The man who has struggled bravely with the passions of the body, has fought ably against unclean spirits, and has expelled from his soul the conceptual images they provoke, should pray for a pure heart to be given him and for a spirit of integrity to be renewed within him (cf. Ps. 51:10). In other words, he should pray that by grace he may be completely emptied of evil thoughts and filled with divine thoughts, so that he may become a spiritual world of God, splendid and vast, wrought from moral, natural and theological forms of contemplation.
Many have said much about love, but you will find love itself only if you seek it among the disciples of Christ. For only they have true Love as love's teacher. 'Though I have the gift of prophecy', says St. Paul, 'and know all mysteries and all knowledge? and have no love, it profits me nothing' (I Cor. 13:2-3). He who possesses love possesses God Himself, for 'God is love' (I Jn. 4:8). To Him be glory throughout the ages. Amen.
... for our sake loosing within Himself the bonds of bodily birth, He granted us through spiritual birth, according to our own volition, power to become children of God instead of children of flesh and blood if we have faith in His Name (cf. Jn. 1:12-13). For the Savior the sequence was, first of all, incarnation and bodily birth for my sake; and so thereupon the birth in the Spirit through baptism, originally spurned by Adam, for the sake of my salvation and restoration by grace, or, to describe it even more vividly, my very remaking.
...one's movement towards the divine reaches its end only when one reaches God... 'The true Sabbaths are the rest laid up for the people of God' (Heb. 4:9). God can 'bear these sabbaths' (cf. Is. 1:13) because they are true. And the one 'in which the world is crucified' (Gal. 6:14) reaches these sabbaths of rest because he has clearly turned away from worldly things and returned to his own spiritual resting place. The one who arrives there will no longer be moved from his place, for there he finds quiet and tranquility.
A man of discernment, meditating on the healing Divine Providence, bears with thanksgiving the misfortunes that come to him. He sees their causes in his own sins, and not in anyone else. But a mindless man, when he sins and receives the punishment for it, considers the cause of his misfortune to be God, or people, not understanding God's care for him.
Our forefather Adam... used his freedom to turn toward what was worse and to direct his desire away from what had been permitted to what was forbidden. It was in his power 'to be united to the Lord and become one spirit with God...' (I Cor. 6:15). But Adam was deceived and chose to cut himself off voluntarily from God's happy end for him, preferring by his own free choice to be drawn down to the earth (cf. Gen. 2:17) than to become God by grace.
There are lots of those who speak but few who do. However, no one should distort the word of God by his own negligence, but it is better to confess your own weakness, not hiding the truth of God, so that together with the breaking of the commandments you do not also appear guilty of an untrustworthy explanation of the word of God.
He who through virtue and spiritual knowledge has brought his body into harmony with his soul has become a harp, a flute and a temple of God. He has become a harp by preserving the harmony of the virtues; a flute by receiving the inspiration of the Spirit through divine contemplation; and a temple by becoming a dwelling place of the Logos through the purity of his intellect.
Those who seek the Lord should not look for Him outside themselves; on the contrary, they must seek Him within themselves through faith made manifest in action. For He is near you: 'The word is... in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith' (Rom. 10:8) - Christ being Himself the word that is sought.
When what has been created in time according to the temporal order has reached maturity, it ceases from natural growth. But when what has been brought about by the knowledge of God through the practice of the virtues has reached maturity, it starts to grow anew. For the end of one stage constitutes the starting point of the next.
A passion is a contranatural movement of the soul or an irrational love, or an blindfold hatred toward any material thing, or because of it: for example, for food, or for women, or for riches, or for worldly glory, or any other sensible thing; or for the sake of such things, as in a senseless hatred for someone on account of the things mentioned above.
If the divine Logos of God the Father became son of man and man so that He might make men gods and the sons of God, let us believe that we shall reach the realm where Christ Himself now is; for He is the head of the whole body (cf. Col. 1:18), and endued with our humanity has gone to the Father as forerunner on our behalf. God will stand 'in the midst of the congregation of gods' (Ps. 82:1 LXX) - that is, of those who are saved - distributing the rewards of that realm's blessedness to those found worthy to receive them, not separated from them by any space.
If... Adam had trusted in God and been nourished from the tree of life (Gn. 2:9)? he would not have set aside the immortality that had been granted. For such immortality is eternally preserved by participation in life, since all life is genuine and preserved by appropriate food. The food of that blessed life is 'the bread that came down from heaven and gives life to the world' (Jn. 6:33), just as the inerrant Word Himself declares about Himself in the Gospels.
The patient endurance of the saints exhausts the evil power that attacks them, since it makes them glory in sufferings undergone for the sake of the truth. It teaches those too much concerned with a life in the flesh to deepen themselves through such sufferings instead of pursuing ease and comfort; and it makes the flesh's natural weakness in the endurance of suffering a foundation for overwhelming spiritual power. For the natural weakness of the saints is precisely such a foundation, since the Lord has made their weakness stronger than the proud devil.
As long as I remain imperfect and refractory, neither obeying God by practising the commandments nor becoming perfect in spiritual knowledge, Christ from my point of view also appears imperfect and refractory because of me. For I diminish and cripple Him by not growing in spirit with Him, since I am 'the body of Christ and one of its members' (I Cor. 12:27).
<< previousnext >>