April 7, 2011

The Virtuous Life Begins With Patience (St. Gregory of Sinai)

"You will gain possession of your souls through your patient endurance" (Luke 21:19).

St. Gregory of Sinai writes:

- In whatever work we engage patience gives birth to courage,
- Courage to commitment,
- Commitment to perseverance,
- Perseverance to an increase in the work done.
- Such additional labour quells the body's dissolute impulses and checks the desire for sensual indulgence.
- Thus checked, desire gives rise to spiritual longing,
- Longing to love,
- Love to aspiration,
- Aspiration to ardour,
- Ardour to self-galvanizing,
- Self-galvanizing to assiduousness,
- Assiduousness to prayer,
- Prayer to stillness.
- Stillness gives birth to contemplation,
- Contemplation to spiritual knowledge,
- Knowledge to the apprehension of the mysteries.
- The consummation of the mysteries is theology,
- The fruit of theology is perfect love,
- Of love humility,
- Of humility dispassion,
- Of dispassion foresight, prophecy and foreknowledge.
- No one possesses the virtues perfectly in this life, nor does he cut off evil all at once. On the contrary, by small increases of virtue evil gradually ceases to exist.