Monday, November 24, 2008

On Dejection

St. John Cassian is becoming one of my favorite saints. The following is taken from his treatise "On the Eight Vices" from the first volume of the Philokalia, and are speaking to me in the present state of my spirit:

"Just as a moth devours clothing and a worm devours wood, so dejection devours a man's soul. Seizing the entire soul, it fills it with bitterness and listlessness. Then it suggests to the soul that we should go away from other people, since they are the cause of its agitation. It does not allow the soul to understand that its sickness does not come from without, but lies hidden within, only manifesting itself when temptations attack the soul because of our ascetic efforts. It is for this reason that God does not tell us to forsake the company of men; He tells us to root out the causes of evil within us and to recognize that the soul's health is achieved not by a man's separating himself from his fellows, but by his living the ascetic life in the compnay of holy men."

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