The Devil Presents…

The devil presents minor sins as insignificant in our eyes, because otherwise he would
not be able lead us into major ones. St. Mark the Ascetic

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Evil Spirits…

Evil spirits bind a fallen soul with shackles of darkness. That’s why it is not in a position
to love God as much as it wants, nor have faith, nor pray as much as it would like. After all, since the fall of the first person, resistance against good has become deep-seated in us both openly and clandestinely. St. Macarius the Great

A Strange Illness…

“A strange illness has appeared in our days – the passion for distractions. Never before was there such a desire for distractions; people have forgotten how to lead a serious life for the good of others; they have no spiritual life and are bored. They exchange the profound content of a spiritual life for distractions! What madness! It is here that pastors must deploy their strength: they must re-introduce into life its lost meaning and give back to the people the knowledge of the true purpose of life.”

St. John of Kronstadt

Seest Thou what fasting does…

Seest thou what fasting does: it heals illnesses, drives out demons, removes wicked thoughts, and makes the heart pure. If someone has even been seized by an impure spirit, let him know that this kind, according to the word of the Lord, “goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21). ­ Saint Athanasius the Great.

The Lord knows…

“The Lord knows our weaknesses and He has granted us daily repentance until we die. St. John of the Ladder writes: ‘Previous habit often tyrannizes even over him who deplores it. And no wonder! The account of the judgements of God and our falls is shrouded in darkness, and it is impossible for us to comprehend it’. He says further: ‘Do not be surprised that you fall every day; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly the Angel who guards you will honour your patience’. St. Abba Dorotheos says: ‘A man who drinks once is not called a drunkard, nor is a person who once commits fornication called a fornicator… but only when these are habits’. According to spiritual knowledge, even punishments differ. Lenience should be shown towards a person who strives for virtue and falls, for he was not aiming at sin, but was unexpectedly tempted. But severe punishment is needed for one who does not strive for virtue so that he may come to his senses and do so. Thus your single weakness too deserves lenience; a mere trifle. More likely a touch of pride is disturbing you. ‘How could I let this happen?’ The Lord keep you.”

From the book: Christ is in Our Midst, Letters from a Russian Monk, by Fr. John.

Without a Beginning

…nothing can be accomplished. If laziness or depression is keeping us from a good beginning – or even another good beginning- then we should ask God for the grace simply to start. Then, with the action of grace within us, we can reap a great harvest!

“A certain brother asked an old man, “What shall I do about my negligence?” The old man said unto him, “If thou wilt root out this small plant, which is negligence, a great forest will come into being.”

The Paradise of the Fathers, #293, Vol. II, p. 65