The whole life of a man is very short, measured by the ages to come, wherefore all our time is nothing compared with eternal life. And in the world everything is sold at its price, and a man exchanges one equivalent for another; but the promise of eternal life is
bought for a trifle.
For it is written, The days of our life in them are threescore years and ten, but if they are in strength, fourscore years, and what is more than these is labor and sorrow. Whenever, therefore, we live full fourscore years, or even a hundred in the ascetical discipline, not for a hundred years only shall we reign, but instead of a hundred we shall reign for ever and ever. And though we fought on earth, we shall not receive our inheritance on earth, but we have the promises in heaven; and having put off the body which is corrupt, we shall receive it incorrupt.
St Anthony the Great
Do not believe your flesh when it grows weak and refuses to serve you on the pretense of not being sufficiently strengthened by foot. This is a delusion. Overcome it; pray fervently, and you will see that the weakness of your body was false, imaginary, not real: you will see in truth that “men shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Do not put your trust in bread.
St. John of Kronstadt
Men have fallen into unbelief because they have either completely lost the spirit of prayer, or they never had it at all, nor have it now- in short, because they do not pray. The prince of this world has full scope for action in the hearts of such men; he becomes their master. They have not asked and do not ask God’s grace in prayer (for God’s gifts are only given to those who ask and seek) and thus their hearts, corrupt by nature, become dried up without the vivifying dew of the Holy Spirit, and at last from their extreme dryness they take fire, and blaze with the infernal flame of unbelief and various passions, and the Devil only knows how to inflame the passions that keep up this terrible fire, and triumphs at the sight of the ruin of the unfortunate souls that redeemed by the blood of Him Who has trampled the power of Satan underfoot.
St. John of Kronstadt
One must force oneself, even against one’s will, to prayer and to every good.
Elder Parfeny, Spiritual Counsels
Behave to your neighbor with a perfect heart-that is, truthfully and with the same love as you would have for your own self, so that your neighbor, on his part, may love you in return; and even if he does not love you, he will at least respect in you your virtue, will honor it, and will himself emulate it.
St. John of Kronstadt
Unless, with much wisdom, a man compares in his mind the greatness of the life to come with the brevity of the sorrow of this short life, he will not be able to take such courage as to dare to endure afflictions, so that he might set out on his journey on the path to the new world. I entreat you, reckon up in your mind the number of the years of this place wherein we dwell, then elevate yourself as much as possible, and compare this number with the days of the world to come, and see whether the number of what you give will amount to the number of what you will receive in return. And consider whether you will make an equal exchange in what you will give up with what you will receive in return. Therefore the wise man, being astonished at the greatness of that world and the infinite life there, as compared with the brevity of this life here, will say, ‘The number of a man’s days, if he lives long, are a hundred years, and this is like filling a bucket from the sea or taking up a grain of sand. But a thousand years in this world are not even like unto
one day in the world of the righteous.’
St. Isaac the Syrian, The Ascetical Homilies
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