visions of st. john

THE VISION OF ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST: THE APOCALYPTIC WOMAN, DETAIL OF THE WORK-DAY SIDE OF AN ALTAR WING FROM SZENTBENEDEK (TODAY MĂNĂSTIREA, ROMANIA)

1520

MNG

“If, therefore, you desire to attain perfection and rightly to pursue the spiritual way, you should make yourself a stranger to all sinful anger and wrath. Listen to what St Paul enjoins: ‘Rid yourselves of all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking and all malice’ (Ephesians 4:31). In saying 'all’ he leaves no excuse for regarding any anger as necessary or reasonable. …

No matter what provokes it, anger blinds the soul’s eyes, preventing it from seeing the Sun of righteousness. Leaves, whether of gold or lead, placed over the eyes, obstruct the sight equally, for the value of the gold does not affect the blindness it produces. Similarly, anger, whether reasonable or unreasonable, obstructs our spiritual vision.

Our incensive power can be used in a way that is according to nature only when turned against our own impassioned or self-indulgent thoughts. This is what the Prophet teaches us when he says: 'Be angry, and do not sin’ (Psalms 4:4) - that is, be angry with your own passions and with your malicious thoughts, and do not sin by carrying out their suggestions.”

~St John Cassian, On the Eight Vices, excerpt from 'On Anger’

(Icon via Pinterest)