November 15

The source and ground of our distractive thoughts is the fragmented state of our memory. The memory was originally simple and one-pointed, but as a result of the fall its natural powers have been perverted: it has lost its recollectedness in God and has become compound instead of simple, diversified instead of one-pointed.

We recover the original state of our memory by restoring it to its primal simplicity, when it will no longer act as a source of evil and destructive thoughts. For Adam’s disobedience has not only deformed into a weapon of evil the soul’s simple memory of what is good; it has also corrupted all its powers and quenched its natural appetite for virtue. The memory is restored above all by constant mindfulness of God consolidated through prayer, for this spiritually elevates the memory from a natural to a supranatural state.

~St Gregory of Sinai

November 13

Rapture means the total elevation of the soul’s powers towards the majesty of divine glory, disclosed as an undivided unity. Or again rapture is a pure and all-embracing ascent towards the limitless power that dwells in light. Ecstasy is not only the heavenward ravishing of the soul’s powers; it is also complete transcendence of the sense-world itself. Intense longing for God–there are two forms of it–is a spiritual intoxication that arouses our desire.

As just remarked, there are two main forms of ecstatic longing for God: one within the heart and the other an enravishment taking one beyond oneself. The first pertains to those who are still in the process of achieving illumination, the second to those perfected in love. Both, acting on the intellect, transport it beyond the sense-world. Such longing for the divine is truly a spiritual intoxication, impelling natural thoughts towards higher states and detaching the senses from their involvement with visible things.

~St Gregory of Sinai

November 12

To try to discover the meaning of the commandments through study and reading without actually living in accordance with them is like mistaking the shadow of something for its reality. It is only by participating in the truth that you can share in the meaning of truth. If you search for the meaning without participating in the truth and without having been initiated into it, you will find only a besotted kind of wisdom (cf. 1 Corinthians 1;20). You will be among those whom St. Jude categorized as ‘psychic’ or worldly because they lack the Spirit (cf. Jude 19), boast as they may of their knowledge of the truth.

~St Gregory of Sinai

November 7

You partake of angelic life and attain an incorruptible and hence almost bodyless state when you have cleansed your intellect through tears, have through the power of the Spirit resurrected your soul even in this life, and with the help of the Logos have made your flesh–your natural human form of clay–a resplendent and fiery image of divine beauty. For bodies become incorruptible when rid of their natural humours and their material density.

~St Gregory of Sinai