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a passionate repentance

On Prayer and Watchfulness I know by experience that piety…

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may God stand
On Prayer and Watchfulness

I know by experience that piety through silence, prayer, meditation, cleansing tears, true repentance, and contemplation of divine things renews the physical aspect as well the spiritual aspect of him who struggles. Ascesis helps, of course, when the body is strong, but when it is weak, thanksgiving and self-reproach make up for ascesis. Overall piety and vigilance are everything; they are the true marks of a soul living in Christ. When these are absent and one practices ascesis one-sidedly, either he benefits little or he is totally lost because he becomes puffed up by the praises of others as well as by his own thoughts. Without watchfulness---that all-embracing light of the soul, inestimable in value---he loses his labors. This is what happened with many ascetics in the desert, and they literally lost their souls, as we read in the writings of the Desert Fathers.

Ascesis is depicted by the Fathers as the leaves of the tree, while vigilance is the fruit (Abba Agathon, vid. The Philokalia, vol.IV, p.199). By their fruits you shall know them (Mt.7:16)---it is fruits that we have been commanded to bear. May God enlighten us how to walk, for true guides have vanished and everyone walks his own way. May God be a true guide for all of us.
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