July 21

A soul not consciously and completely free from ties and attachments to the visible world is not able to endure serenely the calamities and ravages with which both men and demons assail it. Bound by its attachment to human concerns, it is lacerated by the loss of material things, suffers when deprived of possessions, and is full of distress when its body is afflicted.

A person who has delivered his soul from its ties with and desires for sensible things, and has bound it to God, will not only scorn property and possessions, accepting their loss painlessly, as if they belonged to others and were not his own; he will also endure bodily distress with joy and gratitude.

In the words of St Paul, he sees the outward self perishing, but the inward self being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). Otherwise it is impossible joyfully to bear the afflictions permitted by God, for this requires perfect knowledge and spiritual wisdom. He who lacks these things walks at all times in the darkness of ignorance and hopelessness, totally incapable of beholding the light of patience and benediction.

~St Symeon the New Theologian

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