December 7

But the crucifixion of the mind by means of the commandments is an especially difficult task for man in our modern society, which breathes and cultivates a spirit of aggressive autonomy. To acknowledge the other and, what is more, to submit in obedience to the will of another, amounts to pure foolishness as far as the logic of independence is concerned. But the self-serving logic of our time is in fact a dead end both socially and in people’s personal lives. The crucifixion of the mind is especially relevant today, in that it has the power to heal the egocentrism of contemporary man.

~Archimandrite Zacharias

December 6

All men, both the weak and the strong, must crucify their mind if they are to fit in harmoniously and function properly in the Body of Christ. One should not forget that Christ, the Head of the Body, wears a crown of thorns and is in this world as one who suffers. It follows that a member of the Body who avoids pain, will fall away from the Body and be separated from the Head. But if he embraces the cross of loving obedience, his heart will be circumcised and bear the Name of the Lord within itself.

~Archimandrite Zacharias

December 5

We undergo a death at baptism, a real death. We actually die to sin, to our former way of life, to the lusts of the flesh, to the passions, to our fleshly outlook on life. We leave all this behind once and for all, and this is contained in the symbolic act of going down into the water. And because we have died a real death to sin, when we emerge from the water we receive the true life of resurrection. Indeed, we died to everything that is without value so that we might rise to everything that is precious and eternal. A covenant is made, and the whole of our Christian life consists of proving our fidelity to this covenant of holy baptism, and of living up to the honor God has bestowed on us.

~Archimandrite Zacharias

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 8

Man’s renewal is an extremely intricate process by reason of the fall, and its deathly consequences. The very nature of man was undermined: it was divided into parts and this loss of integrity destroyed the harmony of its unity with its hypostatic principle. When the believer struggles to fulfill the commandments, he notices his disorder. He sees that he is not in full possession of his true nature. He has one thing in his mind, desires something else with his heart, and is drawn to yet another thing by his senses. There is no unity in his nature as would allow the fulfillment of the first and great commandment: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength’ (Mark 12:30). Neither does he reflect the ontological truth of the second commandment, which is similar to the first: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself’ (Mark 12:31).

~Archimandrite Zacharias

October 7

Prayer is salutary because it establishes the harmonious co-operation of man’s will with God’s will. Man’s created energy surrenders to God’s uncreated energy, and his merely human existence is totally transformed by prayer, inasmuch as prayer is the expression of his repentance. In the world around us, nothing helps us in the work of prayer and repentance. Inspiration can only spring from man’s consciousness of sin and the sense of his spiritual poverty; both are perceived in the light of his relationship with God, which is founded on man’s faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ.

~Archimandrite Zacharias