...whoever is guided solely by his own judgment and decision will never climb up to the summit of perfection and will not fail to be the victim of the devil's ruinous power to delude.— John Cassian
The most seductive John Cassian quotes to discover and learn by heart
...we should realize that there are three sources for our thoughts - God, the devil, and ourselves.
If you wish to attain to true knowledge of the Scriptures, hasten to acquire first an unshakeable humility of heart. That alone will lead you, not to the knowledge that puffs up, but to that which enlightens, by the perfecting of love.
The Doctor of our souls has placed the remedy in the hidden regions of the soul.
True knowledge is found only among those genuinely worshiping God.
Everything we do, our every objective, must be undertaken for the sake of.
.. purity of heart... we must practice the reading of the Scripture, together with all the other virtuous activities... to hold our hearts free of the harm of every dangerous passion and in order to rise step by step to the high point of love.
No structure of virtue can possibly be raised in our soul unless, first, the foundations of true humility are laid in our heart.
... when death has been brought upon a saint, we ought not to think that an evil has happened to him but a thing indifferent; which is an evil to a wicked man, while to the good it is rest and freedom from evils. 'For death is rest to a man whose way is hidden' (Job 3:23 LXX). And so a good man does not suffer any loss from it.
In proportion as the ardor of divine love brings you nearer to God, so will a larger concourse of saintly brethren flock to you. For, as the Lord says, 'A city set on a hill cannot be hid' (Mt. 5:14).
It is impossible for the mind to remain undisturbed by thoughts, but anyone serious about the matter can certainly permit them entry or drive them away, and although their origin does not lie entirely under our control we can choose to approve of them and to adopt them.
When we say 'hallowed be Your name' to God what we are really saying is 'Father, make us such as deserve knowledge and understanding of how holy You are, or at least let Your holiness shine forth in the spiritual lives we lead.' And this surely happens as men see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.
It is by means of these that we attain perfect love, through the grace and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory through all the ages. Amen.
No other virtue makes man more equal to the angels, than the imitation of their way of life.
...unless the grace of God comes to the help of our frailty, to protect and defend it, no man can withstand the insidious onslaughts of the enemy nor can he damp down or hold in check the fevers which burn in our flesh with nature's fire.
... a Christian is quite certain to fall into the same sins which he condemns in another with merciless and inhuman severity, for 'a stern king will fall into misfortunes,' and 'one who stops his ears so as not to hear the weak, shall himself cry, and there shall be none to hear him' (Prov. 13:17; 21:13).
The thief who received the kingdom of heaven, though not as the reward of virtue, is a true witness to the fact that salvation is ours through the grace and mercy of God.
No just man suffices unto himself for the winning of justification.
The divine mercy must always hold out a hand to his footsteps as they falter and almost stumble, and this is so because the weakness of his free will may cause him to lose balance, and if he falls he may perish forever.
...when we abandon visible riches... it is strange goods and not our own that we are leaving. And this is so even if we boast that we acquired them through our own efforts or that they were passed on to us as an inheritance. I say nothing is ours except what is in our hearts, what belongs to our souls, what cannot be taken away by anyone.
Men seized of the urge to have a knowledge of God and to be pure in mind devote all their gathered energies to this one task. While they still live in the corruption of the flesh they give themselves to that service in which they will persevere when the corruption has been laid aside. And already they come in sight of what the Lord and Savior held out when He said, 'Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God' (Mt. 5:8).
God can be sensed when we gaze with trembling hearts at that power of his which controls, guides, and rules everything, when we contemplate his immense knowledge and his knowing look which the secrets of the heart cannot evade.
It is a bigger miracle to be patient and refrain from anger than it is to control the demons which fly through the air.
God is not only to be known in His blessed and incomprehensible being, for this is something which is reserved for His saints in the age to come. He is also known from the grandeur and beauty of His creatures, from His providence which governs the world day by day, from His righteousness and from wonders which He shows to His saints in each generation.
...just as the edifice of all the virtues strives upward toward perfect prayer so will all these virtues be neither sturdy nor enduring unless they are drawn firmly together by the crown of prayer. This endless, unstirring calm of prayer... can neither be achieved nor consummated without these virtues. And likewise virtues are the prerequisite foundation of prayer and cannot be effected without it.
Wherefore a monk's whole attention should thus be fixed on one point, and the rise and circle of all his thoughts be vigorously restricted to it; viz., to the recollection of God, as when a man, who is anxious to raise on high a vault of a round arch, must constantly draw a line round from its exact centre, and in accordance with the sure standard it gives discover by the laws of building all the evenness and roundness required.
Let everybody know this. He shall be assigned to the place and to the service to which he gave and devoted himself in this life and he can be sure that in eternity he will have as his lot the service and the companionship which he preferred in this life. This is what the Lord means when He says, 'If anyone is my servant let him follow Me and where I am he will be there as my servant' (Jn. 12:26).
The apostles were very sure that everything of theirs which had to do with salvation was a gift to them from God. 'Increase our faith'. They did not presume that the fullness of faith would come to them merely because they freely opted for it. They believed, rather, that it was a gift of God which would have to be granted to them.
Humility, in its turn, can be achieved only through faith, fear of God, gentleness and the shedding of all possessions.
...the souls of the dead [are] not deprived of their intellectual faculties but... they also are not lacking in feelings such as hope and sadness, joy and fear. They already have a foretaste of what is in store for them after the general judgment. Nor does it happen, as some unbelievers would hold, that upon leaving this world they are turned to nothing. Actually they live more intensely and they concentrate more on the praises of God.
If you want to correct your brother when he is doing wrong? you must keep yourself calm; otherwise you yourself may catch the sickness you are seeking to cure and you may find that the words of the Gospel now apply to you? 'Why do you look at the speck of dust in your brother's eye, and not notice the rafter in your own eye?'
If the kingdom of God is within us and that is a kingdom of justice, of peace, and of joy then whoever remains with these virtues is certainly in the kingdom of God. By contrast, all who deal in unrighteousness, in discord, and in death-bearing gloom have taken their stand in the kingdom of the devil, in hell and in lifelessness. It is by these tokens that the kingdom of God or of the devil is recognized.
A clear rule for self-control handed down by the Fathers is this: stop eating while still hungry and do not continue until you are satisfied.
The bond between friends cannot be broken by chance;
no interval of time or space can destroy it. Not even death itself can part true friends.
All of our holy fathers knew this and all with one accord teach that perfection in holiness can be achieved only through humility.