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Struggles with the eight main passions.


25. Passion of fornication. Do not allow your eyes to wander here and there, and do not look at the beauty of others so as the eyes do not assist the enemy to vanquish you. (Ephraim of Syria)

25. If the demon of fornication troubles you, you can forbid him by saying: "May God consume you, full of stench, demon of uncleanness," for we know the saying: "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God" (Romans 8:7). (Ephraim of Syria)

25. With the inflammation of carnal lust, think of the unquenchable fire and the everlasting worm, and the passion in the members of your body will be extinguished instantly. Otherwise, being weakened, you will be overcome and get used to sinning, even though you will be repentant. Consequently, be strict with every similar desire at its very onset, so that it doesnít overpower you and so that you donít get used to yielding to your enemy. After all habit is second nature. He who is used to yielding to sinful desires will always be rebuked by his conscience: even though he may exhibit a happy face in front of others, internally, he would be depressed by reason of his conscience. Because the nature of lust is to impart an agonizing sorrow to those that effect it. Consequently, heed your soul and always have God in you. (Ephraim of Syria)

25. Should a physical conflict erupt in you, do not be afraid or fall in spirit. Otherwise you will embolden the enemy (devil) and he will begin to instill into you tempting thoughts: "The passion in you will not abate until you satisfy it with your lust." But in suffering, be resigned to the Lord, pour out a tearful prayer before His goodness, and He will hear and free you from the pitfall of passions (unclean thoughts) and from the miry clay (shameless thoughts) and set your feet upon a rock of cleanliness (Psalm 39:1-3). You will then see the help that has arrived from Him. Only be patient, do not allow your conviction to weaken, donít become fatigued bailing out the water from your canoe because the harbor of life is at hand. Then when you cry out, He will say: "Here I am" (Isiah 58:9). But He is waiting to witness your ordeal: are you ready to truly combat sin, even unto death. Therefore, do not be faint-hearted: God will not forsake you. God is witnessing your ordeal, as are the faces of Angels and a horde of demons. The Angels are ready to hand out the wreath of victory to the conqueror, while the demons ó to cover the conquered with shame. Be vigilant so as not to sadden your own (Angels) and gladden the adversary (demons). (Ephraim of Syria)

25. When the demon begins to depict tempting objects in your imagination and presents to your mind the beauty of a woman whom you have seen before, initiate a fear of God within you and recall those that have died in sin, think about the day when your soul will be separating from your body, imagine the trepidation that the voice of God will produce upon hearing about the neglectful life-style and the non-compliance with Christís commandments: "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Mat. 25:41). Also, visualize the eternal worm and unending torment. Think about this, and your urge for gratification will melt like wax before a flame, because demons cannot withstand the fear of God for even one moment.

27. Anger and sorrow. If you cannot endure insults ó be silent, and you will become calm. Do not imagine that you are suffering more than others are. Just as it is impossible for a person living on earth to avoid breathing, so is every person living in this world cannot avoid experiencing sorrow and sickness. Being engaged with earthly matters, we experience sorrow from the earthly, while those that strive toward the spiritual, suffer spiritually with their soul. However, the latter would be blessed because their spiritual fruits in the Lord are abundant. (Ephraim of Syria)

28. If sorrow has arrived, expect the arrival of happiness. Let us take the example of those sailing on the sea. When a storm arises, they battle with the waves, waiting for calm weather; and when calm weather arrives, they prepare for storms. They are constantly vigilant, so that the sudden arrival of wind does not find them unprepared by capsizing the vessel. We should also act likewise: when sorrow or a difficult situation arises, let us expect alleviation and assistance from God, so as not to be oppressed by the thought that we have no hope of salvation. (Ephraim of Syria)

28. Everything is from God ó good and sad. One is from benevolence, while the other is because God allows it to happen. From benevolence ó when we live virtuously, because it pleases God that we adorn ourselves with crowns of patience; by Godís permission ó when we sin and are brought to our senses; from Godís will ó when we do not improve even after being enlightened. God providentially punishes us sinners so that we would not be condemned with the world ó as the Apostle states: "But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world" (1 Cor. 11:32). (Ephraim of Syria)

30. Vainglory and pride. Do not do anything for show but from a pure heart, because God knows the hidden and secret things, and it is only from Him that we can hope to receive our reward. (Ephraim of Syria)

30. A proud person cannot tolerate anyone that is superior to him ó and in meeting him, either becomes envious or his rival. Rivalry and envy go hand in hand, and he who has one of these passions, has both of them. (Ephraim of Syria)

30. The unchaste spirit of conceit is resourceful and diverse and uses all his strength to take possession of people: it entraps the wise with wisdom, the strong with strength, the rich with riches, the beautiful with beauty, the artist with arts. (Ephraim of Syria)

30. A novice that doesnít have humility, doesnít have any weaponry against the enemy (devil) and will suffer a great defeat. (Ephraim of Syria)

30. The beginning of humility is submissiveness. May humility be the basis and embellishment to your responses; let your utterances be plain and friendly. Conceit does not submit; it is disobedient, unruly, controlled by its own concepts, while humility is obedient, submissive to goodness, modest, renders respect to the insignificant as well as the great. (Ephraim of Syria)

51. Demonís snares. Through various means, the cunning enemy injected every one of us with his poison and now tempts us with his lures. One observes Lents, but gives himself up to rivalry and envy. Another refrains from lustful desires, but is bound to vainglory. Another accomplishes great labors, but is entangled in judging others. Another avoids judging, but is obstinate and contradictory. Another is restrained with food, but is drowning in pride and conceit. Yet another is untiring in his prayers, but is irritable and wrathful. Another was successful in something small and elevates himself above those more negligent than he. In this fashion, sin has bound every person in one way or another, yet people donít realize this. (Ephraim of Syria) 

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