January 14

Thus the violation of God’s commandment is the cause of all types of death, both of soul and body, whether in the present life of in that endless chastisement. And death, properly speaking, is this: for the soul to be unharnessed from divine grace and to be yoked to sin. This death, for those who have their wits, is truly dreadful and something to be avoided. This, for those who think aright, is more terrible than the chastisement of Gehenna.

…as the death of the soul is authentic death, so the life of the soul is authentic life. Life of the soul is union with God, as life of the body is its union with the soul. As the soul was separated from God and died in consequence of the violation of the commandment, so by obedience to the commandment it is again united to God and is quickened. This is why the Lord says in the Gospels, “The words I speak to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63)….but they are words of eternal life for those who obey them; for those who disobey, this commandment of life results in death (cf. Romans 7:10).

So it was that the apostles, being Christ’s fragrance, were to some the death-inducing odor of death, while to others they were the life-inducing odor of life (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:16).

~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia, vol. 4, pp. 296-297)

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