Abba Isaiah of Scetis: Is Your Heart Illumined?

Feast of St Theodosia, Virgin-Martyr of Constantinople

Isaiah_of_Scetis_square.jpgDESPISE WORLDLY words, in order that your heart may be illumined. Shun laziness, and the fear of God will dwell in you. Distribute now with a generous disposition to someone to someone who has a need, so that you may not be put to shame among the saints and their goods. Hate the desire for food, that Amalek may not hinder you (cf. Jg. 7.4). Do not hurry through your duties, lest the beasts devour you. Do not love wine to the point of drunkenness, lest you become deprived of the gladness of God. Love the faithful, that they may have mercy on you. Desire the saints, that their zeal may consume you (cf. Ps. 69.9). Remember the kingdom of heaven, in order that your desire for it may very gradually attract you. Think of Gehenna, so that you may despise its works. When you wake up each morning, remember that you will give account to God for your every deed. In this way, you will not sin against Him, and fear of Him will dwell in you. Prepare yourself to encounter Him, and you will do His will. Question yourself on a daily basis here about what you lack, and you will not toil at the time of need when you die. Let your brothers see your deeds, and your zeal will consume them too. Examine yourself daily as to which passion you have conquered, and do not put your trust in yourself, for mercy and strength belong to God. Do not consider yourself to be faithful, even until your last breath. Do not think highly of yourself, or that you are good, for you can never trust your enemies. Do not be confident while you are still living, until you pass beyond all the powers of darkness.

—Abba Isaiah of Scetis, Ascetic Discourses

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