Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

asceticism

4 Entries

By throwing off the outer bonds, you throw off the inner as well. While you are freeing yourself from external concerns, your heart is freed from inner pain. It follows from this that the hard warfare you are compelled to wage with yourself is exclusively a means. As such it is neither good nor bad; the saints often liken it to a prescribed cure. However painful it may be to follow out, it nevertheless remains only a means to regain health. The Way of the Ascetics by Tito Colliander



Perseverance in prayer cleanses the intellect, illumines it, and fills it with the light of truth. The virtues, led by compassion, give the intellect peace and light. The cleansing of the intellect is not a dialectical, discursive and theoretical activity, but an act of grace through experience and is ethical in every respect. The intellect is purified by fasting, vigils, silence, prayer, and other ascetic practices. Quotes from St. Isaac the Syrian in The Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ by Fr. (St.) Justin Popovich

The old man said, "Spiritual work is essential; it is for this we have come to the desert. It is very hard to teach with the mouth that which one does not practice in the body." "The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers," by Sr. Benedicta Ward, (Oxford: SLG Press, 1986), p. 31

Hence, after ascetic practice we need spiritual knowledge, total devotion to God in all things, and careful study of the divine Scriptures; for without these things no one can ever acquire virtue. REF:St. Peter of Damaskos, "The Bodily Virtues As Tools For The Acquisition Of The Virtues Of The Soul ", from G. E. H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Bishop Kallistos Ware, "The Philokalia: Vol. III," (London: Faber and Faber, 1984), pp. 103 - 104





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