…everything may be understood in terms of its purpose….Now the purpose of our life is blessedness or, what is the same thing, the kingdom of heaven or of God. This is not only to behold the Trinity, supreme in Kingship, but also to receive an influx of the divine and, as it were, to suffer deification; for by this influx, what is lacking and imperfect in us is supplied and perfected. And the provision of such influx, of what is needed, is the food of spiritual beings….Such then is our purpose, in so far as we can understand it. We must now see how we can attain it….
Love of praise and love of material wealth are the progeny of ignorance. Having no experience of true blessings and no knowledge of noetic realities, the soul has adopted such bastard offspring, thinking that riches can supply its needs….Love of praise does not derive from any lack on the part of the body, for it satisfies no physical need. Inexperience and ignorance of primal goodness and true glory give rise to it. Indeed, ignorance is the root of all evils. For no one who has once grasped as he should the true nature of things–from where each thing comes and how it is perverted–can then totally disregard his own purpose and be dragged down to worldly things. The soul does not want a good that is only apparent.
~St Theodoros the Great Ascetic
We have been commanded not to revile or abuse in return those who revile and insult us, but rather to speak well of them and to bless them (Matthew 5:44). For in so far as we are at peace with men, we fight again the demons; but when we feel rancor towards our brothers and fight against them, we are at peace with the demons, whom we have been taught to hate ‘with perfect hatred’ (Psalm 139:22), fighting against them without mercy.
~St Theodoros the Great Ascetic
He who has completely uprooted self-love from his heart will, with God’s help, easily conquer all the other passions. For a man dominated by self-love is under the power of other passions as well, since from it arise anger, irritation, rancour, love of pleasure, licentiousness. By self-love we mean an impassioned disposition towards and love for the body, and the fulfillment of carnal desires.
What Christ our God called the ‘narrow way’ (Matthew 7:14), He also called an ‘easy yoke’ and ‘light burden’ (Matthew 11:30). How could He equate these things when they seem to be contraries? For our nature, certainly this path is harsh and steep, but to those who pursue it wholeheartedly and with good hope, and who aspire after holiness, find it attractive and full of delight, for it brings them pleasure not affliction. Hence they eagerly follow the narrow and painful way, greatly preferring it to that which is broad and spacious. Listen to St Luke, who tells us how the apostles after being beaten, departed from the presence of the council rejoicing (Acts 5:41), even though this is not the natural effect of a beating. For scourges normally cause not pleasure and joy, but pain and suffering. Yet if, because of Christ, they resulted in joy, what wonder is it if other forms of bodily hardship and ill-treatment have, because of Him, the same effect?
-St Theodoros the Great Ascetic