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Author Topic: Custody of the Eyes  (Read 4860 times) Average Rating: 0
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Robb
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« on: June 15, 2011, 05:39:55 PM »

I came on this article

http://marysaggies.blogspot.com/2011/06/top-10-reasons-men-should-practice.html


What is "custody of the eyes"?  I've heard about it in Catholics, but I'm not sure if this concept is taught in Orthodoxy?

Does this mean that a person has to look at the floor all the time and not gaze at another person, especially in their eyes?  If you do this all the time what if you get hit by a car or injured because your trying to avoid some "occasion" of sin.

Reading stuff like this just causes me to have more doubts and misunderstanding about Christianity.  These concept's seem so Platonic and removed from society and the world (Which I have always liked and felt privileged to be a part of).  When I read depressing and detached articles like this, all the joy that I once felt towards Christianity gets dampened even more then it already is.
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2011, 05:52:45 PM »


Robb, first of all that is a Catholic site.

Second of all....this type of "concept" holds true for everyone.
Don't LOOK at something that will lead you to sin.

If you glance up and see a woman displaying her cleavage....look away.  Don't stare and get tempted.  Nobody says you need to look at the ground the whole time, but, if you notice something...look away.

I find I have to do this on those odd occasions I go to the gym.  Walking on the treadmill, some 4 rows back, there's nothing but hopping bodies in tight clothes in front of me!  So, I've learned to bring reading material with me, that I lay across the front and keep my eyes on what is good for me to stare at!

Too much of anything is bad.  While the concept is good, don't go overboard.

Fasting is good, starving is bad.


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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2011, 06:07:26 PM »

It's totally unpractical to think that you wouldn't see things especially at the beach or the gym like Liza said. The thing is if you don't want to get in a tricky spot with what you see then once you notice the nice jugs then you have to look at the woman the nice jugs are attached to and think person not just body.

I think trying not to think about something makes it worse but if you think about it in a better way then your not trying to avoid it..... them... haha...
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 06:09:14 PM by Poppy » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2011, 07:25:08 PM »

Liza did you mean rite?

Robb, I think the original term is guarding the eyes. This of course is a form of preserving piety for monks and laymen which stems from avoiding sinning in thought with what is seen.  There's a wonderful example of this in Orthodoxy about a monk (forget who) who went to a town and saw a woman of ill-repute looking at him and he felt offended (since he was looking at her to see that).  He said, what are you looking at woman, put your eyes down.  But, in order to teach him humility, God inspired the woman to respond:  Woman comes from man, and I am looking from where I come from but man comes from the ground and therefore it is you that should look to the ground and remember where you come from.  He was greatly humbled.

This is paraphrased, but it's the gist.  Perhaps someone with better memory can clarify.
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2011, 10:03:26 PM »

I understand the advice about avoiding looking at sinful stuff, but some of these Catholic sites make you feel worried or afraid to look at anyone or anything least it lead you into some type of sin.  I have read Catholic material which seems to either openly state or imply that you should try to avoid contact with society in general because things like crowds and people could lead to possible sin.  Of course these RC's are all traditional types who believe that one unconfused mortal sin will land you in Hell (Which is something that I have  hard time believing in). 
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2011, 10:08:54 PM »

Well Robb, some of the sayings of the Desert Fathers are more extreme as I am sure you know.

I've always tried to practice certain decency around women. I think it is basic manners.

At night and I happen to be behind a woman alone, I cross the street.

I try to keep my eyes from leering. I don't engage in certain conversations with men, etc.

And I can say after doing this since I was taught as a boy, I act much differently around women than many men I know and also think differently as well I bet.

If only I followed the education I was given about keeping my mouth shut . . .

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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2011, 10:19:40 PM »

I understand the advice about avoiding looking at sinful stuff, but some of these Catholic sites make you feel worried or afraid to look at anyone or anything least it lead you into some type of sin.  I have read Catholic material which seems to either openly state or imply that you should try to avoid contact with society in general because things like crowds and people could lead to possible sin.  Of course these RC's are all traditional types who believe that one unconfused mortal sin will land you in Hell (Which is something that I have  hard time believing in).

Sin cannot be avoided even in a monastery; for that matter, a monk in solitude.  The degree of sin varies for each individual depending on their personal struggle.  That is why we have Holy Confession and Holy Communion.  It is our spiritual medicine prescribed by Christ.  It is a long journey that takes a lifetime to come to understand our sinful state and move towards a state of theosis.  But, God is merciful and doesn't want anyone to perish.  The writings of the holy fathers are very valuable to read in these matters.  And even if we don't reach the state that we read about the saints, God measures our efforts and faith in Him.  We must always have hope in God that He will welcome us into His Holy Kingdom.  One example is St. Paul.  Another is St. Cyprian the Sorcerer: http://orthodoxinfo.com/death/cyprian_justina.aspx

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Stillness,  prayer, love and self-control are a four-horsed chariot bearing the intellect to Heaven. (Philokalia 2: p.308 - #24) - St. Thalassios

The proper activity of the intellect is to be attentive at every moment to the words of God.   (Philokalia 2: p. 308 - # 30) - St. Thalassios
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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2011, 10:21:59 PM »

Well the desert fathers lived extreme lives so their thoughts on life and avoiding temptation would bound to be more extreme then the recommendations of your average parish priest.

I used to have book on he sayings of the desert fathers (which was published by St Hermans I think).

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Men may dislike truth, men may find truth offensive and inconvenient, men may persecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it. But to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy, and the last delusion. Truth lives forever, men do not.
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2011, 10:26:29 PM »

The desert fathers weren't born that way.  And they were much more sensitive in understanding these issues.  It is us laymen who have become desensitized to our sinful state.  They were writing from personal experience.  There are great pearls of wisdom in their teachings.
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Stillness,  prayer, love and self-control are a four-horsed chariot bearing the intellect to Heaven. (Philokalia 2: p.308 - #24) - St. Thalassios

The proper activity of the intellect is to be attentive at every moment to the words of God.   (Philokalia 2: p. 308 - # 30) - St. Thalassios
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2011, 10:28:57 PM »

Robb, I agree and look at what St. Anthony has to say here. I see this as a relief of sorts, if St. Anthony has these struggles, then I really need to lighten up on myself in certain areas (back to scrupulosity):

Quote
11. He said also, "He who wishes to live in solitude in the desert is delivered from three conflicts: hearing, speech, and sight; there is only one conflict for him and that is with fornication."

But perhaps right now, these sorta sayings or articles ain't good for your body and soul. You've expressed a chronic depression of sorts, IIRC properly, if not please forgive. Take it easy, perhaps the most easy on yourself.

I pray that you have kind and wise and loving folks about you to help through this time of trial. And of course Lord have mercy!

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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2011, 10:33:34 PM »

The desert fathers weren't born that way.  And they were much more sensitive in understanding these issues.  It is us laymen who have become desensitized to our sinful state.  They were writing from personal experience.  There are great pearls of wisdom in their teachings.

Not so sure about all this. Genealogies play a role in the Scriptures for a reason. Saints often come from saintly families and have saintly friends and mentors. You have the exceptions which prove the rule.

Theosis is a matter of personal struggle as it is genealogical. The Theotokos wasn't the daughter of Adam and Eve. Generations of men and women had to struggle for there to be a human capable of making the choice she did.

 
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2011, 10:43:12 PM »

I was just pointing out to Robb that we can still find a lot of meaningful teachings from the holy fathers even though they may be a little intense because of the way they lived.  They didn't always live in the desert.

But, I have to disagree about theosis being linked with genealogy.  That makes it sound like only a certain few have been given that opportunity.  We all have that opportunity...that is the actual goal of life.
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Stillness,  prayer, love and self-control are a four-horsed chariot bearing the intellect to Heaven. (Philokalia 2: p.308 - #24) - St. Thalassios

The proper activity of the intellect is to be attentive at every moment to the words of God.   (Philokalia 2: p. 308 - # 30) - St. Thalassios
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2011, 10:45:15 PM »

Robb, I agree and look at what St. Anthony has to say here. I see this as a relief of sorts, if St. Anthony has these struggles, then I really need to lighten up on myself in certain areas (back to scrupulosity):

Quote
11. He said also, "He who wishes to live in solitude in the desert is delivered from three conflicts: hearing, speech, and sight; there is only one conflict for him and that is with fornication."

But perhaps right now, these sorta sayings or articles ain't good for your body and soul. You've expressed a chronic depression of sorts, IIRC properly, if not please forgive. Take it easy, perhaps the most easy on yourself.

I pray that you have kind and wise and loving folks about you to help through this time of trial. And of course Lord have mercy!



Yeah I've got to agree with you about that.  I have to start focusing more on the positive and not so much on this type of severe stuff.  It just seems like I can't get away from it sometimes.  Everywhere I go I run into either stuff like this or things that remind me of it, almost as if something thing were trying to drive me nuts.  I'm trying to do the best I can to think and stay positive.
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2011, 10:48:31 PM »

I was just pointing out to Robb that we can still find a lot of meaningful teachings from the holy fathers even though they may be a little intense because of the way they lived.  They didn't always live in the desert.

But, I have to disagree about theosis being linked with genealogy.  That makes it sound like only a certain few have been given that opportunity.  We all have that opportunity...that is the actual goal of life.

You obviously are seeing theosis having some end point or implying it. Who knows the struggle to become godly in the hearts of other men and women. From the outside person x may seem a lot more "holy" than person y, but is phoning it in while the latter is struggling with every breath.

If you don't think genealogy and environment have no role to play here, then maybe another thread is in order.
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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2011, 10:51:25 PM »

If you don't think genealogy and environment have no role to play here, then maybe another thread is in order.

Is that an invitation?
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« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2011, 10:53:28 PM »

Robb, I agree and look at what St. Anthony has to say here. I see this as a relief of sorts, if St. Anthony has these struggles, then I really need to lighten up on myself in certain areas (back to scrupulosity):

Quote
11. He said also, "He who wishes to live in solitude in the desert is delivered from three conflicts: hearing, speech, and sight; there is only one conflict for him and that is with fornication."

But perhaps right now, these sorta sayings or articles ain't good for your body and soul. You've expressed a chronic depression of sorts, IIRC properly, if not please forgive. Take it easy, perhaps the most easy on yourself.

I pray that you have kind and wise and loving folks about you to help through this time of trial. And of course Lord have mercy!



Yeah I've got to agree with you about that.  I have to start focusing more on the positive and not so much on this type of severe stuff.  It just seems like I can't get away from it sometimes.  Everywhere I go I run into either stuff like this or things that remind me of it, almost as if something thing were trying to drive me nuts.  I'm trying to do the best I can to think and stay positive.

IME, my mood does color what I see and what I am drawn to. I hate spouting cliches, but sometimes they are true if not entirely precise:

Misery loves company.

For me, some emotions love themselves and will find nourishment to feed on. Depression is one. Perhaps a sorta "depression fast" is in order, if I can be so bold to offer such a statement blindly over the internet.

Again, I am sure having dealt with this stuff before, you probably know the SOP, but it is good IME to be reminded of it, when I am in the middle of a rut.

Again, you will be in my prayers.

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« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2011, 12:11:26 AM »


At night and I happen to be behind a woman alone, I cross the street.


Do you really?  On behalf of all women, everywhere, thank you.
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« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2011, 12:14:44 AM »

..this type of "concept" holds true for everyone.
Don't LOOK at something that will lead you to sin.

If you glance up and see a woman displaying her cleavage....look away.  Don't stare and get tempted.  Nobody says you need to look at the ground the whole time, but, if you notice something...look away.

I find I have to do this on those odd occasions I go to the gym.  Walking on the treadmill, some 4 rows back, there's nothing but hopping bodies in tight clothes in front of me! 
That makes sense, especially about the gym where our eyes are bombarded by the beauty of the female figure.
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« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2011, 02:49:13 AM »

I think that men and women are intended to find the opposite sex attractive.  If I see a woman and think that she is beautiful and physically attractive there is no sin in that.  However, how we act on those feelings can be sinful, and if we encourage inappropriate desires that is a problem as well.

Men find women desirable, that is one of the reasons we get married.  We don't stop finding women desirable once we are married either; we don't act on those feelings though as married men, and we don't encourage desire in our hearts for other women.

Looking away as needed can be very helpful, but doesn't need to be taken to an extreme, as if every woman in the room is invisible.  When I see a very sexy woman I remind myself that she is a person in God's image, and that she is someone's wife/daughter/sister/mother.  If she is a member of the Church, I can remind myself that she is a sister in Christ.  I mentally acknowledge that she is attractive and move on.  The fact that she is attractive, and I recognize her as such, is no sin.
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« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2011, 07:45:45 AM »

Pete, even the most ascetic saints didn't trust themselves even though they reached dispassion. 
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« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2011, 07:56:19 AM »

I don't know how Orthodox this is so please correct me, but the pastor of the Protestant church I used to go to advised that averting your eyes won't help if you are still thinking about the woman, the need is to cultivate thoughts of love for Christ and of the love of your wife to such an extent that lusting after another woman holds no appeal to you because there is no room for such thoughts with all the joy in your heart.
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« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2011, 03:38:28 PM »


At night and I happen to be behind a woman alone, I cross the street.


Do you really?  On behalf of all women, everywhere, thank you.


Yes. I sometimes get so frustrated with men my age and younger (<35) and how they comport themselves in general that I swear I am going to become the male version of Emily Post.

For whatever reason, amid the hyena den I grew up in, etiquette and manners were held in high regard.

Hey guys less than 40 years of age, a question for example, no googling:

When opening a door for a woman, when is the only time that it is proper to pass through the door before her?

I wince when I see this rule broken. But this common courtesy is pretty much French finishing school material anymore.

Men are pretty much mindless anymore. Probably always were.
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« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2011, 03:47:14 PM »

..this type of "concept" holds true for everyone.
Don't LOOK at something that will lead you to sin.

If you glance up and see a woman displaying her cleavage....look away.  Don't stare and get tempted.  Nobody says you need to look at the ground the whole time, but, if you notice something...look away.

I find I have to do this on those odd occasions I go to the gym.  Walking on the treadmill, some 4 rows back, there's nothing but hopping bodies in tight clothes in front of me! 
That makes sense, especially about the gym where our eyes are bombarded by the beauty of the female figure.

I'm telling you, I am grateful for having pounded into my head for the first decade and a half of my life not to relate to women simply as sexual partners. I absolutely act and think differently than most men I know regarding women.

I have an easy time finding rewarding relationships (and not so rewarding ones) and never feel any compulsion to be in one, if I ain't. Nor do I ever leer or gawk, etc. I've always found porn to be disgusting, unless you count something like a pin-up add from the 50's as porn.

And always found "locker room talk" revolting. I did not, even as a teen, understand how someone would talk in such a way about a woman they were physically involved with.

This is not to claim pride, but rather to say training your sons from day one to relate to women as people will affect how they behave, think, and feel toward for the rest of their lives.

This also proves to me that decades of training will produce pretty much any result you want.

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« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2011, 03:57:41 PM »

Hey guys less than 40 years of age, a question for example, no googling:

When opening a door for a woman, when is the only time that it is proper to pass through the door before her?

Is it when they are descending a staircase right after that ?
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« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2011, 04:04:13 PM »

Hey guys less than 40 years of age, a question for example, no googling:

When opening a door for a woman, when is the only time that it is proper to pass through the door before her?

Is it when they are descending a staircase right after that ?

Ahhhhhh staircases. Typically the lady first rule would apply, but I could see exceptions. The width of staircase, how and where the door opens to all determine what to do. This is the where etiquette becomes a matter of judgement. It is not the hard rule though.

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« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2011, 04:12:43 PM »

Let me re-word the question, so that rules lawyers or over-thinking does not come into play:

The one situation where the man opens the door, if closed, passes through the door completely, leaving the woman to follow and to shut the door herself or have another shut it for her.
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« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2011, 04:18:13 PM »

Hey guys less than 40 years of age, a question for example, no googling:

When opening a door for a woman, when is the only time that it is proper to pass through the door before her?

Is it when they are descending a staircase right after that ?

Ahhhhhh staircases. Typically the lady first rule would apply, but I could see exceptions. The width of staircase, how and where the door opens to all determine what to do. This is the where etiquette becomes a matter of judgement. It is not the hard rule though.



I have thought that a man always proceeds while going down the stairs, so that if the lady trips, he would break her fall.
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« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2011, 04:20:21 PM »

Custody of eyes is like avoiding the occasion of sin.  We must never put ourselves in places or situations that could cause us to sin.  Looking at a beautiful woman could lead a man to lust.  Or, for that matter, looking at some foods could lead a person to gluttony.  I know a nun, an excellent iconographer, who always had to fight with herself to avoid staring people in the eyes.  She was, before becoming a nun, an artist and for her the eyes opened the inner being of a person.
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« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2011, 04:28:35 PM »

Hey guys less than 40 years of age, a question for example, no googling:

When opening a door for a woman, when is the only time that it is proper to pass through the door before her?

Is it when they are descending a staircase right after that ?

Ahhhhhh staircases. Typically the lady first rule would apply, but I could see exceptions. The width of staircase, how and where the door opens to all determine what to do. This is the where etiquette becomes a matter of judgement. It is not the hard rule though.



I have thought that a man always proceeds while going down the stairs, so that if the lady trips, he would break her fall.

Nice. I'll think on that and how I would actually behave in the situation. It would certainly depend on the width of the staircase, but in evening attire with heels, I do believe I would lead.

Good points. Not sure if it is clear cut. But good stuff to think about or examine how I behave.
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« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2011, 05:13:10 PM »

 These concept's seem so Platonic and removed from society and the world (Which I have always liked and felt privileged to be a part of).

Robb, I'll share a bit of what I have experienced as a convert. Some sins can be fought of with mild measures. A bit of will-power and prayer do away with them. Some other sins, though, are deeply rooted in us. Some to the point of having become vices, that is, a compulsion that is as hard to avoid as alcohol to an alcoholic (hard, not impossible).

When sin has ingrained itself so deep in us that it has become a vice, an addiction, than more radical measures may be necessary. If you can look at the opposite sex "dressed" with just some pieces of cloth and not imagine anything, feel no passion or impulse, and instead, see the person as your sister in God, so yes, you are free of *this* temptation. There might be others: pride, glutony, vanity, lethargy, laziness, etc etc.

I can assure you that in these times when indulgence and self-satisfaction are cultivated as the main target in life, that almost everybody has some sin that has fallen to the state of an addiction. In these cases, just like the alcoholic, we cannot taste even one drop. If it is lust for women, yes, one must look elsewhere immediately. Always. It doesn't have to be to the ground. The point is that if one is a "womanholic", I'm sorry, even a glance at her body can trigger an "episode", where images, reflex sensations and feelings will come like a tsunami. If the person is not fine.

If the person has become addicted to competition and is a workaholic, what would be best spiritually, would be to try to find a job that pays less, that has no job post competition. If the person has become addicted to comfort, yes, the person must avoid some stuff that most of us would consider "normal".

What monastic life teaches us is that we have far more addictions than we suspect. And the monk fights them head on.

Now, I quoted that part of your post, because that's the one that is "worrying". We are called to be saints, which originally means "set apart". We are meant to be "away" from the world. I completely hear you when you say that you like and feel pride in being a member of the world. But that's exactly the root problem of our hearts and souls. We are *not* beings of the world, although we have learned to appreciate it. We are beings of the Garden, the material expression of Heaven, flesh and spirit participating in the Kingdom of God, of Eternity. We will all leave the world some day. But if when we leave it materially our spirits still love it, that is anticipation of hell. If when we live, we have come to learn to love the New Jerusalem, and not this world, that's anticipation of Heaven.

We are called to leave the pride and liking of the world. And thus relearn to love our own true, original nature, as Creatures of God, meant to be Sons and Daughters of God.



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« Reply #30 on: June 16, 2011, 05:28:04 PM »

Just by chance (if you believe in such things) today's (Thursday's) Gospel reading is:

Quote
You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 
But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

Furthermore it has been said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.


St John Chrysostom says on this verse:

[Christ is] not discoursing about our limbs—far from it—for nowhere does He say that our flesh is to be blamed for things, but everywhere it is the evil mind that is accused. For it is not the eye that sees, but the mind and the thought. Often, for instance, we being wholly turned elsewhere, our eye sees not those who are present. So that the matter does not entirely depend upon its working. Again, had He been speaking of members of the body, He would not have said it of one eye, nor of the right eye only, but of both. For he who is offended by his right eye, most evidently will incur the same evil by his left also. Why then did He mention the right eye, and add the hand? To show you that not of limbs is He speaking, but of them who are near unto us. Thus, ‘If,’ says He, ‘you so lovest any one, as though he were in stead of a right eye; if you think him so profitable to you as to esteem him in the place of a hand, and he hurts your soul; cut off even these.’ And see the emphasis; for He says not, ‘Withdraw from him,’ but to show the fullness of the separation, ‘pluck it out,’ says He, ‘and cast it from you.’

This is what I would see as "custody of the eyes", especially as Christ's words continue directly after those relating specifically to lust.
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« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2011, 05:41:43 PM »

A lot of this stuff seems kind of on the extreme side to me.  I just don't believe that the world we humans live in is evil or corrupt and that the natural traits of human existence are sinful.  If man did not have the desire to be attracted to and mate with women then there would be no humanity in the first place.  We all have human instincts, the difference to me is how we humans control our own natural appetites and not let them come to dominate and enslave us as individuals.  

I understand that the Church Fathers meant well, but they were severally limited in their understanding of human nature and the complex biological and genetic makeup of man which we know far more about today then they did around 1500 years ago.  The Fathers largely seemed to base their understanding on man and his condition on the observations of Greek philosophers.  They had no idea of knowing about things like gentics, or evolution, or the subconscious mind and what role these things play in the lives of humans.  On the contrary, the Fathers and other early saints saw human weakness as a moral fault.  Everyone was constantly, in their eyes guilty of faults which (In retrospect) we have come to realize are just part of the human makeup and not even entirely the fault of individuals.

Thank God I belong to a Church which has taken into account the recent developments in such fields as psychology, sociology, and genetics and has used these to shape the understanding of such concept's as sin and human frailty.  We Catholics are not just limited tot he writtings of a bunch of bearded ascetics living in the dark ages, we have a new and fresh understanding of the world and the makeup of man who is ever seeking to merge himself with the cosmic Christ.
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« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2011, 05:56:58 PM »

I understand that the Church Fathers meant well, but they were severally limited in their understanding of human nature and the complex biological and genetic makeup of man which we know far more about today then they did around 1500 years ago.  

That's all very well, but I did quote the words of Jesus Christ first and foremost, and even then only because they were literally placed in my lap today after reading your thread (as I say, they are part of today's Lectionary).

The Church Father I quoted, rather than being extreme, actually tempers Jesus' words by understanding their allegorcal meaning. Perhaps I presume too much of your own beliefs, but the words of Jesus have authority, don't they? Given His nature(s), would you not say they carry more authority than even those who study psychology, sociology, and genetics?

So, ignoring any Church Father and sticking with only the words of Christ, yes, His injunction seems extreme. This is because it is. Even by understanding Christ's words allegorically we are cronfronted by how extreme and violent they are. And there are many other examples of what Jesus said hundreds of years before the "bearded ascetics" (though I wonder what you would have thought of Christ had you met Him on earth!) came along which are extreme. Perhaps He used such violent and arresting language because that is actually what is required to overcome sin and our own weakness. Jesus Christ seems to think that overcoming such weaknesses is both possible and necessary. You can call me a dark-age fool but I believe Him!
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« Reply #33 on: June 16, 2011, 06:28:11 PM »

One thing that I think is important concerning these verses:

St. Matt. 5:27-29

27 "You have heard that it was said, `You shall not commit adultery.' 28 But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body  be thrown into hell."

Christ here is referring to adultery, much like the commandment not to covet our neighbor's wife.  Notice that He is not saying, "that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed fornication with her in his heart."

I am not saying that the Lord wants us to lecherously oogle women, but this passage is specifically about lusting after a married woman, I assume with a strong desire to have sexual relations.
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« Reply #34 on: June 16, 2011, 11:56:47 PM »

Well I stick to Jesus words, but as interpreted by my Church and spiritual director.  The RCC is Jesus representative on Earth and they give clear interpretation as to what he meant and how we should follow it. For a good Catholic Christ is inseparable from his Church.  He who said to listen at all times to the Church and his vicar on Earth, the Pope of Rome. In the words of St Ignatius Loyola, "If the Pope and magisterium said that white was black, then I would believe it as so".  If you want to take extreme measures like cutting off your hands or goading out your eyes to avoid sinning, then be my guest.  However we RC's take much more moderate and healthier approach to such issues based on clear Vatican directives which priest are told what to say and not say to penitents.  

Today I was privileged to go to confession after having been amiss from the sacrament for some time.  The priest absolved me from my sins and gave me much comfort with his words.  I do feel spiritually refreshed and able to meet many of the challenges that have plagued me in recent times with a new and more positive approach.  I would much rather trust my priest (Who has been one for a long, long time) Then some words I read in a book or heard in a 1500 year old sermon.  

Peace be with you.

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« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2011, 07:52:31 AM »

Quote
If you want to take extreme measures like cutting off your hands or goading out your eyes to avoid sinning, then be my guest.

It's already been said that it wasn't meant literally and according to even your religion all the bible says to FLEE and RUN from sin, there is a tonne of places that have the same "extreme" measures.

1 Corinthians 6:18 (Douay-Rheims Bible)
"Fly fornication. Every sin that a man doth, is without the body; but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body."

Colossians 3:5 (DRB)
"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry."

Ephesians 5:3
"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people."

J.M.C's post was only saying what the bible says all through it.

Quote
However we RC's take much more moderate and healthier approach

If you are seriously religious and you would rather amble than run away from sin then thas up to you.
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« Reply #36 on: June 17, 2011, 04:14:30 PM »


Peace be with you too, Robb.

There's very little I can add to what I've already said, and Poppy has said in reply to you. I must comment on this, though:

In the words of St Ignatius Loyola, "If the Pope and magisterium said that white was black, then I would believe it as so".

..to say that this is certainly the most extreme statement said on this thread by a long way. In fact, plainly speaking, it's madness. I especially find it surprising after your comments about "advances" in how we see human-beings and the human makeup. The statement of Ignatius that you quote and apparently approve of, is a massive denial of what it is to be a free human-being. It is an abdication of any responsibility: not only of sin, but of even looking at the world and believing your own senses.

But if that's what you want to do, let's first look at it that way. With such a lauded opinion of magisterium and their complete control over everything you believe, then perhaps you would like to look-up the RCC definition of what a "Doctor of the Church" is, and who is listed as one.

Actually, I'll just tell you: a "Doctor of the Church" is a title given to a saint from whose writings the whole Church is held to have derived great advantage and to whom "eminent learning" and "great sanctity" have been attributed by a proclamation of a pope or of an ecumenical council. And, yes, John Chrysostom is a doctor of the church, and has been since 1568. So it looks like your church has, from your point of view, just declared black as white, and that "1500 year old sermon" is actually a lot more worthy of notice than you have given it credit for.


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« Reply #37 on: June 17, 2011, 04:45:57 PM »

 I just don't believe that the world we humans live in is evil or corrupt and that the natural traits of human existence are sinful.

The world is surely not evil. We see in Genesis that for every step, God "saw that it is good". But that it is not corrupt? That the world is a good thing that went corrupt is the very reason why we are in need of Salvation, the very foundation of any Christian view of the world.

In every discussion on the moral nature of the world (the world is naturally good, or the world is naturally evil), I think that no Christian can take any side of a manicheist perspective. The world as it exists now is something that was once good and now it's broken, shattered and in need of salvation it cannot obtain on its own.
  

Quote
I understand that the Church Fathers meant well, but they were severally limited in their understanding of human nature and the complex biological and genetic makeup of man which we know far more about today then they did around 1500 years ago.

Jesus, Robb! You are severily misinformed on this one. The Fathers didn't know about the human soul just because they did not use psychological linguo? Even the budhists have an answer for that: there was this seminar where a budhist monk and a psychologist had been invited to debate. After the monk finished, the psychologist, rather arrogantly, stated: "Well, this is all superstition. We, on the other hand, have been investigating with experiments in the last 70 years and know better." The monk, very zen, replied: "Millions of monks have been investigating their own mind 24 hours per day every day for the last 2,500 years, not creating theories, but literally going there to check it. I respect whatever knowledge you may have acquired in 70 years, but I think we have some advantage there".

The Fathers surely didn't know about DNA, but do you seriously think that any of them did not know about our animal side? That they did not see inherited traits? Humanity have been making "transgenic" animals and plants since it first though of domesticating nature instead of just suffering it. Corn used to be little larger than strawberries, many vegetables are a mix of different species artificially implanted into each other. Dogs are wolves mutated to serve as tools and companionship to human beings, as are all pets and domestic animals.

Robb, the issue here is not even Orthodoxy or the Roman Church, but a modern myopy called chronocentrism, in which, by misinformation people believe that this era is the best possible and that the older ones were populated by ignorants. Like the Zen monk, but with much more accuracy, the Fathers of the Church knew all the regions of the human spirit firsthand, by self-examination and by examination of so many others who confessed to them. Any Father, at any time, surpass the best of the moderno psychology, for the simple fact that they spoke having true foundations, while modern scientists assumptions about reality are fundamentally wrong.

I strongly recommend you read the following text about chronocentrism:

The Naïveté of the Smart

Then for a more in-depth study of it "Nihilism:The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age"

Your "pride and love" of the modern world *is* idolatry. One does not have to go about putting women on stakes or avoiding technology. But the world *is* a once-good corrupt thing. The sea that is so peaceful and inspiring on a sunset is the same that comes pounding and destroying. The winds that sooth our skin are the same that would smash your entire life, and the land beneath our feet would swallow us at any point. An old oral tradition of the Church says that Nature roared and wanted to destroy Adam and Eve when they ate the apple, for their action corrupt it as well. Only God stopped it.  There is nothing to be proud of in the modern world. It produces, for some people, in some regions, more material well-being and that's it. Nothing more, nothing less.


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« Reply #38 on: June 17, 2011, 05:34:41 PM »

I wonder if there is a bit of a misunderstanding here.

Robb, no one is saying being attracted to the opposite sex or even to a particular woman is sinful. It's just important to recognize the dangers inherent in dwelling on it-even modern psychology knows this. We have an animal side that's only got it's mind on a handful of things and it will be the source of all our suffering if we let it control us. We need to acknowledge the attraction and move on. If it's so powerful that being around the woman is causing us to stumble, well we might have to cut off the relationship for a while-neither the Orthodox or Roman Catholic Churches and certainly not Saint Ignatius condone accepting a situation that leads to lust of the mind "because that's just the way we're wired."
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« Reply #39 on: June 17, 2011, 05:39:30 PM »

So I'm an idolater because I like the world and am proud of human society, its culture, and accomplishments?  Well, if that's the way you want to think.  However I do loves and respect the world, just as my Church does.  The Church since the Vatican Council II calls us all the love and serve the world.  No longer is man seen as solely a spiritual being whose main goal is to get his "pie in the ski", rather our main duty as Christians is to build up Gods kingdom on Earth by promoting a culture of life, Justice, and mutual respect.  That's a lot better idea of how to live (To me anyway) Then the old fashioned Platonic concepts of transcending our mortal existence.  



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« Reply #40 on: June 17, 2011, 05:41:13 PM »

I wonder if there is a bit of a misunderstanding here.

Robb, no one is saying being attracted to the opposite sex or even to a particular woman is sinful. It's just important to recognize the dangers inherent in dwelling on it-even modern psychology knows this. We have an animal side that's only got it's mind on a handful of things and it will be the source of all our suffering if we let it control us. We need to acknowledge the attraction and move on. If it's so powerful that being around the woman is causing us to stumble, well we might have to cut off the relationship for a while-neither the Orthodox or Roman Catholic Churches and certainly not Saint Ignatius condone accepting a situation that leads to lust of the mind "because that's just the way we're wired."

Oh I accept that idea.  If you read what I wrote previously, I said that while we humans have urges its best to try to contthem so that they don't get too out of hand.

Also as I said, I took this up with my spiritual director and will take his advice on the matter.
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« Reply #41 on: June 17, 2011, 06:22:08 PM »

So I'm an idolater because I like the world and am proud of human society, its culture, and accomplishments?  Well, if that's the way you want to think.  However I do loves and respect the world, just as my Church does.  The Church since the Vatican Council II calls us all the love and serve the world.  No longer is man seen as solely a spiritual being whose main goal is to get his "pie in the ski", rather our main duty as Christians is to build up Gods kingdom on Earth by promoting a culture of life, Justice, and mutual respect.  That's a lot better idea of how to live (To me anyway) Then the old fashioned Platonic concepts of transcending our mortal existence.  
I don't think anyone is saying we must all turn our back on the societal sphere. Monks have a very specific calling and sometimes their writings need "translation" to work in an everyday context. But some people are definitely called to reach out to others within the context of the workplace, the civil service, the academy, etc.

This does not preclude thanking for His wonders as shown us through human ingenuity-but we must remember that this world is Babylon and it will fall. We must live in this light and structure our efforts accordingly. Rushdoony and Rauschenbusch are dead.
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« Reply #42 on: June 17, 2011, 07:19:13 PM »

Then for a more in-depth study of it "Nihilism:The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age"

It is my duty to point out this is not an in-depth study of anything except for perhaps the hodge-podge criticisms of era obviously misunderstood by a single man.

I will not refrain from pointing this out.
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« Reply #43 on: June 17, 2011, 08:38:55 PM »

So I'm an idolater because I like the world and am proud of human society, its culture, and accomplishments?  Well, if that's the way you want to think.  However I do loves and respect the world, just as my Church does.  The Church since the Vatican Council II calls us all the love and serve the world.  No longer is man seen as solely a spiritual being whose main goal is to get his "pie in the ski", rather our main duty as Christians is to build up Gods kingdom on Earth by promoting a culture of life, Justice, and mutual respect.  That's a lot better idea of how to live (To me anyway) Then the old fashioned Platonic concepts of transcending our mortal existence.  
I don't think anyone is saying we must all turn our back on the societal sphere. Monks have a very specific calling and sometimes their writings need "translation" to work in an everyday context. But some people are definitely called to reach out to others within the context of the workplace, the civil service, the academy, etc.

This does not preclude thanking for His wonders as shown us through human ingenuity-but we must remember that this world is Babylon and it will fall. We must live in this light and structure our efforts accordingly. Rushdoony and Rauschenbusch are dead.

Volt, no offense but I can obviously tell that you come from a Protestant (Probably fundamentalist) Backround.  You defiantly tend to have a viewpoint that goes like "world bad/ God good/ nothing in between".  As a Catholic I was not brought up or taught to think is such stark, black and white terms about such matters.  I have a Catholic Imagination.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_imagination


Catholic imagination refers to the Catholic viewpoint that God is present in the whole creation and in human beings, as seen in its sacramental system whereby material things and human beings are channels and sources of God's grace.

Comparing 'Catholic imagination' to 'Protestant imagination'This terminology was popularized by Andrew Greeley, a Roman Catholic priest. He wrote:

"The central symbol (of religion) is God. One's 'picture' of God is in fact a metaphorical narrative of God's relationship with the world and the self as part of the world... The Catholic 'classics' assume a God who is present in the world, disclosing Himself in and through creation. The world and all its events, objects, and people tend to be somewhat like God. The Protestant classics, on the other hand, assume a God who is radically absent from the world, and who discloses (Himself) only on rare occasions (especially in Jesus Christ and Him crucified). The world and all its events, objects, and people tend to be radically different from God."
Runar Eldebo is a Swedish correspondent for Pietisten, an online Catholic newspaper, and teaches in the Swedish Seminary. According to him, Greeley makes a clear distinction between Catholic imagination and Protestant imagination. Regarding Protestant imagination, Eldebo said:

"Protestant imagination is dialectic and makes people pilgrims. It is deep in conflict and antagonistic to the ingredients of a common, human life. Catholic imagination is analogical. It is founded in creation itself and views creation as God in disguise. According to Catholic imagination, God lurks everywhere. According to Protestant imagination, Karl Barth for example, God is hidden everywhere but found only in the revelation of Jesus Christ. Therefore, according to Greeley, Protestants are never at home on earth, they are pilgrims on their way. Catholics, meanwhile, like to dwell on earth. They enjoy life and are not in a hurry to get to heaven because God lurks everywhere, especially where you do not expect her (sic) to be."

You Really should read Fr. Greeleys book mfor a better understanding of this obvious divide between us and our concepts of the world and faith.
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« Reply #44 on: June 17, 2011, 08:49:37 PM »

Then for a more in-depth study of it "Nihilism:The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age"

It is my duty to point out this is not an in-depth study of anything except for perhaps the hodge-podge criticisms of era obviously misunderstood by a single man.

I will not refrain from pointing this out.

I'm not sure if I would place much stock in anything written by the ex Buddhist beatnick, turned Orthodox Monk, Eugene Rose.  He did espouse some pretty strange views during his short life on Earth, some of which were condemned by many EO theologians as neo gnostic during the formers lifetime.  Also the monastery he was affiliated with has certainly has had its ups and downs over the years.  I remember reading their literature some time ago which basically trashed all "canonical" Orthodox bodies as not being as "pure" as the mystical monks of Platina and their "guru" followers.  It just seems to me that Fr Rose may have not entirely shed his previous Eastern mysticism when he converted, but just adapted that thinking to an Orthodox ascetic mindset and worked from there to spread his theology. 

Being an RC, it really isn't much of my business to speculate too much about a mystic in another faith tradition.  I do know though that Fr. Rose certainly did not appreciate RC's very much and even went so far to call us "graceless' and "deceptive".  Why then should I, as a striving to be good RC, listen to anything uttered from his lips and give it credibility in my own life?
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