All Saints of North America Orthodox Church (Hamilton, ON, Canada)

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September - October 2005

FROM UNSEEN WARFARE by ST THEOPHAN THE RECLUSE:
ON THE USE OF THE SENSES

Beware also of looking with too much attention at rich food and drink, remembering our ancestress Eve, who looked with evil eye at the fruit of the forbidden tree in the garden of Eden, desired it, plucked and ate it and so subjected to death herself and all her descendants. Do not look covetously at beautiful garments, silver and gold and glittering worldly attire, lest the passion of vanity and love of money enter your soul through your eyes; as David prayed: "Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity" (Ps. cxix. - Bl 37).

I will say, in general, beware of looking on dances, banquets, pageants, disputes, quarrels, idle chatter and all other unseemly! and shameful things, beloved of the foolish world and forbidden by the law of God. Flee and close your eyes to all this, lest you fill your heart with passionate movements and your imagination with shameful images, and provoke in yourself an insurrection and battle against yourself, thus breaking the continuity of your progress in the struggle you must wage with your passions.

But love to visit churches and look at the holy icons, sacred books, tombs, cemeteries and other such good and holy things, the sight of which can have a salutary effect on your soul.

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