May 27

The Fathers define prayer as a spiritual weapon. Unless we are armed with it we cannot engage in warfare, but are carried off as prisoners to the enemy’s country. Nor can we acquire pure prayer unless we cleave to God with an upright heart. For it is God who gives prayer to him who prays and who teaches man spiritual knowledge.

                                 ~St Theodoros the Great Ascetic

May 24

One should not say that it is impossible to reach a virtuous life; but one should say that it is not easy. Nor do those who have reached it find it easy to maintain. Those who are devout and whose intellect enjoys the love of God participate in the life of virtue; the ordinary intellect however, is worldly and vacillating, producing both good and evil thoughts because it is changeful by nature and directed towards material things. But the intellect that enjoys the love of God punishes the evil which arises spontaneously because of man’s [laziness].

                                          ~St Antony the Great

May 23

Pharaoh entreated saying, ‘May God take away from me this death’ (Exodus 10:17), and he was heard. Similarly when the demons asked the Lord not to cast them into the abyss, their request was granted (Luke 8:31). How much more then will a Christian be heard when he prays to be delivered from spiritual death?

When recalling your sins, do not hesitate to beat your breast. With these blows you will dig into your hardened heart and discover within it the gold mine of the publican (Luke 18:13); and this hidden wealth will bring you great joy.
                                                                           -St John of Karpathos

May 22

A single good word made the thief pure and holy, despite all his previous crimes, and brought him into paradise (Luke 23:42-43). A single ill-advised word prevented Moses from entering the promised land (Numbers 20:12). We should not suppose then, that garrulity is only a minor disease. Lovers of slander and gossip shut themselves out from the kingdom of heaven. A chatterbox may meet with success in this world but he will not do so in the next. There he will trip and fall; ‘evil will hunt him down and destroy him’ (Psalm 140:11 LLX). It has been well said: ‘Better to slip on the ground than to slip with your tongue’ (Ecclus.20:18). We should believe James the apostle when he writes: ‘Let every man be swift to hear and slow to speak.’ (James 1:19).

-St John of Karpathos

May 19

If the base of a felled tree that has grown old in earth and rock ‘will bud at the scent of water…like a young plant’ (Job 14:9), it is also possible for us to be awakened by the power of the Holy Spirit and to flower with the incorruptibility that is ours by nature, bearing fruit like a young plant, even though we have fallen into sin.

             ~St John of Karpathos