October 25

After the devil and his demons had brought about man’s exile from paradise and from God by making him transgress, they found they could inwardly derange–to a greater or lesser extent–anyone’s reason whenever they wanted to. The only defense against this is the ceaseless mindfulness of God, for if such mindfulness is stamped on the heart through the power of the cross it will render our thought steadfast and unshakeable.

This is a state to which the spiritual contest of every Christian who enters the arena of Christ’s faith should lead, if he is not to struggle in vain. For it is to achieve this state that God’s athlete embraces all the various forms of ascetic practice.

~St Symeon the New Theologian

July 26

When we build a house we do not put on the roof before laying the foundation–this is impossible. We first lay the foundations, then build the house, and finally put on the roof. We must do the same in relation to spiritual matters. First we must lay the spiritual foundations of the house, that is to say, we must watch over the heart and curtail the passions arising from it. Then we must build the walls of the spiritual house, that is to say, through the second form of attentiveness we must repulse the turbulence of the evil spirits that fight us by means of the external senses, and must free ourselves as quickly as possible from their attacks.

Then we must put on the roof, that is to say, detach ourselves entirely from all things and give ourselves wholly to God. In this way we complete our spiritual house in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory throughout all the ages. Amen.

~St Symeon the New Theologian

July 25

Christ takes on the appearance of each of the poor and assimilates Himself to all of them so that no one who believes in Him will be arrogant towards his fellow being. On the contrary, he will look on his fellow being and his neighbor as his God, regarding himself as least of all in comparison just as much with his neighbor as with his Creator, honoring his neighbor as if he were his Creator, and exhausting his all in his service, just as Christ our God poured out his blood for our salvation.

~St Symeon the New Theologian

July 24

What is the purpose of the Incarnation of the Divine Logos which is proclaimed throughout the Scriptures, about which we read and which yet we do not recognize? Surely it is that He has shared in what is ours so as to make us participants of what is His. For the Son of God became the Son of man in order to make us human beings sons of God, raising us up by grace to what He is by nature, giving us a new birth in the Holy Spirit and leading us directly into the kingdom of heaven.

Or rather, He gives us the grace to possess this kingdom within ourselves (Luke 17:21), so that not merely do we hope to enter it but, being in full possession of it, we can affirm: ‘Our life is hid with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:3).

~St Symeon the New Theologian

July 23

Those taught by God will be regarded as fools by the disciples of such as are wise in the wisdom of this world. But in fact it is the worldly-wise that are fools, spouting an inane secular wisdom, the stupidity of which God has demonstrated (1 Corinthians 1:20) and which Scripture condemns as material, unspiritual, devilish, filled with strife and malice (James 3:15).

Since these people are blind to the divine light, they cannot see the marvels it contains; they regard as deluded those who dwell in that light and see and teach others about what is within it. On the contrary, it is they themselves that are deluded, not having tasted the ineffable blessings of God.

~St Symeon the New Theologian

July 22

Anyone who thinks himself intelligent because of his scholarly or scientific learning will never be granted insight into divine mysteries unless he first humbles himself and becomes a fool (1 Corinthians 3:18), discarding both his presumption and the knowledge that he has acquired.

But if he does this and with unhesitating faith allows himself to be led by those wise in divine matters, he will enter with them into the city of the living God. Guided and illumined by the divine Spirit, he will see and learn what others cannot ever see or learn. He will then be taught by God (John 6:45).

~St Symeon the New Theologian

July 21

A soul not consciously and completely free from ties and attachments to the visible world is not able to endure serenely the calamities and ravages with which both men and demons assail it. Bound by its attachment to human concerns, it is lacerated by the loss of material things, suffers when deprived of possessions, and is full of distress when its body is afflicted.

A person who has delivered his soul from its ties with and desires for sensible things, and has bound it to God, will not only scorn property and possessions, accepting their loss painlessly, as if they belonged to others and were not his own; he will also endure bodily distress with joy and gratitude.

In the words of St Paul, he sees the outward self perishing, but the inward self being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). Otherwise it is impossible joyfully to bear the afflictions permitted by God, for this requires perfect knowledge and spiritual wisdom. He who lacks these things walks at all times in the darkness of ignorance and hopelessness, totally incapable of beholding the light of patience and benediction.

~St Symeon the New Theologian