Sunday, January 26, 2020

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos): Man's Struggle

Arabic original here.

Man's Struggle

In his precise characterization of evil, Saint Gregory of Nyssa says that "it never appears nakedly and as it really is, but always wears a splended, beautiful robe. Vice does not become effective unless it is colored with strokes of beauty that stir up desire in man so that he is inevitably tricked. Evil appears to us as a mixture of good and evil at the same time:

Deep down, it contains death as a hidden trap, but its appearance is falsely seductive... People generally deem everything that fascinates and bewitches the senses to be good and they judge things according to their appearances..."

For this reason man always finds himself in a struggle between the devil on one side and God on the other. Sometimes he allies with the former and sometimes the latter. But what communion is there between light and darkness? And what is light, if not the dispelling of darkness?! (2 Corinthians 6:14)

Man can defeat the devil and be victorious over him by the power and activity of the Holy Spirit who has dwelled within him since baptism and by the struggle of repentance and tears, which are a second baptism.

The man of today and of every era suffers from spiritual ignorance. He is ignorant of the fact that he possesses these spiritual weapons and is led along the paths of evil which are easier and the shortest path.

The man of today offers daily worship to Baal and Baal today is the ego. It is as though he worships himself. This is the work of the devil, in the opposite direction from God. God is communion and this communion is a movement from me-- to you-- to God!

The man of today is no longer a spiritual man, but rather fleshly, living in things of the flesh. All sorts of pleasures sharpen the fleshly things within us-- and they are many.

God brings together and the devil divides. God blesses marriage and the devil desacrates it. God came from a virgin and the devil wants us to be children of fornication. God wants us to pray and fast because this kind only comes out through prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21) and the devil leads us away from every virtue and deters us from prayer, especially on Sunday, the Lord's day, when heaven and earth are joined, when man is united once more with God's body and blood.

The man of today deifies himself through all this culture, technology and sex, while the Apostle Paul warns us: "Flee from the worship of idols" (1 Corinthians 10:14, Galatians 5:2, Colossians 3:5).

For this reason we are called today to break this tight collar around our neck, despite all the seductions around us. We are called to be a temple of the Holy Spirit from the moment we are dipped in the waters of baptism and this pure vessel must contain Christ inside.

We are called to victory with Christ who appears within us.

These are the effects of baptism in our life: death and constant resurrection with Christ who is victorious and nothing else. We were not created for perdition and our fate has not been left to this, but rather the work and power of the cross has been implanted within us. By it, we shall fight our enemies and burn the devil who tries to burn us.

The man of today must cry out with David: Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your great mercy. Where are you, O God? Why have you excluded us, O God? Grant us victory, O God. But he must do this with a broken and humble heart, so that the darkness will clear away from him, so that the enemy's arrows will br broken, so that man may live by this consolation that comes from above amidst all these hardships and evils, so that a new dawn emerges, so that a bright and shining new day dawns, not of the senses, but Christ the Sun of Justice, who knows no evening. Amen.

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