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The Sorcerer’s Soap

February 20, 2014


The following from The Philokalia, Volume One, St John of Karpathos, Text 45.

In one place it is said that the Father ‘will give good things to those who ask him’ (Matt 7.11); elsewhere, He will ‘give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him’ (Luke 11.13). From this we learn that those who pray to God with steadfast faith in these promises receive not only remission of sins but also heavenly gifts of grace. The Lord promised these ‘good things’ not to the righteous but to sinners, saying: ‘If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?’ (Luke 11.13). Ask, then, unremittingly and without doubting, however poor your efforts to gain holiness, however weak your strength; and you will receive great gifts, far beyond anything you deserve.

While reading The Way of a Pilgrim, I stopped at the part where it mentioned spiritual greediness, and put down the book, perplexed. This was four years ago, when I was what I like to call “first activated”, and saw the clear and present danger of skimming the seas, without the understanding that one must enter the caverns underneath the frolic of the waves. Now, by saying “first activated”, I am not saying that I came into belief of God. Truth is, I have never known a day where I did not believe. As a matter of fact, I have even said, “Lord, you did not have to die on the cross for me; I would have believed.” This is saying, why this awful death? I see wisdom in your Words, therefore, I need not get hung up on your figure bruised and bloodied, nailed to wood. I have long known of the existence of the enemy, even as young as elementary school age, and I have long known of the goodness of your Being; but I did not Understand the forbearance of your Worth. I had not yet seen my ID.

I am certain there are variations on what is spiritual greediness, but I will share what I see. Spiritual greediness is contempt for the unrighteous while righting (fighting) the wrongs. But before I get into a fuller meaning on this, allow me to share on something I read in the news recently. A seventy-five year old Christian missionary was arrested in Pyongyang. I read a few of the comments posted after the article, and was amazed at the blindness of those who criticized this man for going into such a country to witness when he knew there was a very high chance of arrest. From my vantage point, should this man be put to hard labor, he will be given the opportunity to witness hope to those who may feel there is none. If you have heard anything on North Korean punishment, you will understand that there may be a great need for this. Whether you would agree with this missionary’s Scripture understanding or not, he is willing where so few are. Remember one thing, my friends: we don’t always go where we are wanted, but where we are needed. Sometimes, it takes one to plant the seed where the soil is ripe. Now, I am not saying that all exposed to this missionary’s faith will become as him. I am saying that a seed is planted, and where there is faith, there is hope:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Some call the above portion the St Francis Prayer. I do not believe it was written by St Francis, but it does not matter who, but how, and when, and why. If BORN from the Holy Spirit, the Author of Faith and hope is the greater Master.

Maximillian Kolbe made a choice, in the place of imprisonment, and he was sainted by the Roman Catholic Church, but the greater has Spoken in this platform on Truth. I would not want to mess with the North Korean government, but I wouldn’t dare criticize the elderly missionary, even if I were an atheist, and held contempt for all of Christianity. These may say that we have not considered the political repercussions of the actions of men like these. Well, in looking at the time of Kolbe and the time of this missionary in North Korea, it appears as if the village has gotten a whole lot bigger.

That said, spiritual greediness is a slippery ride. It feeds in ways that allow you to believe you are above the fray, or out of the ignorance(s) of mankind. It is very clever in making you think that you somehow have something that others do not, and in this attitude, you can forgive, or you can judge, or you can pardon, or you can punish. It feeds in such a way that fuels the mentality to morality of ignorance. It is the gin of seduction of illusory channels. It breeds lethargy, and can deny Spirit. There is even the curse of seeing too much. In seeing too much you hear too little. Spiritual greediness works on many levels. 

I will share two examples.

Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. (I Corinthians 11:27)

The first is the idea that one is worthy, or even the idea that one is worthy to be an instrument in the idea that one is worthy. You either accept the sinner and reject the righteous, or understand that you are still working in worthiness, and accept all as all fall short. Recall Jesus said: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Luke 5.32)I have heard both Orthodox and Roman Catholics bark at non catholic and heterodox that for these to receive the Eucharist (Communion) is dangerous. “It’s not candy!” one Orthodox man screamed at me on a forum. And then there was the Orthodox priest who told me the story of his Seer who, while in another room, ‘saw’ that a member received the Eucharist without having confessed all that she should have. The priest told me that he can’t see when someone receives the Eucharist ‘unworthily’. Did he feel guilt in giving her the Eucharist? Is he responsible for not seeing that she had received ‘unworthily’? What harm will come to her, or any other for receiving unworthily? Or do you believe that God is a pampered chef … and will let it all slide … all those ‘unworthy’ ways … including spiritual greediness? A sort of  … don’t worry about it; you can make up for it all in Purgatory.

I will not receive the Eucharist from man–ever. I do not believe in man’s transubstantiation dictum, nor do I believe in his Purgatory, for his Purgatory does not allow for choice, just as Reincarnation does not allow for choice, and God gives all, the freedom to choose. As orthodox spiritual, I believe to receive the Eucharist is to BE Eucharist. … however poor your efforts to gain holiness … however weak … The flesh is weak, the body poor … and the Spirit cannot be confined or controlled by man. GOD IS SPIRIT (John 4).

1 Corinthians 11.20-22… Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of the OTHERS; and one is hungry and another drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat or drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame THOSE who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise YOU.

The other example of spiritual greediness is having astute vision, seeing the poverty of Light within others, but choosing the attitude of contempt instead of prayerfully discerning in the Work of healing in belief of God. One with astute vision can fall prey to spiritual deafness. This believer gets ahead of himself. He skips breakfast and rushes into supper, thinking he has worked out his salvation through his craftmanship. He strolls into the sanctuary without a speck of lint on his coat. He is finely pressed, and immaculately starched. There are no holes in his sandals, just as there are no holes in his heart.

And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and sad to Mary His mother, “behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be SPOKEN against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), and the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed (Luke 2.33-35).



Peace and Love.


***Coming Soon: PSYCHOLOGY OF THE HEART, Part One: The Bleeding Heart

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