Our parish feast day commemorations included a talk yesterday by author and speaker, John Granger, on St Maximus the Confessor. In addition to his bringing out St. Maximus’ three stages towards theosis: practice in the life of the Church, recognizing God in created things, and contemplating the Trinity, I zoned in on his describing the direct relationship between pleasure and pain. Especially how the intense pleasure of addictions bring with it the most suffering.
At first I thought isn’t the addict somewhat admirable for risking the pain to achieve a higher state of being? It seems the ratio soon goes against him. Probably because the first experience seemed so easy. The last experience will be the most painful. Withdrawals are also painful.
I can see that weight loss carries this principal relationship too. The pleasure of eating must be matched by the pain of calorie burning work. But these bodies will still succumb to pain and death.
Christian asceticism employs this ratio, perhaps not as equally in eternity. It seems like God will outmatch our meager contributions. But we have to give our all.