the world

Frail Shadows of Elusive Dreams

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief? What glory stands forever on the earth? Frail shadows of elusive dreams which death will one day sweep away. But in the light of Thy countenance, O Christ, and in the enjoyment of Thy beauty, give rest to those whom you have chosen and taken, for Thou art the lover of mankind. – St. John of Damasca, Aposticha verse

Acknowledging Failure

“If we can’t struggle much, or even not at all, at least let us humbly recognize this and ask for God’s mercy. If this recognition were not for our own benefit, then Christ wouldn’t ask it from us.” – Elder Paisios

Looking to the Champions

The best medicine in every trial of ours is the greater trials suffered by our fellow men, if only we can call them to mind. – Elder Paisios

Fascination for things binds one to anger

He who is not indifferent to fame and pleasure, as well as to love of riches that exists because of them and increases them, cannot cut off occasions for anger. And he who does not cut these off cannot attain perfect love. — St. Maximos the Confessor

Attachment to small things

As earth thrown over it extinguishes a fire burning in a stove, so worldly cares and every kind of attachment to something, however small and insignificant, destroy the warmth of the heart which was there at first. — St. Simeon the New Theologian

With what to adorn the Intellect

…adorn your thinking power with a constant attention to God, prayer and knowledge of divine truths; the desiring power – with total self-denial and renunciation of all self-indulgence; the excitable power – with love. If you do this, then, I assure you, the light of your mind will never be dimmed and wrong thoughts will never find place in you. — Lorenzo Scupoli

The Joy of Ownership

He who has tasted the things on high easily despises what is below. But he who has not tasted the things above finds joy in possessions. — St. John Climacus

Comment: As soon as one has a house or a new car, one learns the meaning of the words, “if we had possessions, we would need to protect them.”

Trying to Catch the Wind

Do not dare to raise your weak hand to stop the elemental tide of apostasy. Avoid it, protect yourself from it, and that is enough for you. Get to know the spirit of the times, study it so you can avoid its influence whenever possible. — St. Ignatii Brianchaninov

The Tide

Truly never before has the cross of each person who wants to be a true Christian been as heavy as in this time of the triumph of falsehood which we are experiencing.

Never before on this earth has there been such a huge number of people who freely and easily, without any shame, without any pangs of conscience “call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). — Archbishop Averky of Syracuse (of Blessed Memory)

Comment: People often say that this has all been said before – that things are worse than ever. What they seldom is consider is that perhaps, each time it was said, it was true. Each Great and Holy Monday. Each Great and Holy Tuesday. each Great and Holy Wednesday, has it not been true. Have things not been worse than ever?

The Soft Wax of the World

The mind of the righteous man, then, must not be like wax or some other soft material, which always gets its form and shape from the mark that is stamped on it and that remains there until it receives the impression of another mark. Thus it never keeps its own character and always takes on the form of whatever is stamped on it. On the contrary, our mind must be like a kind of adamant seal, so that it always retains its own character inviolable and shapes and transforms whatever happens to it into its own likeness, without, however, being stamped itself by the things that happen to it.

St. John Cassian, The Conferences.

Makeup Work

Do not deceive yourself, foolish worker, as if one time can make up for
another. For the day is not sufficient to repay in full its own debt to
the Lord.

St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent.

Associations & the Beautiful People

If you ever wish to associate with someone, make sure that you do not give your attention to those who enjoy health and wealth and fame as the world sees it, but take care of those in affliction, in critical circumstances, who are utterly deserted and enjoy no consolation. Put a high value on associating with these, for from them you shall receive much profit, and you will do all for the glory of God. God Himself has said: I am the father of orphans and the protector of widows [Ps. 67:6]. – St. John Chrysostom

Death is coming

The hour of death will come, it will come, and we shall not escape it. – St. Hesychius of Jerusalem