Let evil be.

The following is taken from Wounded by Love: the Life and Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios

“You don’t become holy by fighting evil. Let evil be. Look towards Christ and that will save you. What makes a person saintly is love – the adoration of Christ which cannot be expressed, which is beyond expression, which is beyond… And such a person attempts to undertake ascetic exercises and to do things to cause himself to suffer for the love of God.

“No monk became holy without ascetic exercises. No one can ascend to spirituality without exercising himself. These things must be done. Ascetic exercises are such things as prostrations, vigils and so on, but done without force. All are done with joy. What is important is not the prostrations we will make or the prayers, but the act of self-giving, the passionate love for Christ and for spiritual things. There are many people who do these things, not for God, but for the sake of exercise, in order to reap physical benefit. But spiritual people do them in order to reap spiritual benefit; they do them for God. At the same time, however, the body is greatly benefited and doesn’t fall ill. Many good things flow from them.”

via Glory to God for All Things.

This is good medicine for one such as I who lately struggles much with fasting and its benefits. Even more than that, the notion of not becoming holy via fighting evil is compelling. This matter has weighed heavily on my heart lately. When I came into the Church, my sponsor advised me that I had three enemies in this life: the devil, the world, and myself, and he told me always to blame myself first (it robs the devil of his chance to do so!). As of late, however, I feel stuck in the mire of all that’s bad in the world, and find myself wanting to flee everything. My family’s future goals of living self-sufficiently on a farm could easily be construed as such, and none do so more than I in my own heart.

But the Lord counsels otherwise: “What makes a person saintly is love – the adoration of Christ which cannot be expressed, which is beyond expression, which is beyond…”



Filed under Faith

2 responses to “Let evil be.

  1. John

    Not much unconditional love to be found on your website – none at all in fact! This is not a place for any SINNER (which is what you ARE) to be self-righteous about anything.
    Speaking of applied evil on a never-ending systematic basis I quite like these references – the tradition that you REALLY belomg to contrary to your obnoxious double-minded self righteousness.

    • Indeed, sir, I am not a saint. I am a sinner, plain and simple, and I suspect the chief of them. Please forgive me for having suggested otherwise through my blog posts. You are right: there is not much edifying in what I choose to rant about. The blog is a kind of megaphone for my thoughts, a truly terrible concept when you think about it. Hence, you may have noticed, I have not posted much lately over the last months, or even much over the years since I created the blog.

      However, if you would allow me to venture a reply to your accusation of my true tradition of “obnoxious double-minded self-righteousness,” I would say it’s very hasty and mean-spirited of you to come to my site to chastise me for not writing what you think I should. Self-righteousness is defined by one’s ability to condemn others while holding himself aloft from the condemned acts. I know I am guilty of it, but what I have strived to do in my posts, at least, is to point out troubling trends in our society and culture as a whole, more than accuse any single individual of his or her grisly faults. I know that even in this restriction I fail, which again brings us to the fact that I have rarely posted in the last several months.

      But what I find incredibly ironic in your comment is just how easily you’re able to size me up and trash me and my “true tradition” as doubled-minded and self-righteous, and how easily it is for you to hold yourself aloft from the title of “sinner” and separate yourself from any guilt in the tradition you condemn, as if somehow it has left you untouched in the nascent shaping of your thoughts. This is a dangerous assumption, and the truth of the matter, I think, is that we all carry on this damaging tradition in some way or another, often without realizing it.

      What I find most ironic, however, is that in linking those sites (in order to imply, apparently, that I am complicitly a Nazi, a Conquistador, and inextricably bound to the perpetrators of every other cruel act in the history of the West), you have ignorantly lumped my *actual* tradition – Eastern Orthodoxy – with the Roman Catholic & Protestant churches. Sadly, for your argument, this assumption cannot be made. The oversight is probably permissible, since most of our education, even at the college level, glosses over the Orthodox tradition with a few pictures and vague references to “The Great Schism,” and never goes into any depth of the actual Ethos of the Orthodox Way. But even a tertiary study of its philosophy and history will reveal that the Orthodox were largely removed from every instance of horror your sites relate. This is not to say that there never was a terrible thing to occur with the sanction of the Orthodox Church; such a claim would be ridiculous and uncharacteristic of any group of humans striving toward a goal. But on the whole – at least as far as your assumptions are concerned – the Orthodox cannot be implicated in those terrors, and in actuality were often some of the victims (See: 4th Crusade; Communist-Soviet regime; St Maria Skobtsova.) For a brief history on the Orthodox, you can read an interesting study of it by Timothy Ware, called “The Orthodox Church.”

      Peace to you.

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