“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
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
Those who love true knowledge should also be aware that the demons in their jealousy sometimes hide themselves and cease from open spiritual battle. Begrudging us the benefit, knowledge and progress towards God that we derive from the battle, they try to make us careless so that they can suddenly capture our intellect and again reduce our mind to inattention. Their unremitting purpose is to prevent the heart from being attentive, for they know how greatly such attentiveness enriches the soul. We on the contrary, through remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ, should redouble our efforts to achieve spiritual contemplation; and then the intellect again finds itself engaged in battle. Let all we do be done with great humility and only, if I may put it like this, with the will of the Lord Himself. St. Hesychios the Presbyter, On Watchfulness and Holiness
When you sin, blame your thought, not your action. For had your intellect not run ahead, your body would not have followed. St. Mark the Ascetic
The devil presents minor sins as insignificant in our eyes, because otherwise he would
not be able lead us into major ones. St. Mark the Ascetic
To suffer for Christ’s sake is patiently to endure whatever happens to us. For the envy which the innocent provoke is for their benefit, while the Lord’s schooling tests us so as to bring about our conversion, since it opens our ears when we are guilty. That is why the Lord has promised an eternal crown to those who endure in this manner (cf. Jas. 1:12). Glory to Thee, our God; glory to Thee, Holy Trinity; glory to Thee for all things.
St. Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia
Like traders sailing on a ship during fair winds and a calm sea fear that sudden strong
winds and turbulent waters may place their ship in danger before they reach port, so do
Christians, even though they feel benevolent winnowing of the Holy Spirit, , fear that an ill-wind may arouse a turbulence of passions. Consequently, it is essential to take great care in order to reach the tranquil port of eternal life and eternal joy — the cities of Saints, Heavenly Jerusalem and the Churches of the firstborn. (Hebr. 12:23). St. Macarius the Great