The Belly…

One of the saints said : ‘ If you wish to bear malice, bear malice against the demons, and if you wish to be hostile, be always hostile to the body. The flesh is a deceitful friend, and when pampered rises against you all the more.’ And: ‘ Bear enmity to the body and wage war against the belly.’
St. Hesychius of Jerusalem; On Sobriety and Prayer

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If Repentance is Too Much…

If repentance is too much for you, and you sin out of habit even when you do not want to, show humility like the publican; this is enough to ensure your salvation.
St. Peter of Damascus

The Demons Try to…

The demons try to undermine your inward resolution by buffeting your souls with an untold variety of temptations. Yet out of these many tribulations a garland is woven for you; Christ’s power ‘comes to its fullness in us in our weakness’ (2 Cor. 12:9). It is usually when our situation is most gloomy that the grace of the Spirit flowers within us. ‘Light has shone in darkness for the righteous’ (Ps. 112:4. LXX) – if, that is, ‘we hold fast to our confidence and the rejoicing of our hope firmly to the end’ (Heb. 3:6).
St. John of Karpathos to the monks of India

To Those who…

To those who are just beginning to long for holiness the path of virtue seems very rough and forbidding. It appears like this not because it really is difficult, but because our human nature from the womb is accustomed to the wide roads of sensual pleasure. But those who have traveled more than half its length find the path of virtue smooth and easy. For when a bad habit has been subjected to a good one through the energy of grace it is destroyed along with the remembrance of mindless pleasures; and thereafter the soul gladly journeys on all the ways of virtue. Thus, when the Lord first leads us into the path of salvation, He says: ‘How narrow and strait is the way leading to the kingdom and few there are who follow it’ (cf. Matt. 7:14); but to those who have firmly resolved to keep His holy commandments He says: ‘For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light’ (Matt. 11:30). At the beginning of the struggle, therefore, the holy commandments of God must be fulfilled with a certain forcefulness of will (cf. Matt. 11:12); then the Lord, seeing our intention and labor, will grant us readiness of will and gladness in obeying His purposes. For ‘it is the Lord who makes ready the will’ (Prov. 8:35. LXX), so that we always do what is right joyfully. Then shall we truly feel that ‘it is God who energizes in you both the willing and the doing of His purpose’ (Phil. 2:13).
St. Diadochos of Photiki

A man who loves the Lord…

A man who loves the Lord with unflagging resolve once said to me: ‘Because I desired conscious knowledge of divine love, God granted me a full and active experience of such love. I felt its energy so strongly that my soul longed with an inexpressible joy and love to leave the body and go to the Lord, and to become in a sense unaware of this transient form of life.’ Once a man has experienced this love, he does not become angry however much he is insulted and harmed – for one pursuing the spiritual life still suffers such things – but he remains united in love to the soul of the man who has insulted or harmed him. His anger is kindled only against those who injure the poor or who, as the Scripture says, ‘speak iniquity against God’ (Ps. 75:5. LXX), or follow other forms of wickedness. Whoever loves God far more than himself, or rather no longer loves himself but only God, no longer vindicates his own honor; for his sole wish is that the divine righteousness, which has accorded him eternal honor, should alone be held in honor. This he no longer wishes in a half-hearted way, but with the force of an attitude established in him through his deep experience of the love of God. We should know, moreover, that a person energized by God to such love rises, at that moment, even above faith, since by reason of his great love he now senses consciously in his heart the One whom he previously honored by faith. The holy Apostle expresses this clearly when he says: ‘Now there are three things that endure: faith, hope, love; but the greatest of them is love’ (1 Cor. 13:13). For, as I have said, he who holds God in all the richness of love transcends at that moment his own faith, since he is wholly rapt in divine longing.
St. Diadochos of Photiki

He Who Loves God…

He who loves God both believes truly and performs the works of faith reverently. But he who only believes and does not love, lacks even the faith he thinks he has; for he believes merely with a certain superficiality of intellect and is not energized by the full force of love’s glory. The chief part of virtue, then, is faith energized by love.
St. Diadochos of Photiki

All Men are made…

All men are made in God’s image; but to be in His likeness is granted only to those who through great love have brought their own freedom into subjection to God. For only when we do not belong to ourselves do we become like Him who through love has reconciled us to Himself. No one achieves this unless he persuades his soul not to be distracted by the false glitter of this life.
St. Diadochos of Photiki