Answers of the Great Masters of the Spiritual Life to the
Questions of Their Disciples.
Disciple: Who benefits at birth, the body
or the soul?
Master: The body benefits at birth;
when united to the soul, it emerges into light. The soul is
the loser being born, being confined or imprisoned in the darkness
of the body. We must, therefore, not pity the body; instead we
must pity the soul.
Is it for this reason that we must consider the body as an enemy?
Yes, because, like an enemy, it imprisons us. We
must work to be free from this prison.
not indulge in good eating for this evokes evil passion that
strengthens the bars of your prison. A stomach that fasts and
abstains stills the passions and releases the soul from its bodily
the body sees through the eyes, how does the soul see?
the mind. But the mind, like the eyes, can be blind unless the
person lives a righteous life.
What happens to a soul when the mind is blind?
becomes ignorant of God. And this ignorance gives birth to
And what happens to a soul when the mind sees well?
It will have knowledge of God and will bring good to a
person and save his soul.
How can I make certain that my mind can see well?
Remain in a state of sobriety; try not to fulfill your own desires
and your mind will see clearly. On the other hand, ignorance
of God will make you take pleasure in fulfilling your own desires,
making you behave like a dumb animal, forgetful of the punishment
that awaits you after death.
Anthony the Great "On the Saintly Life"