Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

evil

5 Entries

Evil is not an actual substance, but absence of good; just as darkness is nothing but absence of light. "Reflections on the Eight Thoughts", Abba Evagrius, "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. 113 - 114



Evil is not to be imputed to the essence of created beings, but to their erroneous and mindless motivation. St. Maximos the Confessor (Fourth Century on Love no. 14)

Inside us evil is at work suggesting unworthy inclinations. However, it is not in us in the same way as, to take as an example, water mixes with wine. Evil is in us without being mixed with good. We are a field in which wheat and weeds are growing separately. We are a house in which there is a thief, but also the owner. We are a spring which rises from the middle of the mud, but pours out pure water. All the same, it is enough to stir up the mud and the spring is fouled. It is the same with the soul. If the evil is spread, it forms a unity with the soul and makes it dirty. With our consent, evil is united with the soul; they become accomplices. Yet there comes a moment when the soul can free itself and remain separate again: in repentance, contrition, prayer, recourse to God. The soul could not benefit from these habits if it were always sunk in evil. It is like a marriage. A woman is united with a man and they become one flesh. But when one of them dies, the other is left alone. But union with the Holy Spirit is complete. So, let us become a single spirit with Him. Let us be wholly absorbed by grace. St. Macarius the Great, Homily 16

The beginning of evil is heedlessness. Abba Poemen

You know that evil entered into us through the transgression of the commandments. Hence it is obvious that by keeping them, evil departs from us. But without the doing of the commandments we should not even aspire or hope for purity of soul, because at the very outset we do not walk on the path that leads us to purity of soul. Do not say that God can give us the grace of purity of soul even without our keeping the commandments. Epistle to Abba Symeon in The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the





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