He who does not understand…

“He who does not understand God’s judgments walks on a ridge like a knife-edge and is easily unbalanced by every puff of wind. When praised, he exults; when criticized, he feels bitter. When he feasts, he makes a pig of himself; and when he suffers hardship, he moans and groans. When he understands, he shows off; and when he does not understand, he pretends that he does. When rich, he is boastful; and when in poverty, he plays the hypocrite. Gorged, he grows brazen; and when he fasts, he becomes arrogant. He quarrels with those who reprove him; and those who forgive him he regards as fools.”
— St. Mark the Ascetic

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Almsgiving…

One of those who love Christ and who possessed the gift of almsgiving used to say that he who offers alms ought to offer as though he were himself receiving. Such almsgiving brings one near to God.

The Anonymous Sayings of the Desert Fathers (p. 37). Cambridge University Press.

Prayer of St. Aidan of Lindisfarne

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Leave me alone with God as much as may be.

As the tide draws the waters close in upon the shore, make me an island, set apart,

Alone with you, O God, holy to you.

Then with the turning of the tide

prepare me to carry Your presence to the busy world beyond,

The world that rushes in on me,

Till the waters come again and take me back to you.

*Icon is from http://www.traditionalbyzantineiconography.com

Prayer is Warfare to the Last Breath

The brethren asked abba Agatho, “Amongst all good works, which is the virtue which requires the greatest effort?”

He answered,

“Forgive me, but I think there is no labour greater than that of prayer to God. For every time a man wants to pray, his enemies, the demons, want to prevent him, for they know that it is only by turning him from prayer that they can hinder his journey. Whatever good work a man undertakes, if he perseveres in it, he will attain rest. But prayer is warfare to the last breath.”

Abba Agatho