Four Hundred Texts on Love (Third Century) 2

4.  It is not food that is evil but gluttony, not the begetting of children but unchastity, not material things but avarice, not esteem but self-esteem. This being so, it is only the misuse of things that is evil, and such misuse occurs when the intellect fails to cultivate its natural powers.

The physical world and all that is in it was created good. We may turn things toward evil purposes, but they are not evil in and of themselves.

I also notice once again that self-esteem is considered to be something negative. We are not to esteem ourselves more highly than we ought. I’m not sure that the Fathers such as St. Maximos are using the word in exactly the same way as it is used in modern parlance. I don’t think from reading them that they believe we should esteem ourselves in low and destructive ways. But I do get the impression that they believed too much focus on ourselves was not healthy. We are beloved of God, but we must then face outward and love others.

Or at least, that how it seems to me. I’m hardly an expert in this arena. Other thoughts are, as always, welcome.

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