On the Main Danger of the Passion of Lust

His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the eve of the Thursday of the Great Canon (2017) gave a word about the passion of lust.

Photo: Natalia Goroshkova/Pravoslavnaya Zhizn Photo: Natalia Goroshkova/Pravoslavnaya Zhizn     

The Standing of St. Mary of Egypt is usually served on Wednesday evening. This is a long service, the only service in the year in which the entire Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete is read. The Life of the great ascetic, St. Mary of Egypt, who struggled against the passion of lust for seventeen years, is also read.

Your Beatitude, what is the root of the passion of lust?

—The root of the passion of lust is in human pride, in man’s resistance to submit to the one moral law that the Lord has given him. The very name of it (in Church Slavonic this is called bludnaya strast. The root, blud, implies getting lost, losing the way) tells us that he who has it has gotten lost in his feelings—he has ceased to understand which of his feelings are good, and which are bad; that bad feelings shouldn’t be indulged, that they should be resisted. The passion of lust makes a person empty, and this is clearly demonstrated in the Savior’s parable of the prodigal son. The prodigal son left his father’s house for a distant land and there wasted all his possessions, living prodigally. He made himself empty, was in great want, and nearly destroyed himself entirely.

According to the teachings of the holy fathers, how can we struggle against this passion?

—The holy fathers teach that in order to conquer the passion of lust we need prayer and fasting. You won’t purify yourself completely right away, and one fast will not make you an angel. You need to purify yourself gradually. St. Mary of Egypt came to the desert, suffered and tormented herself for seventeen years, and the passions attacked her like wild animals. She endured it all and struggled with them, and the Lord cleansed her. By the end of her ascetic struggles, St. Mary’s soul had already acquired peace, and she rejoiced in her time in the desert. It is the same for a person who gradually goes from fast to fast, striving to limit himself from fast day to fast day, keeping within the boundaries of divine law, and finally reaching the measure of perfection.

Metropolitan Onuphry (Berezovsky)
Translation by OrthoChristian.com

Orthodox Life


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