Revealing The Passions of the Soul

Evagrius observed, “The spoken word or some movement of the body is a sign of the passions of the soul.”

He was writing to monks who had left society for the desert in order to find and live with God. Perhaps it helps to have visited one of those places in the desert in order to fix the scene in our modern minds. Seeing the world through their eyes as a battle between those forces that would have one or another of our passions control us versus the force of God. We can also get a sense from the story of Jesus going into the desert to face some of those temptations directly and thus solidifying his relationship with his Father.

Evagrius continued in this teaching, number 47 in the Praktikos, to discuss how the forces trying to undermine us use those signs against us while God knows our hearts at all times.

But we also can use those signs as we reflect at the end of the day on what we said or did in order to discern the state of our soul.

Only in that way can we further our spiritual development.

People who know us and care for us also use those signs to perhaps encourage us to find help when we might need it—a counsellor, therapist, pastor, workshop, 12-step program.

What goes on inside us inevitably reveals itself to the outer world. Guard your thoughts.

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