Philokalia Ministries

Letters of Spiritual Direction to a Young Soul - Letter Twenty

July 16, 2020

Tonight we concluded letter 20, where the Saint leads the young Anastasia to a deeper understanding of the nature of the Fall and the illness that arises from it. Again St. Theophan reflects with her on the experience of Adam and Eve. They turn away from God in a way that is blasphemous and hostile. They deny His benevolence and seek for themselves self-rule; embracing the illusion that they can become gods.  St Theophan tells Anastasia that God will not violate their self-rule but rather allow them to experience the consequence of their own freedom. They become self-absorbed and for the first time the phrase “I myself” is used.  The order of life and the order within the soul is perverted. The passions become, as it were, inbred and take over the soul like a horde of approaching enemies. We must have no illusion that this is anything but an illness. Furthermore, we must understand that we’ve been overcome by alien tyrants and we set aside our dignity for the worst kind of slavery. We have set aside hope and joy for what promises only darkness and sorrow.


Text of chat during the group:

Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky: The Struggle With Passions by I.M. Kontzevich

Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky: describes the stages from first being a thought to becoming a passion or vice.

Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky: you can access it at

Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky: the official catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, Christ Our Pascha identifies five stages but numbers and discusses them slightly differently than I M Kontsevich above. this catechism can be accessed at see paragraphs 788 thru 795

Wayne Mackenzie: That we might spend the rest of our life in peace and repentance, let us ask the Lord. from the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom

Mary McLeod: Aquinas also describes the punishment for the fall very similarly (Summa II-II): But inasmuch as through sin man's mind withdrew from subjection to God, the result was that neither were his lower powers wholly subject to his reason, whence there followed so great a rebellion of the carnal appetite against the reason: nor was the body wholly subject to the soul; whence arose death and other bodily defects. For life and soundness of body depend on the body being subject to the soul, as the perfectible is subject to its perfection. Consequently, on the other hand, death, sickness, and all defects of the body are due to the lack of the body's subjection to the soul. It is therefore evident that as the rebellion of the carnal appetite against the spirit is a punishment of our first parents' sin, so also are death and all defects of the body.

Fr. John (Ivan) Chirovsky: in his work On the Incarnation St Athanasius the Great was of the opinion that humanity would devolve figuring out new and better ways of sinning, ways for the body and soul to rebel against the God-intended ascendency of the spirit.

Wayne Mackenzie: Gender Ideology is a good example.

Joe and Larissa: Bl Fr Alexander Schmeman. - life is about how we deal with what we are dealt


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