Conversations with the Geronda
Why does God let the devil tempt us?
Geronda, why does God allow the devil to tempt us?
He does it to select his children. "Do whatever you want, Satan," God says. Whatever the devil does, he will eventually break his teeth against the cornerstone of Christ. If we believe that Christ is the cornerstone, we are not afraid. God does not allow a temptation unless something good comes out of it. When God sees that the good that will happen outweighs the evil, He lets the devil do his thing...
God allows the devil to do evil to make man fight. After all, you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs. Had the devil not tempted us, we might have imagined ourselves to be saints. That is why God lets him pester us with his anger. After all, when the devil strikes us, he thrashes all the rubbish out of our filthy soul, and it becomes cleaner.
We need to understand that we are at war with the devil himself and will fight him until we die. As long as a man is alive, he has a lot of work to do to make his soul better. As long as he lives, he has the right to take spiritual exams. If a person dies and gets an "F", he is removed from the list of examinees. There is no such thing as a retake of the exam.
Humility Makes the Devil Crumble
Humility has great power. Humility makes the devil decompose into dust. It is the strongest blow to the devil. Where there is humility, the devil has no place. And if there is no place for the devil, then there is no temptation. Once an ascetic forced a demon to say the Trisagion. "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal!" the demon mumbled and stopped. He did not say, "Have mercy on us". "Now say, Have mercy on us!" Whoa! Had the demon uttered these words, he would have become an angel. A demon can say whatever you want except "have mercy on us", because it takes humility to say these words. There is humility in the petition "have mercy on us" and the soul that asks for God's great mercy receives what it asks for...
The Devil Is the Master of Vanity
Geronda, why don't we see how much evil the secular spirit brings and get addicted to it?
Evil creeps in slowly. If it were to move forward in sharp leaps and bounds, we would not be deceived. When [mischievous] people scald a frog, they pour a drop of boiling water on it. If you pour all the boiling water on the frog at once, it will jump up and flee from the danger. If you pour just a tiny droplet of boiling water on it, it will shake it off first, and then calm down. If you keep on pouring the water slowly, it will shake it off a little bit again, but gradually it will boil down without noticing it. "Oh, come on, you little leaper! If you've been sprayed with boiling water, jump up and run!” No, it doesn't run away. It puffs up, inflates, and then boils. This is what the devil does: he "sprinkles us with boiling water" one drop at a time, and in the end, without noticing how, we are "cooked".
Homilies. Volume I. With Pain and Love for the Modern Man
October 16, 2019