A reflection on the passage: “The paths of their way are turned aside [Job 6:18].”
by St. Gregory the Great
from Gregory the Great, by John Morrhead, from “The Early Church Fathers” series. Routledge, 2005, pp. 89-91.
Everything which is turned aside is twisted back on itself. Now, there are some who undertake to withstand the sins which draw them astray with their whole strength, but when the critical moment of temptation arrives they do not remain firm in their purpose. For one person, puffed up with the perverse insolence of pride, when he considers that the rewards of humility are great, rises up against himself and, as it were, lays aside his inflated, swollen arrogance, and promises to display humility in the face of all insults. But on being suddenly struck by just one insulting word, he straightaway returns to his old pride, and he is brought back to his swollen headedness to such an extent that he completely forgets having aspired to the virtue of humility. Someone else, stirred by avarice, is panting to increase his possessions...
Someone else is kindled by flames of anger and is so headstrong that he hurls insults at his enemies... And so, when he is just able to exercise restraint after his abusive language, it is too late...
It is therefore well said of the condemned “the paths of their way are turned aside,” because while they certainly desire right things on due consideration, they always twist themselves back to their bad old ways, and the people who indeed desired good but never departed from evil turn back to themselves in a circular motion, being as it were stretched out beyond themselves. Yes, what they want is to be humble without being looked down on; to be content with what is theirs without being in need; to be chaste without mortifying the body, and to be patient without having to endure insults. And what are they doing while they seek to gain these virtues when fleeing from the labours associated with them but desiring to have triumphal processions in cities at the end of a war while being unacquainted with the struggles of war in the field?
The Holy Martyr Arethas
Through the sufferings which Your holy martyrs Arethas and his companions endured for Your sake, O Lord, we beseech You, O Lover of mankind: heal all of our infirmities.
Kontakion - Tone 4
Today the radiant feast of the passion-bearers Arethas and his companions comes to us as a herald of joy; as we celebrate it we glorify the Lord on high.