not be confused because dark thoughts often trouble you, for dark
thoughts, like autumn clouds, come one after another and darken
everything. But then they pass and the sky remains clear and pleasant.
And so our thoughts wander, they wander around the wide world, but the
mind remains planted in its place, and then it is quiet, and the soul
becomes joyful. But our mind, from wandering here and there, becomes
accustomed to the brief but often repeated prayer of Jesus, which may
God grant you the habit of saying, and then your days will be bright.
Christ the Savior Himself was obedient, it was not for a brief period
of time, but unto death. Therefore, if we are always obedient we will
always be happy. But to our sorrow, the cruel passion of self-love has
made our will iron, i.e., unbending to obedience: often it seems to us
that we are smart, and that we can see things better than others can,
Holy Church cries out: fasting is not avoiding food, but putting away
all evil, controlling the tongue from idle talking and gossip,
forbearing from anger, and abstaining from lust, falsehood, and
flattery. Whoever fasts in this way, his fast is pleasing to God.
RELIGIOUS FEAST DAYS
continuation of our life is the continuation of God’s mercy to man, and
therefore birthdays and name days should be conducted not so much with
noise and dissipated celebrations as much as with piety.
is very salutary to nourish your soul with the Eternal and Holy Bread.
If a person should die on the very day when he has communed of the Holy
Mysteries, the Holy Angels will receive his soul into their hands, for
the sake of communion, and he will pass safely through the heavenly
There is joy in frequent remembrance of God, as it is written: I remembered God and I was gladdened (Ps. 76:4).
must make every effort to restrain yourself, so as not to acquire the
unfortunate habit of losing your temper. This unbearable vice is not as
noticeable in oneself as it is in others, and those who become angry
over nothing are deserving of the fire of Gehenna.
Complaining against God occurs mostly with people who are haughty or foolish.
Whatever might happen to us does not happen without God’s permission, as said by the Righteous Job: as it seemed good to the Lord, so has it come to pass
(Job 1:21). And therefore like him we must endure unpleasant
experiences in life and restrain ourselves from complaining, and not
say: “Why is it this way, and not that way?”
is impossible, in a short time, to acquire the habit of cutting off our
will in word alone without the shedding of blood, i.e., without labors,
since our previous life until now has passed in self-will.
you sincerely desire to have freedom from the passions and from all
spiritual ailments and blasphemous thoughts, and learn humility, you
must spit out all your rebellious pride and trample it with your own
feet. Through this your youth will be renewed as an eagle, and from a
self-willed and sinful man you will be made an Angel of God, or at least
smaller than the smallest of the angels, i.e., without wings.
life is a life blessed by God, and monastic life is a holy and angelic
life; both of these ways of life are pleasing to God.
must consider not marriage, but adultery to be vile, filthy, cursed and
offensive to God. His Angels, and pious people. Adultery must be
abhorred as a great abomination before men. It is better to agree to die
a hundred deaths than to defile yourself with such a foul vice and
anger God and be deprived of His Heavenly Kingdom. Therefore, all of us,
both men and women, at gatherings must avoid amorous and adulterous
glances, double entendres, bold movements of the body, and immodest
attire, but we must at all times maintain modesty and good Christian
you want to find consolation amid sorrows, with your heart quickly turn
to the Lord, the One Comforter. Try yourself, according to the word of
God, i.e., repent, correct yourself, believe in Jesus Christ with your
heart and soul and flee to Him, as your only Savior. The more you pray
to God in time of sorrow, the sooner you will feel sweet consolation.
life goes on without sorrow—what can you do? For there has never been a
person on earth so fortunate that has spent his whole life without
sorrows and without tears, since we live not in the Kingdom of Heaven
but in the valley of tears. But there is hope that they who sow with
tears will reap with joy. Therefore cast your sorrows on the Lord and He
will nourish you.
advise you to cheer up with prayer, even if it is brief, and the trust
that, just as after winter and severe bad weather, pleasant springtime
arrives, so also after boredom pleasant delights quickly appear; and
therefore console yourself with this hope.
affairs of the world are so numerous that they could hardly be
completed in a hundred years, and so important that they will not allow
any kind of delay. To our misfortune, only God-pleasing works can be set
aside without fear, some until morning, some until next year, and some
even until old age, for which reason it often happens that they remain
unfulfilled. I sincerely sympathize but cannot help in any way.
you place your hope in the world? Whom has it not deceived? To whom has
it not lied? It promises much, but gives very little. Only those who
hope in the Lord, according to the words of the Prophet David, do not
sin, i.e., they are not deceived in their hope!
ask you to pray for those who have offended you, saying: “O Lord, Who
lovest mankind, forgive those who hates us and offend us, Thy servants
(their names), for they know not what they do, and warm their heart to
love us unworthy ones.”
That which is done with a blessing is greatly pleasing to God, so let us live that every small step of our lives is blessed.
FORTITUDE OF SPIRIT
spirit should not grow weary, but should become warm from spiritual
reading, from it should come thoughts about eternity, and from prayer,
even though it may be brief. Say to the Lord: “Gather my scattered mind,
O Lord and humble my hardened heart with fear of Thee, and have mercy
on me!” For without Divine help we are powerless; we cannot even deal
with pesky flies, must less invisible enemies.
the depths of His unfathomable wisdom, the Lord does not always fulfill
our petitions immediately, but puts them off for some time. However, He
does not leave unrewarded anything good done in His name. If He does
not reward the mother and father, then He generously rewards their
children and descendants, for the Lord is righteous, and there is no
unrighteousness in Him.
a man acquires a courageous spirit, then in times of all infirmities
and physical ailments he can be peaceful and content with his situation.
can you do? For the Lord has already established that our temporary
life will not pass without sorrows, and it is said, “Always be mindful
of your sickness and be sorrowful in your heart.” But what is more
amazing is that not one holy man, no matter how holy and perfect he may
have been, did not pass his life without having to endure something—and
this so that man be not puffed up with pride. And if the saints endured,
how much must we endure!
illness is sent to man from God not always as punishment for sin, but
sometimes through His kindness for freeing or preserving us from
spiritual sicknesses, which are incomparably more dangerous than
overcomes one passion conquers one demon, and whoever overcomes tow
passions conquers two demons, and whoever forsakes ten or more passions
defeats a whole regiment of demons and from then on will enjoy spiritual
A SPIRITUAL FATHER
someone, relying on his own understanding, thinks that he has no need
of a guide, he very quickly will stray from the correct path. Therefore,
we must implore the Lord God with tears that He grant to us a wise
instructor; owing to the seriousness of our malady, a physician who is
experienced and skillful is needed. Therefore, the one who is ill must
seek not so much a large and peaceful hospital, as he should a skillful
are not only fathers when they pat their children on the head and
pamper them, but they are also called fathers when they instruct and
punish the child.
medical physicians, spiritual physicians do not all act in the same
way. Some will allow the patient to eat and drink everything, while
others will order them to keep to a strict diet. It is similar with
spiritual fathers; there are those who absolve and forgive everything,
while there are others who will interrogate you and who will impose a
penance on you for everything; but the aim of them all is the same: to