Answers of the Great Masters of the Spiritual Life to the
Questions of Their Disciples.
Disciple: Master, it is said that self-control
is the way to control concupiscence.
keeps away everything that fulfills no need but causes mere
pleasure. It trains the soul to desire nothing but what is necessary
for living. It pursues what is beneficial and not the pleasant, to
measure food and drink by need, not to engage in excessive humor and
to preserve peace by avoiding the tendency for social
Disciple: And what does lack of self-control do?
Master: Excesses in food and drink heats the
stomach, inflames the appetite with shameful desires and drives the
whole animal to illicit desires. The eyes become shameless, the
hands unchecked, the tongue a speaker of charm and the ear a
recipient of foolish reports.
Disciple: And how does this affect the soul?
soul becomes a scorner of God.
Disciple: What does this mean?
Master: The soul thinks that God's will is foolish while his
own will is great.
St. Maximus the
Confessor, The Ascetical Life