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The eight passions

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#1 Alice


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Posted 21 September 2013 - 02:37 PM

By St. John of Damascus
You should also learn to distinguish the impassioned thoughts that promote every sin. The thoughts that encompass all evil are eight in number: those of gluttony, unchastity, avarice, anger, dejection, listlessness, self-esteem and pride. It does not lie within our power to decide whether or not these eight thoughts are going to arise and disturb us. But to dwell on them or not to dwell on them, to excite the passions or not to excite them, does lie within our power.
In this connection, we should distinguish between seven different terms: provocation, coupling, passion, wrestling, captivity, assent (which comes very close to performance), and actualization. Provocation is simply a suggestion coming from the enemy, like "do this" or "do that," such as our Lord himself experienced when he heard the words, "Command that these stones become bread." Coupling is the acceptance of the thought suggested by the enemy. It means dwelling on the thought and choosing deliberately to dally with it in a pleasurable manner. Passion is the state resulting from coupling ... it means letting the imagination brood on the thought continually. Wrestling is the resistance offered to the impassioned thought.... Captivity is the forcible and compulsive abduction of the heart already dominated by prepossession and long habit. Assent is giving approval to the passion inherent in the thought. Actualization is the putting the impassioned thought into effect once it has received our assent. If we can confront the first of these things, the provocation, in a dispassionate way, or firmly rebut it at the outset, we thereby cut off at once everything that comes after.
These eight passions should be destroyed as follows:
gluttony by self-control;
unchastity by the desire for God and longing for the blessings held in store;
avarice by compassion for the poor;
anger by goodwill and love for all men;
worldly dejection by spiritual joy;
listlessness by patience, perseverance, and offering thanks to God;
self-esteem by doing good in secret and by praying with a contrite heart;
and pride by not judging or despising anyone in the manner of the boastful Pharisee, and by considering oneself the least of all men.
When the nous has been freed in this way from the passions we have described and been raised to God, it will henceforth lead the life of blessedness, receiving the pledge of the Holy Spirit. And when it departs this life, dispassionate and full of true knowledge, it will stand before the light of the Holy Trinity and with the divine angels will shine in glory through all eternity.
From On Virtues and Vices.


#2 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 06:50 PM

Easier said than done.

#3 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 06:32 AM

A daily battle, Alice.


I find that this nightly prayer is helpful.


Evening prayer to the Holy Spirit





0 Lord, Heavenly
King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, show compassion and have mercy on me Thy
sinful servant, and loose me from mine unworthiness, and forgive all wherein I
have sinned against Thee today as a man, and not only as a man, but even worse
than a beast, my sins voluntary and involuntary, known and unknown, whether
from youth, and from evil suggestion, or whether from brazenness and
despondency. If I have sworn by Thy name, or blasphemed it in my thought; or
grieved anyone, or have become angry about anything; or have lied, or slept
needlessly, or if a beggar hath come to me and I disdained him; or if I have
grieved my brother, or have quarreled, or have condemned anyone; or if I have
been boastful, or prideful, or angry; if, as I stood at prayer, my mind hath
been distracted by the wiles of this world, or by thoughts of depravity; or if
I have over eaten, or have drunk excessively, or laughed frivolously; if I have
thought evil, seen the beauty of an! other and been wounded thereby in my
heart; if I have said improper things, or derided my brother's sin when mine
own sins are countless; if I have been neglectful of prayer, or have done some
other wrong that I do not remember, for all of this and more than this have I
done: have mercy, 0 Master my Creator, me Thy downcast and unworthy servant,
and loose me, and remit, and forgive me, for Thou art good and the Lover of
mankind, so that, lustful, sinful, and wretched as I am, I may lie down and
sleep and rest in peace. And I shall worship, and hymn, and glorify Thy most
honorable name, together with the Father and His Only-begotten Son, now and
ever, and unto the ages.




#4 Owen Jones

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 01:03 PM

I think the point is that this is our work.  And work, done well, is very fulfilling. 

#5 YvetteC



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Posted 15 December 2013 - 06:41 AM

I have every one of these except avarice (except wanting to have enough money--I don't crave wealth) and "unchastity," which has never been an issue for me.  My gluttony is in the form of food.  People with severe depression tend to either not eat or to eat too much.  Unfortunately, I'm in the second category, and it's probably associated with growing up in poverty. 


The self-esteem issue for me is a total lack thereof (rather than arrogance) but not in a modest or humility sort of way, which I think is the ideal.  Rather, I have zero self-esteem.  I think that 'passion' in either extreme--where it becomes arrogance/pride or self-loathing--is a sin, so I figure I'm still doing it wrong there. 


All of these are extremely difficult to combat or control. 

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