Tuesday, April 1, 2008

23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.

Good evening, ladies!

It's just me again tonight. The wonderful (and scary) thing about this maxim is the exhortation to flee -- it's not just "stay away from carnal things," or "don't give in to carnal things," but "FLEE carnal things."

Fr. Hopko clarifies this in his commentary by saying "sexual things." Sexual temptation is probably one of the most powerful and frightening forces of Satan; its explosive, impulsive nature is one of the reasons it is so carefully restricted to a marriage relationship.

The image I have is of Joseph, leaving his coat in the hands of Potiphar's wife in his haste to get away from her. I don't think this was because he was disgusted by her; on the contrary, I think he was probably tempted to some degree, and rather than try to reason it out, he just fled the scene.

Once again, the emphasis here seems to be on our inability to control our passions and / or the circumstances of our lives. We can't hope to resist temptations this powerful. The moment we catch a glimpse of them, we need to turn and run the other way.

No comments:

The Forty Maxims

  • 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
  • 2. Pray, fast and do acts of mercy.
  • 3. Read the Scriptures regularly.
  • 4. Read good books, a little at a time.
  • 5. Practice silence, inner and outer.
  • 6. Cultivate communion with the saints.
  • 7. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
  • 8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
  • 9. Be honest, first of all with yourself.
  • 10. Be faithful in little things.
  • 11. Do your work, then forget it.
  • 12. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
  • 13. Face reality.
  • 14. Be grateful.
  • 15. Be cheerful.
  • 16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
  • 17. Never bring unnecessary attention to yourself.
  • 18. Listen when people talk to you.
  • 19. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.
  • 20. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
  • 21. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
  • 22. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis.
  • 23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.
  • 24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
  • 25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
  • 26. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  • 27. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
  • 28. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  • 29. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
  • 30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
  • 31. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
  • 32. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
  • 33. Be strict with yourself.
  • 34. Be merciful with yourself and others.
  • 35. Do nothing for people that they can do for themselves.
  • 36. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  • 37. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
  • 38. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
  • 39. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
  • 40. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.