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God Helps Get Rid of Self-Indulgence

"In order to awaken a sinner from his sleep, the divine saving-grace directs all its power towards the destruction of the main support upon which a man rests with all his selfishness. Saving-grace does the following:

"For the one who is bound by the indulgence of the flesh, grace plunges him into illness and, enervating the flesh, gives the spirit freedom and strength to come to itself and become sober.

"For the one who is fascinated by his own beauty and strength, grace deprives him of this beauty and keeps him in a constant state of exhaustion.

"For the one who rests upon his authority and power, grace subjects him to bondage and humiliation.

"For the one who greatly relies upon his wealth, it is taken away from him.

"For the one who shows off his high knowledge and intelligence, he is disgraced and discredited as naïve and unknowing.

"For the one who rests upon his valuable connections, they are broken.

"For the one who pins his hopes on the 'eternity' of the visible order around him, he has this order destroyed by the death of people and the loss of things which are necessary and important to him.

"For those who have been kept in the fetters of carelessness by outward happiness and good fortune - by what other means can one sober them if not by sorrows and afflictions? Is it not for this that entire life is filled with disasters and misfortunes, so that this life might foster God's intention to keep us in inward sobriety?

"This destruction of the supports of our careless self-indulgence comprises the turning-point of our life."

- St. Theophan the Recluse, Turning the Heart to God, p. 27 (published separately, this is the second part of The Path to Salvation).


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