Learn of Jesus Christ to Pray

“Do not pray for the fulfillment of your wishes, for they may not accord with the will of God. But pray as you have been taught, saying: Thy will be done in me. Always entreat Him in this way – that His will be done. For He desires what is good and profitable for you, […]

To Enter Into His Glory

It’s Sunday afternoon. Two disciples of Jesus are walking to Emmaus, a few miles away from Jerusalem. As they walk, they discuss the bizarre events of the previous days. Their leader – a man named Jesus whom they had followed as he cast out demons, healed the sick, and raised the dead – had been […]

The Demon of Avarice

“The demon of avarice…is extraordinarily complex and is baffling in his deceits.  He pretends to be a steward and a lover of the poor…he makes us mentally visit prisons in the city and ransom those on sale as slaves.  After deceiving the soul…he engulfs it in avaricious thoughts and then hands it over to the […]

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 […]

The Horse of Self-Esteem

“Of the unclean demons, some tempt man in so far as he is a man, while others disturb him in so far as he is a non-rational animal. The first…suggest to us notions of self-esteem, pride, envy or censoriousness…whereas the second…arouse incensive power and desire in a manner contrary to nature.” -Evagrios the Solitary, “On […]

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 […]

The Science of Stillness

The phrase “the science of stillness” has stayed with me. For Evagrios, the pursuit of stillness is Serious Business. This is not a hobby, not a fluffy side pursuit for those who can’t hack it in the Real World. There is nothing more real than God, the creator of reality, and no better, more challenging, […]

Keeping a Watch on our Senses

“’Take heed, lest your hearts be overwhelmed with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of this life’ (cf Luke 21:34)…stand guard, then, over your heart and keep a watch on your senses.”- St. Isaiah the Solitary, On Guarding the Intellect: Twenty-Seven Texts (Pg 24, 12th text) When St. Isaiah refers to guarding our hearts and […]

Be Ruthless in the Living of Call

For many Christians, following Jesus takes a strong back-seat to other desires, the question for them is “what is the minimum requirement of salvation” and the fruits of such ungodly thinking are quite evident in their lives.  For others of us, the question is continually, “how can I follow God more fully?”  While this is an […]

Clinging to Stillness

“If you find yourself growing strongly attached to your cell, leave it, do not cling to it, be ruthless. Do everything possible to attain stillness and freedom from distraction, and struggle to live according to God’s will, battling against invisible enemies……Be like an astute business man; make stillness your criterion for testing the value of […]