ephrem

Cell Notes
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2012-07-03 01:10:30 (UTC)

Abba Isaac

What the power of spring customarily does to the earth's nature, this grace also does to the soul through purity. The power of springtime causes even the delicate roots that grow in the valley to sprout, warming the earth as fire does a cauldron, so that it sends forth the treasures of verdure that God has planted in the earth's nature to gladden creation and for His own glory. In like manner grace causes the manifest blooming of all the splendor that God has concealed in the soul's nature, and it shows this to her and causes her to rejoice in its beauty.
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When you wish to begin one of the works of God, first make a testament, like one who is no longer to live in this life, like a man who is prepared for death and has despaired of his present life, and as though you have reached your fore-appointed time.
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When you desire to pursue some beautiful work for the love of God, put death as the limit of your desire.
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Nothing is stronger than desperation. It knows no defeat at the hand of any, whether they be on the right or on the left. When in his mind a man cuts away any hope for his life, nothing can equal him in daring. None of his foes is able to face him, and there is no affliction the rumor of which makes his purpose weaken; for every affliction which may befall him is lighter than death, whereas he has bowed his head to receive precisely this.
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But if each day his ship be broken up and his cargo perish in the deep, let him not cease from acquiring new possessions, trading, and also from borrowing; let him set out in other ships, sailing to hope, until the Lord, beholding his struggle and taking compassion on his ruin, sends down upon him His mercy and gives him powerful motivations to enable him to undergo and resist the flaming darts of the enemy.
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As a handful of sand thrown into the great sea, so are the sins of all flesh in comparison with the mind of God. And just as a strongly flowing spring is not obstructed by a handful of dust, so the mercy of the Creator is not stemmed by the vices of His creatures.
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Repentance is the ship, and fear is the pilot; love is the divine haven. Thus fear sets us in the ship of repentance, transports us over the foul sea of this life (that is, of the world), and guides us to the divine port, which is love.
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Do not rejoice when you grow rich in the knowledge of many things, but rejoice when that which you know is found to be yours by the actual doing of it. The former without the latter will gradually recede, and it can even produce pride because it goes unpracticed. When, however, you are diligent in the latter, without study you will certainly be illumined in the former also. The eye of knowledge is experience, and its fostering is continual labor.
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The Cross is the door to mysteries. Through this door the mind makes entrance into the knowledge of heavenly mysteries. The knowledge of the Cross is concealed in the sufferings of the Cross. And the more our participation in its sufferings, the greater the perception we gain through the Cross. For, as the apostle says, 'As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.' (2 Cor. 1:5) Now by consolation he means theoria, which, being interpreted, is vision of soul. Vision gives birth to consolation.
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Self-love proceeds all the passions, and scorn of ease precedes all the virtues. The man who surrenders his body to comforts will be afflicted in the land of peace. He that indulges in luxury in his youth becomes a slave in old age, and in his last moments he groans. Just as a man whose head is submerged in water cannot breathe the subtle air which is poured upon the atmosphere's empty gulf, so he who immerses his mind in the cares of the present life cannot take in the breath that is a perception of the new world. As the whiff of a deadly poison disturbs the constitution of the body, so does a lewd sight the peace of mind.
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