Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

ascesis

3 Entries

...be wise and sensible in undertaking tasks for the body: fasts, vigils, physical work and so on. They are necessary and essential, and do not imagine you can progress in spiritual life without them, but you must be wise in knowing your measure and keeping to it. This measure is the mean between self-pandering indulgence to the flesh and its merciless chastisement, exhausting it utterly without urgent need. Find this mean by experience and in actual deed, instead of by theory, and make gradual progress your rule, moving from below upwards. Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare: Chapter 35, as edited by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and revised by Theophan the Recluse; SVS Press pg.177)



The grace of the priesthood is one thing, the grace of the great schema is another, the grace of the Mysteries is different, and the action of grace in ascesis is also different. They all spring from the same source, but each one differs from the other in eminence and glory. The grace of repentance, which acts in those who struggle, is a patristic inheritance. It is a divine transaction and exchange in which we give dust and receive heaven. We exchange matter for the Spirit. Every drop of sweat, every pain, every ascesis for God is an exchange. Monastic Wisdom: The Letters of Elder Joseph the Hesychast

The man who pets a lion may tame it, but the man who coddles the body makes it ravenous. St. John Climacus





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