STORIES FROM THE
ON LASCIVIOUSNESS ( LUST )
A brother sought advice from abba
Agathon, regarding fornication.
And he said to him:
"Go, cast your weakness before God,
and you will find relief."
At another time, when Efraim was
passing through the town, someone had apparently instructed a whore to
tempt him into carnal knowledge, or, failing that, to arouse his
anger, for, no-one had ever seen him become angry.
And so he said to her :
Thus, after reaching a spot where
many people were gathered, he said to her:
"Come here, so that we may do what
She, however, upon seeing the crowds,
said to him :
"Isn't it shameful, to do it in
front of so many people ?"
And he replied:
"If we feel shame in the presence
of people, how much more ashamed should we feel in the presence of
God, who sees even those things which are hidden in the dark ?"
Saint Kassianos the Roman
According therefore to the words of
our Lord, we must first clean the interior of the cup and the plate,
in order for the exterior to become clean. This is exactly why, if we
feel the need as the Apostle said, to fight in the correct manner and
earn our victory wreath when conquering the unclean spirit of
fornication, we must not rely on our own powers and labour, but on the
assistance of our lord and God. For this spirit does not intend to
cease fighting man, except only when man truly believes he can be
cured, and thus rising to the height of chastity, not by his own
ministering and his own labours, but with the help and protection of
God. This achievement surpasses the nature of man, and in a certain
way, he that conquers the arousals and the pleasures of the flesh, has
abandoned his body. It is consequently not possible for man to use his
own wings (in a manner of speaking) to fly to that lofty, heavenly
prize of holiness and to imitate the angels, unless he is lifted up
from the earth and the mud by the grace of God. Because no other
virtue, as much as prudence, can make people - in spite of their
flesh - resemble the spiritual angels. With this virtue, says the
Apsotle, they can be denizens of the skies, while still living on
It is possible to determine whether
we have fully achieved this virtue, if we observe how much our soul is
displeased with any image of vulgar fantasy during our sleep. Because,
although this may not be considered a sin, it does reveal that the
soul is ailing, and is not yet rid of the passion of fornication.
Thus, we must understand that these vulgar fantasies which appear in
our sleep, reveal our negligence and our ailment; the illness which
lurks in the depths of our soul is brought to light, through the
secretion which occurs during our sleep. It is for this reason, that
the physician of our souls placed the remedy in the innermost depths
of our soul, where He knew the causes of the illness would be found,
saying "whomsoever looks at a woman and desires her, has already
committed adultery with her, within his heart"; it does not heal the
lusting of the eyes, as much as the soul within us, because it is the
soul that does not make proper use of the eyes which God gave us for
Thus, the wise Proverb does not say :
"in every way, excercise caution in your eyes", but "in every
way, excercise caution in your heart", thus applying the medication
of caution to that which uses the eyes at its own discretion.
Saint Mark the Ascetic
The heart which is fond of pleasures,
becomes a prison and a chain for the soul, at the hour of death.
A heart that fears no pains, is like
an open door.
The cause of every malice is
vainglory and pleasure;
whomsoever did not despise these,
shall not be able to conquer his vices.
Do not say that a pauper cannot
pursue pleasures because he lacks the means;
Because anyone, even if in mind only,
can pursue pleasures in an even more wretched manner.
A lascivious person becomes sorrowed
by criticism and tribulations, whereas a godly person is sorrowed by
praises and easy living.
Sain Neilos the Ascetic
Whenever you believe that you are
near God, protect yourself from the demon of fornication. Because it
knows well how to deceive; it is the most envious demon of all, and it
seeks to annihilate the movements and the clarity of the mind, so that
it may succeed in steering it away, even from God, when the mind is
near Him in veneration and fear.
If you pay attention to the beauty of
the body, and the mind shows interest in bodily pleasures, then you
have never seen the place of prayer, and its blessed path is far away
Walking on one's belly, truly
portrays lasciviousness, inasmuch as the cause of practically all
lasciviousness is the belly. When it is filled, even stronger desires
for lasciviousness will follow; however, when it is empty, the desires
are tamer and more stable (…..)
A lascivious person therefore walks
on his belly, by bending over towards enjoyment and pleasures. He that
has only just started to live virtuously, removes the fat of the
belly, by avoiding foods that fatten. He that improves himself through
virtuous living, cleans the interior of the belly, while the perfected
one cleans the entire belly, by completely rejecting whatever exceeds
absolute necessity, Therefore the expression "you shall crawl on
your chest and your belly" is very appropriate, because
lasciviousness does not characterize those who stand upright and calm,
but only those who have vices and are full of turbulence. And, closest
to the vice of gluttony, is sexuality. Thus, nature, in order to
confirm their similarity, has placed the genital organs immediately
below the belly, indicating their kinship by their proximity. If the
genital passion is diminished, this is attributed to an empty belly;
whereas, if it is powerful and vivid, it will have drawn its power
from the belly.
Saint Diadochus of Fotiki
The prerequisite and the definition
of chastity, is the union with God.
Saint Maximus the Confessor
If the soul is superior to the body,
and God is incomparably superior to the world He created, then, he
that prefers the body to the soul, and the creation to God the
creator, is no different to the idolaters.
Passionate desire is extinguished,
either when it embraces its objects of affection but finds them
inadequate, or, when it ceases to respect them, feeling aversion
towards their vulgarity and ugliness;
Both will give birth to satiety.
Because God is infinite by nature and
precious, He magnifies without limits the desire of those who are in
His communion and who rejoice in Him.
Saint Thalassios the Libyan
Slackness is the indifference of the
A soul becomes indifferent, when it
suffers from lasciviousness.
Saint Theodore of Edessa
Certain persons were curious, as to
which of the two occurs :
Does a thought generate vices, or do
vices generate a thought, because some maintained one opinion, and
others, the other.
In my opinion, it is the vices which
induce the thoughts. If the soul has no vices, then it will not be
disturbed by evil thoughts.