January 8 Epistle Reading

Ephesians 6:10-17

10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

St. Isaac of Syria in his Directions on Spiritual Training, Text 103 said: Continue reading

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October 21 Epistle Reading

Colossians 4:2-9

2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. 7 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. 8 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, 9 with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.

Clement of Stromata wrote in his Book V: Continue reading

ReBlog: Inner Warfare with the Passions…

A quote from St. Theophan the Recluse as posted on Christ is in our Midst! blog

“Do not try to wrestle with a passion intellectually by thinking up points against it.  You are unlikely to be successful. As an example, an impulse of pride comes to you.  If you begin to bear in mind that pride is antagonistic to God, how can you, dust and ashes, not be ashamed of taking pride in your thoughts?  Some people gather up thoughts against pride, or lust, or envy…  supposing that with them they can drive it out.  But this approach is not reliable.  While they are sorting out the evidence, the accused – passion – is sitting four-square in the dock, and it still has their sympathy as its advocate, because all the while we are exposing a passionate thought to the light, we are holding it in our mind.  All this time it keeps on stirring up our feelings, and awakening our desires.  This continues to defile the soul.  So one is voluntarily maintaining impurity within oneself – which is very dangerous.  It is far better to decide without argument, as soon as you notice any sinful passion in yourself, that this is the enemy, and be angry with it!  Thoughts are easy to hit with anger, desires are more difficult, and passions are most difficult because they themselves are impulses of the heart.”

ReBlog: The Flame of Christ’s Love…

From A Vow of Conversation…an excerpt from Mother Maria Skobtsova:

Such terrible times are coming, the world is so exhausted from its scabs and sores, it so cries out to Christianity in the secret depths of its soul, but at the same time it is so far removed from Christianity, that Christianity cannot and dare not show it a distorted, diminished, darkened image of itself. It should scorch the world with the flame of Christ’s love, it should go to the cross on behalf of the world. It should incarnate Christ Himself in it. Even if this cross, eternally raised anew, be foolishness for our new Greeks and a stumbling block for our new Jews, for us it will still be “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:24).

We who are called to be poor in spirit, to be fools for Christ, who are called to persecution and abuse – we know that this is the only calling given to us by the persecuted, abused, disdained, and humiliated Christ. And we do not only believe in the promises of blessedness to come: now, at this very moment, in the midst of this cheerless and despairing world, we already taste this blessedness whenever, with God’s help and at God’s command, we deny ourselves, whenever we have the strength to offer our soul for our neighbors, whenever in love we do not seek our own ends.

Excerpt from Elder Sophrony’s Wisdom from Mt. Athos…

(As found on Father Stephen's Blog🙂

6a00d83451842969e201156f330bcc970c Thus the whole of
spiritual warfare wages round humility. The enemy fell from pride, and
would draw us to perdition by the same means. The enemy praises us, and
should the soul listen to his praise grace withdraws until she repents.
Thus throughout her life the soul is occupied with the lesson of
Christ-like humility. So long as she has not humility wrong thoughts and
impulses will always torment her. But the humble soul finds the rest
and the peace of which the Lord tells.

Fasting and abstinence, vigil and withdrawal into silence, and other
exploits of spiritual discipline all help, but humility is the principal
power.

Humility is not learned in a trice. That is why the Lord said: ‘Learn
lowliness in heart and meekness of me.’ To learn takes time. And there
are some who have grown old in the practice of spiritual endeavor, yet
still have not learned humility, and they cannot understand why things
are not well with them, why they do not feel peace and their souls are
cast down.