St. Gregory of Nyssa gives us a complete course in soul management. All the feelings and passions that lead us into sin were really made to serve righteousness.
I advise that love’s passion be placed in the soul’s purest shrine, chosen as the first fruits of all our gifts, and devoted completely to God. And once this is done, I should be kept untouched and unstained by any secular impurity.
Then indignation and anger and hatred must be like watchdogs, to be roused only against sins that are attacking. They must follow their natural impulse only against the thief and enemy who creeps in to plunder the divine treasury, and who comes only to steal, mangle, and destroy.
Courage and confidence should be weapons in our hands to fend off any sudden surprise attack by the wicked who advance. Hope and patience should be staffs to lean on whenever we are weary of the trials of the world.
As for sorrow, we must have a stock of it ready to apply, if we should happen to need it, when we repent our sins—believing at the same time that it is never useful for any other purpose.
Righteousness will be our rule of straightforwardness, keeping us from stumbling in word or deed, and guiding us in using our soul’s abilities, as well as in giving proper consideration to everyone we meet.
The love of gain—which is a large, incalculably large element in every soul—will be applied to the desire for God, and then it will bless the man who has it, for he will be forceful when it is right to be forceful.
Wisdom and prudence will advise us about our best interests. They will order our lives so that we never need to suffer from any thoughtless foolishness. –St. Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity, 18
Do my feelings and emotions serve God or lead me away from him?
Lord, remember me when I am backsliding and in need of your divine mercy and help. Crush Satan under my feet, with all his wicked influence.
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