St. Isaac begins homily three by making an argument that the passions are not natural to the soul. The soul by nature is pure and virtuous. Its contranatural state is to be moved by the passions that arise from the sense and appetites of the body. It is then in a state of illness. There is a distinction, I believe, that Isaac is making between desire and the passions. Desire for God is not the same as being passionate as is so often described in popular conversation. We wrong attribute and project onto the soul things that are not proper to it in its natural state.
A rather spirit discussion arose about seeking a life of dispassion in the world. Is desert living and the struggle appropriate and possible for those living in the world? What discipline is needed to live distinctively as Christians in the world?
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