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MONASTICISM



 

 

 

ON DETACHMENT (The Narrow Way)

Be on guard on the things you left behind. They have a way of catching up with you. Lack of grief shows you possess them still in your heart.

I have seen men running away from the madness of their bodies and enter the monastery and remain tormented by the stirrings of the flesh. Such abandon the wide road, walk on the narrow, but try to widen the narrow road.

This is the narrow way; this is monasticism. It is the mortification of the appetite, night-long toil, rations in food.

It is bearing dishonor, derision, mockery and jeers. It is enduring opposition, suffering neglect, and putting up with violent arrogance. It is being ready for injustice and slander. You must not be angered by contempt and show humility when condemned. If you do these, yours is the kingdom of heaven.

Detachment consists of three renunciations: detachment from material objects and human relationships, from bodily comforts and conveniences and from one's own will.

When our work of renunciation wavers, that indicates the presence of the demons. Immediately take up the weapon of prayer against them.

Whenever a loss grieves you, your are attached to it. The monastery is the harbor for salvation or a haven for destruction. To be saved, like Lot, free yourself and don't look back and regret what you have left behind.

If you truly love God and long for heaven, if your sins pain you, if you fear eternal punishment and fear a bad death. . .then it is impossible to be attached or be anxious for anything; money, possessions, family relations, worldly glory -- indeed, for anything of earth.

All worries about one's condition and health will be pushed aside. Stripped of all these concerns, one will turn freely to Christ, looking up to heaven for help.

It would be a great disgrace if, after answering God's call, we abandon the call to answer the call of the world and worry about things that do not benefit our souls. "Do not look back."

Beginners are weak and tend to easily return to the world when associating with worldly people. And there are demons who concentrate on beginners, making beginners envy those in the world and their seeming virtue. The devil's hostile aim is to make us return to the world by a false humility or downright rebellion .

On the other hand, we must not disparage those in the world.

If we truly wish to be good religious, keep in mind that Christ described the worldly as  "living dead" who should bury the dead. Riches did not prevent the young rich man from being baptized; but riches prevented him from being holy. The virtues of the worldly are watered by vanity, blossom with love for show, and fertilized with praises. They quickly wither inside the monastery. 



 

(11-15-02)

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