Life after Death | Orthodox | 16

“Passions are a thousand times stronger than on earth…”

But might a devil be as not that awful as it is painted?
Unfortunately, on the contrary – it is more awful, then we paint him and imagine him.

The experience of hermits, having come into contact with demons, says they are inexpressibly villainous, horrible, sickening.

Hegumen Nikon Vorobiev wrote, for one, that “you may go mad only at one glance at them”. They are painted in accordance with these descriptions.

But their outer image transfers their spiritual condition only partially; human passions give us some presentation about it here, on earth, as they are the essence of demons.

What is passion?

We know about a sin; for example, a man has lied, has envied – as we call it, he stumbled, this happens with everyone.

And if falsity, envy do not rule over a man, they seem to be a simple blunder, accident, they are the sin. But this is temporally.

A habit to lie will definitely drive a man to a state,

when he cannot help but telling lies, passion is what pulls strongly and then forcefully towards itself, what is more sometimes so invincibly, that a man cannot cope with himself.

He understands perfectly, that, that is bad, and that is harmful, not only for a soul (though he forgets about the soul more often than not), but for the body as well, and for the family, and for the work, despite he turns out to be feeble to manage himself.

In front of a conscience in front of his own benefit – he cannot cope.

They say about this state: passion.
Passion may turn into a vice. And this is awful.

Look what people do in their craziness: in the slavery of passion and vice; they kill, cripple, betray each other…

The Slavic word “passion” means, above all, suffering (for example, the Passion of Christ); also – a strong desire of something forbidden, sinful, as it always brings suffering.

That is why Christianity warns with all the might about the danger of being enslaved by any passion, - big or small.

Passions in their nature are like a cancer tumor, which growing bigger, tortures a man more and more, and then kills him.

They are narcotic, the more the person uses it, the more he destroys himself! How it is important to understand this trickery of passions in order to oppose them.

Saint Fathers say that the source of passions is the soul, but not the body.

The roots of passions in our free will: St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote, for one:

It is not the body that is the reason of passions, but free will, producing passions”.

The Lord Himself said:

The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

These are what make a man unclean”. (Matthew, 15, 18-20).

Even the roughest corporal passions have roots in the soul.
That is why they do not disappear upon the death of the body.
And a man goes out from this world with them.

How do these non-eliminated passions manifest themselves in that world?

I’ll cite the words of Hegumen Nikon Vorobiev, pronounced to a heavily drinking man:

Passions a thousand times stronger than on earth will burn you like a fire without giving you a single possibility to quench them”.

It is not difficult to understand why – stronger – and a thousand times.

Here on earth, passions do not have complete freedom to manifest themselves. People, circumstances, health condition hinder…Yes, a man has fallen asleep and all the passions have calmed down.

Or, for one, a person got so angry with someone that he is ready to tear him to pieces. But the time has passed, and malice has abated. And soon they became friends.

In earthy life we can fight passions – covered by flesh, they act, as a rule, not to the full extent.

And there, having freed themselves from the body, they reveal the entire cruelty of their nature. Nothing hampers their activity, neither dream, nor fatigue, nor amusement.

Plus to that a passionate soul is easily fascinated by evil spirits, stirring up and multiply intensifying the effect of the passion.

In a word, an uninterrupted suffering is under way, because the man himself has not a single opportunity to quench them!

And when a man has the whole bunch of passions? What will come out of him in Eternity?

If only a single idea has deeply got implanted in us, then without any doubt, we would treat our life differently.

That is why, when we act against the voice of conscience light-mindedly and more over deliberately, when we give ourselves up to a sin, we sow evil seeds into our soul.

It turns out that there they will bring the bitterest fruit and cruel suffering.

Christianity, being a religion of love, calls upon man:

strive to live according to conscience and truth, don’t sin, you are immortal personality and you are to get ready to enter the eternal life adequately.

And great happiness of the Christians is in the fact that they know about it, and they may get prepared.

On the contrary, what horrible things will confront a proud man after death, not believing in any kind of truth, good and eternity:

Twenty sufferings will finally wind up the process of the most important condition of salvation – cognition of the real spiritual condition by a personality.

The fact is that our main misfortune in the earthy life consists in the fact, that we actually do not see either our passions or our powerlessness to eradicate them.

They are closed before our look by our self-admiration, vanity, uninterrupted self-justification.

We hide our sins not only from people, but from ourselves.
And we see anything that is the most rough, outrageous.

It is no mere chance that the Church, during the Great Lent, calls upon the believers to ask from God with low bows: “Give me the chance to see my sins”.

Unfortunately for the majority of people only there the whole abyss of dirt, concealed in the soul, is open.

But there, by God’s mercy it is open not immediately, but gradually in front of the face of Good, then at separate sufferings, before the temptations of evil.

That is why we may consider the 40th day as the step, on which all the passions are open to a soul in their full extent, its powerlessness to change anything is shown,

and as a result of this self-cognition in complete accordance with its spiritual state of the soul, its natural unification occurs either with the God Spirit or with spirits of torturing passions.

This moment is called by the Church a private God’s judgment, at which the place of its “location” is determined.

The private judgment, as we see, is not like an ordinary court, we used to imagine in our life.

It is not God who makes His judgment of the man’s soul, but we repeat,

the soul itself, having found itself on the one part in front of the Divine holy place and truth, on the other – in front of the effect of passions present in it,

it either rises to God or, on the contrary, being self-condemned by its conscience, dragged by its sinful spiritual state, acquired in the earthy life – falls into the abyss.

However, the determination on the 40th day, according to the Church teaching is not the last one and not final.

There will be prayers of relatives, friends (Luke, 16, 9), prayers of Church, there will be the Last Judgment.

At this Judgment a great number of people of all times and nations of all beliefs and unbelief, undoubtedly will cognize in the full depth all their spiritual poverty, will see incomprehensible Christ’s love and will bow before Him in the greatest reverence for ever – will be saved!