WHEN the intellect forgets the purpose of true devotion, then external works of virtue bring no profit.
St Mark the Ascetic (5th century), “On Those Who Think That They Are Made Righteous By Works” §51.
LOOK towards Christ, and that will save you.
What makes a man holy is love, adoration of Christ, something which can’t be put into words, it can’t, it can’t…
No one can enter into the spiritual life without practising asceticism. They have to become ascetics.
Ascetic practice consists in prostrations, vigils etc..
But not roughly so. Everything is to proceed with joy.
It is not the prostrations we do, it is not the prayers, it is the gift, the passion (ἔρωτας) for Christ, for spiritual things.
Elder Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite (1906-1991). Original in the February 2010 edition of Piraïki Ekklisia.
DOES your heart not tremble,
does your mind not quail,
when you hear such things?
The One who alone is sinless
was for you given over
to a shameful death,
to outrages and revilings,
while you hear all this
with lofty indifference.
The whole rational flock
should look intently
on its shepherd,
and ever long for him
and respect him,
because for its sake
he suffered, he
the dispassionate and all pure.
Nor should it deck itself
in corruptible garments,
nor yet indulge in pleasure
and worldly nourishment,
but should give its Maker pleasure
by ascesis and true reverence.
St Ephrem the Syrian, “Sermon on the Passion”. Translation at Anastasis.