Some Thoughts on Rightly-Directed Zeal

In my last blog I spoke of one of the ways zeal can be wrongly directed.  Today I’d like to share a few thoughts on rightly directed zeal based on the 55th homily of St. Isaac the Syrian.  Let’s begin with this quote: In the beginning of its movement, the impulse of a desire of good is accompanied by a certain zeal, similar to coals of fire in its fervent heat.  Such…

Wrongly Directed Zeal

St. Isaac the Syrian speaks of two kinds of zeal.  In homily 51 he speaks of a “sick” zeal, a “wrong” zeal.  And in homily 55 St. Isaac speaks of zeal as a “watchdog” and “shield” of the soul.  However, to say these are two different kinds of zeal is not quite correct.  Both find their origin in the natural, “incensive” faculty of the soul.  This is an old English word that…

Zeal

St. Theophan the Recluse, in The Spiritual Life and How to Be Attuned to It, stresses the importance of zeal, which he describes as our “willingness to do whatever it takes to be saved.” Of course, saving is something that God does and has done (and will do). Nonetheless, we too must be active. This activity on our part is motivated by zeal. Zeal is an energy to do something, to do…