Spiritual Maladies

This would be the best place to start looking at the contribution of the Greek Fathers. Translating more directly from the French would see the title as ‘Maladies of the spiritual life,’ where ‘maladies’ refers to a well-worked system of diagnosis in pastoral care. These have tended to become known, misleadingly, in the western world as the 7 deadly sins; that is not what they are — they are malaises which militate against spiritual life, malaises which stand in need of a physician, and God is that physician as Daniel shows in the opening character, referring particularly to Jesus as healing sin. Chapter 2 is a lengthy look at the passage in Genesis about Cain, a passage in which we see ‘A divine consultation’ as God speaks to Cain. I would say this was a foundational teaching about the sin which ‘crouches at the door’ and how God wants us to deal with it; how I wish I had encountered such teaching 20 years earlier than I did! This chapter exemplifies the God as Physician of chapter 1. The third chapter, ‘The Fathers’ Medicine,’ looks at the schema adopted by the Fathers and its use, with a focus on Jesus as the vanquisher of the passions.

I would regard this book as seminal. The resources it points to are neglected to our cost.

Because of its ‘seminal’ nature, a number of excerpts are posted here.

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