Tag Archives: Idle Talk

St. Joseph of Optina: Prayer is food for the soul. Do not starve the soul, it is better to . . .

St. Joseph of Optina“Prayer is food for the soul. Do not starve the soul, it is better to let the body go hungry. Do not judge anyone, forgive everyone. Consider yourself worse than everyone in the world and you will be saved. As much as possible, be more quiet.”

+ St. Joseph of Optina: Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

Prayer to the Holy Guardian Angel

Icon of Guardian Angel“Holy Angel of Christ, I fall down and pray to thee, my holy Guardian, given me from holy Baptism for the protection of my sinful body and soul. By my laziness and bad habits, I have angered thy most pure light, and have driven thee away from me by all my shameful deeds, lies, slanders, envy, condemnation, scorn, disobedience, brotherly-hatred, grudges, love of money, adultery, anger, meanness, greed, excess, talkativeness, negative and evil thoughts, proud ways, dissolute madness, having self-will in all the desires of the flesh.

O my evil will, which even the dumb animals do not follow! How canst thou look at me or approach me who am like a stinking dog? With what eyes, O Angel of Christ, wilt thou look at me so badly snared in evil deeds? How can I ask forgiveness for my bitter, evil and wicked deeds, into which I fall every day and night, and every hour? But I fall down and pray, O my holy Guardian: pity me, thy sinful and unworthy servant (Name). Be my helper and protector against my wicked enemy, by thy holy prayers, and make me a partaker of the Kingdom of God with all the Saints, always, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.”Book Jordanville Prayer Book

— From the Jordanville Prayerbook

St. Nektarios: A Prayer to the Immaculate Virgin

A Prayer To the Immaculate Virgin

Icon of the TheotokosTake away from me, O Virgin, the fetters of sin,
of my lusts and other transgressions:
the terrible carelessness and the overcaring,
the evil curiosity and the talkativeness,
the useless incontinence and the haughtiness,
the negligence, the drunkenness and the lack of mercy,
the bad desires, the terrible impurity,
the extravagance, the darkness,
the great insensitivity.

Take away the tendency to say jokes,
the enjoyment, the prodigality.

The laughter of immorality and every evil.

Give me, O maiden, fasting,
carefulness, vigilance and perfect obedience.

Give me carefulness in all
and acute discernment,
silence, order and holy patience.

Grant to me, O Lady, eagerness to work
and to attain my perfection,
and zeal for virtues and exercise.

Keep, O most-holy One,
my soul, my heart and my mind
in holiness and guard it in virginity.

— St. Nektarios
Translated by Nikolaos S. Hatzinikolaou

St. Anthony the Great: What is slander? . . .

Icon of St. Anthony the Great“What is slander? It is every sort of wicked word we would dare not speak in front of the person whom we are complaining about.”

— St. Anthony the Great

St. Ephraim the Syrian: Imagine that someone, while standing before a king . . .

Icon of St. Ephraim the Syrian“Imagine that someone, while standing before a king and conversing with him, at the summons of a servant like unto himself leaves the king and begins to converse with that servant; such also is he who engages in conversation and gives himself over to distraction during the divine service.”

— St. Ephraim the Syrian

St. Gregory of Nazianzus: . . . Not to every one, my friends, does it belonge to philosophize about God . . .

Icon of St. Gregory the TheologianBut since they neglect every path of righteousness, and look only to this one point, namely, which of the propositions submitted to them they shall bind or loose, (like those persons who in the theatres perform wrestling matches in public, but not that kind of wrestling in which the victory is won according to the rules of the sport, but a kind to deceive the eyes of those who are ignorant in such matters, and to catch applause), and every marketplace must buzz with their talking; and every dinner party be worried to death with silly talk and boredom; and every festival be made unfestive and full of dejection, and every occasion of mourning be consoled by a greater calamity—their questions—and all the women’s apartments accustomed to simplicity be thrown into confusion and be robbed of its flower of modesty by the torrent of their words…since, I say this is so, the evil is intolerable and not to be borne, and our Great Mystery is in danger of being made a thing of little moment. Well then, let these spies bear with us, moved as we are with fatherly compassion, and as holy Jeremiah says, torn in our hearts; let them bear with us so far as not to give a savage reception to our discourse upon this subject; and let them, if indeed they can, restrain their tongues for a short while and lend us their ears. However that may be, you shall at any rate suffer no loss. For either we shall have spoken in the ears of them that will hear, and our words will bear some fruit, namely an advantage to you (since the Sower soweth the Word upon every kind of mind; and the good and fertile bears fruit), or else you will depart despising this discourse of ours as you have despised others, and having drawn from it further material for gainsaying and railing at us, upon which to feast yourselves yet more…

Not to every one, my friends, does it belong to philosophize about God; not to every one; the Subject is not so cheap and low; and I will add, not before every audience, nor at all times, nor on all points; but on certain occasions, and before certain persons, and within certain limits.

— Gregory of Nazianzus, First Theological Oration

St. Abba Pimen: A man may seem to be silent . . .

Icon of Abba Pimen“A man may seem to be silent, but if his heart is condemning others, he is babbling ceaselessly. But there may be another who talks from morning till night and yet he is truly silent, that is, he says nothing that is not profitable.”

— St. Abba Pimen

St. Seraphim of Sarov: You cannot be too gentle, too kind. . . .

Icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov“You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of one who gives and kindles joy in the heart of one who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other, not even those whom you catch committing an evil deed. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a morass of filth that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Keep away from the spilling of speech. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgement. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult, outrage, and will shield your glowing hearts against the evil that creeps around.”

— St. Seraphim of Sarov,