March 14

Keep before your eyes the benefits received from your birth until now, be they bodily or spiritual; go over them and meditate on them, according to what is written: “Forget not all his benefits,” in order that they may bring you to love God quickly and easily…in order that your heart, at the remembrance of these benefits and even more so spurred on from on high, might spontaneously be wounded with love and desire.

~St Mark the Ascetic

March 8

“Behold what ought to be the point of departure for a profitable journey according to God. You must always go over in your memory, and guard in unceasing meditation, the remembrance of the goodness of God Who has ordered your life’s course according to His design, of His benefits that aim at your soul’s salvation. Do not let your memory be darkened by vice, the source of indifference; neither lose the remembrance of the multitude and extent of His graces and consequently spend the rest of time without profit in ingratitude. For this ceaseless remembrance pricks the heart like a thorn, at all times pushing it to confession, humility, thanksgiving with a crushed soul, great zeal as regards the good, so as to offer in return a way of life, profitable conduct and all virtue according to God…[He who] does not allow himself to fall into the forgetfulness of such benefits…directs himself towards all the good ascesis of virtue and towards every work of justice with an ever-sustained ardor always disposed to carrying out God’s will.”

                                                            ~St Mark the Ascetic

February 13

Behold what ought to be the point of departure for a profitable journey according to God. You must always go over in your memory, and guard in unceasing meditation, the remembrance of the goodness of God Who has ordered your life’s course according to His design, of His benefits that aim at your soul’s salvation. Do not let your memory be darkened by vice, the source of indifference; neither lose the remembrance of the multitude and extent of His graces and consequently spend the rest of time without profit in ingratitude. For this ceaseless remembrance pricks the heart like a thorn, at all times pushing it to confession, humility, thanksgiving with a crushed soul, great zeal as regards the good, so as to offer in return a way of life, profitable conduct and all virtue according to God…[He who] does not allow himself to fall into the forgetfulness of such benefits…directs himself towards all the good ascesis of virtue and towards every work of justice with an ever-sustained ardor always disposed to carrying out God’s will.

                                                       ~St Mark the Ascetic

October 24

If, my son, you wish to acquire within yourself your own lamp of noetic light and spiritual knowledge, so as to walk without stumbling in the dark night of this age; and if you wish your steps to be ordered by the Lord, delighting in the way of the Gospel–that is, desiring with ardent faith, with zeal and prayer, to practice the commandments of the Gospel–then I will show you a wonderful spiritual method to help you achieve this.

It does not call for bodily exertion, but requires spiritual effort, control of the intellect, and an attentive understanding, assisted by fear and love of God. Through this method you can easily put to flight the cohorts of the enemy. If, then, you wish to triumph over the passions, enter within yourself through prayer and with the help of God. Descend into the depths of the heart, and search out the three powerful giants–forgetfulness, sloth and ignorance–which enable the rest of the evil passions to infiltrate into the self-indulgent soul, and to live, energize and flourish there.

Then through strict attentiveness and control of the intellect, together with help from above, you will track down these evil giants, about which most people are ignorant; and so you will be able to free yourself from them by means of strict attentiveness and prayer. For when, through the action of grace, zeal for true knowledge, for mindfulness of God’s word and for genuine concord is diligently planted and cultivated in the heart, then the last traces of forgetfulness, ignorance and sloth are expunged from it.

~St Mark the Ascetic