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Struggle with Passions:

Ever since Man fell from God’s grace, just like a formerly domesticated animal that has turned feral, he views his previous place of habitat reluctantly. It likes the gloom of the forest i.e. present world, better than the light of its former place i.e. God’s Heaven. It is difficult for a person to unite with God and when he does, he soon falls away from Him. It is difficult for him to believe in God and all the things that God had revealed to him.

Looking upon God’s earth, I see the extraordinary magnitude and playfulness of life: in the animal kingdom, among quadrupeds, among reptiles, insects, birds and fish. Now it may be asked: where does the pressure and sorrows come from to those that attempt to live virtuous lives? After all, God has diffused life, abundance, joy and expanse everywhere. With the exception of Man, all creatures exalt the Creator by their contentment and playful happiness. Am I not a creation of the same Creator? The key to this riddle is simple: our life is contaminated by our sins and by the incorporeal enemy. He especially attacks those who have committed themselves to a life of piety. Consequently, the true life of an individual is ahead — in the eternal age. There, all joys and total contentment shall be revealed to him. Here, he is only an outcast that is under punishment. Sometimes, it is as though the whole of Nature is against him. So I am not perplexed by the fact that everywhere in the world there is happiness and abundance, while within me there is misery. We all have an executioner for our sins, who is always with us and punishes us. But there will be joys for us also, only not here but in the next world.

Firmly remember that you are a dual person: one — carnal, primeval and afflicted with passions. He must be subdued and not yielded to, with his insistent, sinful demands. The other is the spiritual, new, Christ-seeking, living with Christ and acquiring peace and life in Him. Just as you need to apply all measures to despise the demands of the first personage, because their acceptance would be lethal for your soul, you need to apply all measures to fulfil the demands of the latter, because it leads toward eternal life. Take upon yourself the task of doing that which you have understood.

Saint John of Kronstadt