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Spiritual Disease

“Self-importance, according to St. Basil, is a spiritual disease that “matures,” that gets stronger over time. It is a disease that becomes “rooted by habit in the mind” for those who suffer from it. It begins, in my experience, after life thrusts us into a position of authority or importance. At first, we are timid and uncertain, we know our weaknesses, we know we can only try to do our best. However, almost right away, others begin treating us differently. Others seek our advice, follow our instructions, are subject to our decisions (grades, assignments, schedules, opportunities or responsibilities that we now have the authority to distribute). Now we are treated as an important person (often in small or subtle ways—but it doesn’t take much for this disease to get started). The disease begins with a shift in my self-perception. I start to see myself as the personification of my role. That is, the honor and respect that comes to me because of my position, I start to ascribe to myself; or as a friend of mine in California would say it, we start to believe our own press. This is a very subtle shift.” (Fr. Michael Gillis)


“…consider the words of Saint Theophan the Recluse concerning self-reliance: “this spiritual disease of ours, so hard to perceive and acknowledge, is more abhorrent to God than all else in us, as being the first offspring of our self-hood and self-love, and the source, root and cause of all passions and of all our downfalls and wrong doing.” (Dynamis 9/27/2022)


“At the root of the experience of sin are the passions, which incline us to “miss the mark” and can develop into spiritual disease or sin. The understanding of sin as illness conforms to the spirit of Christ . Speaking to the Pharisees who were mocking Him, He said: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” (Mt 9:12)” (Fr. George Morelli)


“The spiritual disease that afflicts us, can primarily be described as a lack of love. We are imprisoned by our passions so that we are a mass of desires. Passions are disordered desires. It is of great note that the rejection of veneration is a rejection of order – and an invitation to disorder. We simply cannot bear the shame of inequality. Loved equally by God, we resent the excellence of others, as though their excellence came at our expense. Our envy can be heard as we rejoice at the fall of every great one. All of them, “Had it coming.” Veneration is given to us within the Ten Commandments: “Honor your father and your mother.” They are the first persons in our lives to whom we owe gratitude. The commandment also adds this: “…that your days may be long in the land.” Veneration is thus noted as essential for our well-being.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“When we declare ourselves to be disciples of Christ, we claim that we want Him to cure our spiritual and moral disease. Yet in truth we want Him to relieve the symptoms, such as misery, discontent, despair, and so on. Jesus, by contrast, knows that He cannot relieve these symptoms unless He overcomes their deep, inner cause. And this is where the problems arise. While we would like to be rid of the symptoms, we stubbornly resist the efforts of Jesus to penetrate our souls. We do not want our deep-set feelings and attitudes to be changed. But only when we truly open our souls to the transforming grace of God will the symptoms of spiritual disease begin to disappear.” (St. John Chrysostom)


#FrMichaelGillis #Dynamis #FrGeorgeMorelli #FatherStephenFreeman #StJohnChrysostom

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