Sunday, April 8, 2012

Take Heed Lest You Fall

The enemy examines your strength for seeing whether you are strong and ready or weak and lax.  If his sight does not make you sink nor slacken your resolution and if you shake him off by remaining free from passion, you immediately frighten the spy by acting like a phalanx of arms bristling with spears, I mean your thoughts prepared to confront the informant.  If this sight weakens sense perception and an image enters the mind through our eyes, then the mind or commander of our inner resources will be subdued since he not only lacked fortitude or was youthful, but was lazy and dissolute.  As a result, many traitors from the crowd, that is, our thoughts, will be summoned to assist the spy.  These traitors are the ones of whom the Lord says, "A man's foes shall be of his own household" [Mt 10:36].  He refers to the utterances of his heart which can defile him [Mt 15:18] as we clearly learn from the Gospel.  These words clarify our enemy's devices who sets an ambush to fall unexpectedly upon the travelers of the road of this life.  Those who assume the pretext of friendship and goodwill in order to persuasively debase a person and destroy him by lying at the roadside, extol pleasure and are first to lead the way to the theater.  They cloak evil with benevolence and imitate friends, calling themselves brothers and friends to utter destruction.  Of them it is written "Every man will surely supplant, and every friend will walk craftily" [Jer 9:4].

Gregory of Nyssa, Eighth Homily on Ecclesiastes

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