06 June 2006

Dealing with Temptation

The following is from The Ascetic Life (ACW 21.115-116) by St Maximos the Confessor. The first sentences are posted in several places on the internet, but I thought I'd give a fuller context.

Many of the things that befall us, befall us for our training, either to do away with past sins or to correct present neglect or to check future sinful deeds.

He then, who reckons that temptation has come upon him for one of these reasons, is not vexed at its attack, especially as he is conscious of his sin. Nor does he censure him through whom the temptation came; for whether through him or through another, he surely has to drain the chalice of the divine judgments. Rather, he looks to God and gives thanks to Him that pardons; he censures himself and heartily accepts the chastisement, as did David with Semei, and as Job with his wife.

The foolish man often asks God to be merciful; when the mercy comes, he does not accept it, as it did not come, in fact, as he willed, but as the Physician of souls thought fitting. And so he gives no heed and is thrown into confusion.

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