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

 

October 6

True prayer, then, cannot be attained without divine grace. If the true God does not condescend, the one who prays will be unable to commune with God’s Spirit. The paths of prayer are intricate and he who prays meets with opposition from many angles. His corruptible body has not the strength to raise itself to the level of the Spirit; his mind is not sufficiently enlightened or inspired to surrender to the Great God and Savior Who ‘raiseth the dead’ (2 Corinthians 1:9) and thereby leap over the confines of fear, doubt, falsehood and ignorance. Furthermore, his social environment and its proud ethos of self-justification, which is ‘abomination in the sight of God’ (Luke 16:15), is not conducive to prayer. The spirits of wickedness, moreover, cannot bear the saving work of prayer. For prayer draws the entire created world back from its fall, and accomplishes man’s sanctification.

~Archimandrite Zacharias

September 16

…prayer is a matter of love. Man expresses love through prayer, and if we pray, it is an indication that we love God. If we do not pray, this indicates that we do not love God, for the measure of our prayer is the measure of our love for God.

St Silouan identifies love for God with prayer, and the Holy Fathers say that forgetfulness of God is the greatest of all passions, for it is the only passion that will not be fought by prayer through the Name of God. If we humble ourselves and invoke God’s help, trusting in His love, we are given the strength to conquer any passion; but when we are unmindful of God, the enemy is free to slay us.

~Archimandrite Zacharias