Like a young calf which, in its search for grazing, finds itself on a ledge surrounded by precipices, the soul is gradually led astray by its thoughts.

When the intellect, having grown to full maturity in the Lord, wrenches the soul from long-continued prepossession, the heart suffers torments as if on the rack, since intellect and passion drag it in opposite directions.

Just as sailors, in the hope of gain, gladly endure the burning heat of the sun, so those who hate wickedness gladly accept reproof. For the former contend with the winds, the latter with passions.

[…] No one is as good and merciful as the Lord. But even He does not forgive the unrepentant.

Many of us feel remorse for our sins, yet we gladly accept their causes.

A mole burrowing in the earth is blind and cannot see the stars; and he who does not trust God in temporal things will not trust Him in eternal things.

[…] When a sinful soul does not accept the afflictions that come to it, the angels say: “We would have healed Babylon, but she was not healed” (Jer 51:9).

When an intellect forgets real knowledge, it fights with men for harmful things as though they were helpful.

Fire cannot last long in water, nor can a shameful thought in a heart that loves God. For every man who loves God suffers gladly, and voluntary suffering is by nature the enemy of sensual pleasure.

A passion which we allow to grow active within us through our own choice afterwards forces itself upon us against our will.

We have a love for the causes of involuntary thoughts, and that is why they come.

In the case of voluntary thoughts we clearly have a love not only for the causes but also for the objects with which they are concerned.

[…] When the devil sees that our intellect has prayed from the heart, he makes a powerful attack with subtle temptations; but he does not bother to destroy the lesser virtues by such powerful attacks.

When a thought lingers within a man, this indicates his attachment to it; but when it is quickly destroyed, this signifies his opposition and hostility to it.

Mark the Hermit (5th-6th c.): On Those who Think They Are Made Righteous by Works, 74-89, Text from G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Kallistos Ware (trans. and eds.) The Philokalia: The Complete Text, vol. I (Faber & Faber, London & Boston: 1979), online version here.

Advertisements