Elder Ephrem Philotheos
For this reason, the Elders say that the irrational passions die when the man dies. Thus it happens to see and be shocked by old people who do bad things. This shows that when they were young they did not struggle at all to purify themselves of their passions and that’s why these follow them and they reach death in this way. And from there, as a consequence of the sin, they will have to give account to God.
Some, who don’t know this art of the arts and science of the sciences of the inner struggle, say: `But I did not commit in deed what I had in my mind, I only imagined these. I didn’t do anything wrong! Yes, but the evil doesn’t begin out of nothing if the mind would not succumb to imagination from where it begins the attack against the soul and the heart of the man is defiled.
Of course, since we are dominated by passions, the apparition of bad thoughts cannot cease because it’s natural to occur. But this is not a fall. The fall takes place when we open the door and we allow the dirty thoughts to enter the house of the mind and the heart is defiled. Then we have a struggle. And if we don’t chase them away and don’t stand fiercely against them and don’t give up on them, they will kill us and lead us to sin, which is called consent.
The consent is a deed committed by our soul. In the same way the body commits a sin, the soul sins by consent.
For this reason the Lord says in His Holy Evangel: `
Someone sees a thing or a person and falls into delusion. He immediately has to focus his attention to turn away his sight from that image to erase it from his imagination then start the prayer immediately to impede the evil from the beginning.
When is it a house clean? When it’s tidied every day or when the housekeeper sweeps it after 10-20 days? We all know that the more she takes care of it, the cleaner is preserved from all points of view. In the same way the soul of the man, his heart which is the house of God, which is the holy altar of the Holy Spirit, must be often cleaned, because the man is temple of God and He lives in this temple. ` `Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.`.
Meaning that by the Holy Baptism we received our heart becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit and the rebirth of our soul was given to us through the Holy Spirit Who descended during the Sacrament. For this reason the Holy Baptism is necessary.
This Holy Spirit, this Grace which the baby receives within himself sanctifies him from that moment. But because of his age, he doesn’t know what he was given. And the devil who has his cunning, artfully tries to push him into some reckless sins to cause such conditions that when he reaches a certain age after the passing of time, the multitude of his sins to create a bad state within himself. And all these garbage of the sin cover, bury the grace of the Holy Spirit Who doesn’t enlighten the mind anymore. Then the man walks in the dark.
But when the breeze of God blows, the repentance, the return, the confession, then everything was brought by the sin is erased, that tumor is removed from the heart, the mind is enlightened by God and the man gets back divine the divine enlightenment. And in the same way the bee passes by all the flowers but it doesn’t stop at all and ignores some of them and sits over those which have nectar, the Holy Spirit is overflowing everywhere. And in any hearts is prepared, pure and welcoming He rests, He descends in it and gives it joy, gives it wings for heaven, uniting it with God. And a soul like this is in a permanent spiritual communication and it is sanctified in this way.
In the world the man cannot understand very well how important is this work of vigilance. They don’t know that by its work they are released of their passions and they reach the purification of their soul. Of course we can practice prayer in the world in a certain degree. But what will help us enough and will give us the possibility to advance is to entrust ourselves to God in any problem and entrust ourselves completely to the divine Providence. So we should not let ourselves be enslaved by the concerns of the mind and worry about what will happen here or there. All these worries monopolize the mind and they don’t let it pray. Then we should think: `God will help and He won’t leave me alone, He will release me and I will not suffer anything wrong. And when we release our mind of worries, we should dedicate to prayer some of the time we have for work. We should quiet ourselves for half an hour or an hour and dedicate ourselves to prayer and spiritual study. And the more one quiets his soul, the closer he gets to God.
 Matthew 5, 28.
 I Corinthians 3, 16-17.
Excerpt from the book The Art of Salvation, to be published by Evanghelismos.