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“… it has become commonplace to observe that American society is more deeply divided than at any time in our history since the Civil War. Countless studies, surveys, and opinion pieces have been produced in the attempt to analyze and explain this sad state of affairs. Blame has been cast in any number of directions: the prevalence of disinformation, the manipulativeness of social media algorithms, the erosion of institutional trust, the epidemic of loneliness and isolation, the politicization of nearly every aspect of modern life. There is certainly a good deal of truth in many such theories. But with that said, such theories can only go so far. Even the most profound cultural criticism of our day almost never penetrates to the spiritual level — and the spiritual level is the only level at which truth ultimately resides. The crisis facing our nation has many aspects, but nevertheless at its core remains undeniably spiritual in nature. Tragically, our society has declared spiritual things to be “off limits” for public life, and so has long ceased from any serious attempt to look there for answers.” (Hieromonk Gabriel)

“Regardless of a given reader’s beliefs, the authors of Scripture believed that God, angels, demons, the spirits of the dead, and other spiritual realities were real…It is in light of those beliefs that they formulate their writings and interpret events, words, and actions. When readers refuse to enter into the worldview of an author, they end up constructing a false “reality” as a backdrop for the text. They then praise or attack that reality, even if it is false, misguided, anachronistic, or pure fiction. Condemning such fictional reconstructions should not be confused with a legitimate critique of the text itself.” (Fr. Stephen De Young)

“Unfortunately, many believers have lost the sense of interplay between the natural and spiritual worlds. The spiritual world has become something foreign. We may accept it intellectually, but practically it is not part of our Western worldview. For others it remains something weird that they would rather not think about. For those who have been awakened spiritually, confusion abounds.…Christians are guilty of it too. Because although we may be more likely than others to acknowledge intellectually the existence of demons, most of us don’t actually live like we believe they are real…We somehow gloss over the fact that Christ spends practically the entire Gospel doing battle with the devil and his minions. We somehow ignore the countless volumes upon volumes in which the Holy Fathers instruct us and warn us — at great length and in tremendous detail — of the many tricks and wiles of our spiritual foes. And so we too, like the unbelievers, somehow come to forget all about our true enemies, and to turn our ever-increasing anger and condemnation and scorn on one another instead.” (Neal Lozano, Hieromonk Gabriel)

“In our struggle for a true spiritual life, like the ancients of Israel, we must act together to change the negative social and cultural environment around us, to stop activities contrary to the Gospel, and to cleanse the thoughts and inclinations of our own hearts. We must gather with the People of God for worship, instruction, support, and grace.” (Dynamis 9/23/2022)

“When someone injures us in whatever way, whether with slanders or with insults, we should think of him as our brother who has been taken hold of by the enemy. He has fallen victim to the enemy. Accordingly we need to have compassion for him and entreat God to have mercy both on us and on him, and God will help both. If, however, we are filled with anger against him, then the enemy will jump from him to us and make a mockery of us both. A person who condemns others does not love Christ. Our egotism is at fault. This is where condemnation of others stems from.” (St. Porphyrios)

“Satan is not evil by nature, but by will and action. In Satan there is no truth whatsoever; he is absolute falsehood and deception. Satan is not just a negation or deprivation of good, but a positive force with free will that always chooses evil….The devil and evil spirits know that God exists and recognize true and devoted Christians, but pious Christians discern the plans of the devil. The devil, however, constantly employs every method of deception to enslave man to satanic forces and causes rebellion against God. He is the cause of corruption and disorder, a parasitic power in the world that will ultimately be destroyed by the power of God in the "last days." Because there is no compromise between God and the devil, the struggle will continue until the end…The whole human race, by the death of Christ on the Cross, received deliverance from the authority of the devil, and everyone who makes use of this saving weapon is inaccessible to the demons.” (Rev. George C. Papademetriou, Ph.D., Saint John Maximovitch)

“Jesus here calls the devil “the wicked one,” commanding us to wage against him a war that knows no truce. Yet he is not evil by nature, for evil is not something derived from any nature as created but is what has been added to nature by choice. The devil is the prototypically evil one, because of the excess of his evil choices and because he who in no respect was injured by us wages against us an implacable war. Thus we do not pray “deliver us from the wicked ones” in the plural but “from the wicked one.” (St. John Chrysostom)

“…there is mystery in the cosmos because the cosmos is related to God. There will always be some aspects of the created order we cannot fully comprehend….not only is there a natural goodness in creation as established by God, creation is also subject to the Fall of humans and a separation from God. There is also evil present in the universe, and this too must be recognized, something modern science is not comfortable with [at least partially because ideas of the devil and demons are so over exploited in popular thinking]…In John Milton’s famous Puritan epic Paradise Lost, he recast the devil as a principled revolutionary, an almost romantic rebel. There is far more of Milton than of Scripture in the average Christian of today’s understanding of the devil, what his goals and purposes are, and how he came to be who he is today.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh, Fr. Stephen De Young)

“In an inexplicable manner, holy humility elevates us about all created things and preserves the grace of God in our life. Let’s bear in mind, then, a wise warning that says: ‘the devil doesn’t eat or drink, so in theory he’s the greatest ascetic, but that doesn’t make him any the less evil… Humility’s the only weapon that defeats the devil, it’s the necessary requirement for salvation, the mystic divine force which enfolds all within itself. Wherever humility blossoms, there flows the glory of God, there the eye of the plant of the soul blooms into an unfading flower…Sometimes we think the devil is at us and we need to take authority over him. But what is really happening is that God is after us and we need to repent and clothe ourselves with humility. Then we are better prepared to take authority over the devil.” (St. Isaac the Syrian, Neal Lozano)

“…what we dwell on, whether it be what is holy or what is unholy, will determine the state of our hearts. If the self concentrates on the ungodly, the tongue, an organ of the body, will express our sacrilegious nature. But if the person feeds on what is godly (such as the scriptures and spiritual reading), there will be no place in body, mind, or soul for the Devil, temptations, and sin. The prayer of Paul will be answered, and the self will be wholly sanctified.” (Fr. Basil)


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