21 April 2008

Patristic Quote of the Day

Help me, O Master of all, defend the infirmity of my soul, that I might be delivered from sinful corruption and freed from the bonds of the passions. May malice not torment me and may the hostile demon not take me captive, but may the kingdom of Thy divine and venerable Spirit come upon me, and cause the corrupt passions which now possess and reign in me to withdraw from me. For Thou art a God of mercy, compassion and love for mankind. -- St. Ephraim the Syrian, *A Spiritual Psalter* #34


Robert said...

Whenever I read a quote like this, I'm struck by how wary of the concept of passion the early church fathers were, and really how much so the Bible is as well. We are instructed to give up youthful passions, for instance.

Whereas in the modern American church, passion seems to be at the core of everything -- passionate worship services, passionate sex within marriage, etc. Even when I was teaching in a Christian college, what passed for academic advising was couched as "finding your passion". Somewhere we substituted the word "passion" for the more Biblical concept of "vocation", which I guess is too dull to expect college students to understand. (sarcasm)

There is passion in the Christian faith, but it's not the kind that engulfs you from the inside out via your own feelings. The early church seemed to have a much better handle on that than we do now.

William Weedon said...

Yes, it's amazing to me how the NT's words on this seem to be lost to us today. I'm very thankful for the way St. Ephraim and other writers (especially in the Philokalia) bring this out.