Who has greater repose and honor, the person who devotes himself to God and acts accordingly, or the person involved in hustle, law courts and worldly cares? The person who always converses with God through meditation on the Holy Scriptures and undistracted prayer and tears, or the person who is always on the go, who devotes himself to fraud and lawless actions which, when they come to nothing, leave him only with his exhaustion and perhaps twofold death?
Consider how some of us endure even painful and dishonorable death all for nothing. Indeed, some for purely destructive ends have inflicted the greatest injury on their own souls. I have in mind robbers, pirates, fornicators, instigators of quarrels – all of them people who refused salvation and the repose, honor and rewards that go with it.
How blind we are! We endure death for the sake of destruction, but do not love life for the sake of salvation. And if we prefer death to the kingdom of heaven, in what do we differ from the thief or grave-robber or soldier? These, simply for the sake of food, have often endured the death that is to come as well as death in this present life.
St. Peter of Damaskos, Philokalia, Vol. 3, p.124