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


Fr Georges Florovsky: For What Purpose Has God Created You?

Feast of St Cyril, Patriarch of Jerusalem

Florovsky_Square.jpgWE NEED A theology of culture, even for our “practical” decisions. No real decision can be made in the dark. The dogma of Creation, with everything that it implies, was dangerously obscured in the consciousness of modern Christians, and the concept of Providence, i.e. of the perennial concern of the Creator with the destiny of His Creation, was actually reduced to something utterly... Continue Reading


St Patrick of Ireland: How Many Prayers Do You Pray?

Feast of St Patrick, Enlightener of Ireland

Burley_Patrick_Square.jpgBUT AFTER I came to Ireland—every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed—the love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened. And my spirit was moved so that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and almost as many in the night,... Continue Reading


Fr Hans Urs von Balthasar: Are You Building Islands of Humanity?

Feast of the Martyr Sabinus of Egypt

Balthasar_Square.jpgCULTURE IS A loosely-knit word. Originally it meant the cultivation of the soil, as mentioned in Genesis: to make nature’s wilderness humanly habitable, to put the imprint of man upon it. During certain cultural epochs this enterprise may have succeeded to a degree; let us remember the Georgics by Virgil. But what can be done amid this want of culture wrought by the... Continue Reading


St Ephraim the Syrian: Have You Repented in Word or in Deed?

Feast of the Translation of the Relics of St Nicephorus the Patriarch of Constantinople

Ephraim_Square.jpgBEFORE THY GLORY, O Christ my Savior, I will announce all my misconduct and confess the infinitude of Thy mercies, which Thou pourest out upon me according to Thy kindness. From my mother's womb I began to grieve Thee, and utterly have I disregarded Thy grace, for I have neglected my soul. Thou, O my Master,... Continue Reading


Fr Alexander Schmemann: Are You in the School of Repentance?

Feast of St Symeon the New Theologian

Schmemann_Teaching_Square.jpgREPENTANCE, WE are told, is the beginning and the condition of a truly Christian life. Christ's first word when He began to preach was: "Repent!" (Matt. 4.17). But what is repentance? In the rush of our daily life, we have no time to think about it, and we simply assume that all we have to do during Lent is abstain from certain foods,... Continue Reading


St Anthony the Great: Do You Create Intervals of Prayer at Work?

Feast of St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem

Anthony_Square.jpgWHEN THE HOLY Abba Anthony lived in the desert he was beset by accidie, and attacked by many sinful thoughts. He said to God, “Lord, I want to be saved but these thoughts do not leave me alone; what shall I do in my affliction? How can I be saved?” A short while afterwards, when he got up to go out, Anthony... Continue Reading


St. Theophan the Recluse: Do You Prepare for War Every Morning?

Feast of Quadratus the Martyr and His Companions

Theophan_on_Prayer_Square.jpgAs soon as you wake up in the morning, pray for a while, saying: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me.” Then your first work should be to shut yourself in your own heart, as if taking up position in an arena. Having established yourself there, bring yourself to the consciousness and feeling that your enemy and the passionate... Continue Reading


St John Climacus: Are You a True Servant of God?

Feast of the Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebastia

John_Climacus_Square.jpgOur God and King is good, transcendently good and all-good. Of the rational beings created by Him and honored with the dignity of free-will, some are His friends, others are His true servants, some are worthless, some are completely estranged from God, and others, though feeble creatures, are His opponents. By friends of God, we mean those noetic and incorporeal beings... Continue Reading