Salvation through Christ and the return to conformity to nature.
- I don’t want you to ignore, brethren, that in the beginning, when God created man, he placed him in paradise with healthy and stable faculties in their natural state. But when he listened to his seducer, all his faculties were returned to an unnatural state, and he was then precipitated from his glory.
- Our Lord had pity on the human race because of his great love: the Word made flesh (John 1:14), that is to say, a perfect man, became like us in everything, except sin (Hebrews 4:14), to bring back what was unnatural to conformity to nature through his holy body; and, having pity on man, he brought him back to paradise, raising up those who walk in his footsteps and according to the commandments he gave us, that we might overcome those who had cast us out of our glory, and teaching us holy service and pure law so that man may stand in the natural state in which God had created him.
- He who wishes therefore to arrive at conformity to nature cuts off all his desires according to the flesh, until he is established in the natural state.
- There is in the mind a desire which is conformable to nature, and without desire for God, there is no charity; this is why Daniel is called “man of desires” (Daniel 9:23) And the enemy has transformed it into a shameful desire that leads us to covet all that is impure.
- There is in the mind a jealousy conformable to nature, and without jealousy for God, there is no progress, according to what the Apostle writes: “Envy the superior gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31), and this jealousy for God has been turned against nature, and causes us to be jealous of each other, to envy each other and to lie to each other.
- There is a natural anger in the mind, and without anger there would be no purity in a man if he were not angry with all that the enemy sows in him (cf. Matthew 13:25); thus Phineas, son of Eleazar, immolated the man and the woman when he became angry, and the wrath of the Lord towards his people ceased (cf. Nb 25:7); and for us this anger has been changed to anger against the neighbour for all unreasonable and useless matters.
- There is in the mind a hatred conformable to nature, and when Elijah experienced it, he put to death the prophets of shame (cf.3 Kings 18:40); Samuel acts in the same way towards Agag, king of Amalec (1 Kings 15:33); and without hatred for enmity, honour does not reveal itself to the soul; and for us this hatred has been diverted against nature, it makes us hate and despise our neighbour, and hatred is what drives out all virtues.
- There is a pride in the mind that is natural with regard to enmity, and when Job felt it, he reviled his enemies, saying to them: “Infamous and contemptible, devoid of all good, you whom I did not consider worthy to mingle with the dogs of my flocks!” (cf. Job 30:1), and for us this pride before the enemies has been transformed; we are humbled by our enemies, and we are full of pride with each other, stinging each other, and we justify ourselves at the expense of our neighbour, and because of pride God becomes an enemy of man.
- This is what was created with man, and which, when he ate from the tree of disobedience, was transformed for him into these shameful passions.
- Let us therefore strive, beloved, to forsake them, and acquire what our Lord Jesus Christ has shown us in his holy body, for he is holy and dwells in the saints. Let us take care of ourselves to please God, doing our work according to our strength and weighing each of our members until they come into conformity with nature, that we may find mercy in the hour of temptation, who will overcome the whole universe (cf. Lc 21:26), constantly entreating his goodness so that his help may bring his assistance to our lowliness, and so that he may save us from our enemies. For his is the strength, the help and the power forever and ever. Amen.