Prayerful Surrender

Giving yourself in prayerful surrender to God and His grace, call out each of the things that incite you to sin and try to turn your heart away from them, directing it towards their opposite. In this way they will be uprooted from the heart and their violence will subside. In this task give free scope to your power of discernment and lead your heart in its wake.

This struggle against the forces of evil is absolutely essential if we are to break our own will. It is necessary to go on working on ourselves in this way until, instead of self-pity, there is born in us mercilessness and ruthlessness towards ourselves, a desire to suffer, to torture ourselves, to tire out our soul and body.

This must be continued until, instead of trying to please men, we form a feeling of repulsion against all bad habits and connectionsuntil we form a hostile and fierce resistance against them, at the same time submitting ourselves to all the wrongs and disparagements which men inflict upon us. It is necessary to go on working until our appetite exclusively for things material, sensory, and visible disappears completely, and is replaced by a feeling of disgust for such things ; and instead we begin to thirst and to search only for what is spiritual, pure, and divine. Instead of earthlinessthe limitation of life and happiness solely to this earththe heart comes to be filled with a sense of being but a pilgrim on earth, whose whole longing is for his heavenly home.

Theophan the Recluse, The Art of Prayer, p.2013

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