Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

demons

57 Entries

... Thou art not the sole author of the evil, but there is also another most wicked prompter, the devil. He indeed suggests, but does not get the mastery by force over those who do not consent. Second Catechetical Lecture Of Our Holy Father Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem, Lecture Ii.- On Repentance And Remission Of Sins, And Concerning The Adversary



...The war which the demons wage against us by means of thoughts is more sever than the war they wage by means of material things. St. Maximos the Confessor

...the war which the demons wage against us by means of thoughts is more severe than the war they wage by means of material things. St. Maximos the Confessor (First Century on Love no. 91))

The Devil will not repent

The devil also transfigures himself into an angel of light[2]; not that he may reascend to where he was, for having made his heart hard as an anvil[3], he has henceforth a will that cannot repent; but in order that he may envelope those who are living an Angelic life in a mist of blindness, and a pestilent condition of unbelief. Catechetical Lectures Of Our Holy Father, Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem - Lecture Iv: On The Ten[1] Points Of Doctrine



A man ... wrestles with many ... demons; and often the demon, whom many men could not master with iron bands, has been mastered by the man himself with words of prayer which is in him of the Holy Spirit; and the mere breathing of the Exorcist becomes as fire to that unseen foe. A mighty ally and protector, therefore, have we from God; a great Teacher of the Church, a mighty Champion on our behalf. Let us not be afraid of the demons, nor of the devil; for mightier is He who fights for us. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 16 no. 19)

After our renunciation of the world, the demons suggest to us that we should envy those living in the world who are merciful and compassionate, and be sorry for ourselves as deprived of these virtues. The aim of our foes is, by false humility, either to make us return to the world, or, if we remain monks, to plunge into despair. It is impossible to belittle those living in the world out of conceit; and it is also possible to disparage them behind their backs in order to avoid despair and to obtain hope. St John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent", Step 2: On Detachment (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978)

Anger is by nature designed for waging war with the demons and for struggling with every kind of sinful pleasure. Therefore angels, arousing spiritual pleasure in us and giving us to taste its blessedness, incline us to direct our anger against the demons. But the demons, enticing us towards worldly lusts, make us use anger to fight with men, which is against nature, so that the mind, thus stupefied and darkened, should become a traitor to virtues. Abba Evagrius the Monk(Texts on Active Life no. 15)

Citizens fear enemy invasions so long as they have no help from the king. When the news comes that a military commander has entered their town, they cease to worry in the knowledge that the authorities will take care of them. Even if they hear that the enemy approaches, they are not afraid since they have a protector. In the same way, if we believe in God, we do not fear the demons, for God sends us His help. St. Barsanuphius and St. John, from Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart

Demons often transform themselves into angels of light and take the form of martyrs, and make it appear to us during sleep that we are in communication with them. Then, when we wake up, they plunge us into unholy joy and conceit. But you can detect their deceit by this very fact. For angels reveal torments, judgments and separations; and when we wake up we find that we are trembling and sad. As soon as we begin to believe the demons in dreams, then they make sport of us when we are awake too. He who believes in dreams is completely inexperienced. But he who distrusts all dreams is a wise man. Only believe dreams that warn you of torments and judgments. But if despair afflicts you, then such dreams area also from demons. St John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent", Step 3: On Exile or Pilgrimage (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978)

Demons often transform themselves into angels of light and take the form of martyrs, and make it appear to us during sleep that we are in communication with them. Then, when we wake up, they plunge us into unholy joy and conceit. But you can detect their deceit by this very fact. For angles reveal torments, judgments and separations; and when we wake up we find that we are trembling and sad. As soon as we begin to believe the demons in dreams, then they make sport of us when we are awake too. He who believes in dreams is completely inexperienced. 'But he who distrusts all dreams is a wise man. Only believe dreams that warn you of torments and judgments. But if despair afflicts you, then such dreams are also from demons. St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent

Do not be despondent when fighting against the incorporeal enemy, but even in the midst of your afflictions and oppression praise the Lord, Who has found you worthy to suffer for Him, by struggling against the subtlety of the serpent, and to be wounded for Him at every hour; for had you not lived piously, and endeavored to become united to God, the enemy would not have attacked and tormented you. St. John of Kronstadt.

God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold which comes from the devil - for the devil is cold - let us call on the Lord. He will come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but also for our neighbor, and the cold of him who hates the good will flee before the heat of His countenance. St. Seraphim of Sarov

God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold which comes from the devil - for the devil is cold - let us call on the Lord. He will come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but also for our neighbor, and the cold of him who hates the good will flee before the heat of His countenance. St. Seraphim of Sarov, in Modern Orthodox Saints, v. 5

God is fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. And so, if we feel in our hearts coldness, which is from the devil for the devil is cold then let us call upon the Lord and He will come and warm our hearts with perfect love not only for Him but for our neighbor as well. St. Seraphim of Sarov from the preface to his Spiritual Instructions for Laymen and Monks

He who wants to overcome the spirit of slander should not ascribe the blame to the person who falls, but to the demon who suggests it. For no one really wants to sin against God, even though we all sin without being forced to do so. St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step 10: On Slander or Calumny

How many myriads there are of evil demons and how numberless are their varied wiles! . . . They urge us to speak evil of one another, or, speaking sweet words, to conceal bitterness in our hearts, to criticize the outer aspect of our brother, while we harbor a wild beast in ourselves, to quarrel among ourselves and oppose one another, wishing to have our own way and appear as the most upright. Every man who enjoys sinful thoughts falls willingly when he welcomes (as in sympathy with) the suggestions of the enemies and when he expects to justify himself solely by his visible deeds, while within he is the abode of the spirit of wickedness, who teaches him every evil. The body of such a man will be full of shameful uncleanness - for he becomes a prey to devilish passions, which he does not repulse from himself. Demons are not visible bodies, but we become their bodies when our souls accept dark thoughts from them. For, having accepted these thoughts, we accept the demons themselves and make them bodily manifest. St Anthony the Great, "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, (London: Faber and Faber, 1954), pp. 41-44

If someone launches a fierce and determined attack on the demons through his self-control, prayer or any other form of holiness, they retaliate by inflicting deeper wounds upon him. Eventually he is reduced to despair, and feels in his soul that he has received a spiritual death-sentence. He is even brought to say: "Who will deliver me from the body of this death? For I am compelled against my will to submit to the laws of my adversary" (Romans 7:23-24). St. John of Karpathos "The Philokalia: the Complete Text" (volume I), by St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth, trans. By G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and (Bishop) Kallistos Ware, (London: Faber and Faber, 1979), pp. 298 - 309

In the presence of an invisible spirit, the body becomes afraid; but in the presence of an angel, the soul of the humble is filled with joy. Therefore, when we recognize the presence from the effect, let us quickly hasten to prayer, for our good guardian has come to pray with us. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 21: On Unmanly and Puerile Cowardice

In their hatred of our souls, the demons sometimes promptly others to pay us empty compliments, and thus cause us to grow slack because we are praised. If as a result we give way to conceit and self-esteem, our enemies have no difficulty in taking us prisoner. St. John of Karpathos "The Philokalia: the Complete Text" (volume I), by St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth, trans. By G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and (Bishop) Kallistos Ware, (London: Faber and Faber, 1979), pp. 298 - 309

It happens sometimes that the demons suggest some thoughts to you and then urge you to pray against them, to oppose them, and then quickly withdraw to make you fall into delusion, imagining that you have already begun to conquer thoughts and to intimidate the demons. "153 Texts on Prayer", St Nilus of Mt Sinai, "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," translated from the Russian text, "Dobrotolubiye," by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, eighth edition, (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 1981), pp. 127 - 135.

It is known that the body has three kinds of carnal movements.

The first is a natural movement, inherent in it, which does not produce anything (sinful, burdening the conscience) without the consent of the soul and merely lets it be known that it exists in the body.

The second kind of movement in the body is produced by too abundant food and drink, when the resulting heat in the blood stimulates the body to fight against the soul and urges it towards impure lusts. Wherefore the Apostle says: "be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess" (Ephesians 5:18). In the same way the Lord commands His disciples in the Gospels: "take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness" (Luke 21:34). And those who are monks, and are zealous to achieve the full measure of sanctity and purity, should take particular care always to keep themselves such that they can say with the Apostle, "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection" (1 Corinthians 9:27).

The third movement comes from the evil spirits, who thus tempt us out of envy and try to weaken those who have found purity (who are already monks), or to lead astray from the path those who wish to enter into the door of purity (that is, those who are as yet on the threshold of monkhood).

However, if a man arms himself with patience and an unswerving faithfulness to the commandments of God, the Holy Spirit will teach his mind how to purify his soul and body from such movements. But if at any time he weakens in his feeling and permits himself to neglect the commandments and ordinances he has heard, the evil spirits will begin to overpower him, will press upon all parts of the body and will befoul it by this movement, until the tormented soul will not know where to turn, in its despair seeing nowhere whence help could come. Only when sobered, it returns again to the commandments and, shouldering their yoke (or realizing the strength of its obligations), commits itself to the Holy Spirit, it regains a salutary disposition. Then it understands that it should seek peace solely in God, and that only thus is peace possible. St Anthony the Great, "Early Fathers from the Philokalia," translated by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, (London: Faber & Faber, 1981), pp. 39-40.



It is not always possible to fulfill the usual rules; one must take circumstances into account and try to fulfill what they make possible, as far as one can. The demons themselves are not unmindful of this law. So, being in constant enmity with us, they prevent us from doing what is possible and urge us to do what is impossible. Abba Evagrius the Monk(Texts on Active Life no. 28)

It is not darkness and desolateness of place that give the demons power against us, but barrenness of soul. And through God’s providence, this sometimes happens in order that we may learn by it. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 21: On Unmanly and Puerile Cowardice

It seems to me that few people understand the extent of the cunning wickedness of these demons and the way in which they assist one another. I have known the demon of cowardice to fight and work together with that of listlessness. One comes to the aid of the other and reinforces him. The first brings fear and obduracy into the soul, the second produces darkness, negligence, blindness of heart and mind, and finally despair. Listlessness is a real trial for all those engaged in the spiritual struggle, but it becomes for them the ambassador of humility. St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters

It should be known, however, that the unclean spirits obey human beings in two ways. Either they are rendered submissive to the holiness of the faithful through divine grace and power or, having been soothed by sacrifices and by certain songs of the impious, they fawn over them as over friends. St. John Cassian, The Conferences

Keep your mind from malicious thoughts of your neighbors, knowing that such thoughts are hurled by diabolical power, to keep your mind from your own sins and from seeking God Our Holy Father Elias of Egypt (quoted in Prologue, November 3)

Let us charge into the good fight with joy and love without being afraid of our enemies. Though unseen themselves, they can look at the face of our soul, and if they see it altered by fear, they take up arms against us all the more fiercely. For the cunning creatures have observed that we are scared. So let us take up arms against them courageously. No one will fight with a resolute fighter. St. John Climacus

Observe your thoughts, and beware of what you have in your heart and your spirit, knowing that the demons put ideas into you so as to corrupt your soul by making it think of that which is not right, in order to turn your spirit from the consideration of your sins and of God. St. Gregory of Nyssa

Oppose the devil and try to discern his wiles. He usually hides his gall under an appearance of sweetness, so as to avoid detection, and he fabricates various illusions, beautiful to look at – which in reality are not at all what they seem – to seduce your hearts by a cunning imitation of truth, which is rightly attractive. All his art is directed to this end – to oppose by all possible means every soul working well for God. Many and varied are the passions he introduces into the soul to quench the Divine fire, in which all strength lies; but above all he overcomes it by the inertia of the body and all this is connected with it. None the less, when he sees at last that some men guard themselves from all this and accept nothing from him and show no promise of ever obeying him – he withdraws from them with shame. Then the Spirit of God comes to dwell in them. And when the Spirit of God comes to dwell in them, He brings them rest, or lets them enjoy rest in all their activities, and makes the yoke of the Lord sweet for them, as it is written in the Gospels "and ye shall find rest unto your soul" (Matthew 9:29), although they have taken His yoke upon themselves and are bearing it. Then they become indefatigable, both in the practice of virtue and in carrying out obediences and night vigils. They feel no anger at human calumny and have no fear, whether of man, beast or spirit; for the joy of the Lord stays with them day and night, gives life to their reason and is their food. Through this joy the soul grows and becomes apt for all things or perfect; and through this joy it ascends to heaven. St Anthony the Great, "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, (London: Faber and Faber, 1954), pp. 46-51

Q: Can the demons communicate anything good? And how does one discover that it is demonic? And what distinguishes it from something good from God?

A: To someone it might seem that he receives something good, but this is from the evil one for his deception. For every good thing which comes from the devil for the deception of a man, being precisely examined, turns out to be unreal; for the devil is a liar, and there is no truth in him (John 8:44), as is shown by the consequences of that (false good). His light ends in darkness, according to the Apostle’s word which speaks about diabolic heralds transformed into the servants of righteousness "whose end will be according to their deeds" (II Corinthians 11:15); and the Savior says: "From their fruit ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:16). If you investigate with understanding and judgment, you will find in the false good (which comes) from the devil, there was not even a trace of good, but either vainglory, or disturbance, or something similar; but the good which comes from God always increases enlightenment and humility of heart and gives a man quietness.

But when, out of ignorance, we suffer in something from the deception of the evil one, and later we recognize in this a temptation, then let us call ourselves and hasten to Him Who is powerful to do away with this temptation. One should know that to some the difference (between the good of the devil and that of God) is understandable from the very beginning; while to sinners, only at the end (of the temptation), just as a skilled master in gold work can take gold (in his hand) and tell before it is tested with fire of what sort it is, while an unskilled one does not find this out until it has been tested with fire. "Saints Barsanuphius and John: Guidance Toward Spiritual Life," trans. by Fr. Seraphim Rose, (Platina, California: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1990)



Q: Tell me, Master, how can the devil dare in a vision or a fantasy during sleep to show the Master Christ or Holy Communion?

A: He cannot show the Master Christ Himself, nor Holy Communion, but he lies and presents the image of some man and simple bread; but the holy Cross he cannot show, for he does not find means of depicting it in another form.

Inasmuch as we know the true sign and image of the Cross, the devil does not dare to use it (for our deception); for on the Cross his power was destroyed, and by the Cross a fatal wound was given him. The Master Christ we cannot recognize by the flesh, which is why the devil tries to convince us by lying that it is He, so that having believed the deception as if it were truth, we might perish. And thus, when you see in a dream the image of the Cross, know that this dream is true and from God; but strive to receive an interpretation of its significance from the Saints, and do not believe your own idea. May the lord enlighten the thoughts of your mind, O brother, so that you might escape every deception of the enemy. "Saints Barsanuphius and John: Guidance Toward Spiritual Life," trans. by Fr. Seraphim Rose, (Platina, California: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1990)



Reverent carefulness is necessary here because this sea-that is, the heart, with its thoughts and desires, which one must cleanse by means of mindfulness-is great and vast, "and there are numberless reptiles there" (Ps. 103:25), that is, numerous vain, unjust and impure thoughts generated by evil spirits. St Seraphim of Sarov - Spiritual Instructions

Sleep is a particular state of nature, an image of death, inactivity of the senses. Sleep is one, but, like desire, its sources and occasions are many; that is to say, it comes from nature, from food, from demons, or perhaps, sometimes, from extreme and prolonged fasting, through which the flesh is weakened and at last longs for the consolation of sleep. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step19: On Sleep, Prayer, and Psalmody With the Brotherhood

The demons are sleepless and immaterial, death is at hand, and I am weak. Lord, help me; do not let Thy creature perish, for Thou carest for me in my misery. St. Peter of Damascus

The demons in their malice revive and rekindle the unclean passions within us, causing them to increase and multiply. But the visitation of the divine Logos, especially when accompanied by our tears, dissolves and kills the passions, even those that are inveterate. It gradually reduces to nothing the destructive and sinful impulses of soul and body, provided we do not grow listless but cling to the Lord with prayer and with hope that is unremitting and unashamed. St. John of Karpathos "The Philokalia: the Complete Text" (volume I), by St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain and St. Makarios of Corinth, trans. By G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and (Bishop) Kallistos Ware, (London: Faber and Faber, 1979), pp. 298 - 309

The demons that wage war on us through our shortcomings in virtue are those that teach unchastity, drunkenness, avarice and envy. Those that wage war on us through our excessive zeal for virtue teach conceit, self-esteem and pride; they secretly pervert what is commendable into what is reprehensible. St. Maximos the Confessor, Philokalia, Vol. II

The devil has a very close relationship and familiarity with the imagination, and of all the power of the soul he has this one as the most appropriate organ to deceive man and to activate his passions and evils. He indeed is very familiar with the nature of the imagination. For he, being created by God originally as a pure and simple mind without form and image, as the other divine angels, later came to love the forms and the imagination. Imagining that he could set his throne above the heavens and become like God, he fell from being an angel of light and became a devil of darkness. St. Dionysios spoke about this devil. "What is the evil in the devils? Irrational anger; unreasonable desire; and reckless imagination. St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain, A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel

The devil then is the first author of sin, and the father of the wicked: and this is the Lord's saying, not mine, that the devil sinneth from the beginning[2]: none sinned before him. But he sinned, not as having received necessarily from nature the propensity to sin, since then the cause of sin is traced back again to Him that made him so; but having been created good, he has of his own free will become a devil, and received that name from his action. Second Catechetical Lecture Of Our Holy Father Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem, Lecture Ii.- On Repentance And Remission Of Sins, And Concerning The Adversary

The devil, with all his powers, "walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (I Pet. 5:8). So you must never relax your attentiveness of hear, your watchfulness, your power of rebuttal or your prayer to Jesus Christ our God. You will not find a greater help than Jesus in all your life, for He alone, as God, knows the deceitful ways of the demons, their subtlety and their guile. St. Hesychius the Priest

The enemy of our salvation especially strives to draw our heart and mind away from God when we are about to serve Him, and endeavors to adulterously attach our heart to something irrelevant. Be always, every moment, with God, especially when you pray to Him. If you are inconstant, you will fall away from life, and will cast yourself into sorrow and straitness. Martyrius of Edessa

The evil one cannot comprehend the joy we receive from the spiritual life; for this reason he is jealous of us, he envies us and sets traps for us, and we become grieved and fall. We must struggle, because without struggles we do not obtain virtues. Abba Isaiah the Solitary

The evil one cannot comprehend the joy we receive from the spiritual life; for this reason he is jealous of us, he envies us and sets traps for us, and we become grieved and fall. We must struggle, because without struggles we do not obtain virtues. Archimandrite Sophrony

The evil one cannot comprehend the joy we receive from the spiritual life; for this reason he is jealous of us, he envies us and sets traps for us, and we become grieved and fall. We must struggle, because without struggles we do not obtain virtues. Elder Ieronymos of Aegina.

The evil one possesses not evil but life as his essence, and hence he lives immortally. Yet his essence was capable of admitting evil since he was honored with free will. Had he voluntarily accepted a subordinate status and cleaved to the everflowing Well-spring of goodness he would have partaken of true life. But since he deliberately gave himself over to evil, he was deprived of true life and was justly expelled from it, having himself abandoned it in the first place. Thus he became a dead spirit, not in essence - since death lacks substantial reality - but through his rejection of true life. Yet unsated in his pursuit of evil and adding more and more to his wretchedness, he made himself into a death-generating spirit, eagerly drawing man into communion with his own state of death." St. Gregory Palamas (Topics of Natural and Theological Science no. 41, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 365)

The fallen angels do not cease to vex all human societies and each person individually. There is no evil deed, no crime, of which they are not sponsors and participants St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, "Homily on Death"

The said of Abba Pambo that his face never smiled. So one day, wishing to make him laugh, the demons stuck wing feathers on to a lump of wood and brought it in making an uproar and saying, “Go, go!” When he saw them, Abba Pambo began to laugh and the demons started to say in chorus, “Ha! Ha! Pambo has laughed!” But in reply he said to them, “I have not laughed, but I made fun of your powerlessness, because it takes so many of you to carry a wing.” Abba Pambo, from Sr. Benedicta Ward, “The Desert Christian,” (New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1975), pp. 195 - 198

The whole essence and effort of the devil is to separate and remove our attention from God and entice it toward worldly concerns and pleasures. He works interiorly, in the heart, suggesting good works and resolutions and reasonable, or rather unreasonable, thoughts. We must not pay the slightest attention to these things. The spiritual combat consists in keeping the mind fixed on God, in not entertaining or approving impure thoughts, and in not paying any attention to the phantasms which the detestable, diabolic picture maker stirs up in our imagination. St. John Chrysostom

The whole warfare of the demons against us is waged with the one purpose of alienating those who obey them from the glory of God and the grace of the Holy Spirit. But, as I see it, we have already deprived ourselves of such a gift before they even attack us, because we have forsaken the commandments of God and have not been eager to seek Him with all our soul. Had we sought Him we should not have lived so idly and carelessly! Had we been concerned for the things of heaven we should not have shown such great eagerness for the things of earth. Had our thoughts been on things incorruptible we should not have gaped greedily after the things that are transitory and corruptible. Had we striven for things eternal we should not thus have pursued things temporal. Had we loved God we should not thus have turned away from those who guide us to Him. Had we sought to acquire virtues we would not have abhorred the teachers of virtues. Had we gladly embraced fasting we should not have complained of the lack of food and drink. Had we fought to gain control over our passions we should not have given ourselves unrestrainedly to pleasures. Had we a right and firm faith we should not have performed the works of faithlessness...Had we been found worthy to attain true love we should have known God. St. Simeon the New Theologian - The Discourses

There are said to be five reasons why God allows us to be assailed by demons. The first is so that, by attacking and counter-attacking, we should learn to discriminate between virtue and vice. The second is so that, having acquired virtue through conflict and toil, we should keep it secure and immutable. The third is so that, when making progress in virtue, we should not become haughty but learn humility. The fourth is so that, having gained some experience of evil, we should 'hate it with a perfect hatred' (cf. Ps. 139:22). The fifth and most important is so that, having achieved dispassion, we should forget neither our own weakness nor the power of Him who has helped us. St. Maximos the Confessor(Second Century on Love no. 67)

This deceiver and corrupter of souls has often driven many out of their mind. No other thought is so difficult to tell in confession as this. That is why it often remains with many to the very end of their lives. For nothing gives the demons and bad thoughts such power over us as nourishing and hiding them in our heart unconfessed. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978),STEP 23: On Mad Pride, and, in the Same Step, on Unclean Blasphemous Thoughts

Virtues do not stop demons attacking us, but keep us unscathed by them. Abba Evagrius the Monk(Texts on Active Life no. 49)

When the Devil is in our heart...everything irritates it, it feels an aversion to every good work; the words and acts of other persons in reference to ourselves we interpret falsely and see in them ill-will and designs against our honour, and therefore we feel a deep, deadly hatred towards them; we are infuriated and long for vengeance." St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ, Part 1; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 24)

When the devil with his demons had succeeded in having man banished from the garden of Eden through transgression, and in separating from God, he acquired access to the reasoning power of every man, so that he can agitate a man's mind by day or by night; sometimes much, sometimes a little, and sometimes exceedingly. And there is no protection against this except through constant remembrance of God; in other words, if the memory of God, engraved in the heart by the power of the cross, strengthens the mind in its steadfastness. To this end lead all the efforts of mental struggle, which it is the duty of every Christian to practice in the field of faith. That man will struggle in vain for whom this is not so. St. Symeon the New Theologian, Writings from the Philokalia on the Prayerof the Heart

When the sly demon, after using many devices, fails to hinder the prayer of the diligent, he desists a little; but when the man has finished his prayer, he takes his revenge. He either fires his anger and thus destroys the fair state produced by prayer, or excites an impulse towards some animal pleasure and thus mocks his mind. "153 Texts on Prayer", St Nilus of Mt Sinai, "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," translated from the Russian text, "Dobrotolubiye," by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, eighth edition, (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 1981), pp. 127 - 135.

Why do demons wish to excite in us gluttony, fornication, greed, anger, rancor and other passions? So that the mind, under their weight, should be unable to pray as it ought; for when the passions of our irrational part begin to act, they prevent the mind from acting rationally. "153 Texts on Prayer", St Nilus of Mt Sinai, "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," translated from the Russian text, "Dobrotolubiye," by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, eighth edition, (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 1981), pp. 127 - 135.

You should also know the following subterfuge of the demons: at times they divide themselves into groups. Some come with a temptation; and when you ask for help others come in the guise of angels and chase away the first, to make you believe that they are true angels, and fall into vainglory, through having been granted such a thing. "153 Texts on Prayer", St Nilus of Mt Sinai, "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," translated from the Russian text, "Dobrotolubiye," by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, eighth edition, (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 1981), pp. 127 - 135.

Nor should it astound anyone that the Devil is reported in this Book as having first spoken the Name of Jesus of Nazareth (cf. Lk. 4:32-34). But Christ did not receive from him the Name which the Angel brought down from Heaven to the Virgin (cf. Lk. 1:31): it is a mark of the Devil's impudence that he first usurps something among men and brings it down to men as if new, in order to instill terror of his power. Then, in Genesis, too, he is the first to proclaim God to man, for thus ye have: "And he said to the woman, 'Why hath God commanded that ye should not eat of every tree'" (Gen. 3:1)? So each is deceived by the Devil, but healed by Christ. St. Ambrose of Milan, Exposition of the Holy Gospel According to Saint Luke.





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We confidently recommend our web service provider, Orthodox Internet Services: excellent personal customer service, a fast and reliable server, excellent spam filtering, and an easy to use comprehensive control panel.

St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas