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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: There are so many commands of Christ. How can I observe all of them?

Master: By imitating Christ and following in His footsteps.

Disciple: But that’s difficult since Jesus is God and I am only a man, a sinner, enslaved by a thousand passions.

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 commands.

Disciple: How does he receive this power?

Master: By separating himself from every fleshy attachment and stripping himself of every worldly passion.

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 attachments?

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 these?

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 Confessor





(updated 05-01-02)


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