“Once, the monk John the Short told the desert father Poeman that he had asked the Lord to take away his passions. John said that the Lord answered his prayer, and he was at peace: the warfare between flesh and spirit in his heart was over. Poeman replied, “Go and ask the Lord to stir up in you a new battle against the passions. Fighting against temptation is good for the soul.” When the passions attacked John once more, he did not pray for the end of the fight against them.
“Christ does not simply die on our behalf, or instead of us, He becomes sin in order to destroy sin (2 Cor. 5:22). Christ is without sin, and yet He becomes sin. There is nothing “noble” in such an action; nobility would be a deeply unjust accusation. It is self-emptying love…This act of self-emptying is known as kenosis. It is the ultimate act of love, the ultimate act of self-giving, self-forgetting…We are Baptized into the self-emptying love of Christ, for this is the only
“Faith is not a matter of “belief,” an act of intellectual willing. Faith is a perception of things that do not necessarily appear obvious. In the language of Scripture – “faith is the evidence of things not seen.” But the perception of faith is similar to the perception of objects beneath the surface of a lake. If the surface is disturbed, the objects disappear. The objects do not go away – but we can no longer perceive them. In a world of manifold complication – the surface
“…it is in our nature to aim toward what is good, true, and beautiful. But the impulse toward the good often misfires as we follow after merely transitory and temporal goods rather than the Eternal Good, or as we pursue the fleeting ephemeral beauty of this world, which cannot satisfy the soul…The power that transitory goods have to entice us away from the Ultimate Good lies precisely in the fact that they are genuine goods. Because of our fallen state, we do not approach God