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On the Spiritual Circumcision of the Heart (St. Gregory Palamas)


 

By St. Gregory Palamas

Even when your physique does nothing, sin might be lively in your thoughts.When your soul inwardly repulses the evil one’s assault via prayer, consideration, remembrance of dying, godly sorrow and mourning, the physique, too, takes its share of holiness, having acquired freedom from evil actions.

This is what the Lord meant by saying that somebody who cleans the skin of a cup has not cleansed it inside, however clear the within, and the entire cup shall be clear (Matthew 23:25-26).

“Strive as onerous as you may to make sure that your internal labour is based on God’s will, and you’ll conquer the outward passions” (Abba Arsenios, Apophthegmata Pateron 9).

If the foundation is holy, so are the branches (John 15:5). If the yeast is holy, so is the dough (Galatians 5:9).

“Walk within the spirit”, says Paul, “and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

Christ didn’t abolish the Jewish circumcision however fulfilled it. He Himself says, “I’m not come to destroy the legislation, however to fulfil” (Matthew 5.17).

How did He do that? It was a seal, an indication and a symbolic method of instructing about slicing off evil ideas within the coronary heart.

The Jews had been reproached by the prophets for being uncircumcised of their hearts (cf.  Jeremiah 9:26; Romans 2:25).

Man appears to be like on the outward particular person, however God regards the guts, and if it is stuffed with foul or evil ideas, that man deserved to have God flip away from him.

That is why the apostle exhorts us to wish with out wrath and doubting (1 Timothy 2:8).

To train us to attempt for the non secular circumcision of our hearts, the Lord pronounces the pure in coronary heart and the poor in spirit blessed.

He stresses that the reward for this purity of coronary heart is seeing God, and He guarantees the dominion of heaven to the poor (Matthew 5:8, 3). By the poor He means those that dwell frugally and in want.

But it’s not solely such folks whom He calls blessed, but in addition those that are like them in spirit, those that, due to their internal humility of coronary heart and their good objective, have organized their outward life accordingly.

He forbids not simply homicide however anger, and instructions us to forgive from our hearts those that sin towards us. Nor will He settle for the present we provide except we’re first reconciled with each other and let go of anger (Matthew 5:21-24).

From the Homily for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, in Saint Gregory Palamas: The Homilies (Mount Thabor Publishing, 2009).

 

 

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