August 2

For those newly engaged in spiritual warfare the swift path to the recovery of virtue consists in the silencing of the lips, the closure of the eyes and the stopping of the ears; for once the intellect has achieved this kind of intermission and has sealed off the external entrances to itself, it begins to understand itself and its own activities.

It immediately sets about interrogating the ideas swimming in the noetic sea of its thought, trying to discern whether the concepts that erupt into the mind’s crucible are pure, alloyed with no bitter seed, and conferred by an angel of light, of whether they are tares, hybridized, trashy, emanating from the devil.

Standing thus like a masterful sovereign in the midst of its thoughts, judging them and separating the better from the worse, the intellect accepts those that are well-tested in the fire of the Spirit and saturated with divine water, absorbing them into its actions and practice and storing them up in its spiritual treasure-house; for by these thoughts it is nourished, strengthened and filled with light.

The other thoughts it casts into the depths of oblivion, eradicating their bitterness. This is the work only of someone who has spiritually embarked upon the path that leads unerringly to the heavens and to God, and who has stripped off the lugubrious cloak of the dark passions.

~Nikitas Stithatos

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