October 10

Just as the gardener who does not weed his garden chokes his vegetables, so the intellect that does not purify its thoughts is wasting its efforts.

Search the Scriptures and you will find the commandments; do what they say and you will be freed from your passions.

When you have been given faith, self-control is demanded from you; when self-control has become habitual, it gives birth to patient endurance, a disposition that gladly accepts suffering.

~St Thalassios the Libyan

August 5

When our intellect has shaken off its many opinions about created things, then the inner principle of truth appears clearly to it, providing it with a foundation of real knowledge and removing its former preconceptions as though removing scales from the eyes, as happened in the case of St Paul (Acts 9:18). For an understanding of Scripture that does not go beyond the literal meaning, and a view of the sensible world that relies exclusively on sense-perception, are indeed scales, blinding the soul’s visionary faculty and preventing access to the pure Logos of truth.

~St Maximos the Confessor


A surfeit of foods breeds desire; a deficiency sweetens even plain bread.

~St Thalassios the Libyan


August 4

The tongue of a back-biting soul is three pronged: it injures the speaker, the listener and sometimes the person being maligned.

~St Thalassios the Libyan

The text, ‘The Kingdom of heaven has drawn near’ (Matthew 3:2 ; 4:17), does not in my judgment imply any temporal limitation. For the kingdom ‘does not come in a way that can be observed: one cannot say, “Look, it is here” or “Look, it is there” ‘ (Luke 17:20-21). The phrase has reference to the relationship which the saints have with the kingdom, each according to his or her inner state. For ‘the kingdom of God’, says Scripture, ‘is within you’ (Luke 17:21).

~St Maximos the Confessor

August 3

Three things upset the balance of the body’s temperament: lack of restraint in our diet, a change in the weather, and the touch of the demonic powers.

The person who listens to Christ fills himself with light; and if he imitates Christ, he reclaims himself….

Rancor is the soul’s leprosy. The soul contracts it as the result of disgrace or punishment, or because of suspicious thoughts.

~St Thalassios the Libyan

July 23

‘Do not say in your heart, “Who shall ascend into heaven?” –that is, to bring Christ down –or, “Who shall descend into the depths?” –that is, to bring Christ up again from the dead’ (Romans 10:6-7). Interpreted in another way, the depths stand for all that is sequent to God, in the whole of which the whole divine Logos providentially comes to dwell, as life returning to what is dead. For all things whose life depends upon their participation in life are in themselves dead. And heaven stands for God’s natural hiddenness, whereby He is incomprehensible to all things. Alternatively, if anyone explains heaven as the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and the depths as the mystery of the incarnation, he will not, I think, be far from the mark. For it is hard to grasp the meaning of either doctrine through the rational demonstration; or rather, their meaning is altogether inaccessible unless explored with faith…

When the Logos of God is raised up in us by our practice of the virtues and by contemplation, He draws all things to Himself (John 12:32); He sanctifies in virtue and spiritual knowledge our thoughts and words about the flesh, the soul and the nature of beings; He sanctifies also the very members of our bodies and our senses, and He places them all under His yoke. So let the visionary of divine things eagerly ascend in pursuit of the Logos until he reaches the place where He is. For, as Ecclesiastes puts it, He ‘draws to His place’ (Eccles. 1:5) all those who follow Him, and as the great High Priest He brings them into the Holy of Holies, where He Himself, who became as we are, has entered as a forerunner on our behalf (Hebrews 6:20).

                                                                            ~St Maximos the Confessor

The flesh revolts when prayer, frugality and blessed stillness are neglected.

Blessed stillness gives birth to blessed children: self-control, love and pure prayer.

                                                                             ~St Thalassios the Libyan

July 20

As long as I remain imperfect and refractory, neither obeying God by practicing the commandments nor becoming perfect in spiritual knowledge, Christ from my point of view also appears imperfect and refractory because of me. For I diminish and cripple Him by not growing in spirit with Him, since I am ‘the body of Christ and one of its members’ (1 Corinthians 12:27).

                                     ~St Maximos the Confessor

An obdurate soul does not notice when it is whipped and so is unaware of its benefactor….

A soul defiled by the passions becomes obdurate; it has to undergo knife and cautery before it recovers its faith….

A wise man pays careful attention to himself, and by freely choosing to suffer escapes the suffering that comes unsought.

~St Thalassios the Libyan

July 19

He who prays must never stand still on the steep ascent that leads to God. Just as he has to progress upwards from strength to strength in the practice of the virtues (Psalm 84:5-7), and to rise in his contemplation of spiritual truths from glory to glory (Corinthians 3:18), and to pass from the letter to the spirit of Holy Scripture, so he must advance in a similar manner within the realm of prayer.

He must raise his intellect and the resolve of his soul from what is human to what is divine, so that his intellect can follow Jesus the Son of God, who has passed through the heavens (Hebrews 4:14) and who is everywhere. For He has passed through all things for us by the dispensation of His incarnation, so that we, by following Him, may pass through all that is sequent to Him and so come to be with Him, provided we apprehend Him not according to the limitations to which He accommodated Himself in His incarnation but according to the majesty of His natural infinitude.

                                                        ~St Maximos the Confessor

Even if we do not wish to believe Him, it was Jesus who said that no one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).

                                                        ~St Thalassios the Libyan