Friday, November 18, 2011

Two readings

From Daily Readings in Orthodox Spirituality (ed. P. Bouteneff, Templegate, 1996, 94 pp)

p 42 The Struggle and the Kingdom

Amma Theodora said, “Let us strive to enter through the narrow gate. Just as the trees, if they have not stood before the winter’s storms cannot bear fruit, so it is with us; the present age is a storm and it is only through many trials and temptations that we can obtain an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.”

Amma Synclectica said, “Great endeavors and hard struggles await those who are converted, but afterwards inexpressible joy. If you want to light a fire, you are troubled at first by smoke, and your eyes water. But in the end you achieve your aim. Now it is written : ‘Our God is a consuming fire.’ So we must light the divine fire in us with tears and struggle.”

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p 43 Temptation and Humility

Abba Anthony said to Abba Poemen, “This is the great work of a man : always to take the blame for his own sins before God and to expect temptation to his last breath.”

He also said, “Whoever has not experienced temptation cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” He even added, “Without temptations, no one can be saved.”

He also said, “I saw all the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, ‘What can get one through such snares?’ Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Humility.’”