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st diadochos of photiki

January 4, 2017 + On Grace Before and After Baptism

by St. Diadochos of Photiki

76. Some have imagined that both grace and sin - that is, the spirit of truth and the spirit of error - are hidden at the same time in the intellect [nous] of the baptized. As a result, they say, one of these two spirits urges the intellect to good, the other to evil. But from Holy Scripture and through the intellect's [nous'] own insight I have come to understand things differently. Before holy baptism, grace encourages the soul towards good from the outside, while Satan lurks in its depths, trying to block all the intellect's ways of approach to the divine. But from the moment that we are reborn through baptism, the demon is outside, grace is within. Thus, whereas before baptism error ruled the soul, after baptism truth rules it. Nevertheless, even after baptism Satan still acts on the soul, often, indeed, to a greater degree than before. This is not because he is present in the soul together with grace; on the contrary, it is because he uses the body's humors to befog the intellect [nous] with the delight of mindless pleasures. God allows him to do this, so that a man, after passing through a trial of storm and fire, may come in the end to the full enjoyment of divine blessings. For it is written: 'We went through fire and water, and Thou hast brought us out into a place where the soul is refreshed' (Ps. 66.12. LXX).

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