The light that enters the soul through the agency of the divine Spirit is liable to withdraw as a result of our laxity, negligence or perfunctoriness in matters of food or speech. Carelessness over what we eat and an unstable diet, as well as an uncontrolled tongue and unguarded eyes, will naturally drive the light from the soul and plunge us into darkness. And once we are filled with darkness all the beasts in the wild places of our heart and our whelp-like passion-imbued thoughts rove raucously through it, seeking to feed on our impassioned proclivities and to despoil the treasure garnered in us by the Spirit.
– Nikitas Stithatos, On the Inner Nature of Things, 47
But we must begin by giving up any idea that we can bring about these healings without fundamental changes in the way we think and live. We face a choice that is starkingly simple: we must change or be changed. If we fail to change for the better, then we will be changed for the worse.
– Wendell Berry, Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community, p. 12
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There never was a man or woman truly converted, from one end of the world to the other, who did not love the revealed will of God. Just as a child born into the world desires naturally the milk provided for its nourishment, so does a soul ‘born again’ desire the sincere milk of the Word. This is a common mark of all the children of God.
J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion, p. 121
‘Know thyself’: this is true humility, the humility that teaches us to be inwardly humble and makes our heart contrite. Such humility you must cultivate and guard. For if you do not yet know yourself you cannot know what humility is, and have not yet embarked truly on the task of cultivating and guarding. To know oneself is the goal of the practice of the virtues.
– Nikitas Stithatos, On The Inner Nature of Things