Spiritual Warfare

Unseen Warfare: . . . it is inconceivable how the great Lord of hosts could grant such favours to our nothingness and worthlessness.

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In order that you may move your will more easily to this one desire, in everything—to please (God and to work for His glory alone—remind yourself’ often, that He has granted you many favours in the past and has shown you His love. He has created you out of nothing in His own likeness and image, and has made all other creatures your servants; He has delivered you from your slavery to the devil, sending down not one of the angels but His Only-begotten Son to redeem you, not at the price of corruptible gold and silver, but by His priceless blood and His most painful and degrading death. Having done all this He protects you, every hour and every moment, from your enemies; He fights your battles by His divine grace; in His immaculate Mysteries He prepares the Body and Blood of His beloved Son for your food and protection. All this is a sign of God’s great favour and love for you; a favour so great that it is inconceivable how the great Lord of hosts could grant such favours to our nothingness and worthlessness.

+ From Unseen Warfare, St. Theophan the Recluse and St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

St. Macarius of Optina: Do not allow the spark of discord and enmity to smolder. . .

repentance

“Do not allow the spark of discord and enmity to smolder. The longer you wait, the more the enemy tries to cause confusion among you. Be watchful, so that he does not mock you. Humility destroys all of his schemes.”

St. Sebastian Dabovich: Yes, the two men of the Gadarenes were possessed with devils. They were not common maniacs . . .

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“Yes, the two men of the Gadarenes were possessed with devils. They were not common maniacs, nor persons with a disordered function in the cerebral region ; for they knew, while the inhabitants of that country did not know, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. The devils knew that a time was coming when their freedom, which they abused and made such evil use of, would be checked. The devils would not give up the darlings which so readily gratified their passions. It was torment for them when the merciful Lord liberated poor mankind. The two unfortunate ones, that were possessed by demons were exceeding fierce so that no man could pass by that way. If the evil spirits torment those whom they  possess in such a horrible manner, then what must be the suffering of sinners in hell, where they are bound in company of the devils for all eternity?”

+ St. Sebastian Dabovich,  The Lives of Saints: With Several Lectures and Sermons [hard-copy book] | [read online], “Sunday for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity”

St. Sebastian Dabovich: Rouse yourselves ! The world which you worship only flatters you. . . .

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“Rouse yourselves ! The world which you worship only flatters you. The heaviness of your flesh should not keep you back from our Saviour—the God of spirits and of all flesh. If you continue to drowse, you will imperceptibly fall under the influence of the evil spirits, who are anxious for the company even of swine. Be careful that you become not possessed by a devil.”

+ St. Sebastian Dabovich,  The Lives of Saints: With Several Lectures and Sermons [hard-copy book] | [read online], “Sunday for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity”

St. Anatoly of Optina: Are you fighting against your passions? Fight, fight, and . . .

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“Are you fighting against your passions? Fight, fight, and be good soldiers of Christ! Do not give in to evil and do not be carried away by the weakness of the flesh. During the time of temptation, flee to the Physician, crying out with the Holy Church, our mother: “O God, number me with the thief, the harlot, and the publican (i.e., with the repentant), and save me!”

St. Theognostos: When the soul leaves the body, the enemy advances to attack it . . .

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“When the soul leaves the body, the enemy advances to attack it, fiercely reviling it and accusing it of its sins in a harsh and terrifying manner. The devout soul, however, even though in the past it has often been wounded by sin, is not frightened by the enemy’s attacks and threats. Strengthened by the Lord, winged by joy, filled with courage by the holy angels that guide it, and encircled and protected by the light of faith, it answers the enemy with great boldness: ‘Fugitive from heaven, wicked slave, what have I to do with you? You have no authority over me; Christ the Son of God has authority over me and over all things. Against Him have I sinned, before Him shall I stand on trial, having His Precious Cross as a sure pledge of His saving love towards me. Flee from me, destroyer! You have nothing to do with the servants of Christ.’ When the soul says all this fearlessly, the devil turns his back, howling aloud and unable to withstand the name of Christ. Then the soul swoops down on the devil from above, attacking him like a hawk attacking a crow. After this it is brought rejoicing by the holy angels to the place appointed for it in accordance with its inward state.”

+ St. Theognostos, On the Practice of the Virtues, Philokalia Volume 2

St. Macarius of Optina: The thoughts that vex and annoy us . . .

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“The thoughts that vex and annoy us have many distinctions: a provocation, or an attack of a thought, is not a sin but is a test of our free will, to what it is inclined—to the thought or to opposition of it. However, when there is agreement and communion with these passions it is considered to be a sin and repentance is needed. He who does not have the strength to oppose them himself must hasten to God, cast down his infirmity and implore His help and the help of the mother of God. When someone is conquered by thoughts it is a sign that pride preceded them, and therefore, he must humble himself more.”

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