March 2016 Letter
Lent is a period for spiritual struggling and not only changing our eating habits. As lent is approaching, let’s learn from the church fathers some of their sayings about “Spiritual Struggling”:
- “Train your body to obey your sole, and train your soul to obey God” (St. Basil).
- “For the power of the soul stays sound when the pleasures of the body are reduced” (St. Antony).
- “Don’t put your body in first place before God, but for His sake despise the bodily comfort” (Fr. John of Kronstadt).
- “We were not taught to kill our bodies, but to kill our desires” (St. Pimen).
- “You can not preserve your heart, while your mouth and stomach are open” (St. Dorotheos).
- “It is impossible for the mind to stop the incoming thoughts, but it’s within the ability of the diligent person to accept or refuse them. For the appearance of a thought doesn’t depend on our will, but it’s within our ability to accept or refuse it” (John Cassian).
- “Our spiritual success doesn’t come from the many spiritual exercises that we impose on ourselves. Success comes from the exercises that become real life” (Pope Shenouda).
- “At the times when we expel our laxness and force ourselves to diligently do the work imposed on us, the angels of heaven prepare the glorious crown of victory” (St. Theophanous the Ascetic).
- “For as much as you force yourself in prayer, the Divine Grace supports you, and you receive power from the hidden Holy Spirit” (Mar Isaac).
- “For he who seeks perfection is like someone chasing the horizon, whenever he thinks he reached the end, he discovers that it is starting again in front of him” (Pope Shenouda).
- “The teachings of Christ will always remain beyond the maximum effort of man!! So that man remains always humble before God & Christ, holding strong into His Grace” (Fr. Matta the Poor).
- “A martyr is not by shedding his blood, if he did not martyr first against sin” (Fr. Bishoy Kamel).
May the blessings of St. Mary & St. Mercurius & the Holy Lent be with us all.
Fr. Youssef Halim & Fr. Luke Istafanous
Belleville, March 1, 2016