Thursday, 11 July 2013


                    by St. Thalassios the Libyan

-- An all-embracing and intense longing for God binds those who experience it both to God and to one another.

-- An intellect that has acquired spiritual love does not have thoughts unworthy of this love about anyone.

-- He who has acquired love endures calmly and patiently the injuries and sufferings that his enemies inflict on him.

-- A person who does not tolerate suspicion or disparagement of others possesses true love.

-- If you tell your brother how someone else denigrates him you conceal your own envy in the guise of goodwill.

-- Worldly virtues promote human glory, spiritual virtues the glory of God.

-- A strong man is one who repels evil through the practice of the virtues and with spiritual knowledge.

-- If you wish to overcome impassioned thoughts, acquire self- control and love for your neighbor.

-- Firmly control anger and desire, and you will speedily rid yourself of evil thoughts.

-- Inner work destroys self-esteem and if you despise no one you will repel pride.

-- The genuineness of a friend is shown at a time of trial, if he shares the distress you suffer.

-- Waste your body with fasting and vigils, and you will repulse the lethal thoughts of pleasure.

-- The proper activity of the intellect is to be attentive at every moment to the words of God.

-- It is God's task to administer the world and the soul's task to guide the body.

-- Hardship and distress, whether of our own choosing or providential, destroy sensual pleasure.

-- The amassing of money fuels the passions, for it leads to increasing indulgence in all kinds of sensual pleasure.

-- How God treats you depends upon how you treat your body.

-- Virtue and spiritual knowledge lead to immortality, their absence is the mother of death.

-- If you wish to attain salvation, renounce sensual pleasure and learn self-control, love and how to pray with concentration.

-- There are three ways through which thoughts arise in you: through the senses, through the memory, and through the body's temperament. Of these the most irksome are those that come through the memory.

-- The intellect freed from the passions becomes like light, unceasingly illumined by the contemplation of created beings.

-- He who stands in awe of God searches for the divine principles that God has implanted in creation; the lover of truth finds them.

-- Stillness and prayer are the greatest weapons of virtue, for they purify the intellect and confer on it spiritual insight.

-- Only spiritual conversation is beneficial; it is better to preserve stillness than to indulge in any other kind.

-- The person who is unaffected by the things of this world loves stillness; and he who loves no human thing loves all men.

-- The conscience is a true teacher, and whoever listens to it will not stumble.

-- Only those who have reached the extremes of virtue or of evil are not judged by their consciences.

-- Spiritual commerce consists in being detached equally from the pleasures and the pains of this life for the sake of the blessings held in store.

-- Love and self-control strengthen the soul; pure prayer and contemplation, the intellect.

-- When you hear something to your benefit, do not condemn the speaker; for if you do you will nullify his helpful admonition.

-- A pure conscience rouses the soul, but an impure thought debases it.

-- If you want to be free of all the passions, practice self- control, love, and prayer.

-- Forgiveness of sins is betokened by freedom from the passions; he who has not yet been granted freedom from the passions has not yet received forgiveness. 

 -- The soul's health consists in dispassion and spiritual knowledge; no slave to sensual pleasure can attain it.
-- Self-love -- that is, friendship for the body -- is the source of evil in the soul.

-- It is an insult to the intelligence to be subject to what lacks intelligence and to concern itself with shameful desires.

-- You were commanded to keep the body as a servant, not to be unnaturally enslaved to its pleasures.

-- Break the bonds of your friendship for the body and give it only what is absolutely necessary.

-- The greatest weapons of someone striving to lead a life of inward stillness are self-control, love, prayer, and spiritual reading.

-- Let us strive to fulfill the commandments so that we may be freed from the passions; and let us struggle to grasp the divine doctrine so that we may be found worthy of spiritual knowledge.

-- The soul's immortality resides in dispassion and spiritual knowledge; no slave to sensual pleasure can attain it.

-- Fear of the Lord conquers desire, and distress that accords with God's will repulses sensual pleasure.

-- The Scriptures contain four things: commandments, doctrines, threats, and promises.

-- Self-control and strenuous effort curb desire; stillness and intense longing for God wither it.

-- Long-suffering and readiness to forgive curb anger; love and compassion wither it.

-- Woman symbolizes the soul engaged in ascetic practice; through union with it the intellect begets the virtues.

-- The study of divine principles teachers knowledge of God to the person who lives in truth, longing and reverence.

-- What light is to those whose and to what is seen, God is to intellective beings and to what is intelligible.

-- Do not neglect the practice of the virtues; if you do, your spiritual knowledge will decrease, and when famine occurs you will go down into Egypt (Genesis 41:57, 46:6).

-- Spiritual freedom is release from the passions; without Christ's mercy you cannot attain it.

-- The Egypt of the spirit is the darkness of the passions; no one goes down to Egypt unless he is overtaken by famine.

-- If you make a habit of listening to spiritual teaching, your intellect will escape from impure thoughts.

-- Control your stomach, sleep, anger, and tongue, and you will not "dash your foot against a stone" (Psalms 91:12).

-- Strive to love every man equally, and you will simultaneously expel all the passions.

-- The intellect cannot devote itself to intelligible realities unless you sunder its attachment to the senses and to sensible things.

-- A sign that the intellect is devoted to the contemplation of intelligible realities is its disdain for all that agitates the senses.

-- When the intellect is rich in the knowledge of the One, the senses will be completely under control.

-- The intellect becomes a stranger to the things of this world when its attachment to the senses has been completely sundered.

-- The intellect is perfect when transformed by spiritual knowledge; the soul is perfect when permeated by the virtues.

-- We are sons of God or of Satan according to whether we conform to goodness or to evil.

-- A wise man is one who pays attention to himself and is quick to separate himself form all defilement.

-- An obdurate soul does not notice when it is whipped and so is unaware of its benefactor.

-- He who fears God will pay careful attention to his soul and will free himself from communion with evil.

-- If you abandon God and are a slave to the passions you cannot reap God's mercy.

-- A soul defiled by the passions becomes obdurate: it has to undergo knife and cautery before it recovers its faith.

-- Concern for one's soul means hardship and humility, for through these God forgives us all our sins.

-- Just as desire and rage multiply our sins, so self-control and humility erase them.

-- All sin is due to sensual pleasure, all forgiveness to hardship and distress.

-- If you are not willing to repent through freely choosing to suffer, unsought sufferings will providentially be imposed on you.

-- Struggle until death to fulfil the commandments: purified through them, you will enter into life.

-- Make the body serve the commandments, keeping it so far as possible free from sickness and sensual pleasure.

-- Blessed stillness gives birth to blessed children: self- control, love and pure prayer.

-- Spiritual reading and prayer purify the intellect, while love and self-control purify the soul's passable aspect.

-- If you lay down rules for yourself, do not disobey yourself; for he who cheats himself is self-deluded.

-- Spiritual poverty is complete dispassion; when the intellect has reached this state it abandons all worldly things.

from G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Kallistos Ware, trans., The Philokalia -- vol. II, (London: Faber and Faber, 1981), pp. 313 - 318.


Μια γυναίκα φρόντιζε τον κήπο του σπιτιού της, όταν ξαφνικά βλέπει τρεις γέροντες, φορτωμένους με τις εμπειρίες της ζωής, να την πλησιάζουν στην είσοδο του σπιτιού.
Παρ' όλο που δεν τους γνώριζε, τους είπε:
Δεν σας γνωρίζω, όμως πρέπει να πεινάτε. Περάστε, αν θέλετε, να φάτε κάτι.
Αυτοί την ρωτάνε:
- Ο άντρας σου είναι στο σπίτι;
- Όχι, δεν είναι εδώ, απάντησε εκείνη.
- Τότε δεν μπορούμε να έρθουμε, της λένε οι γέροντες.
Όταν επιστρέφει ο σύζυγος, η γυναίκα του περιγράφει το περιστατικό.
- Ας έρθουν τώρα που επέστρεψα! ........
Η γυναίκα βγαίνει έξω να προσκαλέσει ξανά τους γέροντες στο τραπέζι, μιας και ήταν ακόμη εκεί.
- Δεν μπορούμε να έρθουμε όλοι μαζί, της λένε οι τρεις γέροντες.
Η γυναίκα, έκπληκτη, τους ρωτά γιατί !
Ο πρώτος, λοιπόν, από τους τρεις της εξηγεί ξεκινώντας να της συστήνεται:
Είμαι ο Πλούτος, της λέει.
Της συστήνει, μετά, τον δεύτερο που είναι η Ευτυχία.
Και, τέλος, τον τρίτο που είναι η Αγάπη.
Τώρα, της λένε, πήγαινε στον άντρα σου και διαλέξτε ποιος από τους τρεις μας θα έρθει να φάει μαζί σας.
Η γυναίκα επιστρέφει στο σπίτι και διηγείται στον άντρα της αυτά που της είπαν οι γέροντες.
Ο άντρας ενθουσιάζεται και λέει:
-Τι τυχεροί που είμαστε! Να έρθει ο Πλούτος! Έτσι θα έχουμε όλα όσα επιθυμούμε!
Η σύζυγός του όμως δε συμφωνούσε:
-Και γιατί να μην έχουμε τη χαρά της Ευτυχίας;
Η κόρη τους που άκουγε από μια γωνιά, τότε, τους λέει:
-Δε θα'ταν καλύτερα να καλούσαμε την Αγάπη; Το σπίτι μας θα είναι πάντα γεμάτο αγάπη!
-Ας ακούσουμε αυτό που λέει η κόρη μας, λέει ο σύζυγος στη γυναίκα του.
-Πήγαινε έξω και πες στην Αγάπη να περάσει στο σπιτικό μας.
Η γυναίκα βγαίνει έξω και ρωτά:
-Ποιος από εσάς είναι η Αγάπη; Ας έρθει να δειπνήσει μαζί μας.
Η Αγάπη τότε ξεκινά να προχωρά προς το σπίτι...
...και οι δύο άλλοι να την ακολουθούν!
Έκπληκτη η γυναίκα, ρωτά τον Πλούτο και την Ευτυχία:
-Εγώ κάλεσα μόνο την Αγάπη. Γιατί έρχεστε κι εσείς;!;!;
Και απαντούν κι οι τρεις γέροντες μαζί:
- Αν είχες καλέσει τον Πλούτο ή την Ευτυχία, οι άλλοι δύο θα έμεναν απ' έξω. Τώρα όμως που κάλεσες την Αγάπη... όπου πάει η Αγάπη, πάμε κι εμείς μαζί της!
Δεν έχει σημασία πού! Όπου υπάρχει Αγάπη, θα υπάρχει επίσης Πλούτος κι Ευτυχία!
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