The Shepherd, February 2010
FROM THE FATHERS
“IT IS REQUIRED that not only with the body should we fast, but with the soul. Now the soul is humbled when it does not follow wicked opinions, but is nourished by becoming virtues. For virtues and vices are food for the soul, and it can consume either of these two meats, and incline to either of the two, according to its own will. If it is inclined toward virtue, it will be nourished by virtues, by righteousness, by temperance, by meekness, by fortitude, as Paul says, Being nourished by the word of truth (1 Tim. 4:6). Such was the case with our Lord, Who said, My meat is to do the will of My Father, Which is in Heaven (Jn 4:34). But if it is not thus with the soul, and it inclines downwards, it is then nourished by nothing but sin.”
Saint Athanasius the Great, + 373 A.D.
“DO NOT BE SURPRISED that you fall every day; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly, the Angel who guards you will honour your patience. While a wound is still fresh and warm, it is easy to heal; but old, neglected and festering ones are hard to cure, and require for their care much treatment, cutting, plastering and cauterization. Many from long neglect become incurable, but with God all things are possible (Matt. 19:26).”
Ven. John of the Ladder, + 603 A.D.
“WE WILL not be punished or condemned in the age to be because we have sinned, since we were given a mutable and instable nature. But we will be punished if, after sinning, we did not repent and turn from our evil ways to the Lord; for we have been given the power to repent, as well as the time in which to do so. Only through repentance shall we receive God’s mercy, and not its opposite, His passionate anger. Not that God is angry with us: He is angry with evil. Indeed, the Divine is beyond passion and vengefulness, though we speak of it as reflecting, like a mirror, our actions and dispositions, giving to each of us whatever we deserve.”
Ven. Theognostos the Priest, date uncertain