On Guarding the Intellect 1

Saint Isaiah the Solitary

The First of 27 Texts

“There is among the passions an anger of the intellect, and this anger is in accordance with nature.
Without anger a man cannot attain purity: he has to feel angry with all that is sown in him by the enemy.
When Job felt this anger he reviled his enemies, calling them ‘dishonorable men of no repute, lacking everything good, whom I would not consider fit to live with the dogs that guard my flocks’ (Job 30:1-4).
He who wishes to acquire the anger that is in accordance with nature must uproot all self-will, until he establishes within himself the state natural to the intellect.”

I have liked these 27 texts, Guarding the Intellect, as I have begun to delve into the Desert Fathers — good words to help one’s inner soul find Peace and Solace with God; And Inner Peace is what our life all about.

“Nature” and “in accordance with nature,” is Saint Isaiah’s understanding of God’s intended, natural design.  In short there is within us an anger to hate the things, the sins, that God hates.  Inside us is the propensity to perceive what is good (and what is evil) and recognize (with the intellect) what is good.  Thus, we can use this “anger against the unnatural” to fight the works of the devil in us.  Isaiah’s writing addresses the Faith of  individuals —  you and me — not Christian groups, denominations, or churches.

Speaking of individual(s) vs groups: the entire Church (group) can be akin to a human “body”, which consists of billions of cells as the Church consists of many people.  The given fact that if all our cells in our physical bodies are healthy the the entire body would then be healthy.  Saint Isaiah is striving to have healthy Christian people and accordingly, a healthy body of believers: the Church.

Saint Isaiah is addressing a Godly anger — but can it be misunderstood or used wrongly?  Consider that in fighting the sins inside you, you end up hating yourself or tearing yourself down.  I have had this happen to me and have seen this happen to others.  God wants you to love yourself and He can help you work through the issue(s) together with you.  Keep it in perspective.  In His eyes you are not a piece of junk but something to be treasured.  Be angry at sin not at yourself.



The authorship of Twenty-seven Texts, by the pen of Saint Isaiah the Solitary is questionable, never-the-less, the identity of the author does not diminish the value of the texts.

This translation is by The Editorial Committee consisting of:  G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, Archimandrite Kallistos Ware under the auspices and financial assistance of The Eling Trust.  This text and On Guarding the Intellect, is but a small part of the Philokalia.  I am grateful for this translation, based upon previous authors, linguists, and translators.  The full Philokalia can be found at:

Click to access Philokalia.pdf

Author: myasceticnotebook

Hi, I'm Jeff. Husband, Father, Christian musician. Free-thinker in Christ.

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