Icons teach us not to look on reality as what we see but perceive its deeper reality. Asceticism in turn trains our spiritual perceptions to perceive reality properly in order to lead us to God.
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.
"Let him who has chosen to practice the ascesis of renunciation make for himself a wall of faith, a fortification of hope, and a secure grounding in love. For faith is not the abandonment but the substance of superior goods in the hope of perseverance and the love of life (cf. Heb. 11.1)." Evagrius of... Continue Reading →
"One who wishes to cut off the passions should cut out their root; for while avarice remains, there is no benefit in trimming the branches: whenever they are cut off they will immediately sprout again." Evagrius, On the Eight Thoughts, On Avarice, Chapter 2 Let us recall that for the Greek fathers, the passions are... Continue Reading →
Juxtaposing the ransom of humanity to the ransom of Israel from Egypt St. Cyril teaches: "He rescued us from the slavery of the devil as from clay and brick, he delivered from us the passions of the world and impurities of the flesh, he made us pass over as through a sea. For having outrun... Continue Reading →
“If reason (logos)... assumes control over such movements [the passions], each of them is transmuted to a form of virtue; for anger produces courage, terror-caution, fear-obedience, hatred-turning away from evil, the power of love the desire for what is truly beautiful; high-mindedness in our character raises our thought above the passions, and keeps it from... Continue Reading →
A monk came to Abba Sisoes and said: “What should I do, Abba, for I have fallen from grace?” And he replied, “ Get up again.” The monk came back shortly after and said: “What shall I do now, for I have fallen again?” And the old man said to him, “Just get up again.... Continue Reading →
Wherefore, before everything, and especially theology, we must begin with prayer, not as though we ourselves were drawing the power, which is everywhere and nowhere present, but as, by our godly reminiscences and invocations, conducting ourselves to, and making ourselves one with, it.
"Just as one cannot build a ship unless one has some nails, so it is impossible to be saved without humility." Saying 26 of Amma Syncletica Humility is that which hold the spiritual life together. We may be adorned as a large ship off to voyage in the sea of spiritual warfare but without humility... Continue Reading →
"When you have read and carefully listened to these things, you shall know what God bestows on such as rightly love Him, being made a paradise of delight, presenting [ie bringing forth] in yourselves a tree bearing all kinds of produce and flourishing well, being adorned with various fruits. For in this place the tree... Continue Reading →
We have been exploring some of the beauty of the Genesis text and what it has to teach us about life (Genesis: The Book of Life), about married life and love (Genesis: The Book of Love), and about our life chosen apart from God (Genesis: The Book of Life and Death). Let us now explore... Continue Reading →