Oblate Program at Belmont Abbey, NC

Tag Archive for ‘Cassian’

The wisdom of discretion

. . . I remind you of a certain old man called Heron, who by paying no attention to discretion brought to nothing all his earlier labors and, what is more, came to a miserable end. A few days ago by the tricks of the devil he was cast down from the heights to the […]

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Struggle with the eight main passions: Avarice

“… a person of double heart cannot wage war for the Lord, for ‘a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”(XV.2) Our third conflict is with avarice, which we can call the love of money. It attacks are from without and is not natural, and it does not have its source in the monk […]

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Struggle with the eight main passions: Fornication

The second struggle that confronts us is that with the spirit of carnal lust — the most prolonged and perpetual one, and very few win in this battle. The passion of fornication in a person arises at a very early stage of puberty and does not stop until he conquers his other passions. Inasmuch as […]

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Before the Jesus Prayer

After almost 1600 years, John Cassian’s instructions for meditative prayer remain as relevant — and useful — as ever.  “God, come to my assistance.” “Lord, make haste to help me.” Several times today, throughout the world, monks, nuns, clergy and laypersons of the Christian faith, across several denominations, will pray these words, usually at the […]

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Struggle with the eight main passions: Gluttony

XI. For it is impossible for the fiery impulses of the body to be extinguished until the shoots of the other principle vices have themselves been cut off at the root… Whoever is unable to check the desire to gormandize (to eat gluttonously) will be incapable of curbing the urges of burning lust. The chastity […]

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Struggle with the eight main passions: Fasting

V.1. … a uniform rule concerning the manner of fasting cannot easily be kept because not all bodies have the same strength, nor is it, like the other virtues, achieved by firmness of mind alone… 2. Nonetheless there is one end of abstinence in all these instances — that no one, according to the measure […]

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On the Origin of Lent

Howbeit you should know that as long as the primitive church retained its perfection unbroken, this observance of Lent did not exist. For they were not bound by the requirements of this order, or by any legal enactments, nor confined in the very narrow limits of the fast, as the fast embraced equally the whole […]

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Psalm 141(140): “Prayer in danger”

1. In previous catecheses, we gave an overall look at the structure and value of the Liturgy of Vespers, the great ecclesiastical prayer of the evening. We now journey into its interior. It will be like making a pilgrimage to that “holy land” made up of the Psalms and Canticles. One by one we will reflect on each […]

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Recognize the power of the evil demon

[Abba John] related with regard to another old man living in the desert, that he had asked God to grant him never to become sleepy during a spiritual conference, but, if someone uttered slanderous or useless words, to be able to go to sleep at once, so that his ears should never be touched by […]

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Prayer without Ceasing: O God, Come to my assistance

. . . this was delivered to us by a few of those who were left of the oldest fathers, so it is only divulged by us to a very few and to those who are really keen. And so for keeping up continual recollection of God this pious formula is to be ever set […]

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