October 27

“You have to struggle. The heart has to strive and to suffer. Things worth striving and suffering for do not come to us if we sleep or are indolent. Even earth’s blessings do not come to us without effort on our part. If you want to develop spiritually you must above all renounce your own will; you must acquire a heart that is sorrowful…

But if when you set out on the path of renunciation there is no sorrow in your heart, no spiritual tears or remembrance of endless punishment, no true stillness or persistent prayer…if none of these things has become habitual in you…and if awe of God does not grow in your mind, then you are still attached to the world and your intellect cannot be pure when you pray. True devoutness and awe of God purify the soul from the passions, render the intellect free, lead it to natural contemplation, and make it apt for theology.”

~A Discourse on Abba Philimon

October 26

Where God does not illumine, everything is confused, as in darkness; and the soul is unable to look only at God and tremble at His words. “I am a God close at hand, says the Lord, not a distant God.” (Jeremiah 23:23)

We must pray unceasingly lest some thought comes and separates us from God, distracting our intellect from Him. For the pure heart, being completely receptive to the Holy Spirit, mirrors God in His entirety.

~A Discourse on Abba Philimon


October 25

‘When tempted, I always did this: I put all my hope in God, for it was to Him that I made my vows of renunciation. And He at once delivered me from all my distress. Because of this, brother, I no longer take thought for myself. I know that He takes thought for me, and so I bear more lightly the trials that come upon me. The only thing I offer from myself is unceasing prayer. I know that the more the suffering, the greater the reward for him who endures it. It is a means to reconciliation with the righteous Judge.’

~A Discourse on Abba Philimon

October 24

“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ). Pay strict attention to your heart and watch over it, so that it does not give admittance to thoughts that are evil or in any way vain and useless. Without interruption, whether asleep or awake, eating, drinking, or in company, let your heart inwardly and mentally at times be meditating on the psalms, at other times be repeating the prayer, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me.’ And when you chant, make sure that your mouth is not saying one thing while your mind is thinking about another.

~A Discourse on Abba Philimon

October 23

…how impossible it is to conform to God without complete stillness; how stillness gives birth to ascetic effort, ascetic effort to tears, tears to awe, awe to humility, humility to foresight, foresight to love; and how love restores the soul to health and makes it dispassionate, so that one then knows that one is not far from God….

For the soul’s passions are allayed by stillness; but when they are stimulated and aroused they grow more savage and force us into greater sin; and they become hard to cure, like the body’s wounds when they are scratched and chafed. Even an idle word can make the intellect forget God, the demons enforcing this with the compliance of the senses.

~A Discourse on Abba Philimon