St John Chrysostom: Do You Worship God in Every Place?

Feast of St Stephen the New

John_Chrysostom_square_3.jpgPRIEST: IT is meet and right to hymn Thee, to bless Thee, to praise Thee, to give thanks unto Thee, and to worship Thee in every place of Thy dominion: for Thou art God ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever existing and eternally the same, Thou and Thine Only-begotten Son and Thy Holy Spirit. Thou it was who didst bring us from non-existence into being, and... Continue Reading

St Augustine of Hippo: Is Your Will Twisted Away from the Highest Substance?

Feast of St James the Great Martyr of Persia

Augustine_Square_2.jpgI TURNED my gaze on other things. I saw that to you they owe their existence, and that in you all things are finite, not in the sense that the space they occupy is bounded but in the sense that you hold all things in your hand by your truth. So all things are real insofar as they have being, and the... Continue Reading

St Augustine of Hippo: Have You Rejected Your Own Will & Desired God's?

Feast of St Alypius the Stylite of Adrianopolis

Augustine_Square.jpg“O LORD I am your servant, I am your servant and the son of your handmaid. You have snapped my chains. I will sacrifice to you the offering of praise” (Ps. 115.16-17). Let my heart praise you and my tongue, and “let all my bones say, ‘Lord who is like you?’” (Ps. 34.10). Let them speak, answer me, and say to my soul... Continue Reading

Fr Thomas Hopko: Are You Seeking First the Kingdom of God?

Feast of St Catherine the Great Martyr of Alexandria

Herman_Square.jpegAMERICAN Christianity desperately needs the witness of Saint Herman of Alaska, for the American way of life is so radically opposed in so many ways to the life of this man and the Lord Jesus whom he served. Power, possessions, profits, pleasures: these are the things that Americans are known for. These are the things in which we take pride. And,... Continue Reading

St Basil the Great: Are You Bringing Before Your Eyes the Judgment Seat of Christ?

Feast of Our Holy Father Clement, Pope of Rome

Basil_Square.jpgIT WAS MY intention to give you a respite from the works of injustice and to grant some leisure to your thoughts, so that you might carefully consider to what end your pursuit of material things has led you. You have acres and acres of arable land: fields and orchards, mountains and dells, rivers and springs. But what comes after this? Is... Continue Reading

St Ephraim the Syrian: Are You Singing Unto Christ a Song of Thanks?

Feast of St Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium

Ephraim_Square_3.jpegMAY THY COMPASSION be praised, O Christ our King, O Son of god worshiped by all! Thou art our King, Thou art our God, Thou art the author of our life and our great hope.

With one soul do both the heavenly hosts and the ranks below praise Thee and sing unto Thee a song of thanks, for Thou Who was concealed hast... Continue Reading

Abba Isaac: Have You Learned to Work in Silence?

Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple

Desert_Hermits_Square_3.jpegABBA ISAAC said, “When I was younger, I lived with Abba Cronius. He would never tell me to do any work, although he was old and tremulous; but he himself got up and offered food to me and to everyone. Then I lived with Abba Theodora of Pherme and he did not tell me to do anything either, but he... Continue Reading

Abba Isidore of Pelusia: Are You Doing Good by Your Silence?

Feast of St Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople

Desert_Father_Square_5.jpegABBA ISIDORE of Pelusia said, “To live without speaking is better than to speak without living. For the former who lives rightly does good even by his silence but the latter does no good even when he speaks. When words and life correspond to one another they are together the whole of philosophy.”

—Abba Isidore of Pelusia, Sayings of the Desert... Continue Reading

Amma Theodora: Is Your Heart Turned Toward God?

Feast of the Holy Prophet Obadiah

Amma-Syncletia_Square.pngTHE SAME Amma was asked about the conversations one hears: “If one is habitually listening to secular speech, how can one yet live for God alone, as you suggest?”

She said, “Just as when you are sitting at table and there are many courses, you take some but without pleasure, so when secular conversations come your way, have your heart turned towards God, and... Continue Reading

Abba Theophilus the Archbishop: Are You Edified by Silence?

Feast of St Plato the Great Martyr of Ancyra

Desert_Fathers_Square_6.jpegTHE SAME Abba Theophilus, the archbishop, came to Scetis one day. The brethren who were assembled said to Abba Pambo, “Say something to the archbishop, so that he may be edified.” The old man said to them, “If he is not edified by my silence, he will not be edified by my speech.”

—Abba Theophilus the Archbishop, Sayings of... Continue Reading

Abba Amoun of Nitria: Is Your Conversation Worldly?

Feast of St Gregory the Wonderworker & Bishop of Neo-Caesarea

Desert_Father_Square_4.jpegIT WAS SAID of Abba Amoun that a very small quantity of wheat every two months was sufficient for him. Now he went to find Abba Poemen and said to him, “When I go to my neighbor’s cell, or when he comes to mine for some need or other, we are afraid of entering into conversation, for fear of slipping... Continue Reading

Abba Ammoes: Do You Slip into Irrelevant Conversation?

Feast of St Matthew the Apostle & Evangelist

Desert_Father_Square.jpgIT WAS SAID of Abba Ammoes that when he went to church, he did not allow his disciple to walk beside him but only at a certain distance; and if the latter came to ask him about his thoughts, he would move away from him as soon as he had replied, saying to him, “It is for fear that, after edifying words,... Continue Reading

St Philoxenus: Do You Have a Discerning Compassion and a Recollected Mind?

Feast of the Holy, All-Praised Apostle Philip and St Gregory Palamas

Monk_Prayer.jpgANYONE WHO PRAYS should pray having his heart in touch with his mouth and his mind with his lips. If, however, he bows down and stretches out his hands in prayer while his heart is daydreaming somewhere else, then he is like the cedars which storms bend down and flatten out. Or if his lips are eagerly murmuring but... Continue Reading

St Abraham of Nathpar: Do You Begin Your Prayers with Our Lord's Prayer?

Feast of St John Chrysostom the Archbishop of Constantinople

Desert_Father_Square_2.jpgBE EAGER in prayer, and vigilant, without wearying; and remove from yourself drowsiness and sleep. You should be watchful both by night and by day; do not be disheartened.

I will show you the different occasions for prayer. At the time when you are in trouble, offer up petition; and when you are well supplied with the good things of God,... Continue Reading

Book of Steps: Do You Pray as Our Lord Prayed?

Feast of Sts Nilus the Ascetic of Sinai and Martin of Tours

Monks_Praying.jpegLET US therefore leave behind everything that is visible, seeing that it is transient, and pass over from external sins. Then, once we have cut off those of our sins that are visible, we can take our place in the struggle against the sin that dwells right inside us—those evil thoughts which sin forges in our heart; and... Continue Reading

St John the Solitary: Are You Assiduous in Prayer Before God?

Feast of St Menas of Egypt

Desert_Hermits_Square_3.jpegWHEN YOU stand in prayer before God, take care that your mind is recollected. Push aside any distracting thoughts. Feel in your soul the true weightiness of God. Purify the movements of your thoughts; if you have to struggle with them, be persistent in your struggle and do not give up. When God sees your persistence, then all of a sudden grace will dawn... Continue Reading

St Ephraim: Do You Let Prayer Recollect Itself in Luminous Silence?

Feast of Sts Erastus, Olympas, rodion, Sosipater, and Quartus, Apostles of the 70

Ephraim_Square_2.jpegTO YOU, Lord, do I offer up my faith with my voice, for prayer and petition can both be conceived in the mind and brought to birth in silence, without using the voice.

If the womb holds back the child, then both mother and child will die; may my mouth, Lord, not hold back my faith with... Continue Reading

St Aphrahat: Do You Know About the Power of Pure Prayer?

Feast of St Nektarius the Wonderworker, Metropolitan of Pentapolis

Aphrahat_Square.jpegPURITY OF heart constitutes prayer more than do all the prayers that are uttered aloud, and silence united to a mind that is sincere is better than the loud voice of someone crying out.

My beloved, give me now your heart and your thought, and hear about the power of pure prayer; see how our righteous forefathers excelled in their prayer... Continue Reading

St John of Damascus: Is Your Mind Overcurious?

Feast of St Raphael of Brooklyn and St Lazarus the Wonderworker

John_Damascene_square.jpgTHESE HERESIES detailed above have been described in brief, because, although they amount to but a hundred altogether, all the rest come from them. The Church has kept itself away from all these, as from so many pitfalls, and, instructed by the Holy Trinity, it teaches rightly and piously and cries out: We believe in Father and Son and Holy... Continue Reading

St Irenaeus of Lyons: Are You Discarding the Truth?

Feast of St Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople

Irenaeus_Square_3.jpgCERTAIN PEOPLE are discarding the Truth and introducing deceitful “myths and endless genealogies,” which, as the Apostle says, “promote speculations rather than the divine training that is in faith” (1 Tim. 1.4). By specious argumentation, craftily patched together, they mislead the minds of the more ignorant and ensnare them by falsifying the Lord’s words. Thus they become wicked interpreters of genuine... Continue Reading