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Struggles with passions.


24. Gluttony. The beginning of a fruit is a blossom, while the beginning of a productive life is self-restraint. A sufficient quantity of matter will fill a container, but a stomach, even if it bursts, will not say: enough. A body sparsely fed is like a well-ridden horse ó it will never throw its rider. Just as a dead enemy will not evoke fear, so a body mortified through fasting will not disturb your soul. (Nilus of Sinai)

24. Land left untilled for a lengthy period will germinate weeds, while the mind of a glutton will engender shameless thoughts. Much firewood emblazes a fire, while much food nurtures lust. (Nilus of Sinai)

24. Do not take pity on your body when it complains of being fatigued and do not feed it heartily with gratifying food, because if it recovers its strength, it will arise against you with irreconcilable warfare. (Nilus of Sinai)

24. Just like sprouts from a root, other passions spring up from gluttony and, along with gluttony, very soon branch into a tree of vices. (Nilus of Sinai)

24. It is admirable to remain within the confines of necessity, and try with all your might not to cross these boundaries. If lust sways an individual ó even to a slight degree ó toward carnal pleasures, then no amount of directives would be able to hold him back, because beyond the bounds of necessity, there are no limits but a continuous care and bustle that will immeasurably increase oneís efforts to satisfy the lust ó just like a flame that grows with the addition of firewood. (Nilus of Sinai)

24. Your physical self-deprivation should be rendered with a moral aim, so that you learn to weep in your heart over your sins. (Nilus of Sinai)

24. An abstinent stomach promotes vigor in prayer, while a full one leads to sleep. It is impossible to find fragrance in pus or any chaste contemplation in a glutton. The burning of incense fills the air with an aroma, while the prayer of an abstinent person ó with Godís fragrance. (Nilus of Sinai)

26. Love of money. Love of money is the root of all evil. Like a sick branch, it produces many other passions (vexation, anger, envy, falsehood, hypocrisy, vainglory and others). Thatís why, in order to eradicate the other passions, a person must first tear out their root. (Nilus of Sinai)

26. The sea, in accepting waters from many rivers, does not overflow, and the wishes of the avaricious are not satisfied with his accumulated possessions. Having doubled his possessions, he doubles them again ó and never ceases to increase his property until sudden death terminates his useless endeavors. (Nilus of Sinai)

26. A non-accumulator of worldly goods lives a carefree life, while a materialist is afflicted with an incurable disease of caring for riches. When you do not submit your heart to the worries of the material, you then imprison a whole multitude of sinful thoughts. When you renounce your wishes to accumulate, you will then carry your cross without distraction. (Nilus of Sinai)

26. The passion to accumulate is posed by old age and sickness, so that your trust in God will be replaced with your trust in possessions. Faith is the possession of a resolute conviction and patient trust in Godís help. When you renounce all possessions, be wary: gloomy thoughts will begin to chastise you for your impoverishment ó foreboding poverty, ignominy and scarcity in everything ó so as to unsettle your endeavors toward acquiring virtue. However, if you examine the logic of self-denial, you will see that what you are being censured for is what is weaving you a heavenly crown. (Nilus of Sinai)

26. Leaving earthly matters aside, let us turn toward spiritual gifts. How long are we going to remain in childish games and thereby not acquire any mature manner of thinking. If it is strange to witness an adult sitting on a pile of ashes and drawing childish images in the soot, then it is more so to see people, called toward the enjoyment of eternal blessings, scrabble in the dust of earthly cares.

The reason for this divergence lies in that we imagine that there is nothing more important than the perceptible ó not realizing the insignificance of existing benefits and the superiority of future blessings ó and blinded by the dazzle of the present, adhere to it with all our might. (Nilus of Sinai)

26. Our ship being tossed about by earthly cares, let us throw off the shipís load to save the navigator ó our mind. If during a storm, in order to save their lives, the passengers on a ship ó with their own hands ó start throwing overboard even their most treasured possessions, why donít we for the sake of a better life, spurn that which drags us down into an abyss? Why is it that our fear of God is not as strong as that of the sea? Consequently, I beseech you, let us reject everything earthly. Combating wrestlers do not enter the ring dressed immaculately, because the rules of the contest call for them to be undressed. Whether itís hot or whether its cold ó they go into the ring that way, leaving their clothes behind. If one of them refuses to undress, then he is obliged to refuse to participate in the contest. (Nilus of Sinai)

26. It is natural for a soul that has attained perfection not to be concerned about earthly matters, while a soul filled with passion, burdens itself with cares. We do not refer to the act of non-accumulation as ordinary poverty ó which comes from a combination of circumstances and plunges the impoverished person into despair ó but a voluntary determination to be content with little. (Nilus of Sinai)

26. The ancient Saints were non-accumulative to such an extent, that they selected a homeless and itinerant life, ate what nature had to offer and slept where and how they could. They had no house, no dining room and their clothing was sheepskin. They zealously carried out Christís advice in every respect: "Look at the birds of the air..." (Mat. 6:26). They genuinely believed that when a person pleases God and concerns himself primarily with acquiring the Kingdom of Heaven, everything essential to the body would follow by itself. (Nilus of Sinai)

27. Anger, sorrow and pride. Christ inclines His head toward a patient soul, and the calm soul becomes the habitat for the Holy Trinity. (Nilus of Sinai)

27. He who loves this world has many sorrows, while the one that stands above it is always joyful. (Nilus of Sinai)

30. Pride raises a proud person to great heights and from there, casts him down into an abyss. Rotten crops are worthless to a farmer, and benevolence from the proud is useless to God. (Nilus of Sinai)

42. On being non-judgmental. A pious person is not one that shows benevolence to many but he who does not offend anyone. (Nilus of Sinai) 

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