Mother of the Wisest Thoughts

“When the door of the steam baths is continually left open, the heat inside rapidly escapes through it; likewise the soul, in its desire to say many things dissipates its remembrance of God through the door of speech, even though everything it says may be good. Thereafter the intellect, though lacking appropriate ideas, pours out […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Lose a Little in the Transaction

“When buying or selling you can hardly avoid sin.  So, in either case, be sure you lose a little in the transaction.” – Evagrios the Solitary, On Asceticism and Stillness – My wife and I are in the process of buying a house.  We have been blessed with the ability to do so, and are […]