May 16

One who is enslaved to greed may perhaps object: “I eat a great deal, and since this involves me in heavy expenses I am inevitably tied up with all kinds of worldly business.” Such a person should think of the huge whales that feed in the Atlantic Ocean: God gives them plenty to eat and they never starve, although each of them swallows daily more fish than a highly populated city would consume. “All things wait upon Thee, to give them their food at the proper time”. (Psalm 104:27). It is God who provides food both for those who eat much and for those who eat little. Bearing this in mind, anyone among you who has a capacious appetite should in future set his faith entirely in God, freeing his intellect from all worldly distractions and anxieties. “Be no longer faithless, but have faith”. (John 20:27)

-St John of Karpathos

May 13

The enemy knows that prayer is our invincible weapon against him, and so he tries to keep us from praying. He fills us with a desire for secular learning, and encourages us to spend our time in studies that we have already renounced. Let us resist his suggestions; otherwise if we neglect our own fields and go wandering elsewhere, we shall harvest thorns and thistles instead of figs and grapes. ‘For the wisdom of this world is folly in God’s sight’. 1 Cor. 3:19

-St John of Karpathos

May 12

Those who desire to free themselves from [sin] ought to pray not merely from time to time but at all times; they should give themselves always to prayer, keeping watch over their intellect even when outside places of prayer.

When someone is trying to purify gold, and allows the fire of the furnace to die down even for a moment, the material which he is purifying will harden again. So too, a man who merely practices the remembrance of God from time to time, loses through lack of continuity what he hopes to gain through his prayer. It is a mark of one who truly loves holiness that he continually burns up what is worldly in his heart through practicing the remembrance of God, so that little by little evil is consumed in the fire of this remembrance and his soul completely recovers its natural brilliance with still greater glory.

                                       -St Diadochos of Photiki

May 11

When the Lord first leads us into the path of salvation, He says ‘How narrow and strait is the way leading to the kingdom and few there are who follow it’. But to those who have firmly resolved to keep His holy commandments He says, ‘My yoke is easy and My burden is light’.
At the beginning of the struggle therefore, the holy commandments of God must be fulfilled with a certain forcefulness of will; then the Lord, seeing our intention and labor, will grant us readiness of will and gladness in obeying His purposes. For ‘it is the Lord who makes ready the will’ so that we do what is right joyfully. Then shall we truly feel that ‘it is God who energizes in you both the willing and the doing if His purpose’.

-St Diadochos of Photiki

May 9

When the door of the steam bath is continually left open, the heat inside rapidly escapes through it; likewise the soul, in its desire to say many things, dissipates its remembrance of God through the door of speech, even though everything it says may be good.
Thereafter the intellect…pours out a welter of confused thoughts to anyone it meets, as it no longer has the Holy Spirit to keep its understanding free from fantasy. …Timely silence, then, is precious for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts.

-St Diadochos of Photiki

May 8

It is … better to endure the lawlessness of those who wish to wrong us, and to pray for them, so that they may be released from their guilt through repentance, rather than through restoring what they have taken. Divine justice requires that we receive back not the objects of theft, but the thief himself, freed through repentance from sin.

-St Diadochos of Photiki

May 7

Humility is the robe of divinity: for when God the Word became incarnate He put on humility and thereby communicated with us by means of our human body. Accordingly, everyone who is truly clothed in humility will resemble Him who descended from the height, hiding the radiance of His greatness and covering up His glory by means of His low estate.

Humility, even without ascetic labors, expiates many sins. Ascetic labors that are not accompanied by humility however, are not only of no benefit, but they actually bring upon us much harm.
                                                          -St Isaac the Syrian

May 6

There is no virtue which does not have continual struggle yoked to it.

We should consider the labor of reading the Scriptures to be something extremely elevated, whose importance cannot be exaggerated. For it serves as the gate by which the intellect enters into the divine mysteries, and takes on strength for attaining to luminosity in prayer.

                 ~St Isaac the Syrian