Archimandrite Andrew (Konanos): Passions that Linger in Our Soul Do not Go away Easily

Do you know how long it took Saint Ammon to get rid of his anger? He asked God for it every day and do you know for how long he had been waiting? For eight years.

All these years he was angry, but he fought against it by appealing to prayer and patience. Only in the eighth year did the Lord free him of this passion. Think about what would have happened if he had lost his hope in God in the eighth year and said, “I cannot do this anymore. One, two, four, five, seven years of patience. It is not working”. Yet for another year he suffered, the eighth year began, and the Lord freed Amman of the sin. After that, his heart became so calm and quiet that he never gave himself up to anger in his life.

Are you angry? Be angry. I get a little bit angry, too, not much, but it happens. I think, you want to experience this miracle, too? Then start praying now and showing patience. Ask God for you not to get angry. Ask for it at every Divine service. And do not tell me, “Why should I go to church and what do I do there?” Instead, do this: if you are angry, attend the Sunday service and ask God to free you of this destructive passion. You can go to a church only for this, this is a good reason to go to the house of God. Say, “Lord, grant me meekness, calmness, do not let me become enraged so that my children do not tremble, when they see me, so that I do not upset my wife creating an unbearable atmosphere at home. Lord, take anger away from me”. I know you have asked for this. How many times? “But how many times do I have to ask…” Many. Saint Ammon had been asking for this for eight years. For how long have you been asking, how many times have you told the Lord, “God, free me of this passion”? Of anger, rage, drinking, smoking, stealing, lying, or curiosity. What are your passions, ask God for getting you rid of them and then endure. You know what you are suffering for, like Saint Ammon and other saints were. After all, the One, on Whom you put your hopes, is Holy God, Who is true to His promises and His love. And at some point, He will surely come to your aid, and you will become as meek as a lamb and will never get angry, you will never drink, smoke, you will free yourself of your passion, and will become a new person. You need patience and prayer. Wait for your neighbor to also change for the better. Do not hurry. Do not wish for everything to change overnight. Your wife’s mistakes did not occur in one month. Those are mistakes of a life lived. It is a personality (χαρακτήρsign, distinctive feature, mark), it is like a font style, a layout (χαράχτηκε), therefore it is called personality. Personality is inscribed within us since childhood. We cannot change all that at a moment’s notice. “If we do not find a common denominator in a year, let’s split up”. Wait, my dears. What do you mean, split up? Wait, be patient. “Father, what patience?” The reason lies in a personality. Is it easy to change it? Just wait.

I remember one person, who was on a diet. A doctor told him that getting rid of the deepest layers of fat is much harder. If you are on a diet, it is harder to lose last kilos than the first ones. Do you know why? It is because those layers of fat have been in our body for many years. When we are on a diet, we do the following: we go back to burn off old layers of fat. Let’s say, someone, who weighs ninety kilograms, wants to weigh eighty. They weighed eighty kilos a long time ago. They have gained weight over the years. To return to the past, they need to lose this weight gained over the years.

The same thing happens to our soul. Passions that linger in our soul do not go away easily.

You have to be patient with your neighbor. Clear the space in the heart of another, let them think, make their own decisions, even if they want to go away for a while. Let them go. Let them stay a little bit with their mother, father, or go away yourself, go somewhere. Think it over, calm down. You cannot demand love from another person and say, “Be good to me, respect me”. This does not happen under  pressure of another. Only out of free will. Therefore, give your neighbor time and space, and patience is important here.

From the book “Love Forever” by Father Andrew (Konanos)

Translated by Julia Frolova

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