What does “Truth Is A Person” mean? This question can be answered on different grounds. These grounds can be Revelation, Scripture, Religion and Philosophy. Revelation At every morning service we chant “God is is the Lord and has appeared unto us. Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.” This troparion involves us in the Theophany that the Lord always reveals Himself to us. We participate in this Theophany when we chant this daily, noetic prayer. Scripture At John 14: 6 we hear the Lord inform the Apostle Thomas “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Scripture attests to these titles or names that the Lord applies to Himself for our sake. The “Way,” “Truth” and “Life” are titles or names of the Lord by which we may come to understand and perceive the Lord noetically. Religion “Truth” (spelt with an upper-case T) is a religious term. It is distinct from “truth” (spelt with a lower-case t) which is a philosophical term. “Truth” as a religious term refers to a title or name of the Lord that uses Biblical language. The noetic understanding and perception of the Lord is a religious phenomenon. Philosophy The philosophical term“truth” (spelt with a lower-case t) is distinct from the term “Truth” (spelt with an upper-case T.) As a philosophical term, “truth” is generally used and understood in a logical sense. For example, “A is A.” This can be expressed negatively, for example, “A is not not-A.” For example, if A is “truth,” then “truth” is not “not-truth.” Another term for “not-truth” is “falsity.” No-one would deny that “true” and “false” are generally used and understood as logical opposites of each other. There are many other philosophical approaches and practices besides logic that apply to “truth” when used as a philosophical term. I will not discuss them here. I will just say that philosophy is distinct from Revelation, Scripture and Religion. Whoever does philosophy should do it well. An Orthodox Christian may practice philosophy if he wishes. An Orthodox Christian should know the difference when he is noetically involved in Revelation, Scripture and Religion and when he is instead just practicing philosophy. Noetic understanding and perception occur in the nous which is the faculty or part of the soul whereby a man may understand and perceive divine activities and energies. Noetic undestanding and perception are a direct comprehension of the Lord through His divine activities and energies. Noetic understanding and perception occur by divine Grace. In other words, Revelation, Scripture and Religion are understood noetically by divine Grace. An Orthodox Christian should be doing what he can to involve himself in Revelation, Scripture and Religion. He will do so in repentance. He will do so by the Lord’s Grace. He will do so in his nous. This is the normal practice of standard Orthodox Christian life. When an Orthodox Christian practises philosophy, he is not doing so in his nous, he is doing so in his dianous. The term dianous refer to what is generally used and understood by the word “mind.” Revelation, Scripture and Religion are not understood or perceived in the dianous. Revelation, Scripture and Religion are understood or perceived noetically, in the nous, as we have said. But instead, philosophy is done in the dianous or “mind.” It is in his dianous or “mind” that an Orthodox Christian practises speculative, reflective, abstract thought. This is the work of philosophy. An Orthodox Christian practises philosophy in his dianous or “mind.” An Orthodox Christian who practises philosophy should do it well. He should do it well for his own sake, so that he is not confused or deceived in his dianous or “mind” by the philosophy or sophistry of others. He should also do it well when he engages philosophically with others. An Orthodox Christian must engage philosophically with those who lack a noetic understanding and perception of the Lord in Revelation, Scripture and Religion because they have no other way to engage with him. An Orthodox Christian would do well to be clear when he is practising philosophy with others when all are referring to Revelation, Scripture and Religion. If he himself refers to Revelation, Scripture and Religion, it should be clear to him that those who lack a noetic understanding and perception of Revelation, Scripture and Religion will not be able to make sense of what he is saying noetically. That is fine and ok, but it should be understood that this is the point of disengagement between those who understand noetically and those who only understand dianoetically. An Orthodox Christian should know that the noetic understanding and perception of Revelation, Scripture and Religion is not accessible to those who only understand dianoetically. It is fine and ok for an Orthodox Christian to let those who only understand dianoetically know that this is a point of difference and disengagement between them. When an Orthodox Christian tries to explain what “Truth Is A Person” means to those who only understand dianoetically, he should explain to them that the noetic understanding and perception of this phrase is inaccessible to them. All the same, he and they can still engage philosophically with this phrase, but all should be clear that those who only understand dianoetically will miss the noetic understanding and perception of this phrase. There is still value in speculative, reflective, abstract thought in the dianous or “mind,” even when engaging philosophically with this phrase, but there is is a problem here. The problem is that the noetic understanding and perception of this phrase, of the Lord, of Revelation, Scripture and Religion has a built-in sense of reverence. This sense of reverence is a Grace of the Lord. Whoever engaging philosophically with Revelation, Scripture and Religion, but lacks a noetic understanding and perception of these things, also lacks this sense of reverence. This reverence is a Grace of the Lord that is given to an Orthodox Christian so that he may not be damaged or harmed by the holiness of Revelation, Scripture and Religion. For this reason, it is spiritually dangerous to engage philosophically with the term “Truth is a Person.” That is not to say that this danger cannot be negotiated. An Orthodox Christian may retain his reverence even while engaging philosophically with the term “Truth is a Person.” However, those who lack a noetic understanding and perception, those who lack the in-built sense of reverence given by Grace, may be damaged or harmed by irreverently engaging philosophically with the term “Truth is a Person.” Where is the liability for this damage or harm? Those who engage irreverently with the holiness of Revelation, Scripture and Religion through their own ignorance may or may not be liable. The Lord will decide. But an Orthodox Christian who has received the Grace of reverence is not ignorant of the risk of spiritual danger or harm. An Orthodox Christian is aware of his liability if he engages in irreverently with the holiness of Revelation, Scripture and Religion. But there is more. An Orthodox Christian is also aware of his own liability if he allows or enables others to engage irreverently with the holiness of Revelation, Scripture and Religion through their own ignorance. He is himself not ignorant of the risk of danger or harm that they pose unto themselves. An Orthodox Christian knows that he should not allow or enable others to damage or harm themselves through their own ignorance by engaging irreverently with holiness of Revelation, Scripture and Religion. An Orthodox Christian should be aware of his own liability in such a case. Is philosophy the same thing as apologetics? Of course not. The role of apologetics is rightly given to our Bishops (and by extension, their designated priests.) Our Church blesses them with this charism so that they may not be damaged or harmed, or allow damage or harm to come to others, when they engage in apologetics. Laymen do not engage in apologetics. Does that mean that laymen may not philosophize with others? Of course not! Of course, laymen may philosophize with others. When laymen philosophize with others, they are aware that they are not engaging in apologetics. They are aware that they are only practising philosophy. Laymen are also aware of the risk of danger or harm that they pose unto themselves or to others if either they who are Orthodox Christians or those others who are not Orthodox Christians bring a sense of irreverence to any philosophical activity that engages with the holiness of Revelation, Scripture and Religion. An Orthodox Christian knows that a philosophical discussion of the phrase “Truth is a Person” is also an engagement with the holiness of Revelation, Scripture and Religion. In such a case, an Orthodox Christian knows that he is himself definitely liable for any damage or harm caused either to himself or to those others who themselves lack a noetic understanding of Revelation, Scripture and Religion, even if that irreverence is caused by their own ignorance. An Orthodox Christian does not judge, blame or condemn those others for their their ignorance. Even God the Father does not judge, blame or condemn anyone for his ignorance, for God the Father has given all Judgment to His Son. The Son is He Who has appeared unto us so that we may not be ignorant of Him, so that we might chant every morning “God is is the Lord and has appeared unto us. Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.”
There were two monks on Mt Athos that shared a cell their whole monastic life. They knew each other so well. They never had an argument. Everything was so good that they thought something was missing. They felt that there was no temptation or provocation in their situation with each other. One day, they decided to have a mock-argument in order just to test themselves, so that they might profit spiritually from the exercise. The topic in itself wasn’t important to them. They believed their spiritual balance was stable enough to undertake the exercise without harm to their spiritual condition. However, it secretly allowed the evil one to introduce a contentious spirit into their situation. This contention didn’t go away. It eventually led to disrespect and condemning of each other. The rift widened to the point that they could no longer live together. They were not in fact able to preserve their spiritual balance. What started as an exercise became a real fall for both of them. What can we say? We can say they were correct that things were indeed originally missing in their original situation when everything on the surface seemed fine to them. But they were wrong. Firstly, they had stopped relying on the providence of God Who knew they were so weak and were unable to bear certain temptations and Who was shielding them from these temptations all the while. Then they prescribed spiritual medicine to themselves without a blessing, listening to no-one. All of this came about through their inner negligence, their forgetfulness and through their spiritual insensitivity. Step-by-step, they fell into a fall because they were not faithful to their cenobitic way of life that was designed to shelter them from their own presumption and delusion. Their lack of inner vigilance was at the root of their fall. It allowed the evil one to whisper into their hearts that same temptation of our Lord in the Desert (Mt 4: 5-7) Who said, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” (Deut 6:16.)
What are virtues and passions and what is the the relationship between them? I don’t find useful the idea that a passion is just a virtue-gone-wrong, i.e. into its negative mode. I’ve seen many heterodox charts displaying this idea. I prefer to think that virtues aren’t transmutable, as being solely divine energetically, incapable of losing their divine character. I think that divine virtues ground good, downstream moral actions. I’d say virtues are always divine and never human. Using this language, then one won’t make the mistake of considering those purely human, so-called ‘good’ morals (that even atheists and heretics agree upon) to be good in a divine way (that is, there is no imitatio possible in my orthopraxis.) In my orthopraxis, of course we do everything we can. That is no credit to ourselves. We don’t even notice it. It’s automatic. But I ask the Lord to do everything. I don’t even ask the Lord to help me to do things. I just do everything I can, automatically and unthinkingly. I consider my efforts to be nothing. Some people ask the Lord for help and strength in undertaking. That’s fine. I ask the Lord to do everything after I do everything that I can but account it as nothing. The Lord takes all the credit, all the glory, whatever the outcome. It’s His providence. It’s His grace, if He grants it, or grants something else I could not have imagined. The corollary is that I get all the blame if I do not do everything that I can. Immediately, I have no way to avoid this blame and am presented with the necessity to repent, regardless of the outcome. Even if I exert myself fully, repentance is still an outcome of the failure in the shortfall of my efforts exerted to their maximum degree. In simple summary, when virtues are considered to be solely and exclusively divine, and not a humanistic property, then a man will take no credit for any so-called ‘good’ he does.
Someone recently related to me his recollections of Geronda Makarios at skete Marouda on Mt Athos about 10 years ago. Here is what he remembers: I turned up at skete Marouda with a letter of introduction from a Serbian monk who knew Geronda Makarios. I was a novice at that time in Serbia with the blessing to make a pilgrimage to Mt Athos. Geronda Makarios received me graciously. I stayed there for a week or so by his gracious hospitality. He had 2 or 3 monks with him. While I was there, Geronda Makarios was serving at the Protaton in Kareyes. One of his brethren, the young Hieromonk Pavlos, stayed behind at the skete to do the services while Geronda was away. Fr Pavlos was of a very quiet and self-controlled disposition. He had the unusual blessing to go unshod, in any weather, including snow. His feet were in terrible condition and looked like cauliflowers. The other young novice brother, forgive me, whose name I forget, was required by Geronda to telephone his mother. This was clearly extraordinary, but that day was his mother’s birthday. He clearly didn’t ask for this blessing on his own behalf, but also clearly obeyed Geronda with unquestioning alacrity. It seemed like Geronda was sensitive to the psychological bond between such a young novice and his presumeably pious mother. Geronda Makarios was extremely popular with the troubled youth of Greece, especially those mixed up by and recovering from the disturbances of hedonistic life. His skete was full of young, urban men seeking his guidance. They were clearly able to find a way out of the mess of their lives by his counsel. They also gladly lent their strength to the labours of construction at the skete, as a new chapel was being built at that time. Constructive, physical work as an indispensible accompaniment to repentant prayer is ideal for men, especially young, modern men who often lack such opportunities in typical city life. Geronda’s disposition was very quiet and he had a direct way of listening. When he spoke, he was very frank and matter of fact, often with a light touch of humour that dispelled anxiety. He always quickly found a point of view that psychologically pierced the heart of the matter. He seemed to dispense with worries that were of a neurotic concern, say, with social pressures within Church life, etc. His fluency in English displayed a high degree of functionality. I understood that he entered monastic life on Mt Athos when he was 17 years old. I wondered how he could develop such fluency in language except by the Lord’s providence and grace. One felt an ease of expression and communication with him. This aspect no doubt contributed to his popularity as a confessor and spiritual guide. Geronda hardly seemed to eat yet was solicitous of his guests and brethren at trapeza. He was as generous with his food, time, hospitality and counsel as he was in strict in ascesis towards himself. He tried not to draw attention to his oikonomia towards others and his akrivia towards himself but it is something that a novice like myself who was seeking to learn from the example of his elders would definitely notice. Geronda’s quietness and brevity of speech was reflected in the disposition of his few brethren. In spite of the sheer number of visitors, the brethren were themselves very laconic and able to guard their inner solitude. Their love and obedience to their elder was palpable. They knew what was needed of them at any time, seemingly without ever being told. They seemed to be able to practise their inner quietness even while the skete was full of guests and visitors. This is not an easy thing to do. I think that maybe the Lord rewarded Geronda’s disciples with this grace of inner quietness as a response to their love for their elder in the conformity of their disposition towards his wishes. This is a rare grace and probably accounts for the small number of his disciples. I am grateful for having witnessed it in action. Usually, novices like myself fail to love and are bound up in our own selfish concerns. We deprive ourselves of such grace and would not allow ourselves to bear such privations. The obedience of which I had the privilege to share was to make komboskini using the seed “Tears of the Virgin” https://athosgifts.com/products/Tears-of-Virgin-Mary-prayer-rope-50-beads-p456135014 that grows exclusively on Mount Athos. This small, grey seed has a natural channel in the centre that easily takes a wire through it. The work is a little painful to the fingertips, which seems appropriate somehow. There was a long-standing, returning guest present while I was there. A Greek layman, iconographer, married but whose family was disunited, and who himself lived in the world like a ‘secret’ monk, obviously under the guidance of his Geronda. This man had had the blessing to restore and regild the Portaitissa icon of the Panaghia at Iveron monstery which I had just visited and venerated a few days before. Years later, I had some historical information from a monk who knew Geronda Makarios from their mutual days together at Philotheou monastery. This monk had been there for 17 years. Geronda was part of that generation of elders from Philitheou monastery that fanned out into the rest of Mt Athos and elsewhere, bringing with them the grace, influence and charism of Elder Joseph the Hesychast. For example, as we know, Elder Ephraim eventually went to Arizona, Elder Joseph went to Vatopedi while Elder Makarios went to Marouda, etc. This dramatization https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii1OsrpeFSQ&feature=youtu.be shows the Elder to be a lot older from what I remember, but with that same frank but gentle touch in his dealings with people, always going to the main issue in a practical way whereby we have the real opportunity to express our will in a concrete and constructive way for the improvement of our spiritual condition. Here he is https://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodoxengagement/proskynima_pilgrims_on_athos dealing with a group of American, probably ex-Protestant clergy. Geronda’s novel use of language, i.e. so-called “Protestantism” within Orthodox Church life as an expression of an overly-prescriptive approach to piety, would have cut to the core of his sensitive guests but without antagonizing them or provoking resistance in them. Geronda seems to allow others to grant licence to themselves to be themselves because, quite frankly, no progress can even begin except from a sure and honest appraisal of one’s own fundamental, psychological formation. Maybe for this same reason, the licence to begin spiritual life each day on the basis of one’s present but deplorable condition, that Geronda received an injection https://athosweblog.com/2021/11/24/2224-latest-news-about-covid/ not out of concern for his own mortality for his own life’s sake, but as a show of trust, whether guided or misguided, in the teaching of his present medical authorities on Mt Athos, while still attributing all factors and circumstances to the providence of the Lord. I remember myself experiencing a severe bout of influenza in Serbia at the time of the so-called “Swine Flu” in Europe. I very nearly died at that time. I had no-one dependent on me and could have died with no regrets, but I can believe that Geronda Makarios would choose to maintain the conditions of his life, as much as he understood them to be, according to the circumstances of his responsibilities towards others. Although I perhaps differ from Geronda in my understanding of pharmakeia, I believe his motivations maybe sprang from his own taste of death, especially if he had experienced a flu more severe than mine, and that he in his compassion towards others would hope to shield them from the taste of such corruption. This taste of death and corruption is a bitter and ugly thing, with no goodness in it. I can believe that if a soul can return itself to the Lord without knowing such bitterness directly or too soon, then perhaps a Christian can mature in his life without being crushed by the despair from which we all generally emerge. Bitterness and despair is the secret food of monks, and is entirely appropriate for them, for they live as dead men. But monks will not expose frail laymen to this experiential knowledge of death, because most laymen, especially the mixed-up, modern youth of contemporary urban culture, are so defective in their formation that they have not yet even begun to live and do not know how to begin. Geronda Makarios in his compassion understands this psychological condition, and it is his great gift to help another man to locate within hjmself that exact point from where his spiritual life might necessarily have to start.
If faith is measurable, then it is deficient. The monk who keeps not his cell-rule. The layman who avoids Church services. The ortho-internet personality curating his brand. The bishop as a law-clerk. It is so simple. Their deficient faith is measured by their want of prayer. And even if they do pray? Well, to the extent that their prayer might be mechanical and lacking pain of heart, then that prayer is null. And if their prayer is contaminated by delusion? If they take pride in their piety? If they are satisfied in their spiritual work? If they are not driven to pierce the essence of their prayers? Impurity is unaware of its own presence in a soul. Whoever is deficient in faith is oblivious to his lack of prayer, and insensible to its low quality. Such a man is easily deluded. He automatically accepts reasons, rationales, interpretations, excuses, etc., that justify his undeveloping, spiritual praxis. See how his life gets more bizarre, more eccentric, more characteristic, more idiosyncratic. The more overt his personality, the more degenerate becomes his soul. And then the more he masks this degeneracy through the social activity of his monastic life, or family and professional life, or digital life, or hierarchical life. And no-one notices. Whoever is faithful to seeking the truth at all costs does well, but not well enough. It is not enough to merely embody correct dogma, even when one does so by divine grace. A man also needs to pierce the truth of his own sin. The monk, the layman, the virtual man, the hierarch. Everyone needs to continually start at the beginning because, for everyone, the beginning of faith is repentance. For faith to live in a man, the struggler needs to forever stop in his spiritual tracks and go back to the beginning where he finds his repentance. Repentance is the beginning of faith. Faith is always deficient when it lacks repentance. This is good news, for where repentance is, then even a man’s apparently absent faith is entirely sufficient for him. Repentance is the sign of even an absent or atrophied faith’s efficiency. This fact causes more sorrow to the penitent man, and rightly so, when he realises the fragility of his faith. Yet it also provokes gratitude to the Lord Whose providence has so arranged it that a man’s fragile faith is contained in and covered by his ever-deepening repentance. Yes. A deficient faith can be a cause for joy.
A monastic writer is an anomaly. He writes apologetically. His words are pedagogic. The desert fathers write briefly. Their words are lapidary. Their aphorisms and narratives are memory-pegs, and are merely complementary to personal, verbal instruction, as from an elder to his disciples. Under his direct guidance, misinterpretation is avoided. The elders structure their sayings to be understood on two levels. They can be received without harm by the simple and inexperienced, whose comprehension is shallow; and they can be understood by grace when disciples are making progress in the depths of practical life. The same holds true when monks write for general, popular use, although this is an extraordinary and dangerous situation, both for him and his readers. Such books should be read under instruction, along with empirical knowledge gained through liturgical experience. Even rarer are holy monk-philosophers who can write true theology, explaining dogma with precision. The best that bloggers (like myself) can do is be a cautionary presence in the internet’s wastelands, warning you to leave this place. There is no Church here, neither in books, videos and podcasts. Without Church life, without spiritual instruction, all monastic literature is vainly imaginative, conceptual and figurative, wherever you find it.
A clean mind is not an empty mind. Our mind can never be entirely empty of thoughts, feelings and ideas. Curating one’s mind requires experience and discernment. Our mind (or dianous) is the instrumental part of our psyche. The highest part of our psyche is our intellect (or nous). It is through our nous that we perceive and experience divine nature. Our nous manages our dianous. When our nous is illumined by the divine grace of the Holy Spirit, then we manage our minds well. Our nous is clarified by divine grace in worship and prayerful attention. When that happens, then we are able to manage ourselves with discernment and discretion in the field of our mental activity. Our choices regarding what sensations to experience, activities to engage in, ideas to reflect upon, emotional responses to make, etc., will all become morally virtuous when guided by a godly light in our nous. Then our mind will be a well-functioning tool, a cleaned instrument.
To “cut off one’s will” is to forego the objects of one’s desire. To “cut off one’s will” does not mean “to not have a will”. That’s clearly impossible. A man whose memory, reason or will are not functioning is not functioning as a man. Our mixed desires reflect the cross-currents in our will. We drift away from the Lord in those desires that are private to ourselves alone. The Lord cannot share such desires with us. If we persist in those desires, they become habitually compulsive, yet their objects fail to satisfy. This is hell, but it is not the worst hell. A worse hell is the loss of the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. But when we maintain the presence of the Holy Spirit within us, then we are comforming ourselves to the Lord’s will. When that happens, then sinful objects lose their appeal. We see them for what they are. This is freedom. To”cut off one’s will,” in this sense, is to enter into freedom, the kingdom of heaven. This is the blessing of the Lord.
There is no neutrality in spiritual life. Idleness is a passive sin. There are no by-standers in the kingdom of heaven. Although we heard the Word of God, we have not yet obeyed His words. This “not yet” is a form of paralysis. The neutral man who, in his own opinion, commits no active sin is actually a paralyzed, inactive man. Despite what he thinks about himself, the paralytic man is not, in fact, coolly indifferent to the kingdom of heaven. Maybe he imagines that he is weighing his options, waiting for the opportune moment to make spiritual progress, etc., but this is a mistake. A man cannot bear his own burdens, for the deadweight of his sins fall upon others’ shoulders. Whoever refuses to make progress is rejecting his own nature. His delay is his rebellion against God, for the Lord created us for life and joy in the kingdom of heaven. The neutralized man continues to reject this life and joy. After our repentance, the Lord showers us with further gifts. He does so even before we begin to shoulder our own burdens. After repentance rightly comes the struggle: the struggle to regain our nature and, by the mercy of the Lord, to enter into the joy of the kingdom of heaven. The real gift is when we, dynamic creatures that we are, realize and activate the struggle to be ourselves.
In pagan terms, μακαριος refers to the effortless self-sufficiency of a god in the plenitude of his power. In the same way, but in human terms, this effortless self-sufficiency is echoed in, say, Billie Holiday’s “God bless the Child that’s got his own” or even in the easy, downward stroll of Albert Camus’ Sisyphus. But in Christian terms, blessedness is always recognised externally. It is not an interior, emotional affect. It is always outward sign of grace. These signs of grace are always spiritual, but may be exhibited materially or even immaterially. Whoever enjoys the presence of the Holy Spirit will sense the peace and rest of the Kingdom of Heaven within him. Virtue will flow from such a man by divine energy and power. All the circumstances of his life, no matter how deplorable they might be, will be sanctified by the virtue that comes to him from the Lord his God. In other words, we are not blessed by fortunate circumstances, but rather the Lord our God blesses the circumstances of our life through the virtue that He grants to us in the power of our soul. In the same way, in the interior landscape of our soul, the presence of the peace and rest of God will not remove the defects of our soul. Rather, the energy of God’s dynamic love for us with quieten the effects of our sins in our heart, and will shield our will from the temptation to sin. When that happens, the interior objects of our soul receive the blessing of the Lord, for now even the thorns in our side point us towards the keeping of God’s grace.
Vanity is self-idolatry. Vanity is a self-reflection. Vanity esteems itself as beautiful and worthy of display. This reflection of self is an empty thing. However, the naricissist cannot see his own emptiness. The vain man can only see his own surface. For him, his surface appeal is compelling. This is a passionate delusion. Vainglory is empty glory. The vainglorious man doxologises himself. His thoughts, words and deeds are an ongoing eulogy of self-praise based on false appearances. There is no substance to his appeal. He has only enchantment. He enchants himself and tries to bewitch those around him. He is diabolically captivated, for the demons do not want him to realise his own substance. Futile activity cannot last. A man will come to his senses. He will cease working in vain because he will see a problem with his aims and goals. Then, perhaps, he will begin to work for the Lord. When a man works for the Lord, he loses his vanity and vainglory. He achieves everything by the providence and grace of the Lord. Then he knows himself in his own substance.
Righteous anger is an energetic and focussed opposition to sin. It involves a hatred for the evil one and all his ways. When the evil one suggests a sin, the righteous mind immediately reacts against it with dynamic strength. As one holy father said somewhere, such an incensed reaction shocks the demons, stopping them momentarily in their tracks. It buys the righteous mind a little time, so that a Christian man might prepare himself for the next temptation that will surely come. Righteous anger is the sudden expression of a man’s will. When a man desires to live righteously, he desires to rely on his Lord in all things. Usually, the temptation away from the Lord is presented to his mind as a picture, a sentiment, or a word-phrase. The righteous mind immediately recognises the blasphemy inherent in such things. The righteous mind loathes blasphemy, and repels these temptations in an habitually reflexive way. Righteous anger is a two-step process. Having projected himself outwardly – “Get behind me, satan!” – a righteous man returns to himself in prayer, seeking the rest and peace of the Lord: “Maranatha! Come, Lord!” and “Lord, have mercy!”. The peace and rest of the Lord is infused with a man’s fervent love for the Lord. This fervent love is the source of a man’s strength, of his incensive power. Such love is dynamic. Why? Having returned to himself, a righteous man prepares himself for the next temptation that will surely come. He prepares himself by renewing his repentance, and his repentance is always an active process. Righteous anger is grounded in a man’s dynamic love for his Lord. He does not want to lose this love, nor his connection to his Lord. He will bear with no blasphemy against his Beloved. He knows that the assault against himself is an assault against the image and likeness of his Lord that forms him. This blasphemy shocks and disgusts him. It offends his dignity, the nobility of his creation, as the work of God’s hands. If he is a repentant man, his indignation will then give way to sorrow, the memory of his own death, for he knows that he deserves his temptations and he deserves his death. But he knows that these temptations are permitted by the mercy of the Lord for the correction of his own soul, so that he may not die, but find life in the peace and rest of the Lord. His sorrow then gives way to gratitude to the Lord. Other graces, gifts of the Holy Spirit, may then quickly follow. He reforms in himself the image and likeness of his Lord. He restores unto himself the dignity and nobility of his own created nature, a work of God’s hands. Without repentance, anger against the evil one is not righteous, but merely human. Such human anger will not repel demons nor shield one from their temptations. But when anger is righteous, and a man’s repentance has been rewarded by fervent love, sorrow, gratitude, and the memory of death, then a righteous man returns to himself in the life, peace and rest of the Lord.