October 5

The unconfused union and conjunction of soul and body constitutes, when maintained in harmony, a single reality, whether on the visible level or in their inner being. When not harmonious, there is civil war in which each side desires victory. But when the intelligence takes control, it at once puts an end to the jealousy and establishes concord, conforming the entire soul-body reality to its inner being and the Spirit.

~Nikitas Stithatos

October 4

When someone says something that edifies his fellow beings, he speaks out of the goodness stored up in his heart, since he himself is good, as the Lord confirms (cf. Luke 6:45). No one can devote himself to theology and speak about what pertains to God unless so empowered by the Holy Spirit; and no one when inspired by the Spirit of God says anything contrary to faith in Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3).

But he says only what is edifying, only what leads others to God and His kingdom and restores them to their original nobility, bringing them to salvation and uniting them to God. And if ‘the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each to the degree that is profitable’ (1 Corinthians 12:7), this means that anyone enriched with the wisdom of God and blessed with spiritual knowledge is inspired by the divine Spirit and is a storehouse of the inexhaustible treasures of God.

~Nikitas Stithatos

October 3

If through humility and prayer you have been initiated into the spiritual knowledge of God, this means that you are known by God and enriched by Him with an authentic knowledge of His supranatural mysteries. If you are tainted with conceit, you have not been so initiated, but are governed by the spirit of this material world. Thus, even if you imagine that you know something, in fact you know nothing about things divine in the way you ought to (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:2).

If, however, you love God and regard nothing as more precious than love for God and for your fellow being, you will also know the depths of God and the mysteries of His kingdom in the way that someone inspired by the Holy Spirit must know them. And you are known by God (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:3), for you are a true worker in the paradise of His Church, out of love doing God’s will–that is to say, converting others, making the unworthy worthy through the understanding given you by the Holy Spirit, and keeping your actions inviolate through humility and compunction.

~Nikitas Stithatos

October 2

Divine Scripture is to be interpreted spiritually and the treasures it contains are revealed only through the Holy Spirit to the spiritual. Hence the unspiritual man cannot receive the revelation of these treasures (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14). The ceaseless flow of his own thoughts makes it impossible for him to understand or listen to anything said by someone else. For he lacks the Spirit of God, that searches the depths of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:10) and knows the things of God. He possesses only the material spirit of the world, full of jealousy and envy, of strife and discord; and for this reason he thinks it foolish to inquire into the sense and meaning of the written word. Unable to understand that everything in divine Scripture concerning things divine and human is to be interpreted spiritually, he mocks those who do interpret it in this way. Calling such people not ‘spiritual’, or ‘guided by the Spirit’, but ‘anagogical’, he twists and distorts their words and their divine intellections as much as he can, like the notorious Demas (cf. 2 Timothy 4:10).

The spiritual man does not behave in this manner; on the contrary, inspired by the Holy Spirit, he discerns all things, but he himself cannot be called to account by anyone. For he has the intellect of Christ, and that no one can teach (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:15-16).

~Nikitas Stithatos

October 1

So long as you live according to your fallen impulses you are dominated by your fallen mortal self. But once you die to the world, you are set free from this domination (cf. Romans 7:2). We cannot die to the world unless we die to the mortal aspects of ourselves. We die to these when we become participants in the Holy Spirit. We know ourselves to be participants in the Holy Spirit when we offer to God fruits worthy of the Spirit: love for God with all our soul and genuine love for our fellow beings; joy of heart issuing from a clear conscience; peace of soul as a result of dispassion and humility; generosity in our thoughts, long-suffering in affliction and times of trial, kindness and restraint in our behavior, deep-rooted unwavering faith in God, gentleness springing from humble-mindedness and compunction, and complete control of the senses.

When we bear such fruits for God, we escape from the domination of our mortal self; and there is no law condemning and punishing us for the death-purveying fruits we produced while still living in an unregenerate state. Once we have risen with Christ above dead actions the freedom of the Spirit releases us from the law of our fallen self (cf. Romans 7:4-6).

~Nikitas Stithatos

September 30

If God once swore to non-believers that they would never enter into His rest–and it was on account of their lack of faith that they could not do so (cf. Hebrews 3:18-19)–how can mere bodily discipline, in the absence of faith, enable us to enter the rest of dispassion and the perfection of spiritual knowledge? We do in fact see many who because of this are unable to enter and to rest from their labors.

We must therefore be wary lest we possess an evil, unbelieving heart (cf. Hebrews 3:12), and because of this are thwarted of rest and perfection, in spite of our great labors. Otherwise we will be ceaselessly involved in the toils of the ascetic life and will always eat the bread of sorrow (cf. Psalm 127:2).

If a sabbath rest awaits us–the rest of dispassion and of perfect gnosis–let us through faith strive to enter into it, and not fall short of it because of our unbelief in the same way as those mentioned in the Bible (cf. Hebrews 4:9-11).

~Nikitas Stithatos

September 29

If carrying out the law does not make you pure in the sight of God (cf. Galatians 2:16), then neither will ascetic struggle and labor alone perfect you in God’s sight. We do indeed receive our grounding in virtue and check the activity of the passions through ascetic practice; but we are not initiated into the fullness of Christ through that alone. What, then, brings us to perfection? An ingrained faith in God, the ‘faith that makes real the things for which we hope’ (Hebrews 11:1), the faith whereby Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain and was commended as righteous (cf. Hebrews 11:4), and whereby Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out and sojourn in the promised land (cf. Hebrews 11:8).

It is such faith that fills those assiduous in the search for truth with great aspiration for the exalted gifts of God, and leads them to the spiritual knowledge of created beings; and it pours into their hearts the inexhaustible treasures of the Spirit, enabling them to bring thence new and old mysteries of God (cf. Matthew 13:52) and to reveal them to the needy. He who is blessed with such faith is initiated by love into the knowledge of God, and has entered into God’s rest, having ceased from all his labors as God did from His (cf. Hebrews 4:10).

~Nikitas Stithatos

September 28

If you patiently carry out the commandments in accordance with your outer and your inner self, and look only to the glory of God, you will be given the honor of heavenly knowledge, peace of soul and incorruptibility; for you carry out, and do not simply hear, the law of grace (cf. James 1:25). God will not condemn your knowledge, since your actions will bear witness to it. On the contrary, He will glorify it through the words of knowledge spoken by those who by virtue of His wisdom shine as beacons in the Church of the faithful; for God is ‘impartial’ (Romans 2:11).

If on the other hand your endeavors are prompted by selfish ambition and you reject the teachings of those inspired by the Holy Spirit, trusting in your own understanding and in the deceptive words of those clad merely in the outward forms of piety and incited by a vainglorious and hedonistic spirit, then you will be filled with affliction and anguish, with envy, anger and animosity (cf. Romans 2:8-9). Such will be the immediate reward for your delusion, and such at your death–when God judges the secrets of men and renders to each according to his actions (cf. Romans 2:6)–will be the sentence for your mutually self-accursing, self-defending thoughts.

~Nikitas Stithatos

September 27

The Spirit is light, life, and peace. If consequently you are illumined by the Spirit your own life is imbued with peace and serenity. Because of this you are filled with the spiritual knowledge of created beings and the wisdom of the Logos; you are granted the intellect of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:16); and you come to know the mysteries of God’s kingdom (cf. Luke 8:10). Thus you penetrate into the depths of the Divine and daily from an untroubled and illumined heart you utter words of life for the benefit of others; for you yourself are full of benediction, since you have within you Goodness itself that utters things new and old (cf. Matthew 13:52).

~Nikitas Stithatos

September 26

The mystical and perfective stage pertains to those who have already passed through all things and have come to ‘the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:13). It is characterized by the transcending of the sphere of demonic powers and of all sublunar things, by our attaining to the higher celestial ranks, approaching the primordial light and plumbing the depths of God through the Spirit. It involves immersing our contemplative intellect in the inner principles of providence, justice and truth, and also the interpretation of the arcane symbolism, parables and obscure passages in Holy Scripture.

Its final goal is our initiation into the hidden mysteries of God and our being filled with ineffable wisdom through union with the Holy Spirit, so that each becomes a wise theologian in the great Church of God, illuminating others with the inner meaning of theology.

He who has reached this point through the deepest humility and compunction has, like another Paul, been caught up into the third heaven of theology, and has heard indescribable things which he who is still dominated by the sense-world is not permitted to hear (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:4); and he experiences unutterable blessings, such as no eye has seen or ear heard (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9).

He becomes a steward of God’s mysteries (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:1), for he is God’s mouthpiece, and through words he communicates these mysteries to other people; and in this he finds blessed repose. For he is now perfected in the perfect God, united in the company of other theologians with the supreme angelic powers of the Cherubim and Seraphim, in whom dwells the principle of wisdom and spiritual knowledge.

~Nikitas Stithatos