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“Just as in legal marriage, the pleasure derived from procreation cannot exactly be called a gift of God, because it is carnal and constitutes a gift of nature and not of grace … even so the knowledge that comes from profane education, even if well used, is a gift of nature, and not of grace_a gift which God accords to all without exception through nature, and which one can develop by exercise. This last point-that no one acquires it without effort and exercise-is an evident proof that it is a question of a natural, not a spiritual, gift.
It is our sacred wisdom that should legitimately be called a gift of God and not a natural gift, since even simple fishermen who receive it from on high become, as Gregory the Theologian says, sons of Thunder, whose word has encompassed the very bounds of the universe … By this true wisdom we too can become conformed to the image of God and continue to be such after death.” —St. Gregory Palamas,
“Fiery lust, the desire for marriage, sexual union … and all the other things that, as most people think, the body seeks for - it is not the body as such … but the soul, which through the body seeks pleasure by their means… Let no one think he is being driven towards these things and compelled by his own body… the body cannot be moved to anything apart from the soul.” —St. Symeon the New Theologian