Philokalia

Philokalia

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Desert within . . .

I have heard people say that one cannot achieve a persistent state of virtue without retreating far into the desert, and I was amazed that they should think the unconfinable could be confined to a particular locality…. Such a state is not achieved adventitiously, by external influences; it is implanted within us at our creation by virtue of our endemic divine and spiritual consciousness. And when we are impelled by this inner consciousness in accordance with our true nature we are led into the kingdom of heaven, which in our Lord’s words, is “within us” (Luke 17:21). Thus the desert is in fact superfluous, since we can enter the kingdom simply through repentance and the strict keeping of God’s commandments. Entry into the kingdom can occur, as David states, “in all places of His dominion”; for he says, “In all places of His dominion bless the Lord, O my soul” (Psalm 103:22).

Nikitas Stithatos”