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Despondency

“Beware of the spirit of despondency, for it gives birth to every evil. A thousand temptations come from it: agitation, rage, blame, complaint against one's fate, profligate thoughts, constant change of place. The soul then avoids people, believing them to be the cause of its trouble, and does not understand that the cause of the illness is within itself.” (St. Seraphim of Sarov)


“St. Paul’s last letter was written to the Philippians from prison. He is hopeful that he will be released, but he is also uncertain about the outcome that awaits him (he was executed). (Phil. 1:20) It is of great note that this is called his “epistle of joy.” As the end is drawing near, the brightness of his soul is increasing. He offers this advice: ‘Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things’ (Phil 4:8). This admonition is far more than the Apostle urging us towards pleasant things. There is nothing naive within his spiritual life. This is a direction for the heart, a specific instruction that allows us to prepare ourselves for the end. Those who think on the ugliness of the world, or the rumors of terrible things and intentions, are, in fact, sleeping. It is a sleep that lulls us into a despair that will make shipwreck of our faith in ways that we cannot imagine.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“So every time you fall, get up again and at once seek forgiveness. Don’t hide sorrow in your heart, because sorrow and despondency are the joy of the evil one. They fill one’s soul with bitterness and give birth to many evils. Whereas the frame of mind of someone who repents says, “I have sinned! Forgive me Father!” and He expels the sorrow. He says, “Am I not a weak human? So what do I expect?” Truly, my child this is how it is. So take courage. Only when the grace of God comes does a person stand on his feet. Otherwise, without grace, he always changes and always falls. So be a man and don’t be afraid at all.” (Elder Joseph the Hesychast)


“You need not be despondent. Let those be despondent who do not believe in God. For them sorrow is burdensome, of course, because besides earthly enjoyment they have nothing. But believers must not be despondent, for through sorrows they receive the right of sonship, without which is impossible to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (St. Barsanuphius of Optina)


“…we are to feel deep sorrow for our sins. That is a God-given motivation for repentance. But turning around from our sins is different than despondency…“It is not healthy to be excessively downcast on account of your sins and to turn with such revulsion against your evil self that you end up in despair”… “Despondency is the worst thing. It is a snare set by Satan to make a person lose his appetite for spiritual things and to bring him into a state of despair, inactivity, and negligence…” [Let’s not] go back and recriminate and say what we didn’t do. What is important is what we will do now, from this moment onwards…Read the Scriptures. Remember the fine words, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me will find grace.” (Fr. Basil, St. Porphyrios)


“The Greek term acedia–whence pastoral concepts of despondency originate–literally means an absence of care. In despondency, we grow hopeless, care-less, apathetic. In our despair, one would assume we’d naturally settle into a pattern of comfortable non-responsiveness. But somehow, this one-to-one connection doesn’t sit right with me. As I look around at all the energy that is being poured into protests and activism right now, I can’t help but sense a sort of aimless, frenetic desperation. An anxious clawing–at something, anything, whatever we can grab hold of to turn the tide. Not always, but sometimes this “activism” seems like a form of inverted acedia.” (Nicole M. Roccas)


“ ‘ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart’ (John 16:6). Sorrow here means “extreme grief leading to despondency or despair,” which is a sinful passion…This sin is constantly referred to in the writings of the Desert Fathers. When the world persecutes the believer or when God seems to be absent, Christians are called to fight against this despondency, taking comfort from the presence of the Holy Spirit (vv. 5–15). (Orthodox Study Bible, John 16:6)


“Great is the tyranny of despondency…‘But now I go to Him that sent Me, and no man of you says, Where are You going? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow has filled your heart’ (John 16:56). It was no slight comfort to them to learn that He knew the excess of their despondency.” (St. John Chrysostom)


“…despondency is our enemy...Holiness requires struggle, and the despondent person is unable to see the possibility of victory, so she surrenders to despair. The first step toward victory is simple. We just get up again. If you fall a second time, get up a second time…There is a spiritual law of ups and downs of our moods. When despondency strikes do not give yourself over to it too much. Remind yourself that after sorrow gladness will come...” (Abbot Tryphon, Archbishop Averky)


“When despondency seizes us, let us not give in to it. Rather, fortified and protected by the light of faith, let us with great courage say to the spirit of evil: “What are you to us, you who are cut off from God, a fugitive for Heaven, and a slave of evil? You dare not do anything to us: Christ, the Son of God, has dominion over us and over ll. Leave us, you thing of bane. We are made steadfast by the uprightness of His Cross. Serpent, we trample on your head.” (Saint Seraphim of Sarov)


“Lord Jesus expects every member of His Body to live by a norm that runs contrary to the assumptions of the world (Mt 16:24). We are to bear whatever trials God permits to come our way, without complaint. Above all, we maintain our integrity in Christ: we give no offense, we are innocent and patient in suffering, we mistreat no one, and accept wrongs against ourselves cheerfully.” (Dynamis 1/22/2018)

“Being cheerful when wrong is done to us, or being cheerful when we are suffering does not mean we should be happy about it in the typical way we think about happiness. Rather, it means we should not slip into despondency because of it, but remain prayerful, hopeful, and faithful that God is with us and working for our good within our trials and sufferings.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“There is a spiritual law of ups and downs of our moods. When despondency strikes do not give yourself over to it too much. Remind yourself that after sorrow gladness will come...” (Archbishop Averky)

“…the despondent person is unable to see the possibility of victory, so she surrenders to despair. The first step toward victory is simple. We just get up again. If you fall a second time, get up a second time.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Do not grow faint in spirit, and do not despond during times of trouble; but turn to the Lord with humble prayers, and believe that help will come to you…When things go wrong, you'll find they usually go on getting worse for some time; but when things once start going right they often go on getting better and better." (St. Moses of Optina, C. S. Lewis)


#Dynamis #SacramentalLivingMinistries #ArchbishopAverky #AbbotTryphon #StMosesofOptina #CSLewis #NicoleMRoccas #OrthodoxStudyBible #StJohnChrysostom #SaintSeraphimofSarov #FatherStephenFreeman #ElderJosephtheHesychast #StBarsanuphiusofOptina #FrBasil #StPorphyrios

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