Dorotheos2If from the beginning man had humbled himself and listened to God and obeyed his command, there would have been no fall.

Again, after Adam had done wrong, God have him a chance to repent and be forgiven and yet he kept on being stiff-necked and unrepentant.

For God came to him and said, “Adam, where are you?” (Gen 3:12) instead of saying, “From what glory are you come to this? Are you not ashamed? Why did you sin? Why did you go astray?”—as if urging him sharply to say, “Forgive me!”

But there was no sign of humility. There was no change of heart but rather the contrary.

He replied, “the wife that you gave me”—mark you, not “my wife”—”deceived me”; “the wife that you gave me,” (Gen 3:13) as if to say, “this disaster you placed upon my head”.

So it is, my brethren, when a man has not the guts to accuse himself, he does not scruple to accuse God Himself.

Then God came to Eve and said to her, “Why did you not keep the command I gave you?” as if saying, “If you would only say, ‘Forgive me’, to humble your soul and be forgiven.”

And again, not a word! No “forgive me”. She only answered, “the Serpent deceived me!”—as if to say, if the serpent did wrong, what concern is that to me?

What are you doing, you wretches? Kneel in repentance, acknowledge your fault, take pity on your nakedness. But neither the one nor the other stooped to self-accusation, no trace of humility was found in either of them.

And now look and consider how this was only an anticipation of our own state! See how many and great the evils it has brought on us—this self-justification, this holding fast to our own will, this obstinacy in being our own guide.

All this was the product of that hateful arrogance towards God. Whereas the products of humility are self-accusation, distrust of our own sentiments, hatred of our own will.

By these one is made worthy of being redeemed, of having his human nature restored to its proper state, through the cleansing operation of Christ’s holy precepts.

Without humility it is impossible to obey the Commandments or at any time to go towards anything good. As Abba Mark says: without a contrite heart it is impossible to be free from wickedness or to acquire virtue.

Therefore, by compunction of heart you get a grip on the Commandments, are free from evil, gain virtue and, what is more, peace of mind returns to you.

Dorotheos of Gaza (505-565 or 620):  Conference on Renunciation @ Fr Luke Dysinger, OSB.