October 30

Mere skill in reasoning does not make a person’s intelligence pure, for since the fall our intelligence has been corrupted by evil thoughts. The materialistic and wordy spirit of the wisdom of this world may lead us to speak about ever wider spheres of knowledge, but it renders our thoughts increasingly crude and uncouth. This combination of well-informed talk and crude thought falls far short of real wisdom and contemplation, as well as of undivided and unified knowledge.

~St Gregory of Sinai

Our Eternal Echo

Imagine that you are living eternally even now,

and that every thought and action that you enact in this moment,

is establishing you in eternity.


Virtue as steps to heaven,

or passions like withered vines.


What foundation are you building here,

and what seeds are you planting now?


Imagine if this moment were to be captured and lived out perpetually,

your current inner state to be cast in stone, or formed in iron;

is this who you want to be?


Cast instead, yourself at the feet of your maker,

and plead with God for the power and wisdom to live this moment,

as He commands.


We all fell with Adam when we were deceived,

by the devil in our pride,

and perpetuated by our unaccountability.


Why continue to fall? Haven’t you fallen far enough,

exchanging heavenly realms above,

for meaner, more solid, yet less substantial joy in this lower world?


Yet even lower worlds than this are calling,

for those who desire them,

as higher ones are being prepared for your return.


What step will you take at this very moment,

which direction will you move in your eternal now?


For as step leads to step,

here becomes there;

what appears insignificant now,

will echo forever.



October 28

The soul has need of a divine lamp, even of the Holy Ghost, who sets in order the darkened house. It needs the bright Sun of righteousness, which enlightens and rises upon the heart, as an instrument to win the battle. That woman who lost the piece of silver, first lighted the lamp, and then set the house in order, and thus, the house being set in order and the lamp lit, the piece of silver was found, buried in dirt and filth and earth.

So now the soul cannot of itself find its own thoughts and disengage them; but when the divine lamp is lit, it lights up the darkened house, and then the soul beholds its thoughts how they lie buried in the filth and mire of sin.

~St Makarios of Egypt

October 27

Self-condemnation then, anticipates and mitigates the judgment of God, for He is pleased in His mercy to spare us from the rightful condemnation to come. Furthermore, through self-condemnation and the consolation of spiritual weeping, we receive great hope, and we are spiritually enlarged; and although the grace of repentance sheds light on the depth of our fall, yet we do not despair, for this same grace comforts us.

Whoever undertakes repentance in a sane way will therefore intensify his cry to God, Who is able to save us from the death that has threatened to destroy human life from the very beginning. According to St Paul, it is through the fear of this death that all have sinned (cf. Hebrews 2:15). The fear of death has made all people selfish and, in our egoism, we transgress in trying to survive apart from God, according to our twisted and arbitrary ways.

~Archimandrite Zacharias

October 26

Adam could not blame himself, but instead attributed the responsibility for his transgression to God. He thus made himself unworthy of the gift of repentance, and God allowed him to suffer exile so that he might discover it.

We must therefore cling to the example of Christ, the New Adam, and voluntarily take the blame for everything through self-condemnation. This process joins us to the very Cross of Christ, for it was undertaken voluntarily, not for His own benefit–since the Lord was ‘without blemish and without spot’ (1 Peter 1:19) and therefore had no need of repentance–but for our salvation.

~Archimandrite Zacharias

October 25

After the devil and his demons had brought about man’s exile from paradise and from God by making him transgress, they found they could inwardly derange–to a greater or lesser extent–anyone’s reason whenever they wanted to. The only defense against this is the ceaseless mindfulness of God, for if such mindfulness is stamped on the heart through the power of the cross it will render our thought steadfast and unshakeable.

This is a state to which the spiritual contest of every Christian who enters the arena of Christ’s faith should lead, if he is not to struggle in vain. For it is to achieve this state that God’s athlete embraces all the various forms of ascetic practice.

~St Symeon the New Theologian

October 24

If, my son, you wish to acquire within yourself your own lamp of noetic light and spiritual knowledge, so as to walk without stumbling in the dark night of this age; and if you wish your steps to be ordered by the Lord, delighting in the way of the Gospel–that is, desiring with ardent faith, with zeal and prayer, to practice the commandments of the Gospel–then I will show you a wonderful spiritual method to help you achieve this.

It does not call for bodily exertion, but requires spiritual effort, control of the intellect, and an attentive understanding, assisted by fear and love of God. Through this method you can easily put to flight the cohorts of the enemy. If, then, you wish to triumph over the passions, enter within yourself through prayer and with the help of God. Descend into the depths of the heart, and search out the three powerful giants–forgetfulness, sloth and ignorance–which enable the rest of the evil passions to infiltrate into the self-indulgent soul, and to live, energize and flourish there.

Then through strict attentiveness and control of the intellect, together with help from above, you will track down these evil giants, about which most people are ignorant; and so you will be able to free yourself from them by means of strict attentiveness and prayer. For when, through the action of grace, zeal for true knowledge, for mindfulness of God’s word and for genuine concord is diligently planted and cultivated in the heart, then the last traces of forgetfulness, ignorance and sloth are expunged from it.

~St Mark the Ascetic

October 23

Let us therefore imitate our fathers and like them let us seek the treasure within our hearts. And when we have found it let us hold fast to it with all our might, both cultivating and guarding it (cf. Genesis 2:15); for this is what we were commanded to do from the beginning….if we are full of disbelief and doubt about the practice of the ascetic like, how shall we enjoy the fruits of contemplation? For it is practice that initiates us into contemplation.

~Nikiphoros the Monk