Le combat spirituel dans le monde contemporain

KALLISTOS WARE, Métropolite de Diocleia
KALLISTOS WARE, Métropolite de Diocleia
Bose, 12 septembre 2009
XVIIe Colloque œcuménique international
Conférence du métropolite KALLISTOS
Voici donc certains des éléments du combat spirituel dans le monde contemporain: d'une part, la descente aux enfers, le martyre, la kénose; de l'autre, la transfiguration, l'eucharistie, la prière du cœur

(texte original en langue anglaise de la conférence du métropolite Kallistos)

Bose, 12 septembre 2009
Métropolite de Diocleia


I count it an honour to have been invited to give the concluding address at this conference. This morning I shall attempt to do two things. First, bearing in mind that throughout this conference we have spoken repeatedly about “the passions”, I shall look more closely at this term, and try to specify, more precisely than has been done so far, what we mean by it. Secondly, I shall speak about the topic designated in my title, “The Spiritual Struggle in the Contemporary World”.

No new sins?

Over fifty years ago, a well-known spiritual guide in the Anglican tradition, Father Algy Robertson (of the Society of Saint Francis), who used to spend many hours each week hearing confessions, said to me, with a note of weariness in his voice: “What a pity there are no new sins!”. Contrary to the prevailing secular view, it is not holiness but sin that is dull and repetitive. Evil is basically uncreative and monstrous, whereas the saints display an inexhaustible variety and originality.

If sin is essentially repetitive, then it follows that the spiritual struggle – understood as unseen warfare against our evil thoughts and sinful passions – continues to be the same in the contemporary world as it always was in the past. The outward forms may alter, but the inner character remains unchanged. A book such as The Ladder of Divine Ascent by saint John Climacus can serve as a practical handbook in the twenty-first as much as in the seventh century. Today as in the past our adversary the devil, as roaring lion, goes about seeking who he may devour. Today as in the past Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. Today as in the past God calls us to that spirit of watchfulness summed-up by the ascetic fathers of the Christian East in the word nepsis: “Be sober, be vigilant”.