About caryana.Org

Commentaries on the News

A Program of Spiritual Formation for Candidates to the Priesthood

The Lay Monastic Community of Caryana


 
 
 

Search

 

 

 


ON SUFFERING


 


 

CHARACTER OF A STUPID SOUL

Affliction is the school mistress of divine Wisdom, if suffered as Christ did.  

What happened to the three thousand and the five thousand in the miracle of the multiplication?  They went, inflamed, to Christ; they drew near Christ with much piety.  And, like us, they looked to the future and eternal life.  What happened that they stopped following Christ?  They rejected the perils and afflictions that go with the following of Christ.  

But we are worse.  Not only do we run away from affliction, we seek after comfort.  The saints ask, "What are the things that we must do?"  We worldlings ask, "What do I want to do?"  The saints condemn themselves and work as if salvation is nearly impossible.  Sinners work as if they are already saved and have a right to salvation.  

Like an athlete, a saint is he who, after hearing the call to holiness, takes off his coat, enters the place for training and, later on, enters the place of combat.  On the other hand, the sinner is like a clown; he does not remove his coat and when the fight begins, the enemy has little trouble because the sinner gets entangled in his own attachments.  

The saint and the sinner are like two fighters; the former enters the arena with wisdom, strong muscles, stripped to the waist and shining with sweat and oil.  The latter enters the arena with perfume, long silken garments, fancy shoes, and trinkets around neck and ears. . .the garb of worldly attachments.  The latter will stumble even before the fight begins.  

The moment of spiritual combat is near, and most Christians dress themselves up for a procession.  Concern with the things of the world will hamper your soul like a chord and you will not be able to raise your hand against the adversary of your soul.  

Parting from the concerns of the world is not enough. . .going home and selling your things and giving the proceeds to the poor does not suffice for salvation.  You must "Follow Christ," you must suffer for doing good.  

After casting away the long robes of worldly attachments, you must still learn the ART of spiritual combat AND still win your battles.  If you retain these worldly concerns, you shall fail to achieve great things, you will be a laughing stock, and you will need no devil to stumble. . .you will have more than enough attachments to fall.  

Let us suppose there is a man flinging filth outside a window; and it is falling on a man below the window.  The man below can easily escape the filth by simply taking a step forward or backward or sideward; but he does not.  Would you not consider this man below more stupid and deserving of wrath because of his stupidity, rather than become angry with the man above?  So, likewise, with the man encumbered with the concerns of this world: he can escape all the useless burdens of this life, but he stubbornly clings to them, thus unable to escape all the sins that come with being worldly.  His stupidity fills us with disgust and we withhold our help when we see him being hit by the filth.  

The soul with much worldly concern is like a clown; he has too many unnecessary attachments.  Like the clown, his shoes are unnecessarily large, his fingers, clothing and hair are unnecessarily long.  We know he has put this on intentionally, just as every worldly soul intentionally desires and seeks and works for his attachments.  When a clown falls, we don't pray for him, we don't raise him up. . .we just laugh at him.  This is the picture of a man working so hard for worldly goals, worrying over satisfying his attachments or over keeping and protecting his wealth. . .when he complains, how much we want to say, "Go home, sell all your things. . ." then we stop because we know he won't; because we know he is attached to them.  

This the picture of a foolish soul; he is like a clown going through life stumbling all over because of his worldly attachments, looking miserable, but winning no one's sympathy.  

St. John Chrysostom, On I Corinthians

 

 



(05-23-05)

[ Home ]  [ On Suffering-Main ]  [ Return to Top ]  [ Continue ] 



 


The Winnowing Fan hopes ..." to do what little it could to solve the evils that beset the church."

                                                                                        - Teresa of Avila

 


Winnowing Fan and Guadalupe Series are owned and Copyrighted by S. of G. Foundation.
Articles therein maybe freely copied, distributed and re-published in full or in part without written authorization provided appropriate acknowledgement is made.  

  2001, caryana.org All rights reserved