"Inner disposition changes outward nature, and acts of moral choice alter the way that nature functions."
St. Gregory of Sinai.
Do these words seem familiar? I certainly hope that they "ring a bell" in the minds of those in my small flock. I have said basically these words to most of you. I saw this quote in an email I received recently and wanted to share them with everyone. St Gregory says it with more eloquence I ever have.
What it gets down to is this. We have a problem. We think things we should not think, and these thoughts cause us to do things we should not do, or not do things we should do. Whichever we change, whether the inner (thoughts and overall inner disposition) or outer (our acts), if we attempt to change with INTENT, the one will help shape the other.
Let’s have a practical example. Life is not theoretical, it is actual and real.
Suppose that someone at work is rude, obnoxious, and "rubs you the wrong way". You do not like this person. Others do not like this person. You find yourself returning rudeness for rudeness, and going right along with the negative talk when the subject of this person comes up. All of these actions are wrong, but they are hard to stop. When you see this person, IMMEDIATE negative thoughts enter into your mind, and you can feel their coldness and darkness.
Thoughts are so very hard to control. Actions may be easier in this case. You can make up your mind to say "good morning" or offer to bring coffee if you are going to get a cup. You can FORCE yourself to ACT in a civil way. Some have argued with me before that this seems to be hypocritical. It is only hypocritical if you "act nice" because of a hidden agenda to benefit yourself. You are a Christian; there is no "hidden agenda". You are supposed to love everyone, equally, as God does. This is not a secret agenda; you have already declared it by stating that you “Believe in one God the Father almighty…”
It WILL happen, if you continue to force yourself to change your outward actions, your inward thoughts will change. Then your actions and thoughts will be in perfect harmony. This is one aspect of the "peace" which Jesus Christ blessed his Apostles, and us with.
If you look closely, you will see multiple opportunities to change the inner man or the outer man, and therefore make progress in changing the entire man.
Any questions? Let’s talk.
Now, I am feeling lazy today. Yesterday was a long day. I do not want to cut the church grass today, since it is tall enough to hide a deer. I am off to go do it now. I will still be lazy after I finish, but I will have done SOMETHING. In time, I will get better.