Attending to oneself

“An offspring of [the sin of] pride is censure, which is unfortunately also a habit of many Christians, who tend to concern themselves more with others than themselves. This is a phenomenon of our time and of a society that pushes people into a continuous observation of others, and not of the self.
Modern man’s myriad occupations and activities do not want him to ever remain alone to study, to contemplate, to pray, to attain self-awareness, self critique, self-control and to be reminded of death. The so-called Mass Media are incessantly preoccupied with scandal-seeking, persistently and at length, with human passions, with sins, with others’ misdemeanors. These kinds of things provoke, impress, and, even if they do not scandalize, they nevertheless burden the soul and the mind with filth and ugliness and they actually reassure us, by making us believe that “we are better” than those advertised.
Thus, a person becomes accustomed to the mediocrity, the tepidity and the transience of superficial day-to-day life, never comparing himself to saints and heroes. This is how censure prevails in our time – by giving man the impression that he is justly imposing a kind of cleansing, by mud-slinging at others, albeit contaminating himself by generating malice, hatred, hostility, resentfulness, envy and frigidity. Saint Maximos the Confessor in fact states that the one who constantly scrutinizes others’ sins, or judges his brothers based on suspicion only, has not even begun to repent, nor has he begun any research into discovering his own sins.”
~Fr. Moses of the Holy Mount of Athos



“At every moment we need to have wakefulness, recollected thoughts, and a careful watch on the intellect. This applies above all when we stand before God in spiritual ministry, speaking in a hidden way, in prayer, with God’s majesty: at such a time it is appropriate that we stand with a wakeful and attentive mind, combining a sense of awe and trembling with the spiritual fervour of joy and deep love.”

~From The Syriac Fathers.


“We ourselves, however, have the means to avoid being deceived as long as we are prepared to stay even slightly alert and on the watch, not because we have such power of ourselves but because it is then we are granted grace from on high as well. You see, whenever we give evidence of what resources lie within us, what the Lord has to offer follows on all sides. Let us therefore be on the alert, I beseech you, and, aware of the evil one’s wiles, let us ceaselessly watch and implore God to join us in our combat against him.” ~ St. John Chrysostom.