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Looking at a woman

Thurs­day. [Rom. 1:28–2:9;

5:27–32] Whoso­ev­er looketh on a woman… hath com­mit­ted adul­tery with her already (Matt. 5:28). Liv­ing in soci­ety, one can­not help look­ing at women. What to do? A man does not com­mit adul­tery sim­ply by look?ing at a woman, but by look­ing at her with lust. Look if you must, but keep your heart on a leash. Look with the eyes of a child — pure­ly, with­out any evil thoughts. One must love women as well, for they are not exclud­ed from the com­mand­ment about love of neigh­bour — but with love that is pure, which bears the soul and spir­i­tu­al aspect in mind. Just as there is nei­ther male nor fe?male before God in Chris­tian­i­ty, so it is in the mutu­al rela­tions of Chris?tians. But this is very dif­fi­cult, you will say. Yes, it does not hap­pen with­out a strug­gle; but strug­gle pre?supposes a lack of desire for evil. The Lord counts as puri­ty the un?lustful desire of the merciful.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse