is no room to entertain temptations.

He says,

Let all your strength be turned to love for God, worship of God and adhesion to God. As we study the hymns and psalms, when we pray, devoting ourselves to love of Christ, we receive grace and are able to combat temptations with ease. The challenge is to keep our mind focused on our heart which contains our insatiable love of Christ.

St. Porphyrios

Reference: Wounded By Love, p 137

If even one passion becomes a habit with a person, it will torment him. ( Abba Dorotheus )

If even one passion becomes a habit with a person, it will torment him. Sometimes, even one evil habit can surmount many good deeds performed by a person. For example, if even only one talon of an eagle’s foot gets entangled in a net, he would be captured. Similarly, a soul can fall into the hands of the enemy because of one passion. Consequently, don’t allow even one passion to turn into a habit, but constantly pray to God so as not to succumb to temptation. If through our weakness we find ourselves conquered, let us force ourselves to arise immediately, begin to lament before God’s goodness and begin again to be vigilant and dutiful. And God seeing our good intentions, humility and penitent heart, will offer His helping hand and will deal with us according to His mercy.

Abba Dorotheus