Chrysostom on Healing of the Soul

SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

“When you are sick, you feel weak and feeble, and your face is pale; you are incapable of per­forming your normal tasks, and people remark how ill you appear. So you go to the doctor. What do you want from him? You say you want some medicine to cure your sickness. But if the cause of your sickness was cured, and you remained feeble and pale, would you be satisfied? Of course not. The truth is, a person goes to the doctor for relief of the symptoms of disease, not disease itself. The doctor, on the other hand, knows that the symptoms can­not be relieved unless their cause is overcome. Similarly, when we declare ourselves to be disciples of Christ, we claim that we want him to cure our spiritual and moral disease. Yet in truth we want him to relieve the symptoms, such as misery, discontent, despair, and so on. Jesus, by contrast, knows that he cannot relieve these symptoms unless he overcomes their deep, inner cause. And this is where the problems arise. While we would like to be rid of the symptoms, we stubbornly resist the efforts of Jesus to penetrate our souls. We do not want our deep-set feel­ings and attitudes to be changed. But only when we truly open our souls to the transforming grace of God will the symptoms of spiritual disease begin to disappear.”

~ On Living Simply

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