Friday, June 26, 2009

Spiritual mourning.

Or compunction.
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"The spiritual way of repentance and mourning has such power that it is immune to demonic deception, or so-called diabolic delusion. The fallen spirit, in order to dupe the ascetic, first tries to convince him of his worth or merits... Yet how can he deceive a man who seeks with all of his power to discover his sinfulness, who bewails what has been revealed to him and is roused by the site of his misery to seek further insights, whose sole endeavor is to see in himself the one and only plea of a sinner, so that both by his outer and inner activity he may offer to God the realization and confession of his sinfulness. Though the devil does also tempt those who mourn, yet he is shortly recognized by them and repulsed. A self-opinionated person, who thinks he has some worth or merit, cannot repulse the devil's seduction from without, because he is chained by him within.
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False ascetics think they have reached their goal when they see themselves saints, when the world believes and proclaims them such. They rejoice at self-deception and self-opinion that has overcome them, not understanding how fatal self-opinion is, not realizing that human praise is the sign of a false prophet.
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The true ascetic rejoices when he begins to see his sin, when in his own estimation he becomes lower and more sinful than his neighbors..." and I would add, even when his neighbor considers him thus. - Instructions to Hesychasts - Archbishop Brianchaninov, The Arena
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Art: St. Claude de la Colombiere, SJ

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