If You Have Friends . . .

“If you have friends, avoid constant meetings with them. For if you meet only on rare occasions, you will be of more help to them. And if you find that harm comes through meeting them, do not see them at all.  The friends that you do have should be of benefit to you and contribute […]

The Case for Abbots

“We who live in coenobitic monasteries should of our own free choice gladly cut off our whole will through obedience to the abbot.  In this way, with God’s help, we shall become to some degree tractable and free from self-will.  It is good to acquire this art, for then…we shall not excite our incensive power […]

On Anger

“If, therefore, you desire to attain perfection and rightly to pursue the spiritual way, you should make yourself a stranger to all sinful anger and wrath.” –St. John Cassian, On the Eight Vices¸(On Anger, p. 83)              Anger is not a word I would typically use to describe myself or my main vice. I’m generally […]

Recall the Eternal Fire

“Until a man is completely changed by repentance, he will be wise always to remember his sins with sorrow and to recall the eternal fire which they justly deserve.” – Evagrios the Solitary, On Prayer, chapter 144  Eternal fire. Judgment. Hell. Not the most attractive part of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.  The monks […]

Be Angry, and Do Not Sin

“He who has mastery over his incensive power has mastery also over the demons.” – St. Evagrios the Solitary, On Discrimination (section 12, p. 46 of the Philokalia vol. 1) I do not have mastery over my incensive power. One would normally not expect a pastor to be easily-angered, but I can have a bit […]