There is a sin…

There is a sin which is always ‘unto death’ (1Jn 5:16): the sin for which we do not,
repent. For this sin even a saint’s prayers will not be heard.
St. Mark the Ascetic; On Those Who Believe They are Made Righteous by Works, v 44, The Philokalia


Someone was asked…

Someone was asked, ‘When will a man know that he has received the remission of his sins?’ He answered, ‘When in his soul he becomes conscious that he has completely hated them with his whole heart, and when he governs himself in his external actions in a manner opposed to his former way of life. Such a man, as having already hated his sin, is confident that he has received remission of his sins by the reason of the good witness of his conscience which he has acquired, after the saying of the Apostle, “A conscience is a witness of itself.”
St. Isaak the Syrian

People Who Have Received…

People who have received grace are as if impregnated and with child by the Holy Spirit; but they may abort the divine seed through sinning, or divorce themselves from God through intercourse with the enemy lurking within them. It is the turbulence of the passions that aborts grace, while the act of sinning deprives us of it altogether. A passion- and sin-loving soul, shorn of grace and divorced from God, is the haunt of passions – not to say of demons – in this world and the next.
St. Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia

When we misuse…

‘When we misuse the soul’s powers their evil aspects dominate us. For instance, misuse of our power of intelligence results in ignorance and stupidity; misuse of our incensive power and of our desire produces hatred and licentiousness. The proper use of these powers produces spiritual knowledge, moral judgment, love and self-restraint. This being so, nothing created and given existence by God is evil.’

St. Maximos the Confessor

“You are about to die. Not a drill.”

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So, Saturday morning, 8am Hawaii time January 13th, everyone in Hawaii with a cell phone got this message. As you can imagine, chaos ensued. Thankfully it was an error on the local government’s part, which is evident by the fact that Hawaii still exists and the world isn’t in the beginnings of World War 3.

If we use all that comes to us for our spiritual advantage, then this should be a wake-up call.

Imagine yourself, if you will, at 8 o’clock in the morning, and you get this text. What are you going to do next? Let me tell you something real: this is a death notice; don’t fool yourself. A full-on nuclear conflict is a certain beginning of the end. One may live through a blast if they’ve gotten to an adequate shelter, but surely, thanks to our pre-packaged, no-clue-how-to-survive-without-modern-conveniences society, a long death by starvation or radiation poisoning will occur.

So- what will you do? What do think will be going through your mind? Have you been caught off guard? Are you scared? Are you depressed? Is this depressing?

It shouldn’t be. We are warned by all the holy fathers and mothers of the Church to be watchful, to be on guard lest we be caught unawares on the day of our death. Why? Is it because death is such a bad thing?

My friends, it is not death that is what we are to fear. Death is out of our hands and will come to all of us one day. Rather, it is sin which we can control; sin which we can fight to make sure we are not partaking in at the moment of our death.

St. John Chrysostom hits this nail right on the head. “Do not grieve on account of death, for it is part of nature; grieve on account of sin, for it is a fault deriving from our free choice.” “Let us not tremble at death, but at sin…to die in sin is to die more miserably than a dog.”

So my friends let’s not dwell on death and make our lives psychotic in an avoidance of it, but let’s use things like this false alarm in Hawaii to help us dwell on sin, and how to avoid it, so that when, if God allows that one day we get that text, we will have nothing to fear.

God be with you.

Give This a Try!

I bet if everyone actually set out to do this, the world might just be a better place very quickly! As Christians, what St. Anthony discusses as a remedy to sin should be commonplace among us. It may seem crazy and extreme –but it shouldn’t!

“As a safeguard against sin let the following be observed.
Let us each one note and write down our actions and the impulses of our soul as though we were going to relate them to each other. And be assured that if we should be utterly
ashamed to have them known, we shall abstain from sin and harbour no base thoughts in our mind. For who wishes to be seen while sinning? or who will not rather lie after the commission of a sin, through the wish to escape notice? As then while we are looking at one another, we would not commit carnal sin, so if we record our thoughts as though about to tell them to one another, we shall the more easily keep ourselves free from vile thoughts through shame lest they should be known.”

St Anthony the Great, in his Life by St Athanasius