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Deeds and Intent

“The Church Fathers are very sensitive to the ways in which good deeds undertaken for the Lord can be manipulated by the demons of ambition. Good works initially carried out for worthy, God-pleasing motives may be corrupted by our insidious conceit and pride. Hence, the inner work required to control and cleanse our hearts actually bears more fruit, in the long run, than the controls we place on our outward behaviors.” (Dynamis 10/5/2018)

"In all our deeds God looks at the intention, whether we do it for His sake, or for the sake of some other intention…If the intention is unclean, the deed that follows from it will also be evil, even if it seems to be good." (Saint Maximos the Confessor, Saint Gregory the Dialogist)

“God judged the publican, who “would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven,” as worthy because he confessed he was a sinner. Conversely, our Lord refused to justify the Pharisee for his many good works, because his heart was conceited (see Lk 18:10-14).” (Dynamis 10/5/2018)

“When transitory praise is sought for a good deed, then what is worthy of an eternal reward is sold for a trifling price." (Pope St. Gregory the Great)

“We are called to do good deeds, but it is not through good deeds that we are saved. If we were to be saved by our deeds, then it would not have been necessary for the Lord to come down and save us. We are saved only by the mercy of God. It is the Grace of God that saves. The Lord saves. We can get a reward for our good deeds, but salvation is from God.” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

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