January 4, 2017 + On Grace Before and After Baptism
by St. Diadochos of Photiki
76. Some have imagined that both grace and sin - that is, the spirit of truth and the spirit of error - are hidden at the same time in the intellect [nous] of the baptized. As a result, they say, one of these two spirits urges the intellect to good, the other to evil. But from Holy Scripture and through the intellect's [nous'] own insight I have come to understand things differently. Before holy baptism, grace encourages the soul towards good from the outside, while Satan lurks in its depths, trying to block all the intellect's ways of approach to the divine. But from the moment that we are reborn through baptism, the demon is outside, grace is within. Thus, whereas before baptism error ruled the soul, after baptism truth rules it. Nevertheless, even after baptism Satan still acts on the soul, often, indeed, to a greater degree than before. This is not because he is present in the soul together with grace; on the contrary, it is because he uses the body's humors to befog the intellect [nous] with the delight of mindless pleasures. God allows him to do this, so that a man, after passing through a trial of storm and fire, may come in the end to the full enjoyment of divine blessings. For it is written: 'We went through fire and water, and Thou hast brought us out into a place where the soul is refreshed' (Ps. 66.12. LXX).
77. As we have said, from the instant we are baptized, grace is hidden in the depths of the intellect [nous], concealing its presence even from the perception of the intellect [nous] itself. When someone begins, however, to love God with full resolve, then in a mysterious way, by means of intellectual [the nous'] perception, grace communicates something of its riches to his soul.-Then, if he really wants to hold fast to this discovery, he joyfully starts longing to be rid of all his temporal goods, so as to acquire the field in which he has found the hidden treasure of life (cf. Matt. 13:44). This is because, when someone rids himself of all worldly riches, he discovers the place where the grace of God is hidden. For as the soul advances, divine grace more and more reveals itself to the intellect [nous]. During this process, however, the Lord allows the soul to be pestered increasingly by demons. This is to teach it to discriminate correctly between good and evil, and to make it more humble through the deep shame it feels during its purification because of the way in which it is defiled by demonic thoughts.
Saint Diadochos of Photiki, On Spiritual Knowledge, from the Philokalia Vol. 1
Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles
Holy apostles of the Seventy, entreat the merciful God to grant our souls forgiveness of transgressions.
Kontakion, Tone 2
O faithful, let us praise with hymns the choir of the seventy disciples of Christ. They have taught us all to worship the undivided Trinity, for they are divine lamps of the Faith.
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