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Cutting off the hand that causes you to sin


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#1 Guest_Augustine Martin

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 12:16 PM

Christ said that if your hand or your eye causes you to sin, you should cut it off. So is there a tradition among monastics of castration? Or at least of crushing one's testicles (perhaps with a hammer) so that you will not be as prone to lust?

#2 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 12:27 PM

I believe that Origin was a proponent and practitioner of such a tradition, but he is decidedly NOT a saint. This idea has been denounced by the Church at large. I am pretty sure that hammers have never played a major role in Orthodox practice.

Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 28 March 2012 - 02:29 AM.


#3 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 01:39 PM

So is there a tradition among monastics of castration? Or at least of crushing one's testicles (perhaps with a hammer) so that you will not be as prone to lust?

I will, should be acceptable to you, reply in reverse order for I think it more meet to build up from the lower to the higher, that is from by answer on this to the quotes of the Holy Fathers on the Holy Gospel.

In regard to this as tempting as it might be to anyone suffering from the passion of lust this is not right to do our father amongst the saints John Chrysostom warned strongly against this saying it would only increase the passion further. As Abbot Moses explains in the conferences of Saint John Cassian the goal of the Christian life which we should always set before us lest we waver with out a goal to aim for is the is purification of the heart such an action as you said would only remove the physical ability to sin it would neither remove the lust of the mind nor the passion from the heart which can be removed only by the mercy of Christ on living a humble Christian life in obedience to ones spiritual father, and whenever falling getting back up again. Saint Ambrose of Milan said a good solider ought not fall but if he should he should get back up again, that is the way to the removing of the passion the purification of the heart and the kingdom of Heaven.

Christ said that if your hand or your eye causes you to sin, you should cut it off.

Indeed but this must be taken more than just the appearance of the words the mystery must be sought.

"Because the Lord had taught us not to offend those who believe on Him, He now as next in order warns us how much we should beware of those who offend us, that is, who by their words or conduct strive to drag us into the perdition of sin; wherefore He says,
'And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off.'
That is, He calls by the name of hand, our intimate friend, of whose aid we daily stand in need; but if such an one should wish to do us a hurt in what concerns our soul, he is to be driven away from our society, lest by choosing a portion in this life with one who is lost, we should perish together with him in that which is to come." - Venerable Bede, as recorded in the Catena Aurea.

"It is not the eye that sees, but the mind and the thought. Often, for instance, we being wholly turned elsewhere, our eye sees not those who are present. So that the matter does not entirely depend upon its working. Again, had He been speaking of members of the body, He would not have said it of one eye, nor of the right eye only, but of both. For he who is offended by his right eye, most evidently will incur the same evil by his left also. Why then did He mention the right eye, and add the hand? To show thee that not of limbs is He speaking, but of them who are near unto us. Thus, “If,” saith He, “thou so lovest any one, as though he were in stead of a right eye; if thou thinkest him so profitable to thee as to esteem him in the place of a hand, and he hurts thy soul; even these do thou cut off.” - Saint John Chrysostom on the Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew.

“'If thy hand, or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: for it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or feet to be cast into the fire. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out; it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into the furnace of fire;' not saying these things of limbs; far from it; but of friends, of relations, whom we regard in the rank of necessary members. This He had both said further back, and now He saith it. For nothing is so hurtful as bad company. For what things compulsion cannot, friendship can often effect, both for hurt, and for profit. Wherefore with much earnestness He commands us to cut off them that hurt us, intimating these that bring the offenses.

Seest thou how He hath put away the mischief that would result from the offenses? By foretelling that there surely will be offenses, so that they might find no one in a state of carelessness, but that looking for them men might be watchful. "- Saint John Chrysostom on the Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew.

In Christ.
Daniel,

#4 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 10:39 PM

A way that I have read it is forcing people to take responsibility for their choices. They claim that they did not sin. Instead their eye sinned or their hand sinned. Therefore, they could not be held responsible for the sin. Christ's response was to call their bluffs. If your eye forced you to sin, why haven't you removed it? If your hand forced you to sin, then why haven't you removed it? In other words, stop blaming something else for ones own sins.

#5 Niko T.

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 08:24 PM

"Some have extolled those who are eunuchs by nature, because they are delivered from the martyrdom of the body; but I daily extol those who make themselves eunuchs by castrating their bad thoughts as with a knife."
St. John of the Ladder, from Step 15 of the Ladder of Divine Ascent, "On incorruptible purity and chastity..."




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