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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Saint Cosmas of Aetolia: Humility Is Angelic

   


The most gracious and merciful God is and is named love; he is and is named Trinity. Moved by compassion, the Lord first created ten orders of angels. The angels are fiery spirits, immaterial as is our soul. Each order is as numerous as the stars in heaven. What moved God to create them? His compassion. 

We too, my brethren, if we wish to call our God father must be compassionate, and cause our brethren to rejoice, and then we can call God father [and say]: “Our father who is heaven…” If, however, we are merciless, hard-hearted, and we cause our brethren to be poisoned and we put death in their hearts, we shouldn’t call God our father but the devil, for the devil and not God wants us to cause our brethren to be poisoned.

And so, my brethren, the first order of angels of which we spoke earlier fell because of pride and sought to be glorified equally with God. From a luminous and most brilliant being, the angel became the darkest evil and the enemy of the people. He is in hell where he burns forever. When we hear the word devil, it is he who was once the first among angels; it is he who moves people to pride, to murder, to theft.

…When the first order of angelic glory fell away and became demons, the other nine orders humbled themselves and fell prostrate, and worshipped the All-Holy Trinity and stood in their place to rejoice forever. We too, my brethren, should reflect on what a great evil pride is; it brought down the devil from angelic glory and caused him to be in hell where he burns forever. Humility kept the angels in heaven to rejoice forever in the glory of the Holy Trinity.

We should reflect further that the most gracious God hates the proud and loves the humble, and not only God, but we too. When we see a humble person, we see him as an angel. He makes us want to open our heart and put him inside, but when we see someone proud, we look upon him as a devil, and we turn our face away so as not to look at him.

Let us then avoid pride, my brethren, because it is the eldest daughter of the devil; it is the road which leads to hell. Let us have humility because it is angelic and the road which takes to paradise.


- From Father Kosmas the Apostle of the Poor: The Life of St. Kosmas Aitolos Together With an English Translation of His Teaching and Letters by Nomikos Michael Vaporis, Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1977.

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