A Merciful Man is the Physician of His own Soul

Hieromartyr Gorazd of Prague (d. 1942)

“I advise you this also, my brother: let the scale of mercy always be preponderant within you, until you perceive in yourself that mercy which God has for the world. Let this our state become a mirror where we may see in ourselves that likeness and true image which naturally belongs to the Divine Essence. By these things and their like we are enlightened so as to be moved toward God with a limpid intellect. A harsh and merciless heart will never be purified. A merciful man is the physician of his own soul, for as with a violent wind he drives the darkness of the passions out of his inner self. This is a good investment to make with God, according the Gospel’s word of life. ‘Blessed is the merciful man, for he shall obtain mercy’, not only yonder, but here also in a mystical way. Indeed, what mercy is greater than this, even when a man is moved with compassion for a fellow man and becomes a partaker in his suffering, our Lord delivers his soul from the gloom of darkness – which is the noetic Gehenna – and brings her into the light of life, thus filling her with delight. Well has Evagrios said, ‘A clear pathway comes from showing mercy’. Therefore, as I said, let a merciful heart preside over your entire discipline, and you will be at peace with God. Take head lest at any time evil should befall someone by your agency, even if he be an evil man. And when it is in your power to deliver the iniquitous man from evil, do not neglect to do so.” (Saint Isaac the Syrian, The Ascetical Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian, pgs. 312-313)