What is our most precious possession? “A virtuous way of life, conforming to God’s will, surpasses all wealth. When you reflect on this and keep in your mind constantly, you will not grumble, whine or blame anyone, but will thank God for everything, seeing that those who rely on repute and riches are worse off than yourself.”(4) “The more frugal a man’s life, the happier he is, for he is not troubled by a host of cares.” We should seek the prosperity that fills our soul rather than our pocket, for chasing after new cars and castles and country clubs will only add to the cares of this world. Should we pray to God to fill our pockets, and should we complain to God when our pockets are not filled, complaining how our prayers are never answered? Should our prayers be a shopping list we hand to God? Thieves can steal our wealth, but never our virtue. Here the Philokalia teaches that we should never consider it a loss when we lose our children, our money, or our possessions, but be thankful for all the God has loaned to us for our use, realizing it could be taken away at any time. […]
St Anthony compares those who follow evil spirits to those who follow Christ. Those who follow the evil spirits show “tumult and confusion of thought, defection, hatred towards them who live a life of discipline, indifference, grief, fear of death, and disregard virtue.” But those who follow Christ have “joy unspeakable, cheerfulness, courage, renewed strength, calmness of thought, and boldness and love toward God.” […]
One day St Anthony went into church as this Gospel verse was being read:
Jesus said, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
Anthony perceived that this verse was directed at him, so he IMMEDIATELY gave the family land, his inheritance, and his other possessions to the poor, leaving some money for his younger sister.
Anthony was able to do this because his parents had departed. His younger sister was put in a convent to be raised, and we can surmise the convent was where she wanted to go, because if this was not the best place for her Anthony would have taken another path. No degree on saintliness on his part would have been worth the price of her unhappiness and her soul.
Immediately is a word you see quite often in the first Gospel of Mark. When should you repent and live a godly life? When should you start caring for your neighbor? When should you follow the way of the Lord? IMMEDIATELY. […]
When the Russian pilgrim in the spiritual classic, “The Way of a Pilgrim,” hears the Scriptures being read that exhorts us to pray without ceasing. He asks a monk in a monastery how he can pray without ceasing, and the simple answer is he can start on his path by each day praying more. He selling all he has, giving it to the poor, to embark on a spiritual pilgrimage, trudging through the forests of Siberia. His only possessions in his travel bag are the Holy Scriptures and the Philokalia, the treasured writings of the early Greek Church Fathers. […]