Morality

St Isaiah the Solitary on Guarding the Intellect

St Isaiah the Solitary “On Guarding the Intellect” gives us this advice, “If you find yourself hating your fellow man and resist the hatred, and you see that it grows weak and withdraws, do not rejoice in your heart; for this withdrawal is trick of the evil spirits. They are preparing a second attack worse than the first; they have left behind their troops behind the city and ordered them to remain there. If you go out to attack them, they will flee before you in weakness.” […]

Morality

Introduction to the Philokalia, the Love of the Beautiful

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. […]

Early Church Writing

Epistles of St Ignatius to the Romans and Polycarp

Repeatedly St Ignatius begs the Romans not to seek a pardon to prevent his martyrdom. He writes his rhapsody, “in the fullness of life I am yearning for death with all the passion of a lover. Earthly longings have been crucified; in me there is left no spark of desire for mundane things, but only a murmur of living water that whispers within me, ‘Come to the Father’. There is no pleasure for me in any meats that perish, or in the delights of this life; I am fain for the bread of God, even the flesh of Jesus Christ, who is the seed of David; and for my drink I crave that Blood of His which is Love imperishable.” “I am His wheat, ground fine by the lion’s teeth to be made purest bread for Christ.” […]

Early Church Writing

St Ignatius Epistles to the Ephesians, Magnesians, and Smyrnaeans

The early writings of St Ignatius of Antioch gave the early church a shining example of martyrdom. He was arrested by the authorities for his faith, like St Paul, and was being escorted to Rome to be fed to the wild animals in the arena. During the stops in his journey he received delegations from the various churches who received epistles from him to be read to their flocks. In his epistles to the churches St Ignatius insists that there be unity in the churches, that the members respect the bishops. He also tells them that a liturgy or sacrament that is not blessed by the bishop is not valid, that the faithful should be loyal and obedient to their bishop. These epistles were revered by the early church and were quoted often by the church fathers. […]