St Cyril of Jerusalem: Is Your Resolve True?

Holy Friday and Feast of St Terence and His Companions Beheaded at Carthage

Cyril_Jerusalem_Square.jpgALREADY, MY dear candidates for Enlightenment, scents of paradise are wafted towards you; already you are culling mystic blossoms for the weaving of heavenly garlands; already the fragrance of the Holy Spirit has blown about you. Already you have arrived at the outer court of the palace: may the King lead you in! Now the blossom has... Continue Reading

St John Chrysostom: Do You Shine More Brightly Than the Sun?

Holy Thursday and Feast of the Holy Martyr Eupsychius of Caesarea

John_Chrysostom_Square.jpgYOU MUST ALSO keep this truth firmly fixed in your minds, that the Holy Spirit is of the same dignity as the Father and the Son. Christ said to His disciples: Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28.19).

Did... Continue Reading

St Isaac of Syria: Do You Delight in the Pursuit of Scripture?

Holy Wednesday and Feast of St Celestine, Pope of Rome

Isaac_Square.jpgWHEN A MAN'S thoughts are totally immersed in the delight of pursuing the wisdom treasured in the words of Scripture by means of the faculty that gains enlightenment from them, then he puts the world behind his back and forgets everything in it, and he blots out of his soul all memories that form images embodying the world. Often he... Continue Reading

St Justin Martyr: Are You Choosing What Is Pleasing To God?

Holy Tuesday and Feast of St Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow & Enlightener of North America

Justin_Martyr_Square.jpgAND WE HAVE been taught, and are persuaded, and believe that He accepts only those who imitate the good things which are in Him, temperance and righteousness and well-doing, and whatsoever else truly belongs to God who is called by no given name. And we have been taught that in the beginning He of His... Continue Reading

St Clement of Rome: Do You Belittle Your Salvation?

Holy Monday and Feast of St Eutychius, Patriarch of Constantinople

Clement_Rome_orange_Square.jpgBROTHERS, WE ought to think of Jesus Christ, as we do of God, as “Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10.42; cf. 1 Pet. 4.5). And we ought not to belittle our salvation, for when we belittle him, we also hope to receive but little. And those who listen as though these are small matters do wrong, and... Continue Reading

St Gregory Palamas: Are You Holding Firmly to the Gospel?

Feast of St George the Righteous of Maleon

Gregory_Palamas_Square.jpgOUR SOUL IS like a lamp with good works for oil. Instead of a wick it holds love, upon which rests, not light, but the grace of the divine Spirit. When the oil of good works fails, the wick of love in the soul must grow cold. So the light of God’s care and love departs from those who leave virtue and... Continue Reading

St Symeon the New Theologian: Have You Tasted the Glory?

Feast of St Joseph the Hymnographer

Symeon_New_Square.jpgTHE REMEMBRANCE of Christ brings light to one’s mind and drives away the demons, and the light of the Holy Trinity which shines in a pure heart lifts it away from the whole world. When a man participates in this, though he is still on earth, he has a taste of the glory to come, at least in so far as he can,... Continue Reading

St Ambrose: How Frequently Are You Praying?

Feast of St Titus the Wonderworker

Ambrose_Square.jpgLET FREQUENT prayer also commend us to God. For if the prophet who was preoccupied with the demands of his kingdom said: “Seven times a day I have praised you” (Ps. 119.164), what does it behoove us to do, who read: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Matt. 26.41)? Solemn prayers with thanksgiving should certainly be made when we arise from sleep,... Continue Reading

St Macarius of Egypt: Does Your Soul Seek the Salt of Life?

Feast of St Mary of Egypt

Macarius_Square.jpgEVERY SOUL NOT seasoned with the Holy Spirit and made a participator of the heavenly salt, which is the power of God, grows corrupt and is filled with the stench and fetidness of bad thoughts so that the countenance of God turns away from the awful stench of vain and dark thoughts and from the disorderly affections that dwell in such a soul.... Continue Reading

St Photius: Have You Preserved Your Bridal Condition Unsoiled?

Feast of St Innocent, Enlightener of Siberia & Alaska

Photius_square.jpgAS MANY OF us as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ and have become members of Christ; for we have learnt from the divine Paul's teaching that our bodies are members of Christ. What then of us? Have we preserved our bridal condition unsoiled, not letting it be polluted by any evil? Have we maintained our earnest of... Continue Reading

St John of Kronstadt: To What End Do You Fast?

Feast of St John Climacus

John_of_Kronstadt_square.jpgTO WHAT END do fasting and penitence lead? For what purpose is this trouble taken? They lead us to the cleansing of the soul from sins, to peace of heart, to union with God; they fill us with devotion and sonship, and give us boldness before God. There are, indeed, very important reasons for fasting and for confession from the whole heart. There shall be... Continue Reading

Fr Dumitru Staniloae: Are You Cleansing Passions So You Can Pray?

Feast of Hilarion the New

Staniloae_Square.jpgUNION WITH GOD can only be reached by pure prayer. “The virtue of prayer brings about the mystery of our union with God,” says St. Gregory Palamas, “because prayer is the tie of rational creatures with the Creator.” Before attaining the state of pure prayer, man must be cleansed of the passions. But cleansing from the passions is one with the growth of the love... Continue Reading

St John Cassian: Are You Ascending to the Perfection of Love?

Feast of the Holy Matrona of Thessalonica

Cassian_Square.jpgIT IS CLEARLY proved that perfection is not immediately arrived at by being stripped and deprived of all one’s wealth or by giving up one’s honors, unless there is that love whose elements the Apostle describes, which consists in purity of heart alone. For what else does it mean not to be envious, not to be boastful, not to be angry, not to... Continue Reading

Evagrius of Pontus: Are You Refusing the Feast?

Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel

Evagrius_Square.jpgALL THE IMPURE thoughts that linger within us on account of the passions bring the mind down to “ruin and destruction” (1 Tim 6.9). For just as the mental representation of bread lingers with the hungry person on account of the hunger, and the mental representation of water in the thirsty person because of the thirst, so too the mental representations of wealth and possessions... Continue Reading

St Nektarios: Are You Eager to Work and to Attain Perfection?

Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos

Nektarios_square.jpgTAKE AWAY FROM me, O Virgin, the fetters of sin, of my lusts and the other transgressions: the terrible carelessness and the overcaring, the evil curiosity and the talkativeness, the useless incontinence and the haughtiness, the negligence, the drunkenness and the lack of mercy, the bad desires, the terrible impurity, the extravagance, the darkness, the great insensitivity. Take away the tendency to... Continue Reading

St Andrew of Crete: Are You Offering Tears of Repentance?

Forefeast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos

Andrew_of_Crete_Square.jpgHE IS FOR ME unto salvation Helper and Protector. He is my God and I glorify Him, God of my fathers is He and I exalt Him, for He is greatly glorified.

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.

Where shall I begin to weep for the actions of my wretched life? What first-fruit shall I offer, O Christ, in... Continue Reading

St Dorotheus of Gaza: Have You Banished Your Passions?

Feast of the Holy Righteous Martyr Nicon and His 199 Disciples

dorotheos_Square.jpgIN HIS LOVING-kindness God has given us purifying commandments so that, if we wish, we can by their observance be cleansed not only of sins but also of passions themselves. For passions are one thing and sins another. Passions are: anger, vanity, love of pleasures, hatred, evil lust and the like. Sins are the actual operation of passions, when... Continue Reading

St Augustine of Hippo: Do You Seek the Society of Saints & Angels?

Feast of St James the Confessor

Augustine_Square.jpgTWO CITIES HAVE been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord. For the one seeks glory from men; but the greatest glory of the other is God, the... Continue Reading

Paul Evdokimov: How Are You Making Your Work a Priestly Action?

Feast of St Cuthbert the Wonderworker, Bishop of Lindisfarne

Evdokimov_Square.jpg“TO BRING THE earth into submission” means to make it the temple of God. To consecrate the world is to make it pass from a demonic state to its nature as a creature conscious of God. No form of life or culture escapes the universal reach of the Incarnation. The image of all perfection, Christ took on the priesthood and the... Continue Reading

Fr Matthew Baker: What Glory Will You Bring into the Holy City?

Feast of the Holy Martyrs Chrysanthus and Daria

Matthew_Baker_Square.jpgTHE CITY OF Cain, the kingdom of Satan, cannot stand (Mt. 12:25-26). But neither is our end to be found in a flight from history, an escape from the city. For if the story of Scripture, which is our story, began with a garden, we know that it will end, not with a garden, but with a city: even the holy city, the new Jerusalem, “coming down out of heaven... Continue Reading