Thursday, 29 December 2005

Combating the Passion of Pride 4 — Overcoming Pride in the Monk

The primary therapy for pride is obedience. If a man is proud, and that is his ruling passion, he would do well to start in a severe cœnobium and to remain there all his life in strict obedience. This is not merely to ‘protect the church’. It is the right approach to ascesis for someone whose ruling passion is pride—and don’t let anyone tell you that strict obedience isn’t ascesis. For a man whose ruling passion is pride to enter into solitary ascesis is dangerous. It is largely a matter of time until he falls into spiritual delusion (Gr. plani; Ru. prelest). After that, it’s the mental hospital. That is why the Fathers are extremely reluctant to talk much about Hesychasm in public forums: Hesychasm attracts precisely those persons who shouldn’t meddle with it: the proud. That is also why it says in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers that if you see a beginner ascending to Heaven by his own power, you should drag him down by his feet.

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