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THE MOST ESSENTIAL OF ALL WORKS - THE REMEMBRANCE OF DEATH AND ITS FRUITS IN THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

This brief step considers a rather simple but essential practice of the desert fathers; to remember not only that one will die, but what death brings - judgment.  Such a thought spurs one on to repentance and conversion, prevents laziness, makes dishonor and indignity sweet, banishes worries and anxieties, and deters sin.  This alone is enough to make John call it the "most essential of all works."

Remembrance of death is defined, including how one recognizes it in others;John discusses how remembrance of death leads a monk to conversion and repentance and the practice of specific ascetical disciplines;Through the use of illustrative stories, John shows how remembrance of death prevents spiritual laziness and deters sin; John warns against excessive trust in the leniency of God and exhorts his monks to embrace this holy practice.

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