Saturday, August 8, 2015

Altar to sin

"From the passions embedded in the soul the demons take their starting base to stir up passionate thoughts in us.  Then, by making war on the mind through them they force it to go along and consent to sin.  When it is overcome they lead it on to a sin of thought, and when this is accomplished they finally bring it as a prisoner to the deed.  After this, at length, the demons who have devastated the soul through thoughts withdraw with them.  In the mind there remains only the idol of sin [(τὸ εἴδωλον τῆς ἁμαρτίας)] about which the Lord says, 'When you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place, let him who reads understand.'  Man's mind is a holy place and a temple of God in which demons have laid waste the soul through passionate thoughts and set up the idol of sin [(τὸ εἴδωλον τῆς ἁμαρτίας)]."

     Maximus the Confessor, Four hundred chapters on love 2.31, trans. George C. Berthold, in Maximus Confessor:  selected writings,Classics of Western spirituality (New York:  Paulist Press, 1985), 51.  Capitoli sulla carità, ed. Aldo Ceresa-Gastaldo, Verba seniorum n.s. 3 (Roma : Editrice Studium, 1963), 106; PG 90, col. .  Was it Jim Elliot who spoke of the "altar to sin"?

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