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Divided Hearts

Gregory of Nyssa | April 9

Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
—1 John 3:6-7

Habit is always hard to resist. It possesses an enor­mous power of attracting and seducing the soul and of producing a counterfeit image of the good that can lead people into a certain habit and inclination. Nothing is so vile that people can’t consider it desirable and praiseworthy once it has become fashionable. . . . For someone who has turned to the world, who feels its anxieties, and who engages his heart in pleasing people can’t possibly fulfill the Master’s first and greatest commandment. “Thou shall love God with all thy heart and with all thy strength.” How can people fulfill that when they divide their heart between God and the world, when they exhaust the love they owe only to Him by using it for human affections? . . . If battling against pleasure seems tiring, have courage. This habit will produce a feeling of pleasure (even in the most irritating things) through the very effort of perseverance. And that pleasure will be the most noble and pure. This is a pleasure that the intelli­gent can embrace. Then no preoccupation with base trivialities will alienate them from the truly great things that “surpass all understanding.”

All Scripture references are taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version. Excerpts from the early Church Fathers are in the public domain, but were organized and arranged for daily reading in Day by Day with the Early Church Fathers, © 1999 by Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts. (No longer in print). Used by permission and in accordance with sections 3.3, 3.4, and 3.5 of Hendrickson’s “Rights and Permissions”. All rights reserved.

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