Skip to comments.The Process of Sin Through The Mind
Posted on 09/10/2010 6:28:47 AM PDT by stfassisi
The church fathers, who spent their lives resisting the devil's onslaughts (logismoi) have a deep understanding of how Satan attacks us through the mind. They list the following four stages of how Satan attacks us through logismoi:
1. The mind receives a suggestion or stimulation, which is another word for temptation. This is called prosbole in Greek. It is like Satan knocking on the door. If the mind is vigilant, attentive, it will notice the provocation and will close the door on temptation, or, as some church fathers say, "If the devil knocks on the door of your mind, send Jesus to the door." By this they mean the Jesus Prayer. There is no sin involved in this first stage. Even Jesus was tempted.
2. If we do not close the door, the soul will enter into dialogue with the suggestion/temptation as Eve did with the serpent. The fathers warn us about the great danger of dialoguing with Satan, since he is far wiser than we are with countless years of experience in seducing victims. This second step is called syndiasmos or dialogue. Yet even in this second stage of temptation there is no accountability, since no sin has been committed. It is a conversation, albeit dangerous, between Satan and the soul.
3. There is a union or coupling with the thought in which the mind consents to the temptation (logismos) and begins to dwell on it. The decision has been made. This is called synkatathesis, or consent. It is the beginning of sin. It is the stage Jesus referred to when He said that if you look upon a woman lustfully and covet her in your heart, it is as if you have already committed adultery.
Yet we are still in the third stage of consent. No action has taken place. It is still possible by God's grace to be liberated from this stage of consent.
During the fifth century certain very austere Christian zealots insisted that to consent to a logismos is the same as if one had already committed the sin. To convince these zealots that there was still a distance between consenting to a sin in one's heart and actually committing it, St. John Chrysostom invited them to a gourmet dinner. He instructed the cooks to prepare the most tempting dishes. He notified his guests not to eat during the day so as to be able to enjoy all the delicious food at the dinner. The guests arrived with a ravenous appetite. The servants began loading the table with sumptuous dishes. Before the meal, Chrysostom invited his deacon to read from the Psalms. The deacon read and kept on reading, twenty, thirty, forty minutes, with no end in sight. The guests agonized. They wondered if they would ever begin to eat. They were salivating with an overpowering desire to eat. Finally the prayer concluded. Then, Chrysostom turned and told his guests, "Now you may leave for home." They were shocked. "Why do you look so puzzled?" he asked them. "Didn't you see the food? Didn't you covet the food with great desire?" "Yes," they replied. "Well, then, it was as if you ate the food," said Chrysostom. Through this practical joke, the great saint was able to convince these austere zealots that there is a difference between consenting to sin in one's heart and actually committing it. It is still possible, even in the late state of consent, not to proceed to the last stage, from which a person can no longer retreat.
4. The fourth and last stage in the process of sin is the stage of captivity. Here we fall so completely under the power of the temptation that we are no longer free to resist it. It becomes a passion, an obsession, an addiction. We become its captive. We are imprisoned by it.
St. Hesychios describes this process of temptation as follows in the Philokalia:
The provocation comes first, then our coupling with it, or the mingling of our thoughts with those of the wicked demons. Third comes our assent to the provocation, with both sets of intermingling thoughts contriving how to commit the sin in practice. Fourth comes the concrete action that is, the sin itself If however, the intellect is attentive and watchful, and at once repulses the provocation by counter-attacking and gainsaying it and invoking the Lord Jesus, its consequences remain inoperative; for the devil, being a bodiless intellect, can deceive our souls only by means of fantasies and thoughts. David was speaking about these provocations of the devil when he said: "Early in the morning I destroyed all the wicked of the earth, that I might cut off all evildoers from the city of the Lord" (Ps. 101:8. LXX); and Moses was referring to the act of assent to a provocation in his words: "You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods" (Exod. 23:32).
Intellect is invisibly interlocked in battle with intellect, the demonic intellect with our own. So from the depths of our heart we must at each instant call on Christ to drive the demonic intellect away from us and in His compassion give us the victory.
Tito Colliander describes the process as follows,
The impulse knocks like a salesman at the door. If one lets him in, he begins his sales talk about his wares, and it is hard to get rid of him even if one observes that his wares are not good. Thus follows consent and finally the purchase, often against one's own will.*
It all begins with the initial "knock" on the door.
1. a suggestion (prosbole);
2. a dialogue (syndiasmos);
3. consent (synkatathesis) ;
4. captivity, passion, or obsession.
A CAGED ENEMY
Demons who work through logismoi have freedom only to the extent that we allow them to have influence over us. They have no authority to do whatever they wish. They cannot enter where they are not wanted or invited. "Christ is risen and the demons have fallen," wrote St. Chrysostom. The demons have been defeated by Jesus and placed in a cage like a lion or a tiger. But we have the freedom to walk up to the cage, unlock the gate, and let the tiger (logismos) out. This happens when we open the door to the logismos through syndiasmos (dialogue) and synkatathesis (consent).
The impulse knocks like a salesman at the door. If one lets him in, he begins his sales talk about his wares, and it is hard to get rid of him even if one observes that his wares are not good. Thus follows consent and finally the purchase, often against one's own will.
Beaudelaire said “Nobody believes in the Devil anymore, but you can smell him everywhere....”
Materialism is the devil’s ruse-—and now even the professions of psychology and psychiatry-——supposed to be studies of the MIND-—have been reduced to psychobabbling pseudo-science about non-empirical “brain chemistry”.
The claims are presumed, not proven....because now “scientists” pretend to “know” that the MIND does not exist.....as all is reduced to brain and chemistry....
You can’t see the Devil.....so he doesn’t exist.....
but nor can we see IDEAS or THOUGHTS or CONCEPTS or MEANINGS of words—which are NOT physical. People can become possessed by an Idea, which spurs them to evil actions....ie, ideas such as Marxism....
Words have physical properties-—but their meanings are NOT physical.......you don’t find out the meaning of a word by doing a chemical analysis of the ink content....
In the beginning was the WORD...and the WORD was with God and the Word was God........
Words have meaning....and meanings are META-physical....
And yet, God knows all this will take place, and the results, before we are even created!
Old news. “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15
Thank you this thread was very helpful
Right on target!
Modern Psychology is greatly influenced by the demonic through the likes of Freud ,Jung and Kinsey-who are held up as great minds in these fields. If one looks at lives these 3 people lead and what they taught at times- it shows the clear essence of the demonic
Good article, thanks.
James 5:16 (New International Version)
16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
The enemy knows and sees in the spiritual realm just how effective our prayers work. I remember when I was young on fire at times how beautiful women would be interested in myself. It was just amazing. I also was almost killed while witnessing Christ to tarot card reader in a car. Which is a long story.
I wear a blessed St Benedict exorcism with scapular now. I have given out to other Christian. I hear positive results from these. I highly recommend for all.
“”The enemy knows and sees in the spiritual realm just how effective our prayers work.””
This is true.
Excerpt from the late Fr John A Hardon..
The devil knows us very well. He cannot read our secret thoughts but he can conclude to our inner spirit by our external behavior, and even, as exorcists tell me, the emotional expressions on our face. When St. Peter tells us not to be afraid of the evil spirit he means more than meets the eye. He means that we should not even show by our emotions that we are afraid of the devil. Our emotional expressions, in what we say, how we react, how we allow our feelings to manifest themselves in our bodies all of these are dangerous in dealing with the devil. We must not only be at peace inside, but manifest a peaceful attitude in our external behavior. The devil is especially influential in mastering those who are afraid of him.
The courageous behavior of Christ in His temptation by the devil is a pattern of how we should deal with the evil spirit.
One strong recommendation, never engage the devil in conversation. I mean never. If you must tell the devil to depart; if you want the devil to go, tell him, but never engage him in what could even be interpreted as a friendly conversation. I have had enough experience of people foolish enough to engage in conversation with the devil who have suffered disastrous consequences as a result.
One more recommendation based on St. Peters injunction. Be strong in your faith. This is not a pious cliché. It means that we exercise our faith, courageously undertaking what we believe God wants us to do and not be afraid of the consequences. The faith we need is the faith of living martyrs in our day. We are to be witnesses of the power of Christ as a divine exorcist and never allow ourselves to doubt that Gods grace in our lives is more powerful than all the demons of hell.
Pray daily to St. Michael the Archangel. He was the first leader of those who led the fallen spirits into their eternal damnation. St. Michael is our chief commander in dealing with the strategy of the master of evil and the prince of this world. Christ assured us He has overcome the world, which means that we have received from Christ to do the same in our demonically plagued society at the close of the twentieth century.
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