It is the task of unceasing watchfulness – and one of great benefit and help to the soul – to see the mental images of evil thoughts as soon as they are formed in the mind. The task of rebuttal is to counter and expose such thoughts when they attempt to infiltrate our mind in the form of an image of some material thing. What instantly extinguishes and destroys every demonic concept, thought, fantasy, illusion and idol is the invocation of the Lord. And in our mind we ourselves can observe how our great God, Jesus, triumphs over them all, and how He avenges us, poor, base and useless as we are.
St. Hesychios the Presbyter, on watchfulness and holiness, Philokalia
We have learned from experience that for one who wishes to purify his heart it is a truly great blessing constantly to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus Christ against his intelligible enemies.
Notice how what I speak of from experience concurs with the testimony of Scripture. It is written: ‘Prepare yourself, O Israel, to call upon the name of the Lord your God’ (cf. Amos 4:12. lxx);and the Apostle says: ‘Pray without ceasing’ ( 1 Thess. 5:17). Our Lord Himself says: ‘Without Me you can do nothing. If a man dwells in Me, and I in him, then he brings forth much fruit’; and again: ‘If a man does not dwell in Me, he is cast out as a branch’ (John 15:5–6). Prayer is a great blessing, and it embraces all blessings, for it purifies the heart, in which God is seen by the believer.
St. Hesychios the Presbyter, Philokalia, #173
“To try to discover the meaning of the commandments through study and reading without actually living in accordance with them is like mistaking the shadow of something for its reality. It is only by participating in the truth that you can share in the meaning of truth. If you search for the meaning without participating in the truth and
without having been initiated into it, you will find only a besotted kind of wisdom (cf. 1 Cor. 1:20). You will be among those whom St Jude categorized as ‘psychic’ or worldly because they lack the Spirit (cf. Jude 19), boast as they may of their knowledge of the truth.”
St. Gregory of Sinai
The more the rain falls on the earth the softer it makes it;
similarly, Christ’s holy name gladdens theearth of our heart the
more we call upon it.
St Hesychius the Priest, On Watchfulness and Holiness, #41
To be on the spiritual path means seeking the Lord in your heart through fulfilling the commandments. For when you listen to John the Baptist crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight’ (Matt. 3:3), you must understand that he is referring to the commandments and their fulfillment both in the heart and in actions. It is impossible to ‘make straight’ the path of the commandments and to act rightly unless your heart too is straight and upright.
St. Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia
Many who practice the commandments think they are following the spiritual path. But they have not yet reached the city, and in fact remain outside it. For they travel foolishly, deviating unawares from the straight highway into side-roads, not realizing how close the vices are to the path of virtue. For the true fulfillment of the commandments demands that we do neither too little nor too much but simply pursue a course acceptable to God and in accordance with His will. Otherwise we labor in vain and do not make straight the paths of the Lord (cf. Isa. 40:3). For in everything we do we must be clear about the goal we are pursuing.
St. Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia
God has done all things for our benefit. We are guarded and taught by the angels; we are tempted by the demons so that we may be humbled and have recourse to God, thus being saved from self-elation and delivered from negligence.
-St. Peter of Damascus