Friday, June 11, 2010


From Orthodox Spirituality and the Philokalia by Fr. Placide Deseille, tr. Anthony P. Gythiel

Source: Ora et Labora

When the evil nature of a thought has been discerned, how is it possible to resist it efficiently? One must be aware of the mechanism of temptation in order to apply the correct resistance at the appropriate moment. St John Climacus describes the various phases of temptation this way:

Gifted with discernment, the Fathers differentiated stages of the soul's confrontation with temptation: attack, connection, consent, captivity, combat, and passion of the soul.

These blessed men define the attack as the first appearance in the heart of a simple thought or image of an object.

Connection is a conversation with the thought or image, sometimes accompanied by passion.

Consent in the acquiescing of the soul, accompanied by delight at the proposal.

Captivity is a violent and involuntary carrying away of the heart or a permanent attachment to the object in question that destroys the excellent state of the soul.

Combat is a confrontation with the adversary through which the soul, according to the choice of her will, gains victory or undergoes defeat.

The Fathers say that passion, in the proper sense, is an evil that secretly affects the soul for a long time, establishing intimate rapport with her and a habitual disposition, by which she spontaneously tends the soul herself through the affinity of these movements.

The attack is without sin; connection is not always, and the degree of guilt concerning consent depends on the inner state of the combatant. The combat is the occasion that awards a crown or a chastisement.

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