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A Program of Spiritual Formation for Candidates to the Priesthood

The Lay Monastic Community of Caryana






Answers of the Great Masters of the Spiritual Life to the Questions of Their Disciples.


Disciple:  Are we to work, pray and fast unceasingly?

Master:  No. Work and fasting, aimed at healing the lustful part of the soul, cannot be done unceasingly because the body needs rest and sleep to survive.  Prayer, however, must in fact be unceasingly because it aims at the mind that needs no food, sleep or rest.  The mind can pray needing no help from the body; in effect, the mind can pray even if the body is asleep.  The unceasing prayer of the mind is what protects the soul from the attacks of the devil.

Disciple: Why do the saints work to attain passionlessness?

Master:  Because passionlessness is the sign of a healthy soul;  it makes us like unto the angels with knowledge as its food.  

Disciple: Can we know if we have reached passionlessness? 

Master:   Yes, by analyzing our thoughts during the daytime and our dreams during nighttime.  

Disciple: Is there a fake state of passionlessness?  

Master:    Yes, when the demons withdraw from their attacks, one feels a peaceable state of soul that seems like passionlessness.  

Disciple: How can one know that this is a fake state of passionlessness?  

Master:   Because it is followed by vainglory and pride that take possession of the person.  

Disciple:  How can we know that we have the true state of passionlessness?  

Master:  This state is accompanied by humility with contrition of heart, tears and a measureless desire for the Divine.  He who protects this state can more easily discern the attacks and wile of the demons.  

Abba Evagrius








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