The Passions

February 18, 2008


The Passions are the fleshly desires and the urge after things not of the Spirit. We readily think of drunkeness, orgies, idolatry, pride, pornography, lust, greed, etc… The Fathers of the Philokalia help us by giving us by reminding us of our God given weapons of spiritual warfare.

1 Prayer
2 Remembering the name of Jesus
3 Remembering the Lords passion, his last night before His death and His sufferings.
4 Nepsis, watchfulness, vigilance
5 By starving our passions, by not fueling them.
6 By waging war with them through ascesis.
7 By putting on the full armor of God. And by reading the Holy Scriptures and church writings.
8 Through partaking of the sacrements, ie.. the Holy Eucharist and Confession. And by being prepared to take the sacrements.

Our biggest struggle with the passions is our own mind. In taming our thoughts. (logismoi) For by our thoughts we arouse our passions. And if we are not careful our thoughts that go unchecked become a obsession that gets acted upon. In the Philokalia, the authors felt the need to name some of the more serious passions and give us a way to fight them. First in line is;
*Pride- St John Climacus wrote, “Pride is denial of God” As we know pride is the sin that befell Satan in heaven. Climacus also says that pride is like a “bitter Pharisee, a cruel judge. It is the foe of God, it is the root of blashemy.”

*Addiction is also a form of passion. Perhaps you are addicted to some form of flesh. It may seem simple enough in moderation, but you have allowed it to become a passion, a addiction.
The ancients would raise the passions to the level of Gods and bow down and worship them. For example; Aphrodite was the god of lust, Jupiter the god of war, Bacchus of appetite and Venus and sexuality.

The passions distort. If ever a man has been in prison for a long period of time, even though he hates it with his soul, he longs to return to it, because of his addiction to the famaliar, to the safe and perhaps to the wicked.

*Self- Many who win great victories in life, politics, business, sports, wars, etc… have only later to lose everything due to the inability to control self.

St Justin the Martyr, “To yield and give in to our sinful desires is the lowest form of slavery. To rule over such desires is the only true freedom.”