One of the brothers asked Isidore, the priest of Scetis, “Why are the demons so afraid of you”?
” He said, “Ever since I became a monk, I have been trying not to let anger rise as far as my mouth.”
In a culture which speaks and only later repents (if at all) such self-control is mighty indeed. There is much that is offered for the internet which time and hesitancy would have helped enormously. Words do have consequences. Though none of us here are likely to write something that turns the tide in favor of the faith (at least not by argument) nonetheless, we write. But for everything we write and everything that is read an event will happen. To write in a manner in which the truth is made winsome or, at the very least, kind, is a great accomplishment.
Imagine the writer who could say, “Ever since I began to write, I have been trying not to let anger rise as far as my fingers.” I suspect demons would fear him as well.
In the struggle which none of us can avoid – let us give our common enemy no comfort. Kindness, even to strangers, even to those who are wrong, will not violate any commandment of God and will greatly frustrate those who do not wish any of us anything well.
May the blessings of God come to one and all this day!
Bless you, Father. This is balm to a bruised spirit. I will take it to heart. (I just mistyped — I will talk it to heart. Maybe my fingers know better than I do.)
In the far east this principle is pictorially portrayed by the three wise monkeys; in Japanese their names are Mizaru, Kikazaru, Iwazaru. The first monkey covers his eyes, the second his ears and the third his mouth: see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil.
Their names litterally mean: can’t/shouldnt see, can’t/shouldnt hear and can’t/shouldnt speak respectively, while the ending zaru is a word game as “saru” is monkey in Japanese.
This pictorial representation of the principle F. Stephen refers to, namely that words have consequences (for those who hear them but most importantly those who say them), is based on an old Buddhist legend.
As with many other things in Orthodoxy, action and non-action are more important in as much they reveal the heart of the doer (or non do-er) rather than for the external consequenses of his actions (that follow naturally the heart). Thus a pure heart can “save a thousand souls” in a world where everything is interconnected and nothing exists independently (as the ego would have us believe).
There is a story from the Destert Fathers about this, that relates to a head Monk that when entering the cells of a brother that was untidy and unclean, would say: “Blessed is this brother that is so deeply concentrated in matters of the spirit that he has no time for wordly things”.
And when he would enter cells that would be tidy and clean would say:
“Blessed is this brother that has attained high in matters of the spirit so his room reflects the purity of his soul”.
Amen to this. Thank you, Father.
What wonderful advice.
I need to remember this on the internet.
thank you… from one who doesn’t write her own stuff but does have occasion to make comments.
I will try to be a better person.
Such a wonderful desert parable! Thank you! I do so appreciate all who stand up for gentle speech.
Father, I was received into the Faith today by Holy Baptism. Glory to Jesus Christ! I read your blog regularly and I think you so much for your writing and insight. Your writing today reflects a constant battle of mine. I pray that I also would do so well to let no anger arise to my mouth. Bless you Father.
Thank You Father Stephen! Jesus says that if we’re angry, if we slander, we commit murder. We can murder through both the spoken and written word. A beautiful reminder.
Amen. We stand on the very threshold, or rather, we stand because the Amen is the Threshold.
some folks are so eager to justify their own understandings, that they will (sometimes gladly) trample down whomever to do so…unfortunately, i am chief of this people. Lord have mercy and save me, wretch that i am!
my problem is not in exercising the Authority given, but in exercising my own pride and arrogance.
What a wonderful quote.
It’s impossible bring Jesus to others with anger an opposition at the root of our words. Anger renders whatever truth they may have to offer redundant.
I read this before reading my email. All I can say is that Divine Providence was at work!
Amen! Thanks Father Stephen!