If you approach…

If you approach any task and see there is an absence of God’s will, do not attempt it
under any circumstances. St. Anthony the Great

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Just Like Metal…

Just like metal that comes into contact with fire becomes unapproachable, so do frequent
prayers strengthen the mind for battle against the enemy. That is why the demons, in knowing that prayers can conquer them, apply all their strength to weaken our endeavors toward them. St. John of Karpathos

Someone Inquired…

“Someone inquired of Abba Macarios saying, ‘How should one pray?’ The elder said this: ‘There is no need to use many words, but it suffices to lift up your hands and say: ‘Lord, as Thou willst and as Thou seest, have mercy.’ And if the warfare persists: ‘Lord help!’ And He knows what is in our interest, doing unto us according to His mercy.”

Patrologia Graecae 65:269C

An Elder Said…

An elder said: “Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus and placed it in a clean shroud in a new sepulchre [cf. Mt 27:57–60], that is, in a new man. Let each one studiously endeavour not to sin in order not to do violence to the God who dwells within him and drive him out of his soul. Manna was given to Israel to eat in the desert: to the true Israel the Body of Christ was given.”

The Anonymous Sayings of the Desert Fathers (p. 23). Cambridge University Press.

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

Whatever Our Mind Has Been Thinking Of

“Whatever our mind has been thinking of before the hour of prayer, is sure to occur to us while we are praying through the activity of the memory. Wherefore what we want to find ourselves like while we are praying, that we ought to prepare ourselves to be before the time for prayer.”
St John Cassian, First Conference of Abbot Isaac

Our mind wanders so much during prayer, doesn’t it? I know mine does. And so what St. John says here holds very true. If we are surrounding ourselves with heavenly things, then when it comes time for prayer, at the least, heavenly things will be in and on our mind. This will snowball -if you will permit my poor analogy- and build upon itself. Holiness begets holiness. As well, sin begets sin.

Be holy!