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March - April 2005

EXCERPT FROM UNSEEN WARFARE by St Theophan the Recluse
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: In what order should you fight your passions?

It would be very useful for you, my brother, to know well the order in which you should fight your passions, so as to do this work as it should be done, instead of simply haphazardly, as some people do, without great success, and at times even with harm to themselves. The order in which it is necessary to fight your enemies and struggle with your bad desires and passions, is the following: enter with attention into the heart and examine carefully with what thoughts, dispositions and passionate attachments it is specially occupied, and which passion is most predominant and tyranically rules there. Then against this passion first of all take up arms and struggle to overcome it. On this one concentrate all your attention and care, except only at the times when some other passion happens to arise in you. In that case you should deal with this one without delay and drive it away, after which you must once more turn your weapons against your chief passion, which constantly manifests its presence and power. For as in every kind of warfare, so in our unseen battle, we must fight first what is actually attacking us at the present moment.

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