Friday, February 25, 2011

Of the demons

opposing us in the practice of the ascetic life, there are three groups who fight in the front line: those entrusted with the appetites of gluttony, those who suggest avaricious thoughts, and those who incite us to seek the esteem of men. All the other demons follow behind and in their turn attack those already wounded by the first three groups.

Evagrius, in the Philokalia

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sola Gratia?

Theorists are greatly occupied by the question of the relationship between grace and free will. For anyone who has grace within him, this question is resolved by practical experience.

Theophan the Recluse, read here

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Lord, why is there so much beauty?"

Seeking to converse with God through pure imageless prayer resting in his heart, Eleazar's wonder at the beauty of creation was a difficulty for him, and he exclaimed with tears:

'Lord, why is there so much beauty in your creation which in your mercy you offer to your unworthy servant?'

Eleazar of Anzersk

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


A brother whom another brother had wronged came to see Abba Sisoes and said to him, “My brother has hurt me and I want to avenge myself.” The old man pleaded with him saying, “No, my child, leave vengeance to God.” He said to him, “I shall not rest until I have avenged myself.” The old man said, “Brother, let us pray.” Then the old man stood up and said,

“God, we no longer need you to care for us, since we do justice for ourselves.”

Hearing these words, the brothers fell at the old man’s feet, saying, “I will no longer seek justice from my brother; forgive me, abba.”

Abba Sisoes in Lives of the Desert Fathers, found here

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Without love, vanity

All the virtues and all asceticism are in vain without love. The Devil can easily imitate all our virtues; he is conquered only by humility and charity.

Melania the Roman