Man consists of soul and body. Many ancient
religions and philosophical teachings spoke of man's soul being created by God,
while the body supposedly came from the evil principle from the devil.
Orthodoxy teaches otherwise. Both the soul and body of man are created by God.
According to Apostolic teaching, after the mystery of baptism, man's body is a
temple of the Holy Spirit and the members of the body - through union with
Christ in the mystery of Holy Communion - are members of Christ. Therefore, man
will pass over into the future eternal blessedness (or into eternal torment)
with his entire being - both the deathless soul and the body which will be
resurrected and reunited with the soul before Christ's judgment. This means
that, while caring about one's soul, an Orthodox Christian must not leave the
body without attention. One must guard it - guard it in an Orthodox way - not
only from illnesses, but also from sins which corrupt, defile and weaken it.
Among such sins, the most dangerous and harmful is licentiousness - the loss of
chastity and bodily purity.
It gives us no particular joy to bring up this
subject ... but it is impossible not to mention it, since without a doubt it is
the sin most dangerous for youth.
We are speaking of fornication, of corruption and
sexual degeneracy which are without a doubt the most terrible wounds of
contemporary mankind. It is difficult to enumerate the terrible consequences
which follow after this sin, like an inseparable shadow. We will not speak of
specific illnesses which so often result from a disordered life, but most to be
feared is the final judgment of Him, Who commanded us to lead a pure and
How is one who wishes to preserve oneself pure and
chaste to struggle with the temptation of this sin? The answer is simple: first
of all by purity of thought and imagination. It is often claimed that sexual
need acts with such insurmountable strength that man is powerless to withstand
it. This is a falsehood! This is not a matter of "need" but of
depravity and lechery and results from a person's unrestrained provoking of
himself with thoughts and desires. Of course such a person builds upon the
natural sexual inclination to an excessive degree and this brings him to sin.
An Orthodox Christian, however, who is God-loving and strict with himself will
never allow, never permit that bad desires and thoughts possess his mind and
heart. In order to accomplish this, he will call upon God's help in prayer and
by the sign of the Cross and struggle against such thoughts the instant they
appear. By effort of the will one will bring one's thoughts over to prayer or
at least to other more edifying subjects. If one allows oneself to be inflamed
by impure imagination, it means that one has depraved and ruined oneself. In
order to struggle with bad thoughts, an Orthodox person must firmly turn away
from and quickly depart from all that can elicit these bad thoughts. Our Savior
was not speaking in vain when He so strictly warns us of the impure, lecherous
gaze - and the gaze Christ warned us about went no further than looking. So
dangerous is mental temptation.
There are many temptations: a general degeneration
of morals and a departure from a pure, ordered
Orthodox life, a disturbed and harmful relationship to marriage and married
life these cannot help but act upon the young soul. Added to this, there are
motion pictures and literature vying with each other in praising sin and
describing it in the most alluring colors, with complete shamelessness.
Contrived music, dances and entertainments so blind contemporary paganized "Christian" society that it no longer
perceives their sin and harmfulness. Various types of obscene humor are now
quite acceptable in society. All this is a spiritual rottenness and pestilence,
corrupting and killing the mind and heart of man - this cloud of temptations
moves upon the young, developing soul of humanity.
Blessed is the one who from youth to the end of
ones days has remained pure in body and soul. Blessed is the one who is brought
with the fragrant freshness, strength of untouched power of the soul and body,
into a bright wedded union consecrated by God through the Church, or who
preserves all this to the grave in the radiant purity of virginity and
chastity! God blesses only two paths for man on earth: either
the holy path of Christian marriage, an indissoluble union of two
hearts, or else a higher and holier path, a path of virginity, a consecration
of oneself to God and neighbors, - holy monasticism.
Terrible is the end of the path of him who
disdains, ignores and stubbornly violates the laws of Orthodox purity and truth
given by God, thus killing the soul.
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