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Struggle with the 8 major passions

21. He who has vanquished the three main passions — vainglory, love of money and gluttony — will be able to conquer the remaining five: lust, anger, sorrow, despondency and pride. But he, who doesn’t attempt to vanquish the former, will conquer not even one. (John Climacus)

21. Some people by nature are prone to temperance, or silence, or chastity, or modesty, or resoluteness, or meekness. While others, having a nature that runs nearly completely contrary to these good qualities, force them upon themselves and while they occasionally fail, nonetheless as vanquishers of nature, I acclaim them more than the former. (John Climacus)

21. What sins emanate from the 8 main desires of passion, and which of the main three is the parent to each of the other five? The mother of lust is gluttony; mother of despondency — vainglory, sorrow and anger are born from all three main passions; and vainglory is the mother of pride. What sins proceed from the main eight? To this I will state that in violent passions, there is no reason or order but every iniquity and disarray. (John Climacus)

21. In drawing water from a well, we can accidentally scoop up a frog with the water, as with acquiring virtues, we sometimes imperceptibly perform vices that are entwined with them. Thus hospitality is sometimes intertwined with gluttony; with love — lust or judgment; with prudence — excessive strictness; with discretion — cunning; with meekness — suspicion, procrastination, laziness, contradiction, and disobedience; with taciturnity — desire to lecture; with joy — conceit; with hope — indolence; in silence — despondency and negligence; with chastity — bitterness; with humility — unbounded boldness; and accompanying them all as a general poison is vainglory. (John Climacus)

21. Continually note the emergence within you of various movements of passion and you will see that there are many passions residing within you. Often we are unable to discern these various spiritual ailments — either by reason of our weakness, or by reason of our deep-rooted habit of sinning. (John Climacus)

27. Anger and sorrow. Like a fast-moving millstone, anger in a single moment can destroy the spiritual wheat of the soul faster than anything else in a day. Consequently, it is necessary to watch yourself diligently. Like a flame that is fanned by a strong wind, anger quickly burns out and destroys the pasture of the soul. (John Climacus)

27. Nothing is more inappropriate to those repenting than to have irritable anger, because turning to God demands great humility, while irritability is a sign of being highly self-opinionated. (John Climacus)

27. If the Holy Spirit is peace for the soul, and anger is confusion of the heart, then there is nothing that bars Him from dwelling in us more than irritable anger. (John Climacus)

27. If we pay attention, we will see that many people prone to anger fervently practice vigilance, fasting and taciturnity — and the enemy doesn’t hinder them — because even under deeds of penitence and tears, he knows how to conceal the roots of this passion. (John Climacus)

27. If you are bearing a grudge, bear it against the demons, and if you are hostile against someone, be always hostile against your body. Flesh — is an ungrateful and insidious friend that, when you gratify it, does more harm. (John Climacus)

27. Remembrance of wrongs is a crooked interpreter of the Scripture that explains the words of the Spirit allegorically to his own advantage. May it be put to shame by the prayer, given to us by Jesus Christ: "…and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors..." which we are not allowed to utter if we are angry at someone. (John Climacus)

27. If after much effort at trying to improve yourself, you cannot extract this thorn from your heart, then go to the person that you are angry at, and contritely make peace with him — at least in words. In this way, being put to shame for your lengthy hypocrisy, you will eventually come to love him. (John Climacus)

28. Upon seeing someone being very negligent toward deeds of self-sacrifice, our Most Gracious Master and Lord humbles his flesh by sending an infirmity that acts as a less difficult deed and by doing this cleanses his soul of insidious thoughts and passions. (John Climacus)

28. Like a small flame softens a large amount of wax, so does a little shame soften our heart, rejoices it and destroys all its cruelty, all feelings of indifference and callousness. (John Climacus)

30. Vainglory. God often conceals from us those virtues that we have acquired. But a person that praises or flatters us, opens our eyes to them, and this makes the richness of our virtues disappear. (John Climacus)

30. It is not he that judges himself who shows humility (for who will not tolerate his own censures) but he that doesn’t lessen his love of that person that has reproached him. (John Climacus)

30. Vainglory attaches itself to natural abilities very easily and quite often, through them, hurls its wretched slaves to destruction. (John Climacus)

30. Once I saw the demon of vainglory drive out his brother — demon of rage. One monk became angry with another, but when secular visitors arrived, the angry monk suddenly calmed down and gave himself up to vainglory, because he could not serve these two masters simultaneously. (John Climacus)

30. He who has become a slave to vainglory leads a double life: one, outwardly, the other — by inner thoughts and feelings, one solely by himself and the other — with people. (John Climacus)

30. A person, having foretasted heavenly glory, will naturally shun every type of earthly glory, and I would be amazed if anyone that has not tasted the former, would totally shun the latter. (John Climacus)

30. I have seen how some started their spiritual labors through vainglory and later, having changed their outlook, crowned their bad beginning with a praiseworthy ending. (John Climacus)

30. He who is haughty about his natural gifts, like: sharp-wittedness, acumen, skills in reading and pronunciation, quickness of mind and other similar abilities, in having received them without any labors — will never receive any supernatural blessings, because "he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much" (Luke 16:10). (John Climacus)

30. He who asks gifts from God for his labors is placing himself on a dangerous foundation. But he who regards himself as a perpetual debtor before God will become enriched with Heavenly gifts, far beyond his expectations. (John Climacus)

30. Do not heed the thought suggesting that you declare your virtues for the benefit of the listeners, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" (Mat. 16:26). Nothing brings as much benefit to your loved ones as humble and unfeigned character and words. In this way, we will be able to influence others so that they do not exalt themselves. And what can be more beneficial than humility? (John Climacus)

30. Pride. It often happens that when a caterpillar reaches full maturity, it gets its wings and flies up high. So is vainglory, having strengthened, gives birth to pride — the origin and consummation of all evil. (John Climacus)

30. Where sin has occurred, pride had previously settled there, because a precursor of a fall is pride. (John Climacus)

30. Do not rely on your virtues before you hear the final pronouncement on you from the Judge, because in the Gospel we see that even the invited guest at the wedding feast was bound hand and foot and thrown into outer darkness (Mat. 22:13). (John Climacus)

30. Pride is poverty of the soul, which imagines itself to be rich, and being in darkness, thinks it has light. (John Climacus)

30. Pride is like a rotten apple, rotten inside yet outwardly radiant with beauty. (John Climacus)

30. A proud person does not need a demon-tempter: he has become his own demon and adversary. (John Climacus)

30. He who is possessed with pride is in need of God’s extraordinary help for deliverance, because human means of salvation are ineffectual. (John Climacus)

30. There is no other thought that is more difficult to confess than a blasphemous one (by reason of pride), and that is why some people suffer from blasphemous thoughts right up to old age. It must be understood that nothing assists the demons’ successes more than us not confessing vile thoughts, but keeping them inside, thereby strengthening them. (John Climacus)

30. If some of the Angels were made demons through pride, then undoubtedly humility can make Angels out of demons. Consequently, let the fallen be bold and trust in the Lord. (John Climacus)

30. A proud soul becomes a slave of fear. In relying upon itself, it fears every sound and even shadows. (John Climacus)

30. Sometimes it happens that all passions — save one — leave not only the faithful but also the non-believer, and that one being primal, replaces all the others and is so pernicious that can dislodge one even from Heaven. This passion is pride. (John Climacus)

30. Often God providentially leaves some minor passions in spiritual people, so that in acknowledging their weaknesses, they censure themselves, thereby becoming enriched in humility. (John Climacus)

30. Just as the poor, in seeing royal treasures, realize their poverty even further, so does the soul, in reading narratives of the great virtues of the holy fathers, inevitably becomes even more humble in its thoughts. (John Climacus)

30. He who is weak in body and has committed many grave transgressions should progress along the path of humility and related virtues, as there is no other way that he can be saved. (John Climacus)

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