Friday, March 8, 2013



     "And in the day time He was teaching in the temple, and abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives. And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, in order to hear Him. Now the feast of bread approached, which is called Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people.

     Then Satan entered into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being numbered among the twelve, And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains/, how he might betray Him unto them. And they were glad and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray Him unto them in the absence of the multitude"
(Luke 21:37-22:8).
Satan entered into Judas and showed him how to betray the Lord; he agreed and betrayed Him. Satan entered because the door had been opened for him. The door within us is closed; the Lord himself stands outside and knocks that we may open it.

What causes it to open? Sympathy, predisposition, and agreement. If the soul is inclined to sympathy, predisposition and agreement, in relation to sin and Satan then he enters. If it is inclined towards the Lord, then the Lord enters. If Satan enters, and not the Lord, the person himself is guilty. For the opening or closing of the door of the mind and heart are under each person’s control. If we do not allow our thoughts to be pleasing to Satan, if we do not sympathize with them, or dispose ourselves to heed their suggestions and agree to do them, Satan will come near and then leave. After all, he has not been given authority over anyone. If he takes possession of anyone, it is because that person freely gave himself over to slavery to him.

     The source and beginning of evil acts is one’s thoughts. Do not entertain bad thoughts, instead vanquish them with the sign of the Cross or a small prayer. and you will close the door of your soul to Satan. Of course bad thoughts come —what can be done? No one in the world laymen, monastics, or clergy, is without them, however there is no sin when these bad thoughts come . Chase them away and that will end everything. If they come again, chase them away again – and so one for your entire life. Ridding yourself of them is the victory! When you accept thoughts and become engaged in them, it is not surprising that sympathy for them appears as well; then they become even more persistent. After sympathy comes bad intentions for some sort of improper deeds. Vague intentions define themselves later, by an inclination toward one thing or another. Acceptance, agreement, and resoluteness set in, and sin is within. The door of the heart is open wide. As soon as agreement forms, Satan jumps in and begins to tyrannize. The poor soul, like a slave or pack-animal is driven and wearied into doing indecent things. If he had not allowed bad thoughts, nothing of the sort would have happened.            Theophan the Recluse
     "For what reason do you think evil in your hearts?" (Mat. (:4).
When the Lord found it proper to reprimand the Pharisees and Scribes, they had not at that time killed or deceived or robbed anyone. Not only that; at that time they had offended no one, even by words. Why, then, did He upbraid them?, when they committed no offence either in deed or word? Because they thought evil thoughts.

     And entertaining evil thoughts is sin. This is another of those good news that Christ brings to the world. It is precisely evil thoughts that are the origin of all sin, for, before a man speaks or acts sinfully, he thinks sinfully. Thought is the causative sin; other sins are only resultant sins. He who wishes to exterminate the latter must uproot the former. He who wishes to stop a flow of water must first drain the source. Let no one, then, justify himself by saying: ‘I am not a sinner, for I have never killed nor robbed nor profaned nor lied.’ For lo, we are full of murderous, plundering, blasphemous and deceitful thoughts. If we have not sinned in deed, that is simply a matter of the mercy of God and external circumstance. Had God slackened His hold and the opportunity presented itself, we would have committed all the sins that were in our thoughts. A snake is not poisonous only when it bites, but also when it does not bite for it carries the poison in itself.

     So not only is the thought evil; it is the source of sin, the beginning of sin, the seed and root of sin.. That is why the all-seeing and all-knowing Lord thus reprimanded those who thought evil. "For what reason do you think evil in your hearts?"
O all-seeing and all-knowing Lord, help us to cleanse our hearts and minds from evil thoughts, that so our words and deeds may be pure. To You be glory and praise for ever. Amen.
Prologue of Ochrid Vol.1-p95

     Good thoughts from God and His Saints, upon entering our minds and hearts, inspire us to do good deeds and avoid evil. What we look at, what we read, what we finally do are all related. If we guard our thoughts and avoid evil thoughts, by warfare against them, we will do good deeds of which we will never be ashamed.

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