Answers of the Great Masters of the Spiritual Life to the
Questions of Their Disciples.
Disciple: There are so many commands of Christ.
How can I observe all of them?
Master: By imitating Christ and following in His
Disciple: But that’s difficult since Jesus is
God and I am only a man, a sinner, enslaved by a thousand
Master: Simple. He whose interests are the
things of the world, St. Paul says, can never imitate and follow
Christ. But he who is detached from the things of this world both
receives the power to imitate Him and to do well all His
Disciple: How does he receive this
Master: By separating himself from every fleshy
attachment and stripping himself of every worldly
Disciple: But how can I remember all the
commands when I have such a bad memory?
Master: All these commands may be summarized
thus: “To love God and neighbor.” He who obeys these two keeps all
the commands. And anyone who does not separate himself from worldly
attachments cannot love God nor neighbor.
Disciple: What do you mean by worldly
Master: Great interests over food, money,
possessions, acclaim, relatives and the rest.
Disciple: But, master, God gave us these things
for our use. Why must He command us not to cling to
Master: Yes, everything God made is good and fair and those
who use them can be pleasing to God. But we, in our weakness, tend
to prefer these things over God’s commands, therefore the need to
renounce all of one’s possessions.
St. Maximus the