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A Program of Spiritual Formation for Candidates to the Priesthood

The Lay Monastic Community of Caryana






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. 

Master: Self-control 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 intercourse. 

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?

Master: The 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






(updated 05-01-02)


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