Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers


5 Entries

Sinful thoughts continually disturb a man. But if he does not cooperate with them, then he is not guilty of them. REF:St. Ambrose of Optina (+1891)

Be attentive to the thoughts of the mind. If some evil thought passes through you, do not get upset, for it is not the transient thoughts of your mind that the knowledge of the Lord of all observes, rather He looks at the depths of the mind to see if you take pleasure in that evil thought which resides there; for hateful thoughts float over the surface of the mind, but it is the senses that are lower down which can chase away hateful thoughts, which the Lord of all examines. He does not judge what just passes over the mind, but rather the thoughts that are lower down than those hateful ones, namely those which appear in the depths of the mind, which can drive them away with its hidden hand. For He does not pardon the thoughts which spring up from the depth of the mind, for it is they which should be chasing away those which pass over the surface of the mind; He judges those thoughts which have a passage into the heart. John the Solitary, in The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life

During a time of disturbance and warfare of thoughts, one should lessen a little even the ordinary quantity of food and drink. “Saints Barsanuphius and John: Guidance Toward Spiritual Life,” trans. by Fr. Seraphim Rose, (Platina, California: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1990)

Listen to a parable against base thoughts. The grape, when it is cut from the vine and cast into the press and trampled down and yields its wine, to begin with the wine bubbles up so much as though it were being boiled by a ferocious heat; so that open vats, unable to bear the violence, break under the strain; so it is with human thoughts, whenever they pass over from this vain world and its care to things of heaven.

For the demons, unable to bear the zeal, trouble the human mind in varied ways, as they wish to engineer for it a turbid overthrow; so that they find a ready vessel, that is an unfaithful and doubting soul, they will rend it. For the demons are ravening wolves, who go round the cells of the monks looking for an open door for them, so that when they have got inside they may destroy a soul which obeys them. But if they find the door shut in their faces, they go away extremely disappointed; I am speaking of a soul which is firmly founded on faith. St Ephrem the Syrian, 'To the Monks in Egypt", 10th Exhortation,

This deceiver and corrupter of souls has often driven many out of their mind. No other thought is so difficult to tell in confession as this. That is why it often remains with many to the very end of their lives. For nothing gives the demons and bad thoughts such power over us as nourishing and hiding them in our heart unconfessed. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978),STEP 23: On Mad Pride, and, in the Same Step, on Unclean Blasphemous Thoughts

Redeeming the Time

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