Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

stillness

20 Entries

...by receiving a new sense of taste and a new form of knowledge in "stillness" and in giving himself over to God totally. Be still and know. Be still: remain in a state of spiritual wakefulness, with your prospects and your senses open, to hear what God's will is at each moment. Abbot Vasilios of Iveron Monastery in Hymn of Entry, p. 92



A man who sits in stillness and who receives experience of God's kindness has little need of persuasive argument, and his soul is not sick with the disease of unbelief, like those who are doubtful of the truth. For the testimony of his own understanding is sufficient to persuade him above endless words having no experience behind them. St. Isaac of Syria, Ascetical Homilies

A monk living with another monk is not like a monk living as a solitary. When a monk is alone, he has need of great vigilance and of an unwandering mind. The former is often helped by his brother; but an angel assists the latter. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step27: On Holy Stillness of Body and Soul

And here are the signs of those who are practicing stillness in the wrong way: dearth of (spiritual) wealth, increase of anger, a hoard of resentment, diminution of love, growth of vanity; and I will be silent about all the rest which follow. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step27: On Holy Stillness of Body and Soul

He who is sick in soul from some passion and attempts stillness is like a man who has jumped from a ship into the sea and thinks that he will reach the shore safely on a plank. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step27: On Holy Stillness of Body and Soul

Here are the signs, courses and proofs of those who are practicing stillness in the right way: an unruffled mind, purified thought, rapture towards the Lord, recollection of eternal torments, the urgency of death, constant hunger for prayer, unsleeping vigilance, wasting away of lust, ignorance of attachment, death to the world, loss of gluttony, foundation of theology, a well of discernment, a truce accompanied by tears, loss of talkativeness, and many such things which the common run of men are wont to find quite alien to themselves. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step27: On Holy Stillness of Body and Soul

If, as the Psalmist says, 'All the glory of the king's daughter is within' (Ps. 45:13.LXX), how shall we seek it somewhere without? And if, as St. Paul says, 'God has sent forth His Spirit into our hearts, crying: "Abba Father" ' (cf. Gal. 4:6), how shall we not pray in union with the Spirit that is in our hearts? And if, as the Lord of the prophets and the apostles says, 'The kingdom of heaven is within us' (cf. Luke 17:21), how shall we not find ourselves outside the kingdom of heaven if we strive to alienate our intellect from what lies within us? 'An upright heart', says Solomon, 'seeks conscious awareness' (cf. Prov. 27:21.LXX), the awareness or perception which he elsewhere calls noetic and divine (cf. Prov. 2:5.LXX)." St. Gregory Palamas (Those Who Practise a Life of Stillness no. 4, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 335)

It is better to live (as a cenobite) in poverty and obedience than to be a hesychast who has no control of his mind. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step27: On Holy Stillness of Body and Soul

My experience is that the demons often persuade foolish busybodies to visit true hesychasts so as to use even such as those to throw some hindrance in the way of these active men. Look out for such people, and do not be afraid of offending these idle bodies by your devout behavior; because, as a result of this offence, they will perhaps stop their meddlesomeness. But see that you do not mistakenly offend a soul who, in his thirst, has come to draw water from you. In all things you need the light (of discretion). St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step27: On Holy Stillness of Body and Soul

Stillness of the body is the knowledge and composure of the habits and feelings. And stillness of soul is the knowledge of one's thoughts and an inviolable mind. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step27: On Holy Stillness of Body and Soul

The beginning of stillness is to throw off all noise as disturbing for the depth (of the soul). And the end of it is not to fear disturbances but to remain insensible to them. He, who in actually going out does not go out, is gentle and wholly a house of love. He is not easily moved to speech, and he cannot be moved to anger. The opposite of this is obvious. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step27: On Holy Stillness of Body and Soul

The hesychast who has become lazy will tell lies, urging people by hints to end his stillness for him. And having left his cell, he blames the devils. He has not discovered that he is his own devil. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step27: On Holy Stillness of Body and Soul

Those who have been cleansed through following the path of stillness (hesychis) are counted worthy to see things invisible..., undergoing, as it were, the way of negation and not forming ideas about it. (citing St Gregory Palamas) Abbot Vasilios of Iveron Monastery in Hymn of Entry, p. 103

True wisdom is gazing at God. Gazing at God is silence of the thoughts. Stillness of mind is tranquillity which comes from discernment. St. Isaac the Syrian in the Sebastian Brock translation of Homily 64

When you go forth, guard what you have gathered. When the cage is opened, the birds fly out. And then we shall find no further profit in stillness. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step27: On Holy Stillness of Body and Soul

...by receiving a new sense of taste and a new form of knowledge in "stillness" and in giving himself over to God totally. Be still and know. Be still: remain in a state of spiritual wakefulness, with your prospects and your senses open, to hear what God's will is at each moment. Abbot Vasilios of Iveron Monastery in Hymn of Entry, p. 92:

Love of God proceeds from conversing with him; this conversation of prayer comes about through stillness, and stillness comes with the stripping away of the self. St. Isaac the Syrian, "The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life," Sebastian Brock, Cistercian Publications;

Those who have been cleansed through following the path of stillness (hesychis) are counted worthy to see things invisible..., undergoing, as it were, the way of negation and not forming ideas about it. (citing St Gregory Palamas) Abbot Vasilios of Iveron Monastery in Hymn of Entry, p. 103

29. He who wants to cross the spiritual sea is long-suffering, humble, vigilant and self-controlled. If he impetuously embarks on it without these four virtues, he agitates his heart, but cannot cross.

30. Stillness helps us by making evil inoperative. If it also takes to itself these four virtues in prayer, it is the most direct support in attaining dispassion. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779



31. The intellect cannot be still unless the body is still also; and the wall between them cannot be demolished without stillness and prayer. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779





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