The fight against irrational passions

`Geronda, what did prophet David ask for when saying: `my tongue will sing of your righteousness` [1]

`David asked from God for the charisma of leading people. But anyone needs the leading spirit to lead himself, so that he won`t be led by his passions.`

`What are the passions ?`

`I see passions as some spiritual powers of the soul. God doesn`t give weaknesses, He gives us powers.[2] But when we don`t use well these powers for doing good, here comes the devil, exploits them and they become irrational passions and then we protest against God.While if we use them turning them against evil, they would help us in our spiritual struggle. Anger, for instance, shows that the soul has much bravery which is necessary in the spiritual life. Who is not angry and has no bravery, can`t easily control himself. The angry man if he uses in his spiritual life the power he has, it is like a car which goes on the right way and nobody can reach it. But if he doesn`t use it and doesn`t control himself, he is like a car which goes with an over speed on an uneven way being derailed at every step.

The man must know his powers and turn them into good. Thus, with the help of God he will reach a good spiritual state. He should turn his selfishness against the devil and never give up when this one comes and tempts him. His inclination to chatter he should turn it toward something sanctified, saying the Jesus prayer. Isn`t it better to speak with Christ and sanctify himself than to chatter and sin? I mean the man can become good or bad depending on the way he uses the powers of his soul.

[1] Psalm 50,14.

[2] The elder expresses here in a simple way the creed that `God did not create or make the evil.`(Saint John of the Ladder, The Ladder, The Word XXVI, Part II p. 41). As a result according to saint Nicodimus the Athonite He did not seed passions in the human nature but they entered our human nature because of our recklessness against our true nature.`(The New Ladder, Shina, Volos 1956, p. 152).

Passions according to the teaching of the Holy Fathers originate in the use against nature of the body functions and spiritual powers. When this use against nature becomes chronic, it becomes a bad habit and a great care is needed to uproot it.

Excerpt from Passions and Virtues – Pious Paisios the Athonite, Evanghelismos Publishing.

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