September 18

The tripartite deiform soul possesses two aspects, the one noetic and the other passible. The noetic aspect, being in the image of the soul’s Creator, is not conditioned by the senses, is invisible to them and is not limited by them, since it is both outside them and within them. It is by virtue of this aspect that the soul communicates with spiritual and divine powers and, through the sacred knowledge of created beings, ascends naturally to God as to its archetype, thus entering into the enjoyment of His divine nature.

The passible aspect is split up among the senses and is subject to passions and prone to self-indulgence. It is by virtue of this aspect that the soul communicates with the world that is perceptible to the senses and that fosters nutrition and growth; and sustenance for self-preservation, life, growth and health. Since the passible aspect is modified by what it comes into contact with, it is sometimes incited by impulses contrary to nature and develops disordered desires; at other times it is provoked and carried away by mindless anger, or is subject to hunger and thirst, to sorrow and pain, and finally to physical dissolution; it luxuriates in self-indulgence, but shrinks back from affliction. Thus it is rightly called the passible aspect of the soul, since it is to be found in the company of the passions.

When the noetic aspect of the soul holds sway and this mortal aspect is swallowed up by the Logos of life (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:4), then the life of Jesus is also manifested in our mortal flesh (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:11), producing in us the life-quickening deadness of dispassion, and conferring the incorruption of immortality in response to our spiritual aspiration.

~Nikitas Stithatos

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