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“Sin is a movement away from being, well-being, and eternal being. It is a distorted direction (hamartia: “missing the mark”). It is equally the refusal of Beauty and Goodness, without participation in the Truth. I will try to put this into practical terms. A man sees someone else in genuine need and has plenty to spare. But he considers the matter and turns away. He has “increased” or “preserved” his wealth, but he has impoverished his soul, diminished his own existence since his existence depends utterly on his movement towards well-being and eternal-being.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“After their deaths, the two men’s situations were reversed [Luke 16:19-31]. The rich man had spent his life rejecting the teachings of Moses and the prophets about the necessity of showing mercy to the poor. He had diminished himself spiritually to the point that he became unable to recognize even the basic humanity of Lazarus as one who bore God’s image. Consequently, after his death he was blind to the love of God and perceived the divine majesty as only a burning flame that tormented him. When the rich man asked Father Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers to warn them of the consequences of living such a depraved life, the great patriarch responded, “‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“Maximus is here, much like Dionysius, drawing out the implication of the identification of God as Being. Both authors present the consequence of the misuse of the natural powers bestowed by the Creator as a diminution into non-being. Such non-being is not the loss of existence, however; it is continuation in existence in a diminished and perpetually frustrated state.” (David Bradshaw)

“Even as we turn away from what diminishes us in the divine likeness, we must also feast on what helps us embrace more fully our true identity in Christ.  That means putting our souls on a steady diet of prayer; of reading the Bible, the lives of the Saints, and other spiritually edifying works; and of mindfulness in all things such that we remain alert to the spiritual significance of what we think, say, and do.  The more that we fill ourselves with holy things, the less appetite we will have for unholy things.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“When we work on strengthening our relationship with God, our love increases for all those around us. By increasing our faith we diminish the estrangement between ourselves and others, while increasing the bond between ourselves and God. This is our true vocation, that we decrease while Christ increases.” (Abbot Tryphon)


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