"Compunction without thanksgiving would be despair, sorrow that was not godly, while repentance without thanksgiving would be a presumptuous illusion". St. Mark the Ascetic Translation from Penthos: The Doctrine of Compunction in the Christian East Let us not forget that our repentance is not simply a deep sorrow. Sorrow without thanksgiving does not open us... Continue Reading →
In the age of the cell phone, instant information, constant updates and never-ending distraction, we would do well to heed the words of our forebears regarding the noon-day demon. We hate the present moment and yearn for the next one, only to hate that moment in turn. Soon we grow agitated, anxious, and dejected that life holds no meaning for me anymore. God instructs Adam and Eve that the way to combat this particularly dangerous thought is by persisting in our work and through the remembrance of death-that we live for more than the next moment we yearn for. We should become free to live here and now, towards the Kingdom.
"Why then did our Lord change the nature of water in the first of his signs? Was it not to show that the Divinity, which had changed natures in the depths of the jars, was that same [divinity[ which had changed nature in the womb of the virgin? At the completion of his signs he... Continue Reading →
God is in flesh. He is not active at intervals as he was among the prophets. Instead he possesses a humanity connatural and united to himself, and restores all humanity to himself through flesh the same as ours in kind. So then, one might say, 'How did the splendour come to all by means of... Continue Reading →
If this was the story of a mere man, it would be right and pious to hide the ‘gory details’, but if of God come to descend to our weakness (cf. Phil 2.7) then this is to be glorified. Because it is Christ’s entry into all the brokenness of humanity we should not be surprised to read of his entry through this broken, but very human line of individuals.
"Who, being a mortal, can tell about the Reviver of all, Who left the height of His Majesty and came down to smallness? You, Who magnify all by being born, magnify my weak mind that I may tell of Your birth, not to investigate your majesty, but to proclaim Your grace. Blessed is He Who... Continue Reading →
“The will of my Father is that a person be made a participant in the Holy Spirit and that the citizen of earth be reborn into a strange and unaccustomed life and be called a citizen of Heaven. And when he says that the rebirth by the Holy Spirit is ‘from above,’ he shows clearly... Continue Reading →
"This is the mighty one whose proclamation (of the Gospel) became a bridle in the jaws of the nations, turning them away from idols to the one who sent Him. Dead idols with closed mouths fed upon the life of their worshipers. For this reason, you mixed Your blood, which repelled Death and terrified it,... Continue Reading →
The demon of acedia [despondency], also called the noonday demon, is the most oppressive of all the demons. He attacks the monk from about the fourth hour [10am] and besieges his soul until the eighth hour [2 pm]. First of all, he makes it appear that the sun moves slowly or not at all, and... Continue Reading →
"The great Architect of the universe conceived and produced a being endowed with both nature, the visible and invisible: God created the human being, bringing its body forth from matter which He animated with His own Spirit... Thus in some way a new universe was born, small and great at one and the same time.... Continue Reading →
Coming to a true knowledge of Reality, we are to die to the dead mode we have inhabited and thus remove the sandals from our feet so we might participate in Life, Christ offered to us in the Eucharist. The ascetic pursuit then is a life of removing the coverings we have accumulated so that we can see things as they really are.
“And for this reason did the Word become the dispenser of the paternal grace for the benefit of men, for whom He made such great dispensations, revealing God indeed to men, but presenting man to God, and preserving at the same time the invisibility of the Father, lest man should at any time become a... Continue Reading →