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FOOD FOR THOUGHT




 

 

 

 

CHURCH FATHERS

 

 

 

 

Flies do not approach the flame of a lamp, but only the glass of the lamp that is warm.  So demons do not approach someone who is fired with the Holy Spirit; they only attack those who are lukewarm.

 

Egyptian Fathers

 

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A beginner in the spiritual life is like one who fights a passionate war against his enemies, but does not know the plans of, nor see, the enemy.  He is fighting a guerilla war where there are no front lines, no definite lines for battle, and no sign to distinguish an enemy.  But when he has developed the virtues, then he now sees his enemy and knows his plans.

 

Abba Evagrius

 

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No coarseness should be allowed in conversations; for modesty and chastity are usual attributes of the intelligent even more than of virgins.  A God-loving mind is the light which illumines the soul as the sun does the body. 

 

St. Anthony, "Text on Saintly Life"

 

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A holy man does not need the guidance  of the law or commandments; neither does he need the fear of hell nor the reward of heaven.  His excellent disposition is more than enough to make him constantly do and say the most excellent things. 

 

Abba Evagrius

 

 

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The offspring of contemplation is love; and contemplation is the flower of active life which consists in the practice of the commands of Christ.  The guardian of active life is the fear of God; but fear of God comes from right belief.  This belief is not yet the faith that saves, but merely a natural inward good of the soul. 

 

Abba Evagrius

 

 

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God created animals for our use--some to be used as food, others for our service.  But God created man to be a witness and a grateful interpreter of His works.  If man does not do this, he dies like the dumb animals. 

 

St. Antony, "Texts on Saintly Life"

 

 

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Abba Psenthaisius used to say: "I thought saints were created saints by God and were saints from their mother's womb.  And I thought that sinners will always be sinners.  But when I look at Pachomius, a former pagan, who was converted and has put into practice all the commands of God, then I now know that anyone can become a saint.

 

 

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He who gives way to lying does so under the pretext of care for others and often regards the destruction of his soul as an act of charity to others.  The inventor of lies makes out that he is imitating Rahab and says that, by his own destruction he is effecting the salvation of others.

 

St. John Climacus

 

 

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A beginner in the spiritual life is like one who fights a passionate war against his enemies, but does not know the plans of, nor see, the enemy. He is fighting a guerilla war where there are no front lines, no definite lines for battle, and no sign to distinguish an enemy. But when he has developed the virtues, then he now sees his enemy and knows his plans.

 

Abba Evagrius

 

 

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Phortas was a holy man who in his old age was bedridden. He was choosy from whom he would receive presents. He said, "Suppose one day someone brings me something and it is not brought for the love of God, this would be a tragedy because I cannot give him anything in return and he will receive no recompense from God either." Thus, the donor really suffers a wrong. "Therefore, I will not accept his gift that he may only suffer half a wrong."

 

Sayings of the Desert Fathers: Phortas

 

 

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EVERY CHRISTIAN'S VOCATION

 

There is only one vocation. . .to toil and seek the fear of God in patience and quiet. In this way, the Christian souls achieve the true manner of life, because their souls are ready to follow the love of God.

 

St. Anthony of Egypt

 

 

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TEDIUM

 

Tedium or boredom with things spiritual is lessened by community life, but it is a constant companion of the hermit, living with him until the day of his death, struggling with him until the very end. It smiles at the sight of a hermit's cell and comes creeping up to live nearby. 

 

St. John Climacus

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The advantage of advancing years lies in discovering that traditions are true, practical and, therefore, alive. Tradition is tradition precisely because it is alive. It is great fun to find out that the world has not repeated the sayings of the Fathers and the Saints, not because they are proverbial but because they are practical. 

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IMPORTANCE OF EXAMPLES

As to the importance of learning by following an excellent example, Abbot Anthony said to a monk: "Behold, brother, stay and learn from me." The brother replied, "If there is anything more you can show me that I do not know, for I can do easily those things I have seen you doing." 

Let it be understood that those who do not teach nor live by Christ's commandments are not Christians at all - even though they might profess His teachings with their lips. 

St. Justin Martyr

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ON MANIPULATING SCRIPTURES

Heretics do not use or quote the whole of Scriptures, and...they will not quote them entire, nor as the body and texture of prophecy prescribe. They select ambiguous expressions, they wrest them to their own opinion, gathering a few expressions here and there, not looking for the sense, but making use of the mere words. 

Clement of Alexandria

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Some devils push us to hurry up with the singing while others suggest we should sing slowly. Others sit on our mouths so we do not open them in prayer. But the man who considers with sensitivity of heart that he is standing before God will be an immovable pillar in prayer and none of the demons about will delude him.

John Climacus

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UNWORTHY CLERGY

The people, in obedience to the precepts of the Lord and in the fear of God, ought to separate themselves from a sinful prelate nor ought they associate themselves with the sacrifices of a sacrilegious priest, especially in as much as they have power both of electing worthy priests and of refusing the unworthy. 

St. Cyprian

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The demons have no means of taking possession of a man's spirit or body, no power forcibly to enter his soul, unless they first deprive him of all holy thoughts, and make him empty and devoid of spiritual contemplation. 

St. John Cassian

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MARTYRS OF OUR ERA

I consider the martyrs of the last days will be greater than all the martyrs of the earlier eras. For the early martyrs wrestled with man only, but these latter martyrs in the time of the Anti-Christ will do battle with Satan himself in person. 

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

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(07-24-05)

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