Last night’s reading from St. Isaac the Syrian’s 4th Homily was extraordinary. As is so often the case, one is left with the feeling that there is no going back to a lesser vision of the faith and ascetic life. He warns us not to sacrifice our freedom, the freedom of simplicity, by enslaving ourselves to the things of this world. We must not live our lives to support luxury and ease and so make ourselves “slave of slaves”; that is, slaves to our passions and senses. Humble living is to be met with restraint in speech and love of silence. We are to constrict our thoughts and reduce distraction in order to seek contemplation above all things. To stand before God with a pure heart to better than all things - even all acts of charity. Care must be given not to gain the whole world and lose our souls in the process. “It is more profitable for you to attend to raising up unto the activity of your cogitations concerning God the deadness of your soul due to the passions, than it is to resurrect the dead.”
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