The Ladder [ of Divine Ascent ]
selections from
Steps 26-30

John Climacus,
Dionysius, Athos, 17th c.

St. John Climacus, tr. Lazarus Moore (Harper, 1959) . Greek: Scala paradisi. PG 88, Paris: Migne, 1857-1866: c.631-1161.  





STEP 26 - On discernment of thoughts, passions and virtues

(26.) ΛΟΓΟΣ ΚϚʹ. Περὶ διακρίσεως λογισμῶν, καὶ παθῶν, καὶ ἀρετῶν.







26.1. Discernment Διάκρισίς ἐστιν

[1] in beginners is true knowledge of themselves;

[2] in intermediate souls it is a spiritual sense that faultlessly distinguishes what is truly good from what is of nature and opposed to it;

[3] and in the perfect it is the knowledge which they possess by divine illumination, and which can enlighten with its lamp what is dark in others.

ἐν μὲν τοῖς εἰσαγομένοις, ἡ τῶν καθ’ ἑαυτοὺς ἀληθὴς ἐπίγνωσις·

 ἐν τοῖς δὲ μέσοις ἡ τὸ κυρίως ἀγαθὸν ἐκ τοῦ φυσικοῦ, καὶ τοῦ ἐναντίου ἀπταίστως διακρίνουσα νοερὰ αἴσθησις·

ἐν τοῖς δὲ τελείοις, ἡ διὰ θείας ἐλλάμψεως ἐνυπάρχουσα γνῶσις, ἥτις καὶ τὰ ἐν ἄλλοις σκοτεινῶς ἐνυπάρχοντα τῷ ἑαυτῆς λύχνῳ καταφωτίζειν ἰσχύουσα.

   Or perhaps, generally speaking, discernment is, and is recognized as, the assured understanding of the divine will on all occasions, in every place and in all matters; and it is only found in those who are pure in heart, and in body and in mouth.

Ἢ τάχα καθολικῶς τοῦτο καὶ ἔστι, καὶ γνωρίζεται διάκρισις, ἡ τοῦ θείου θελήματος ἀσφαλὴς κατάληψις ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ, καὶ τόπῳ, καὶ πράγματι, ἥτις ἐνυπάρχει μόνοις τοῖς καθαροῖς τῇ καρδίᾳ, καὶ τῷ σώματι, καὶ τῷ στόματι.

26.2. He who has piously destroyed within him the three passions has destroyed the five too; but he who has been negligent about the former will not conquer even one passion.

Ὁ μὲν τοὺς τρεῖς εὐσεβῶς καθελὼν συγκαθεῖλε, καὶ τοὺς πέντε· ὁ δὲ ἐκείνων ἀμελῶν οὐδέτερον νικήσει.

26.3. Discernment is undefiled conscience and purity of feeling.

Διάκρισίς ἐστι συνείδησις ἀμόλυντος, καὶ καθαρὰ αἴσθησις

26.5. Every satanic conflict in us comes from these three generic causes: either from negligence, or from pride, or from the envy of the demons. The first is pitiable, the second is disastrous, but the third is blessed.

 Ἐν τρισὶ τούτοις γενικωτάτοις τρόποις πᾶς πόλεμος δαιμονιώδης ἐν ἡμῖν συνίσταται, ἢ ἐξ ἀμελείας, ἢ ἐξ ὑπερηφανίας, ἢ ἐκ φθόνου τῶν δαιμόνων· καὶ ἐλεεινὸς μὲν ὁ πρῶτος· πανάθλιος ὁ δεύτερος· ὁ δὲ τρίτος τρισμακάριστος.

26.6. After God, let us have our conscience as our aim and rule in all things, so that we may know which way the wind is blowing and set our sails accordingly.

 Σκοπῷ καὶ κανόνι τῷ ἡμετέρῳ κατὰ Θεὸν συνειδότι πρὸς πάντα χρησώμεθα, ἵνα γνόντες τὴν τῶν ἀνέμων πνοὴν πόθεν ἔρχεται, πρὸς αὐτὸ λοιπὸν, καὶ τὰ ἱστία ἀνατείνωμεν.

26.7. In all our actions in which we try to please God the demons dig three pits for us. In the first, they endeavour to prevent any good at all from being done. In the second, after their first defeat, they try to secure that it should not be done according to the will of God. But when these rogues fail in this too, then, standing quietly before our soul, they praise us for living a thoroughly godly life. The first is to be opposed by zeal and fear of death, the second by obedience and humiliation, and the third by unceasing self-condemnation. We shall be faced by toil of this kind until the divine fire enters into our sanctuary. And then the force of bad habit will no longer exist in us. Our God is a fire consuming all fever (of lust) and movement (of passion), every inclination rooted in us and all blindness and darkness within and without, both visible and spiritual.

 Ἐν πάσαις ἡμῶν ταῖς κατὰ Θεὸν ἐργασίαις τρεῖς ἡμῖν βοθύνους οἱ δαίμονες ὀρύσσουσι. Καὶ πρῶτον μὲν παλαίουσιν, ἵνα τὸ ἀγαθὸν κωλύσωσι γενέσθαι· δεύτερον δὲ μετὰ τὴν πρώτην αὐτῶν ἧτταν, ἵνα μὴ κατὰ Θεὸν τὸ τυχὸν γένηται.  Ὅταν δὲ καὶ τούτου οἱ κλέπται τοῦ σκοποῦ ἀποτύχωσι, τότε λοιπὸν ἡσυχίως ἐπιστάντες ἐν τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ ψυχῇ μακαρίζουσιν ἡμᾶς, ὡς κατὰ Θεὸν ἐν πᾶσιν πολιτευομένους.  Τοῦ μὲν προτέρου ἐχθρὸς, σπουδὴ καὶ μέριμνα θανάτου· τοῦ δὲ δευτέρου, ὑποταγὴ καὶ ἐξουδένωσις· τοῦ δὲ τρίτου, τὸ ἑαυτὸν διηνεκῶς καταμέμφεσθαι.  Τοῦτο κόπος ἐστὶν ἐνώπιον ἡμῶν, ἕως οὗ εἰσέλθῃ εἰς τὸ ἁγιαστήριον ἡμῶν τὸ πῦρ τὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ.  Οὐκ ἔσονται γὰρ λοιπὸν τότε προλήψεων ἐν ἡμῖν ἀνάγκαι.  Ὁ γὰρ Θεὸς ἡμῶν πῦρ καταναλίσκον πᾶσαν πύρωσιν καὶ κίνησιν, καὶ πρόληψιν, καὶ πώρωσιν, τὴν ἐντὸς καὶ ἐκτὸς ὁρωμένην τε καὶ νοουμένην.

26.8. The demons generally produce in us the opposite of what has just been said. For when they take possession of the soul and extinguish the light of the mind, then there is no longer in us poor wretches either sobriety, or discernment, or self-knowledge or shame; but there is indifference, lack of perception, want of discernment and blindness.

 Οἱ δαίμονες τὸ ἐναντίον πάλιν τῶν εἰρημένων ποιεῖν πεφύκασιν.  Ἐπὰν γὰρ τῆς ψυχῆς περιγένωνται, καὶ τὸ τοῦ νοὸς φῶς περιτρέψωσιν, οὐκ ἔτι ἔσται ἐν ἡμῖν τοῖς ἀθλίοις, οὐ νῆψις, οὐ διάκρισις, οὐκ ἐπίγνωσις, οὐκ ἐντροπή· ἀλλ’ ἀναλγησία, καὶ ἀναισθησία, καὶ ἀδιακρισία, καὶ ἀβλεψία.

26.9. What has just been said is known very vividly by those who have subdued their lust in order to become chaste, who have curbed their freedom of speech and have changed from shamelessness to modesty. They know how after the sobering of the mind, after the ending of its blindness, or rather its maiming, they are inwardly ashamed of themselves for what they said and did before when they were living in blindness.

Οἴδασι γὰρ τὰ εἰρημένα εὖ μάλα σαφῶς οἱ ἐκ πορνείας ἀνανήψαντες, καὶ ἐκ παῤῥησίας ὑποστα-  λέντες, καὶ οἱ ἐξ ἀναιδείας εἰς συναίσθησιν ἐληλυθότες· πῶς τε μετὰ τὴν νῆψιν τοῦ νοὸς, καὶ τῆς πωρώσεως, μᾶλλον δὲ πηρώσεως αὐτοῦ διάλυσιν, καὶ ἑαυτοὺς κατὰ νοῦν αἰδοῦνται, ἐφ’ οἷς πρώην ἐλάλουν καὶ ἔπραττον ἐν τυφλώσει διάγοντες.

26.13. Those who have been humbled by their passions may take courage. For even if they fall into every pit and are trapped in all the snares and suffer all maladies, yet after their restoration to health they become physicians, beacons, lamps, and pilots for all, teaching us the habits of every disease and from their own personal experience able to prevent their neighbours from falling.

 Θαρσείτωσαν οἱ τεταπεινωμένοι ἐμπαθεῖς· εἰ γὰρ καὶ ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς βοθύνοις περιπέσωσι, καὶ ἐν πάσαις ταῖς παγίσι βροχισθῶσι, καὶ πᾶσαν νόσον νοσήσωσιν· ἀλλά γε μετὰ τὴν ὑγείαν πᾶσι φωστῆρες, καὶ ἰατροὶ, καὶ λύχνοι, καὶ κυβερνῆται γίνονται, ἑκάστης νόσου τοὺς τρόπους διδάσκοντες, καὶ τοὺς μέλλοντας πίπτειν, ἐκ τῆς οἰκείας πείρας διασώζοντες·

26.14. If some are still dominated by their former bad habits, and yet can teach by mere word, let them teach. But they should not have authority as well. For, perhaps, being put to shame by their own words, they will eventually begin to practise what they preach. And even if they do not begin, yet they may be able to help, as I saw happen with others who were stuck in the mud. Bogged down as they were, they were telling the passers-by how they had sunk there, explaining this for their salvation, so that they should not fall in the same way. However, for the salvation of others, the all-powerful God delivered them too from the mud. But if those who are possessed by passions voluntarily plunge into pleasures, let them teach by silence; for Jesus began both to do and to teach.

 εἰ μὲν ἐκ προγεγενημένων προλήψεων τυραννοῦνταί τινες καὶ διδάσκειν κἀν ψιλῷ λόγῳ δύνανται, διδάξωσιν. Ἴσως γάρ ποτε κἂν τοὺς οἰκείους λόγους αἰσχυνθέντες τῆς πρακτικῆς ἄρξωνται (μὴ μέντοι καὶ ἄρξωσι), καὶ γενήσεται καὶ ἐν αὐτοῖς ὅπερ ἐπί τινων ἐν βορβόρῳ κυλιομένων εἶδον γινόμενον· ἐμπεπηλωμένοι γὰρ ὑπάρχοντες τὸν τρόπον τῆς ἐκεῖσε αὐτῶν καταποντίσεως τοὺς παρερχομένους ἐδίδασκον ὑπὲρ τῆς σωτηρίας αὐτῶν τοῦτο πραγματευόμενοι, ὅπως μὴ κἀκεῖνοι τῇ αὐτῇ ὁδῷ πέσωσι· καὶ μέντοι διὰ τὴν ἑτέρων σωτηρίαν, καὶ αὐτοὺς ὁ παντοδύναμος τοῦ πηλοῦ ἐλυτρώσατο. Εἰ δέ γε οἱ ἐμπαθεῖς ἑκουσίως ἑαυτοὺς ταῖς ἡδοναῖς ἐπιῤῥίπτουσι, σιωπῇ τὴν διδασκαλίαν ἐνδείξονται.  Ὧν χάριν ἤρξατο ὁ Ἰησοῦς ποιεῖν τε καὶ διδάσκειν.

26.16. Those engaged in education know what studies are suitable for beginners, what for the intermediate and what for teachers. Let us take sensible precautions not to prolong our study and stop in the beginners’ lessons. For to see an old man going to a children’s school is a great disgrace.

Γνώριμα καθεστήκασι τοῖς γράμματα παιδευομένοις, ποῖα μὲν εἰσαγομένων, ποῖα δὲ μέσων, ποῖα δὲ διδασκάλων τυγχάνουσι τὰ μαθήματα.  Πρόσχωμεν νουνεχῶς, μήπως ἐν τῇ μαθήσει χρονίσαντες ἔτι ἐν τοῖς εἰσαγωγικοῖς διατρίβωμεν ἐπαγγέλμασι· ὅπερ αἰσχύνῃ πᾶσι γνωρίζεται γηραλέον ἰδέσθαι εἰς παιδευτήριον πορευόμενον.

26.17. Here is an excellent alphabet for all:

Ἀρίστη πᾶσιν ἀλφάβητος αὕτη.

(A)  obedience 

Α ὑπακοὴ,

(B)  fasting 

Β νηστεία,

(C)  sackcloth 

Γ σάκκος,

(D)  ashes 

Δ σποδὸς,

(E)  tears 

Ε δάκρυα,

(F)  confession 

Ζ ἐξομολόγησις,

(G)  silence 

Η σιωπὴ,

(H)  humility 

Θ ταπείνωσις,

(I)  vigil 

Ι ἀγρυπνία,

(J)  courage 

Κ ἀνδρεία,

(K)  cold 

Λ ψύχος,

(L)  toil 

Μ κόπος,

(M)  hard work

Ν ταλαιπωρία,

(N)  humiliation

Ξ ἐξουδένωσις,

(O)  contrition

Ο συντριβὴ,

(P)  forgetfulness of wrongs

Π ἀμνησικακία,

(Q)  brotherly love

Ρ συναδελφία,

(R)  meekness

Σ ἠπιότης,

(S)  simple and unquestioning faith

Τ πίστις ἁπλῆ καὶ ἀπερίεργος,

(T)  freedom from worldly cares

Υ ἀμεριμνία κόσμου,

(U)  hateless hatred of parents

Φ μῖσος ἄμισον γονέων,

(V)  detachment

Χ ἀπροσπάθεια,

(X)  innocent simplicity

Ψ ἁπλότης σὺν ἀκακίᾳ,

(Z)  voluntary abasement

Ω ἑκούσιος εὐτέλεια.

26.18. A good scheme for the advanced, and evidence of their progress is: absence of vainglory, freedom from anger, good hope, silence, discernment, firm remembrance of the judgment, compassion, hospitality, moderation in reproof, passionless prayer, disregard of self.

[Καλὴ τάξις ὅροι μέσων.] Κατάληψις καὶ ψῆφος προκοπτόντων, ἀκενοδοξία, ἀοργησία, εὐελπιστία, ἡσυχία, διάκρισις, κρίσεως μνήμη παγία, εὐσπλαγχνία, φιλοξενία, νουθεσία σύμμετρος, προσευχὴ ἀπαθὴς, ἀφιλαργυρία.

26.19. And here is a standard, rule and law for those in the flesh who are piously aiming at perfection in spirit and body:

Οὗτος ὅρος, λόγος τε καὶ νόμος πνευμάτων καὶ σωμάτων ἐν σαρκὶ εὐσεβῶς τελειουμένων·

(A) an unfettered heart 

ἀναιχμαλώτιστος Α καρδία,

(B) perfect love 

Β τετελειωμένη ἀγάπη,

(G) a well of humanity 

Γ ταπεινοφροσύνης πηγὴ,

(D) a detached mind

νοὸς Δ ἐκδημία

(E) Indwelling of Christ 

Χριστοῦ,Ε ἐνδημία

(Z) security of light and prayer 

φωτὸς, καὶ Ζ προσευχῆς ἀσυλία,

(H) outpouring if divine illuination 

ἐλλάμψεως Η Θεοῦ περιουσία,

(Th) a longing for death 

πόθος Θ θανάτου

(I) hatred of life 

μῖσος Ι ζωῆς,

(J) flight from the body 

φυγὴ Κ σώματος,

(K) an intercessor for the world 

κόσμου Λ πρέσβυς,

(L) a pleader of God 

Θεοῦ Μ βιαστὴς,

(M) fellow worshipper with angels

ἀγγέλων Ν συλλειτουργὸς,

(N) abyss of knowledge

γνώσεως Ξ ἄβυσσος,

(O) house of mysteries

μυστηρίων Ο οἶκος,

(P) a keeper of secrets [guardian of unspeakables]

ἀῤῥήτων Π φύλαξ,

(Q) a saviour of men

ἀνθρώπων Ρ σωτὴρ,

(R) a divinity to demons

δαιμόνων Σ Θεὸς,

(S) lord of the passions

παθῶν Τ Κύριος,

(T) master of the body

Δεσπότης Υ σώματος,

(U) controller of nature

φύσεως Φ ἐπίτροφος,

(V) banishment of sin

ἁμαρτίας Χ ξένος,

(X) house of apatheia

ἀπαθείας Ψ οἶκος,

(Z) with the Lord’s help an imitator of the Lord

μιμητὴς Ω Δεσπότου, ἐκ βοηθείας Δεσπότου,

26.39. Certain people asked me a question difficult to solve and which is beyond the powers of anyone like me, and is not to be found in any of the books that have reached me. For they said: What are the particular offspring of the eight deadly sins? Or which of the three chief sins is the father of the other five (minor sins)? But by pleading praiseworthy ignorance as regards this difficulty, I learnt from the holy men the following: ‘The mother of lust is gluttony, and the mother of despondency is vainglory; sorrow and also anger are the offspring of those three (i.e. cupidity, sensuality, ambition); and the mother of pride is vainglory.’

Δυσδιάκριτόν μοί τινες θεώρημα ἐπηπόρησαν, καὶ τοὺς κατ’ ἐμὲ πάντας ὑπερβαῖνον, οὐδενὶ δὲ τῶν εἰς ἐμὲ ἐληλυθότων δέλτων περιεχόμενον λέγοντες. Ποῖοι τῶν ὀκτὼ λογισμῶν ἰδιαιρέτως ἀπόγονοι τυγχάνουσι; ἢ ποῖος τοιούτων πέντε ἐκ τῶν τριῶν τῶν προστατῶν γεννήτωρ καθέστηκεν; Ἐγὼ δὲ πρὸς τὴν ἀπορίαν ἐπαινέτην ἄγνοιαν προβαλόμενος, παρὰ τῶν πανοσίων ἀνδρῶν ἔμαθον οὕτως. Μήτηρ μὲν πορνείας γαστριμαργία, ἀκηδίας δὲ κενοδοξία· λύπη δὲ τῶν τριῶν τούτων γέννημα, ὥσπερ καὶ ὀργή· ὑπερηφανίας δὲ μήτηρ κενοδοξία.

26.40. In reply to this statement of those ever-memorable Fathers, I began again earnestly to ask them to tell me about the pedigree of the eight sins — which exactly are born from which? And these dispassionate men kindly instructed me, saying: ‘The irrational passions have no order or reason, but they have every sort of disorder and every kind of chaos.’ And the blessed Fathers confirmed this by convincing examples and supplied many proofs, some of which we are including in the present chapter, in order to draw light from them in judging the rest.

Ἐγὼ δὲ πάλιν πρὸς τοὺς ἀειμνήστους ἐκείνους ἀποκρινόμενος ἔφασκον, λιπαρῶν μανθάνειν λοιπὸν καὶ τῶν ὀκτὼ γεννήματα, καὶ ποῖον ποίου ὑπάρχει κύημα.  Ἐδίδασκον δὲ εὐμενῶς οἱ ἀπαθεῖς λέγοντες, μὴ εἶναι τάξιν ἢ σύνεσιν ἐν ἀσυνέτοις· πᾶσαν δὲ ἀταξίαν καὶ ἀκαταστασίαν· καὶ πιθόντες οἱ μακάριοι πιθανοῖς ὑποδείγμασιν ἔλεγον, εἰς μέσον προενεγκόντες πιθανὰς ἀποδείξεις καὶ πλείονας, ἐξ ὧν τινα ἐν τῷ παρόντι λόγῳ συντάττομεν, ἵνα ἐξ ἐκείνων λοιπὸν καὶ περὶ τῶν λοιπῶν φωτισθῶμεν.

26.41. The sort of thing I mean is this. Untimely jesting is sometimes born of lust; and sometimes of vainglory, when a man impiously puts on a pious air; and sometimes too of luxury.

 Οἷόν τι λέγω· Ὁ γέλως, ὁ ἄκαιρος, ποτὲ μὲν ἐκ πορνείας δαίμο-  νος τίκτεται, ποτὲ δὲ ἐκ κενοδοξίας, ὅταν τις ἐφ’ ἑαυτῷ ἔνδοθεν σεμνύνηται ἀσέμνως·

26.42. Much sleep is born sometimes of luxury; and sometimes of fasting, when those who fast are proud of it; and sometimes of despondency; and sometimes from nature.

ποτὲ δὲ ἐκ τρυφῆς, ὁ ὕπνος ὁ πολύς.  Ποτὲ μὲν ἐκ τρυφῆς, ποτὲ δὲ ἐκ νηστείας, ὅταν οἱ νηστεύοντες ἐπαίρωνται· ποτὲ δὲ ἐξ ἀκηδίας, ποτὲ δὲ καὶ ἐκ φύσεως.

26.44. Talkativeness is born sometimes of gluttony, and sometimes of vainglory.

Ἡ πολυλογία ποτὲ μὲν ἀπὸ γαστριμαργίας, ποτὲ δὲ ἀπὸ κενοδοξίας·

26.34. Acedia is born sometimes of luxury, and sometimes of lack of fear of God.

ἡ ἀκηδία ποτὲ μὲν ἀπὸ τρυφῆς, ποτὲ δὲ ἐξ ἀφοβίας Θεοῦ·

26.45. Blasphemy is properly the offspring of pride; but it is often born of condemnation of our neighbour for the same thing; or of the untimely envy of the demons.

ἡ βλασφημία ἔστιν μὲν κυρίως κύημα ὑπερηφανίας· πολλάκις δὲ καὶ ἐκ τοῦ κρῖναι ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ τὸν πλησίον, ἢ καὶ ἀπὸ φθόνου ἀκαίρου τῶν δαιμόνων·

26.46. Hardness of heart sometimes comes from over-eating, often from coldness and attachment. And again attachment comes sometimes from lust, or from avarice, or from gluttony, or from vainglory, and from many other causes.

 ἡ σκληροκαρδία ἐστὶν ὅτε ἀπὸ κόρου, ἀπὸ ἀναισθησίας, ἀπὸ προσπαθείας· πάλιν δὲ ἡ προσπάθεια ἔστι μὲν ὅτε ἀπὸ πορνείας, ἢ φιλαργυρίας, ἢ γαστριμαργίας, ἢ κενοδοξίας, καὶ ἐξ ἑτέρων πολλῶν·

26.47. Malice is born of conceit and anger.

ἡ πονηρία πάλιν ἀπὸ οἰήσεως καὶ ὀργῆς.

26.48. Hypocrisy comes from self-satisfaction and wilfulness.

 Ἡ ὑπόκρισις ἐξ αὐταρκείας καὶ ἰδιορυθμίας·

26.49. All the contrary virtues are born of parents contrary to these. But without enlarging on the subject (for I should not have time if I were to inquire into them all one by one), I will merely say that for all the passions mentioned above, the remedy is humility. Those who have obtained that virtue have won the whole fight.

τὰ δὲ τούτων ἐναντία ἐκ τῶν ἐναντίων γεννητόρων αὐτῶν ἀποτίκτονται. Καὶ ἵνα μὴ πολλὰ λέγω, ἐπιλείψει με γὰρ ὁ χρόνος, ἤπερ τὸ καθ’ ἓν ἐξετάζειν βούλομαι· κυρίως πάντων τῶν προειρημένων παθῶν ἀναιρέτις ἐστὶν ἡ ταπεινοφροσύνη, ἣν οἱ κτησάμενοι πάντα νενικήκασι.

26.50. The mother of all the vices is pleasure and malice. He who has them within him will not see the Lord; and abstinence from the first will bring but little benefit without abstinence from the second.

Γενήτρια [al. γεννήτρια] πάντων τῶν κακῶν, ἡδονὴ καὶ πονηρία, ἃ ὁ κατέχων οὐκ ὄψεται τὸν Κύριον· οὐδὲν δὲ ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῆς προτέρας ἀποχὴ ἐκτὸς τῆς δευτέρας ὀνήσειε.

26.67. Vice or passion is not originally planted in nature, for God is not the Creator of passions. But there are in us many natural virtues from Him, among which are certainly the following: mercy, for even the pagans are compassionate; love, for even dumb animals often weep at the loss of one another; faith, for we all give birth to it of ourselves; hope, for we lend, and sail, and sow, hoping for the best. So if, as has been shown, love is a natural virtue in us, and is the bond and fulfilment of the law, then it follows that the virtues are not far from nature. And those who plead their inability to practise them ought to be ashamed.

 Κακία μὲν, ἢ πάθος φυσικῶς ἐν τῇ φύσει οὐ πέφυκεν οὐκ ἔστι γὰρ κτιστὴς παθῶν ὁ Θεός· ἀρεταὶ δὲ φύσει καὶ πολλαὶ ἐν ἡμῖν παρ’ αὐτοῦ γεγόνασιν, ἐξ ὧν εἰσι καὶ αὗται σαφῶς· ἡ ἐλεημοσύνη, εἴπερ καὶ Ἕλληνες συμπαθοῦσιν· ἡ ἀγάπη, εἴπερ καὶ τὰ ἄλογα ζῶα πολλάκις ἐπὶ τῇ στερήσει ἀλλήλων ἐδάκρυσαν.  Ἡ πίστις· πάντες γὰρ ἐξ ἑαυτῶν ταύτην ἀποτίκτομεν· ἐλπὶς, ἐπεὶ καὶ δανειζόμενοι, καὶ πλέοντες, καὶ σπείροντες πλουτῆσαι ἐλπίζομεν. Εἰ τοίνυν, ὡς ἀποδέδεικται, ἡ ἀγάπη φύσει καὶ ἀρετὴ ἐν ἡμῖν καθέστηκε, σύνδεσμος δὲ καὶ πλήρωμα νόμου αὕτη, οὐκοῦν οὐ πόῤῥω τῆς φύσεως αἱ ἀρεταὶ καθεστήκασι, καὶ αἰσχυνθείησαν οἱ ἀδυναμίαν ἐπὶ τῇ τούτων ἐργασίᾳ προβαλλόμενοι.

26.68. Above nature are chastity, freedom from anger, humility, prayer, vigil, fasting, constant compunction. Some of them men teach us, others angels, and of others the Teacher and Giver is God the Word Himself.

 Ὑπὲρ φύσιν ἁγνεία, ἀοργησία, ταπεινοφροσύνη, προσευχὴ, ἀγρυπνία, νηστεία, κατάνυξις διηνεκής.  Τούτων τῶν μὲν ἄνθρωποι, τῶν δὲ ἄγγελοι, τῶν δὲ αὐτὸς ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος καθέστηκε διδάσκαλος καὶ δοτήρ·

On expert discernment

  Περὶ διακρίσεως εὐδιακρίτου.

26.110. As the hart parched by the heat longs for the streams, so monks long for grasp of the good and divine will, and not only that, but also for what is not the pure will of God, and even for what is opposed to it. This is a subject that is extremely important for us and not easily explained, namely: which of our affairs should be done at once, without delay, and as soon as possible, according to him who said: Woe to him who puts off from day to day, and from time to time; and again, what should be done with moderation and circumspection, as is advised by him who said: War is a matter for guidance, and again: Let all things be done decently and in order. For it is not for everyone to decide quickly and precisely such fine points. Even the God-bearing David who had the Holy Spirit speaking within him, prayed for this gift and sometimes says: Teach me to do Thy will, for Thou art my God, and sometimes again: Guide me to Thy truth, and again: Make known to me the way I should go, O Lord, for I lift up my soul from all the cares of life and passions, and raise it to Thee.

Ὃν τρόπον ἐπιποθεῖ ἡ ἔλαφος φλεγομένη τὰ νάματα, οὕτως παρὰ μοναχοῖς ἐπιποθεῖται ἡ τοῦ θείου καὶ ἀγαθοῦ θελήματος κατάληψις· οὐ μὴν δὲ ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῦ συγκεκραμένου, ἔτι δὲ καὶ τοῦ ἐναντίου ἡ ἐπίγνωσις.  Περὶ ὧν πολὺ ἡμῖν ὄντως ὁ λόγος  καὶ δυσερμήνευτος· καὶ ποῖά τε τῶν πραγμάτων, καθ’ ἡμᾶς ἀνυπερθέτως ὀφείλουσι γίνεσθαι· καὶ πάσης ἀναμονῆς ὀξυτέρως, κατὰ τὸν λέγοντα· Οὐαὶ ὁ ἀναβαλλόμενος ἡμέραν ἐξ ἡμέρας, καὶ καιρὸν ἐκ καιροῦ.  Ποῖα δὲ πάλιν μετὰ ἐπιεικείας καὶ περισκέψεως· ὡς παραινεῖ ὁ εἰρηκώς, Μετὰ κυβερνήσεως γίνεται πόλεμος, καὶ πάλιν· Πάντα εὐσχημόνως, καὶ κατὰ τάξιν γινέσθω.  Οὐκ ἔστι γὰρ, οὐκ ἔστι τῶν τυχόντων τὰ τοιάδε δυσδιάκριτα θᾶττον εὐκρινῶς διαγνῶναι, εἴπερ καὶ ὁ θεοφόρος, καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα ἐν ἑαυτῷ λαλοῦν ἔχων, τοῦτο πολλάκις φαίνεται προσευχόμενος· καὶ ποτὲ μὲν λέγων· Δίδαξόν με τοῦ ποιεῖν τὸ θέλημά σου, ὅτι σὺ εἶ ὁ Θεός μου· ποτὲ δὲ πάλιν· Ὁδήγησόν με ἐπὶ τὴν ἀλήθειάν σου· καὶ πάλιν· Γνώρισόν μοι, Κύριε, ὁδὸν, ἐν ᾗ πορεύσομαι, ὅτι πρὸς σὲ ἀπὸ πάσης μερίμνης βιωτικῆς, καὶ πάθους τὴν ψυχήν μου ἦρα καὶ ὕψωσα.  Ὅσοι τὸ τοῦ Κυρίου μαθεῖν ἠβουλήθησαν θέλημα, ἐν αὐτοῖς θανεῖν κεχρεωστήκασιν [al.

26.111. Those who wish to learn the will of the Lord must first mortify their own will. Then, having prayed to God with faith and honest simplicity, and having asked the fathers or even the brothers with humility of heart and no thought of doubt, they should accept their advice as from the mouth of God, even if their advice be contrary to their own view, and even if those consulted are not very spiritual. For God is not unjust, and will not lead astray souls who with faith and innocence humbly submit to the advice and judgment of their neighbour. Even if those who were asked were brute beasts, yet He who speaks is the Immaterial and Invisible One. Those who allow themselves to be guided by this rule without having any doubts are filled with great humility. For if someone expounded his problems on a harp,[44] how much better, do you think, can a rational mind and reasonable soul teach than an inanimate object.

 τὸ ἑαυτὸν πρότερον θανατῶσαι]· πίστει τοίνυν καὶ ἀπονήρῳ [al. ἑαυτοὺς ἀπαρνούμενοι πίστει, etc. ]ἁπλότητι προσευξάμενοι, καὶ ψυχὰς πατέρων ἢ καὶ ἀδελφῶν ἐν ταπεινώσει καὶ ἀνενδοιάστῳ καρδίᾳ ἐρωτήσαντες, ὡς ἐκ Θεοῦ στόματος τὰ παρ’ αὐτῶν συμβουλευόμενα δεχέσθωσαν· εἰ καὶ ἐναντία τῷ ἑαυτῶν σκοπῷ τὰ εἰρημένα τυγχάνουσιν, εἰ καὶ μὴ πάνυ πνευματικοὶ οἱ ἐρωτηθέντες καθεστήκασιν· οὐκ ἔστι γὰρ ἄδικος ὁ Θεὸς ψυχὰς πίστει καὶ ἀκακίᾳ ἑαυτὰς τῇ τοῦ πλησίον συμβουλῇ καὶ κρίσει ταπεινωσάσας ἀπατῆσαι, κἂν ἄλογοι οἱ ἐρωτηθέντες τυγχάνωσιν· ἀλλ’ ὁ λαλῶν ἄϋλος καὶ ἀόρατος. Πολλῆς ταπεινοφροσύνης ἀνάπλεοι καθεστήκασιν, οἱ τῷ προειρημένῳ ἡμῖν ἀνενδοιάστως στοιχοῦντες κανόνι.  Εἰ γὰρ ἐν ψαλτηρίῳ τὸ ἑαυτοῦ τις ἤνοιγε πρόβλημα, πόσον οἴεσθε λογικὸν νοῦν καὶ ψυχὴν νοερὰν ἀψύχου διαφέρειν ἀποφθέγματος;

26.112. On account of self-will many have not accepted the perfect and easy blessing mentioned above, and having tried to discover what was pleasing to the Lord of themselves and in themselves, have handed on to us many and various judgments concerning this matter.

Πολλοὶ οἱ μήπω τὸ τέλειον τοῦτο καὶ κοῦφον ἀγαθὸν τὸ προειρημένον ἐξ αὐταρεσκείας κατειληφότες· ἀλλ’ ἐξ ἑαυτῶν καὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς τὸ τοῦ Κυρίου καταλαβεῖν εὐάρεστον ἐπιχειρήσαντες, ποικίλας ἡμῖν λίαν καὶ πλείστας τὰς περὶ τούτου κρίσεις ὑφηγήσαντο.

26.113. Some of those who were seeking the will of God laid aside all attachments; they submitted to the Lord their own thought about this or that inclination of the soul, I mean whether to perform an action or to resist it; they submitted their mind stripped of its own will to Him, offering fervent prayer for a set number of days. In this way they attained to a knowledge of His will, either through the spiritual Mind spiritually communicating with their mind or through the complete disappearance from their soul of their cherished intention.

 Ἀπέστησάν τινες τῶν συζητητῶν πάσης προσπαθείας, τὸν ἑαυτὸν λογισμὸν ἐπὶ ταῖς ἑκατέραις βουλαῖς τῆς ψυχῆς, λέγω δὴ τῇ ἐπιχειρουμένῃ καὶ τῇ ἀντιλεγούσῃ, καὶ γυμνὸν τὸν ἑαυτὸν νοῦν οἰκείου θελήματος ἐν ζεούσῃ δεήσει ἐπὶ ῥητὰς ἡμέρας παραστήσαντες τῷ Κυρίῳ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ ἐπέτυχον· ἢ νοὸς νοεροῦ νοερῶς τῷ ἡμετέρῳ νοῒ συλλαλήσαντος, ἢ τῆς μιᾶς ἐννοίας τελέως τῆς ψυχῆς ἐξαφανισθείσης.

26.114. Others on account of the trouble and distractions which attended their undertaking concluded that these disturbances came from God, according to him who said: We wanted to come to you time and again but Satan hindered us.[45]

 Ἄλλοι ἐκ τῆς ἐπακολουθείσης τῷ ἐγχειρήματι θλίψεως καὶ διασκεδασμοῦ τοῦτο θεῖον εἶναι κατέλαβον κατὰ τὸν εἰπόντα· Ἠθελήσαμεν ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς, καὶ ἅπαξ, καὶ δὶς, καὶ ἐνέκοψεν ἡμᾶς ὁ Σατανᾶς.

26.115. Others, on the contrary, recognized that their action was pleasing to God from its unexpected success, declaring: God co-operates with everyone who deliberately chooses to do good.

 Ἕτεροι τὸ ἐναντίον πάλιν  ἐκ τῆς ἀπροσδοκήτου ἐν τῷ πράγματι συνεργίας τοῦτο Θεῷ εὐαπόδεκτον ᾔσθοντο, λέξαντες ἐκεῖνο, τὸ, Παντὶ τῷ προαιρουμένῳ τὸ ἀγαθὸν συνεργεῖ ὁ Θεός.

26.116. He who has obtained God within him through illumination, both in actions requiring haste and in actions allowing of delay, is assured of His will by the second way, only without a definite period of time.

 Ὁ Θεὸν ἐν ἑαυτῷ διὰ φωτισμοῦ κτησάμενος, καὶ ἐν τοῖς κατεπείγουσι, καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἀναμένουσι πράγμασι τῷ δευτέρῳ τρόπῳ οὐ μέντοι χρόνῳ πληροφορεῖσθαι πέφυκε.

26.150. Some set aside one commandment for the sake of another commandment. I have seen young men who were attached to one another in a right spirit. Yet in order not to offend other men’s consciences, by mutual agreement they kept apart for a time.

 Ἔστιν ὁ διὰ ἐντολὴν, ἐντολὴν παρακρουόμενος.  Εἶδον γὰρ κατὰ Θεὸν νέους ἑαυτοῖς προσκειμένους· καὶ μέντοι διὰ τὴν ἑτέρων βλάβην καὶ συνείδησιν, ἀλλήλους πληροφορήσαντες, πρὸς χρόνον ἐμάκρυναν.

26.152. At the beginning of the monastic life some of the unclean demons instruct us in the interpretation of the Divine Scriptures. And they are particularly fond of behaving in this way in the case of vainglorious people and of those who have been educated in secular studies so that by gradually deceiving them they may lead them into heresy and blasphemy. We can recognize this diabolical divinity, or rather, devilry, by the disturbances and the confused and unholy joy which are felt in the soul during the instruction.

 Εἰσί τινες τῶν ἀκαθάρτων δαιμόνων τὴν τῶν θείων Γραφῶν ἑρμηνείαν ἐν προοιμίοις ἡμῖν ὑφηγούμενοι· τοῦτο δὲ μάλιστα φιλοῦσι ποιεῖν ἐν ταῖς τῶν κενοδόξων καρδίαις, καὶ μάλιστα τῶν τὴν ἔξω παίδευσιν ἐξησκημένων, ἵνα κατὰ μικρὸν αὐτοὺς ἀπατῶντες εἰς αἱρέσεις καὶ βλασφημίας καταγάγωσιν.  Ἐκ τῆς ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τῆς ὑφηγήσεως, ταραχῆς καὶ χαρᾶς διακεχυμένης καὶ ἀσέμνου τὴν τῶν δαιμόνων θεολογίαν, μᾶλλον δὲ θεομαχίαν ἐπιγνωσόμεθα.

26.188. It is the privilege of the perfect to know unerringly whether a thought in the soul comes from their own consciousness, or from God, or from the demons; for the demons do not at first suggest everything that is repugnant. This is indeed a dark problem and hard to solve.

 Τελείων τὸ ἐπιγνῶναι ἀεὶ ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ, ποία μὲν τοῦ συνειδότος, ποία δὲ Θεοῦ, καὶ ποία δαιμόνων ἔννοια.  Οὐ γὰρ πάντα ἐναντία ἐκ προοιμίων ὑποτίθενται οἱ δαίμονες.  Διὸ καὶ σκοτεινὸν ὄντως τὸ πρόβλημα.

Brief summary of all the previous steps

  Ἀνακεφαλαίωσις ἐν ἐπιτομῇ τῶν προειρημένων λόγων αὐτοῦ.

26.190.1 Firm faith is the mother of renunciation. The opposite of this is self-evident.

Πίστις βεβαία ἀποταγῆς μήτηρ· τὸ δὲ ἐναντίον πρόδηλον.

26.190.2 Unwavering hope is the door to detachment. The opposite of this is self-evident.

Ἐλπὶς ἀκλινὴς ἀπροσπαθείας θύρα· τὸ δὲ ἐναντίον πρόδηλον.

26.190.3 Love of God is the foundation of exile. The opposite is self-evident.

Ἀγάπη Θεοῦ, ξενιτείας ὑπόθεσις· τὸ δὲ ἐναντίον πρόδηλον.

26.190.4 Obedience is born of self-condemnation and desire for health.

Ὑποταγὴν ἔτεκεν ἑαυτοῦ κατάγνωσις, καὶ ὑγείας ὄρεξις.

26.190.5. Temperance[77] is the mother of health. The mother of temperance is the thought of death and firm remembrance of our Lord’s gall and vinegar.

Ἐγκράτεια μήτηρ ὑγείας· ἐγκρατείας μήτηρ, θανάτου ἔννοια καὶ μνήμη παγία χολῆς καὶ ὄξους Δεσπότου καὶ Θεοῦ.

26.190.6. The helper and foundation of chastity is solitude. The quenching of fleshly burning is fasting. The adversary of shameful thoughts is contrition of heart.

Σωφροσύνης βοηθός ἐστι, καὶ ὑπόθεσις ἡσυχία· πυρώσεως θραῦσις νηστεία. Λογισμῶν τε πονηρῶν καὶ αἰσχρῶν συντριμμὸς διανοίας ἀντίπαλος·

26.190.7. Faith and exile are the death of cupidity. But compassion and love betray the body.

πίστις καὶ ξενιτεία θάνατος φιλαργυρίας. Συμπάθεια δὲ καὶ ἀγάπη προέδωκαν σῶμα.

26.190.8. Unflagging prayer is the ruin of despondency. Remembrance of the judgment is a means of fervour.

Προσευχὴ ἐκτενὴς, ὄλεθρος ἀκηδίας· Μνήμη δὲ κρίσεως προθυμίας πρόξενος.

26.190.9. Love of indignity is a cure for anger. Hymnody, compassion and poverty are the suffocation of sorrow.

Θυμοῦ ἴαμα, ἀτιμίας ἀγάπη· ὑμνῳδία δὲ καὶ συμπάθεια καὶ ἀκτημοσύνη λύπης πνιγμοσύνη.

26.190.10. Detachment from things of the senses is contemplation of spiritual things.

Ἀπροσπάθεια δὲ αἰσθητῶν, θεωρία νοητῶν.

26.190.11. Quietness and solitude are the foes of vainglory. And if you are amongst people, seek dishonour.

Σιωπὴ καὶ ἡσυχία κενοδοξίας πολέμιοι.  Εἰ δὲ μέσος ὑπάρχεις, ἀτιμίαν μέτελθε.

26.190.12. Visible pride is cured by grim conditions, but invisible pride can be healed only by Him who is eternally Invisible.[78]

Ὑπερηφανίαν ὁρωμένην ἰάσονται σκυθρωπαὶ καταστάσεις· ἀόρατον δὲ ὁ πρὸ αἰώνων ἀόρατος.

26.190.13. The deer is a destroyer of all visible snakes, but humility destroys spiritual ones.[79]

Πάντων θηρίων αἰσυητῶν ἀναιρετικὴ ἔλαφος, νοητῶν δὲ, ἡ ταπείνωσις.

26.190.14. By means of what is natural we can be trained to a clear conception of the spiritual.

Ἔνεστι διὰ τῶν κατὰ φύσιν πάντων ἡμῶν ἐναργῶς τὰ νοητὰ παιδεύεσθαι.

26.190.15. As a snake cannot strip itself of its old skin unless it crawls into a tight hole, neither can we shed our old prejudices, our oldness of soul and the garment of the old man unless we go by the strait and narrow way of fasting and dishonour.

 Ὥσπερ ὄφιν ἀδύνατον τὴν ἑαυτοῦ παλαιότητα ἐκδύσασθαι, μὴ ἐν στενῇ ὀπῇ εἰσδύντα· οὕτως καὶ ἡμᾶς τὰς παλαιὰς προλήψεις, καὶ τὴν τῆς ψυχῆς παλαιότητα, καὶ τὸν τοῦ παλαιοῦ ἀνθρώπου χιτῶνα, οὐ μὴ ἀποβάλωμεν, ἐὰν μὴ τῆς στενῆς, καὶ τεθλιμμένης νηστείας, καὶ ἀτιμίας ὁδὸν παρέλθωμεν.

26.190.16. It is just as impossible for the person who nourishes and panders to his flesh to fly to heaven as it is for an overfed bird.

Ὥσπερ τὰ πολύσαρκα τῶν ὀρνίθων εἰς οὐρανὸν πετασθῆναι ἀδύνατον· οὕτω καὶ τὸν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα θεραπεύοντα.

26.190.17. Dried up mire offers no attraction for swine, and in exhausted flesh demons no longer find anywhere to rest.

Ξηρανθεὶς βόρβορος οὐκ ἔτι χοίρους θεραπεύει, καὶ μαρανθεῖσα σὰρξ οὐκ ἔτι δαίμονας ἀναπαύει.

26.190.18. As too many sticks often choke a fire and put it out, while making a lot of smoke, so excessive sorrow often makes the soul smoky and dark, and dries the stream of tears.

Ὥσπερ σχιδάκων πλῆθος πολλάκις συμπνίγει φλόγα, καὶ ἀποσβέννυσι, πλῆθος καπνοῦ ἐργασάμενον· οὕτω πολλάκις καὶ λύπη ὑπέρμετρος καπνώδη καὶ σκοτεινὴν τὴν ψυχὴν ἐργάζεται, καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ τῶν δακρύων ἀποξηραίνει.

26.190.19. As a blind man is no use as an archer, so a contradictory pupil is a lost one.

Ὥσπερ τυφλὸς τοξότης ἀδόκιμος· οὕτως μαθητὴς ἀντίλογος ἀπόλλυται.

26.190.20. As tempered iron can sharpen untempered, so a fervent brother has often saved an indolent one.

Ὥσπερ σίδηρος δόκιμος, καὶ τὸν ἀδόκιμον ὀξῦναι δύναται· οὕτως ἀδελφὸς πρόθυμος τὸν ῥᾴθυμον πολλάκις ἔσωσεν.

26.190.21. As eggs that are warmed in dung hatch out, so (bad) thoughts that are not confessed hatch out and proceed to action.

Ὥσπερ τὰ ὠὰ ἐν κόλπῳ θαλπόμενα ζωογονοῦνται· οὕτως καὶ λογισμοὶ μὴ φανερούμενοι, εἰς ἔργα προφαίνουσι.

26.190.22. As galloping horses race one another, so a good community excites mutual fervour.

Ὥσπερ ἵπποι τρέχοντες ἀλλήλοις ἁμιλλῶνται· οὕτως συνοδία ἀγαθὴ ἑαυτὴν διεγείρει.

26.190.23. Just as clouds hide the sun, so evil thoughts darken and ruin the mind.

Ὥσπερ αἱ νεφέλαι ὑποκρύπτουσι τὸν ἥλιον· οὕτως αἱ πονηραὶ ἔννοιαι σκοτίζουσι, καὶ ἀπολλύουσι τὸν νοῦν.

26.190.24. As the man under sentence who is going to execution will not talk about theatres, so he who truly weeps for himself will never gratify his stomach.

Ὥσπερ ὁ τὴν ἀπόφασιν εἰληφὼς, καὶ πρὸς τὴν καταδίκην πορευόμενος, οὐ λαλεῖ περὶ θεάτρων· οὕτως οὐδὲ ὁ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ πενθῶν, γαστέρα θεραπεύσει ποτέ.

26.190.25. When poor men see the royal treasury they are still more conscious of their poverty, and so too when the soul reads about the great virtues of the Fathers it at least comes to a more humble frame of mind.

Ὥσπερ πένητες θησαυροὺς βασιλικοὺς ὁρῶντες ἐπὶ πλεῖον τὴν ἑαυτῶν πτωχείαν ἐπιγινώσκουσιν· οὕτως καὶ ψυχὴ τὰς μεγάλας τῶν πατέρων ἀρετὰς ἀναγινώσκουσα, πάντως ταπεινότερον ποιεῖται τὸ ἑαυτῆς φρόνημα.

26.190.26. As steel is attracted to the magnet even without meaning to be, for it is drawn by an inexplicable force of nature, so he who has contracted sinful habits is tyrannized by them.

Ὥσπερ καὶ μὴ βουλόμενος ὁ σίδηρος ὑπακούει τῷ μαγνίτῃ [al. μαγνήτιδι]· οὕτω καὶ οἱ ποιωθέντες ταῖς προλήψεσι, τυραννοῦνται ὑπ’ αὐτῶν.

26.190.27. As oil tames the sea, even though it is reluctant to do this, so fasting quenches the involuntary burnings of the body.

Ὥσπερ τὸ ἔλαιον καὶ μὴ βουλομένην ἡμεροῖ τὴν θάλασσαν· οὕτως καὶ ἡ νηστεία, καὶ ἀκουσίας κατασβεννύει τὰς τοῦ σώματος πυρώσεις.

26.190.28. As a dammed stream of water rushes upwards, so often the soul that is pressed by dangers ascends to God and is saved through penitence.

Ὥσπερ στενούμενον ὕδωρ εἰς ὕψος ἀνατρέχει· οὕτω πολλάκις καὶ ψυχὴ ὑπὸ κινδύνων στενωθεῖσα  πρὸς Θεὸν διὰ μετανοίας ἀνῆλθε καὶ ἐσώθη.

26.190.29. As he who carries perfumes with him makes his presence felt by the fragrance whether he wants to or not, so he who has the Spirit of the Lord is known by his words and his humility.

Ὥσπερ ὁ ἀρώματα βαστάζων, καὶ μὴ θέλων ἐκ τῆς ὀσμῆς ἐλέγχεται· οὕτως καὶ ὁ Πνεῦμα Κυρίου ἔχων, ἐκ τῶν αὐτοῦ λόγων καὶ τῆς ταπεινώσεως γνωρίζεται.

26.190.65. The lessening of evil breeds abstinence from evil; and abstinence from evil is the beginning of repentance; and the beginning of repentance is the beginning of salvation; and the beginning of salvation is a good intention; and a good intention is the mother of labours. And the beginning of labours is the virtues; the beginning of the virtues is a flowering, and the flowering of virtue is the beginning of activity. And the offspring of virtue is perseverance; and the fruit and offspring of persevering practice is habit, and the child of habit is character. Good character is the mother of fear; and fear gives birth to the keeping of commandments in which I include both heavenly and earthly. The keeping of the commandments is a sign of love; and the beginning of love is an abundance of humility; and an abundance of humility is the daughter of dispassion; and the acquisition of the latter is the fullness of love, that is to say the perfect indwelling of God in those who through dispassion are pure in heart. For they shall see God. And to Him the glory for all eternity. Amen.

Μείωσις μὲν κακοῦ τίκτει ἀποχὴν κακοῦ· ἀποχὴ δὲ κακοῦ, ἀρχὴ μετανοίας· ἀρχὴ δὲ μετανοίας ἀρχὴ σωτηρίας· ἀρχὴ δὲ σωτηρίας πρόθεσις ἀγαθή.  Πρόθεσις δὲ ἀγαθὴ γεννήτρια πόνων· πόνων δὲ ἀρχὴ, ἀρεταί· ἀρχὴ δὲ ἀρετῶν ἄνθος· ἄνθος δὲ ἀρετῆς ἐργασία· ἀρετῆς δὲ γέννημα συνέχεια· συνεχεστέρας δὲ μελέτης καρπὸς καὶ γέννημα, ἕξις· ἕξεως δὲ τόκος ποίωσις· καλοῦ δὲ ποίωσις γεννήτρια φόβου.  Φόβος δὲ τίκτει τήρησιν ἐνταλμάτων, ἐπουρανίων λέγω δὴ καὶ ἐπιγείων· ἐνταλμάτων φυλακὴ ἀγάπης τεκμήριον· ἀγάπης δὲ ἀρχὴ πλῆθος ταπεινώσεως.  Πλῆθος δὲ ταπεινώσεως θυγάτηρ ἀπαθείας· ταύτης δὲ κτῆσις ἀγάπης πλήρωμα· εἴτ’ οὖν Θεοῦ τελεία ἐνοίκησις τοῖς δι’ ἀπαθείας καθαροῖς τῇ καρδίᾳ· ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν Θεὸν ὄψονται· αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.






STEP 27 On holy tranquility [hesychia] [1] of body and soul.

(27.) ΛΟΓΟΣ ΚΖʹ. Περὶ τῆς ἱερᾶς σώματος καὶ ψυχῆς ἡσυχίας.









27.58. It is better to live (as a cenobite) in poverty and obedience than to be a solitary who has no control of his mind.

κρείσσων ὑποτακτικὸς πτωχὸς ὑπὲρ ἡσυχαστὴν περισπώμενον.

27.59. He who has entered into solitude in the right way and does not see its daily reward is either practising it in the wrong way or else is being robbed of this by his self-esteem.

 Ὁ λόγῳ τὴν ἡσυχίαν μετιὼν, καὶ τὸ αὐτῆς κέρδος καθ’ ἡμέραν μὴ καθορῶν, ἢ οὐ λόγῳ ἡσύχασεν, ἢ οἰήσει κλέπτεται.

27.60. Solitude is unceasing worship and waiting upon God.

 Ἡ ἡσυχία ἐστὶ ἀδιάσπαστος Θεῷ λατρεία, καὶ παράστασις

27.61. Let the remembrance of Jesus be present with each breath, and then you will know the value of solitude.

· ἡ Ἰησοῦ μνήμη ἑνωθήτω τῇ πνοῇ σου καὶ τότε γνώσῃ ἡσυχίας ὠφέλειαν.

27.62. For the monk under obedience self-will is the fall, but for the solitary it is a breach in prayer.

 Πτῶμα μὲν ὑπηκόῳ τὸ οἰκεῖον θέλημα· ἡσυχίῳ δὲ προσευχῆς διάστασις.

27.63. If you rejoice in having visitors to your cell, know that you are not taking a holiday from despondency alone, but from God.

 Ἐὰν ἐπιχαίρῃ παρουσίαις ἐν κέλλῃ, γίνωσκε σεαυτὸν ἀκηδίᾳ μόνῃ, καὶ οὐ Θεῷ σχολάζοντα.

27.78. Devote the greater part of the night to prayer and only what is left to recital of the psalter. And during the day again prepare yourself according to your strength.

Νύκτωρ μὲν τὰ πολλὰ τῇ προσευχῇ δίδου, τὰ δὲ βραχέα τῇ ψαλμῳδίᾳ· ἡμέρα[ς] δὲ πρὸς τὴν σὴν πάλιν παρασκευάζου δύναμιν·

27.77. Reading enlightens the mind considerably, and helps it concentrate. For those are the Holy Spirit’s words and they attune those who attend to them. Let what you read lead you to action, for you are a doer. Putting these words into practice makes further reading superfluous. Seek to be enlightened by the words of salvation through your labours, and not merely from books. Until you receive spiritual power do not study works of an allegorical nature because they are dark words, and they darken the weak.

οὐ μετρίως φωτίζειν καὶ ἐπισυνάγειν τὸν νοῦν ἡ ἀνάγνωσις πέφυκε· λόγοι γὰρ Πνεύματος ἁγίου ὑπάρχουσι, καὶ τοὺς μετερχομένους πάντως ῥυθμίζουσιν· ἔστω σοι ἐργάτῃ ὄντι τὰ ἀναγινωσκόμενα πρακτικά· τούτων γὰρ ἡ ἐργασία περιττὴν ποιεῖ τὴν τῶν λοιπῶν ἀνάγνωσιν· πόνοις μᾶλλον, καὶ μὴ δέλτοις τοὺς τῆς ὑγείας λόγους φωτίζεσθαι ζήτει· ἀλλοτριονόους πρὸ δυνάμεως πνευματικῆς, μὴ μετέρχου λόγους. Σκότους γὰρ ὄντα ῥήματα, τοὺς ἀδυνάτους σκοτίζουσι·







STEP 28 - On holy and blessed prayer, mother of virtues, and on the attitude of mind and body in prayer.

 (28. ) ΛΟΓΟΣ ΚΗʹ. Περὶ τῆς ἱερᾶς καὶ μητρὸς τῶν ἀρετῶν τῆς μακαρίας προσευχῆς· καὶ περὶ τῆς ἐν αὐτῇ νοερᾶς, καὶ αἰσθητῆς παραστάσεως.







28.1. Prayer by reason of its nature is the converse and union of man with God, and by reason of its action upholds the world and brings about reconciliation with God; it is the mother and also the daughter of tears, the propitiation for sins, a bridge over temptations, a wall against afflictions, a crushing of conflicts, work of angels, food of all the spiritual beings, future gladness, boundless activity, the spring of virtues, the source of graces, invisible progress, food of the soul, the enlightening of the mind, an axe for despair, a demonstration of hope, the annulling of sorrow, the wealth of monks, the treasure of solitaries, the reduction of anger, the mirror of progress, the realization of success, a proof of one’s condition, a revelation of the future, a sign of glory. For him who truly prays, prayer is the court, the judgment hall and the tribunal of the Lord before the judgment to come.

Προσευχή ἐστι κατὰ μὲν τὴν αὐτῆς ποιότητα συνουσία καὶ ἕνωσις ἀνθρώπου καὶ Θεοῦ· κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἐνέργειαν, κόσμου σύστασις· Θεοῦ καταλλαγὴ, δακρύων μήτηρ καὶ πάλιν θυγάτηρ, ἁμαρτημάτων ἱλασμὸς, πειρασμῶν γέφυρα, θλίψεων μεσότοιχον, πολέμων θραῦσις, ἀγγέλων ἔργον, ἀσωμάτων πάντων τροφή· ἡ μέλλουσα εὐφροσύνη, ἀπέραντος ἐργασία, ἀρετῶν πηγὴ, χαρισμάτων πρόξενος, προκοπὴ ἀόρατος, τροφὴ ψυχῆς, νοῦ φωτισμὸς, ἀπογνώσεως πέλυξ, ἐλπίδος ἀπόδειξις, λύπης λύσις, πλοῦτος μοναχῶν, ἡσυχαστῶν θησαυρὸς, θυμοῦ μείωσις, ἔσοπτρον προκοπῆς, μέτρων ἐμφάνεια, καταστάσεως δήλωσις, τῶν μελλόντων μηνυτὴς, κλέους σημασία. Προσευχή ἐστι τῷ ὄντως εὐχομένῳ δικαστήριον καὶ κριτήριον, καὶ βῆμα Κυρίου, πρὸ τοῦ βήματος μέλλοντος·

28.5. Let your prayer be completely simple. For both the publican and the prodigal son were reconciled to God by a single phrase.

Ἔστω σοι ὅλον τὸ τῆς δεήσεως ἀποίκιλον· ἑνὶ γὰρ λόγῳ τελώνης, καὶ ἄσωτος τὸν Θεὸν διήλλαξαν· μία μὲν ἡ τῶν παρισταμένων παράστασις·

28.6. The attitude of prayer is one and the same for all, but there are many kinds of prayer and many different prayers. Some converse with God as with a friend and master, interceding with praise and petition not for themselves but for others. Some strive for more (spiritual) riches and glory and for confidence in prayer. Others ask for complete deliverance from their adversary. Some beg to receive some kind of rank; others for complete forgiveness of debts. Some ask to be released from prison; others for remission of accusations.

πολὺ δὲ ἐν αὐτῇ τὸ ποικίλον, καὶ τὸ διάφορον κέκτηται· οἱ μὲν ὡς φίλῳ καὶ Δεσπότῃ ἐντυγχάνουσι, τῆς ἑτέρων λοιπὸν, καὶ οὐ τῆς αὐτῶν ἀντιλήψεως ἕνεκα, τὸν ὕμνον, καὶ τὴν ἱκεσίαν προσάγοντες· ἄλλοι πλοῦτον καὶ δόξαν, καὶ παῤῥησίαν πλείονα ἐπιζητοῦντες· ἕτεροι τοῦ ἀντιδίκου τοῦ ἑαυτῶν εἰς τέλεον ἀπαλλαγῆναι αἰτοῦντες· τινὲς μὲν ἀξίαν τινὰ λήψεσθαι δυσωποῦντες· ἄλλοι τελείαν τὴν τοῦ χρέους ἀμεριμνίαν· τινὲς μὲν φυλακῆς ἐλευθερίαν· ἄλλοι δὲ ἐγκλημάτων  λύσιν.

28.7. Before all else let us list sincere thanksgiving first on our prayer-card. On the second line we should put confession, and heartfelt contrition of soul. Then let us present our petition to the King of all. This is the best way of prayer, as it was shown to one of the brethren by an angel of the Lord.

 Πρὸ πάντων ἐν τῷ τῆς ἡμετέρας δεήσεως χάρτῃ εὐχαριστίαν εἰλικρινῆ κατατάξωμεν.

 Δεύτερον δὲ στίχον, ἐξομολόγησιν, καὶ συντριμμὸν ψυχῆς ἐν ἀναισθήσει· εἶθ’ οὕτως τὴν αἴτησιν ἡμῶν τῷ Παμβασιλεῖ γνωρίσωμεν.

 Ἄριστος γὰρ ὁ εἰρημένος προσευχῆς τρόπος, ὥς τινι τῶν ἀδελφῶν ὑπὸ ἀγγέλου Κυρίου δεδήλωται.

28.11. If you feel sweetness or compunction at some word of your prayer, dwell on it; for then our guardian angel is praying with us.

Μονολογία δὲ πολλάκις τὸν νοῦν συνάγειν πέφυκε καθηδυνόμενος, ἢ κατανυσσόμενος ἐν λόγῳ προσευχῆς, μένε ἐν αὐτῷ· ὁ γὰρ φύλαξ ἡμῶν τό τε ὑπάρχει ὁ συμπροσευχόμενος ἡμῖν

28.12. Do not be bold, even though you may have attained purity; but rather approach with great humility, and you will receive still more boldness.

· μὴ παῤῥησιάζου, κἂν καθαρότητα κέκτησαι· ταπεινοφροσύνῃ δὲ μᾶλλον πολλῇ πρόσελθε, καὶ πλεῖον παῤῥησιασθήσῃ·

28.13. Though you may have climbed the whole ladder of the virtues, pray for forgiveness of sins. Listen to the cry of Paul regarding sinners: Of whom I am the first.

κἂν πᾶσαν τὴν κλίμακα τῶν ἀρετῶν ἀναβέβηκας, ὑπὲρ ἀφέσεως ἁμαρτιῶν προσεύχου· ἀκούων Παύλου περὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν βοῶντος· Ὧν πρῶτος εἰμὶ ἐγώ.

28.19. The beginning of prayer consists in banishing the thoughts that come to us by single ejaculations the very moment that they appear; the middle stage consists in confining our minds to what is being said and thought; and its perfection is rapture in the Lord.

Ἀρχὴ μὲν προσευχῆς προσβολαὶ μονολογίστως διωκόμεναι ἐκ προοιμίων αὐτῶν.

 Μεσότης τὸ ἐν τοῖς λεγομένοις ἢ νοουμένοις μόνοις εἶναι τὴν διάνοιαν. Τὸ δὲ ταύτης τέλειον ἁρπαγὴ πρὸς Κύριον

28.20. One kind of joy occurs at the time of prayer for those living in a community, and another comes to those who pray as solitaries. The one is perhaps somewhat elated, but the other is wholly filled with humility.

Ἄλλη ἡ ἀγαλλίασις ἡ ἐν προσευχῇ τοῖς ἐν συνοδίᾳ διάγουσιν ἐπισυμβαίνουσα, καὶ ἑτέρα ἡ τοῖς καθ’ ἡσυ-  χίαν προσευχομένοις προσγινομένη.

 Ἡ μὲν γὰρ ἴσως πεφάντασται μικρόν· ἡ δὲ ὅλη ταπεινοφροσύνης πεπλήρωται.

28.29. Do not say, after spending a long time at prayer, that nothing has been gained; for you have already gained something. And what higher good is there than to cling to the Lord and persevere in unceasing union with Him?

 Μὴ λέγε χρονίζων ἐν τῇ δεήσει μηδὲν κατωρθωκέναι· ἤδη γὰρ καὶ κατώρθωκας.

 Τί γὰρ καὶ ὑψηλότερον ἀγαθὸν τοῦ τῷ Κυρίῳ πρωσκολλᾶσθαι, καὶ ἐν τῇ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἑνώσει ἀδιαλείπτως προσκαρτερεῖν.

28.31. Prepare yourself for your set times of prayer by unceasing prayer in your soul, and you will soon make progress. I have seen those who shone in obedience and who tried, as far as they could, to keep in mind the remembrance of God, and the moment they stood in prayer they were at once masters of their minds, and shed streams of tears; because they were prepared for this beforehand by holy obedience.

 Προπαρασκευάζου διὰ ἐννάου ἐν ψυχῇ προσευχῆς πρὸς τὴν παράστασιν τῆς σῆς ἱκεσίας, καὶ συντόμως προκόψεις. Ἑώρακα ἐν ὑπακοῇ ἐξαστράπτοντας, καὶ τῆς κατὰ νοῦν ὅση δύναμις μνήμης Θεοῦ μὴ ἀμελοῦντας ἀθρόον ἐπὶ προσευχὴν παρασταθέντας, καὶ συντόμως τοῦ ἑαυτῶν νοὸς περιγενομένους καὶ κρουνηδὸν δάκρυα προχεομένους. Προπαρεσκευασμένοι γὰρ ὑπὸ τῆς ὁσίας ὑπακοῆς ἐτύγχανον·

28.32. Psalmody in a crowded congregation is accompanied by captivity and wandering of thoughts; but in solitude this does not happen. However, those in solitude are liable to be assailed by despondency, whereas in the former the brethren help each other by their zeal.

τῇ μὲν μετὰ πλήθους ψαλμῳδίᾳ, αἰχμαλωσίαι καὶ ῥεμβασμοὶ παρέπονται· τῇ δὲ ἰδιαζούσῃ οὐχ οὕτως· ἀλλὰ τῇ μὲν ἀκηδίᾳ πολεμεῖ, τῇ δὲ προθυμίᾳ συνεργεῖ.









STEP 30 - Concerning the linking together of the supreme trinity among the virtues.

 (30. ) ΛΟΓΟΣ Λʹ. Περὶ τοῦ συνδέσμου τῆς ἐναρέτου τριάδος ἐν ἀρεταῖς.







30.1. And now, finally, after all that we have said, there remain these three that bind and secure the union of all, faith, hope, love; and the greatest of these is love, for God Himself is so called.

Νυνὶ δὲ λοιπὸν, μετὰ πάντα τὰ προειρημένα, μένει τὰ τρία ταῦτα, τὰ τὸν σύνδεσμον πάντων ἐπισφίγ-  γοντα καὶ κρατοῦντα, πίστις, ἐλπὶς, ἀγάπη.

 Μείζων δὲ πάντων ἡ ἀγάπη· Θεὸς γὰρ ὀνομάζεται.

30.2. And (as far as I can make out) I see the one as a ray, the second as a light, the third as a circle; and in all, one radiance and one splendour.

 Πλὴν ἔγωγε τὴν μὲν ἀκτῖνα ὁρῶ, τὴν δὲ φῶς, τὴν δὲ κύκλον· πάντα δὲ ἒν ἀπαύγασμα καὶ μίαν λαμπρότητα.

30.3. The first can make and create all things; the divine mercy surrounds the second and makes it immune to disappointment; the third does not fall, does not stop in its course and allows no respite to him who is wounded by its blessed rapture.

 Ἡ μὲν γὰρ πάντα δύναται καὶ ποιεῖν, καὶ δημιουργεῖν· τὴν δὲ ἔλεος Θεοῦ περικυκλοῖ, καὶ ἀκαταίσχυντον ποιεῖ· ἡ δὲ οὐδὲ πίπτει οὐδ’ ἑστήκει τοῦ θέειν· οὐδὲ τὸν τρωθέντα ἠρεμεῖν λοιπὸν τῆς μακαρίας μανίας ἐᾷ.

30.8. Love is essentially the banishment of every kind of contrary thought for love thinks no evil.

ἀγάπη ἐστὶ κυρίως ἀπόθεσις παντοίας ἐναντίας ἐννοίας· εἴπερ ἡ ἀγάπη οὐ λογίζεται τὸ κακόν.

30.9. Love, dispassion and adoption are distinguished as sons from one another by name, and name only. Just as light, fire and flame combine to form one power, it is the same with love, dispassion and adoption.

 Ἀγάπη, καὶ ἀπάθεια, καὶ υἱοθεσία, τοῖς ὀνόμασι, καὶ μόνοις διακέκριται.  Ὡς φῶς, καὶ πῦρ, καὶ φλὸξ εἰς μίαν συντρέχουσιν ἐνέργειαν, οὕτω καὶ περὶ τούτων νόει.

30.10. As love wanes, fear appears; because he who has no fear is either filled with love or dead in soul.

Κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τῆς ἐλλείψεως ἐνυπάρχει φόβος· ὁ γὰρ φόβου χωρὶς ἀγάπης πεπλήρωται, ἢ τὴν ψυχὴν νενέκρωται·

30.11. There is nothing wrong in representing desire, and fear, and care and zeal and service and love for God in images borrowed from human life.

 οὐδὲν τὸ δυσχερὲς ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων καὶ πόθου, καὶ φόβου, καὶ σπουδῆς, καὶ ζήλου, καὶ δουλείας, καὶ ἔρωτος Θεοῦ παραθεῖναι εἰκόνας.

Blessed is he who has obtained such love and yearning for God as an enraptured lover has for his beloved.

Blessed is he who fears the Lord as much as men under trial fear the judge.

Blessed is he who is as zealous with true zeal as a well-disposed slave towards his master.

Blessed is he who has become as jealous of the virtues as husbands who remain in unsleeping watch over their wives out of jealousy.

Blessed is he who stands in prayer before the Lord as servants stand before a king.

Blessed is he who unceasingly strives to please the Lord as others try to please men.

 Μακάριος ὅστις τοιοῦτον πρὸς Θεὸν ἐκτήσατο ἔρωτα, οἷον μανικὸς ἐραστὴς πρὸς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἐρωμένην κέκτηται.
 Μακάριος ὁ οὕτως φοβηθεὶς τὸν Κύριον, ὡς δικαστὴν κατάδικοι δεδοίκασι· μακάριος ὁ οὕτως σπουδαῖος γενόμενος ἐν τῇ ὄντως σπουδῇ, ὡς εὐγνώμονες δοῦλοι πρὸς τὸν οἰκεῖον κύριον.
 Μακάριος ὃς οὕτως ζηλωτὴς ἐν ἀρεταῖς γέγονεν, ὡς οἱ περὶ τὰς ἑαυτῶν ὁμοζύγους ἐκ ζήλου νήφοντες.
 Μακάριος ὁ οὕτως Κυρίῳ ἐν προσευχῇ παριστάμενος, ὡς ὑπηρέται βασιλεῖ παρεστήκασι.
 Μακάριος ὁ Κύριον, ὡς ἀνθρώπους ἀποθεραπεύειν ἀνελλιπῶς ἀγωνιζόμενος· οὐχ οὕτως μήτηρ ὑπομαζίῳ ὡς ἀγάπης υἱὸς τῷ Κυρίῳ προσκολλᾶσθαι πέφυκε πάντοτε.

30.12. Even a mother does not so cling to the babe at her breast as a son of love clings to the Lord at all times.

 Ὁ ὄντως ἐρῶν ἀεὶ τὸ τοῦ φιλουμένου πρόσωπον φαντάζεται, καὶ τοῦτο ἔνδον ἐνηδόνως περιπτύσσεται ὁ τοιοῦτος.

30.13. He who truly loves ever keeps in his imagination the face of his beloved, and there embraces it tenderly. Such a man can get no relief from his strong desire even in sleep, even then he holds converse with his loved one. So it is with our bodily nature; and so it is in spirit. One who was wounded with love said of himself (I wonder at it): I sleep because nature requires this, but my heart is awake in the abundance of my love.

 Οὐκ ἔτι οὐδὲ καθ’ ὕπνους ἠρεμεῖν τοῦ πόθου δύναται· ἀλλὰ κἀκεῖσε πρὸς τὸ ποθούμενον ἀδολεσχεῖ.

 Οὕτως ἐπὶ σωμάτων, οὕτως ἐπὶ ἀσωμάτων πέφυκε γίνεσθαι.

 Τρωθείς τις περὶ ἑαυτοῦ ἔλεγεν, ὅπερ θαυμάζω, ὡς Ἐγὼ καθεύδω διὰ τὴν χρείαν τῆς φύσεως, ἡ δὲ καρδία μου ἀγρυπνεῖ διὰ τὸ πλῆθος τοῦ ἔρωτος.

30.14. You should notice, venerable brother, that the stag—the soul—having destroyed those reptiles, longs and faints for the Lord with the fire of love, as if struck by an arrow.

 Σημειωτέον σοι, ὦ πισυνὲ, ὅτι περ μετὰ τούτων θηρίων παρὰ τῆς ἐλάφου ψυχῆς ὄλεθρον, τότε ἐπιποθεῖ καὶ ἐκλείπει πρὸς Κύριον πυρὶ τῆς ἀγάπης, ὡς ὑπὸ ἰοῦ βαλλομένη.

30.15. The effect of hunger is vague and indefinite; but the effect of thirst is intense and obvious to all, and indicative of blazing heat. So one who yearns for God says: My soul thirsts for God, the strong, the living God.

 Ἡ μὲν τῆς  πείνης ἐνέργεια ἄδηλός τις καὶ ἀσήμαντος· ἡ δὲ τῆς δίψης ἐπιτατική τις καὶ προφανὴς, καὶ τοῦ φλογμοῦ πᾶσι σημαντική· διὰ τοῦτό φησιν ὁ Θεὸν ποθῶν· Ἐδίψησεν ἡ ψυχή μου πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν, τὸν ἰσχυρὸν, τὸν ζῶντα.

30.16. If the face of a loved one clearly and completely changes us, and makes us cheerful, gay and carefree, what will the Face of the Lord not do when He makes His Presence felt invisibly in a pure soul?

 Εἰ πρόσωπον φιλουμένου ἐναργῶς ὅλους ἡμᾶς μεταβάλλει, καὶ φαιδροὺς, καὶ ἱλαροὺς, καὶ ἀλύπους ἀπεργάζεται· τί ἂν καὶ οὐ ποιήσει πρόσωπον Δεσπότου ἐν καθαρᾷ ψυχῇ ἐπιδημίαν ἀοράτως ποιουμένου;

30.17. Fear when it is an inner conviction of the soul destroys and devours impurity, for it is said: Nail down my flesh with the fear of Thee. And holy love consumes some, according to him who said: Thou hast ravished our heart, Thou hast ravished our heart. But sometimes it makes others bright and joyful, for it is said: My heart trusted in Him and I have been helped; even my flesh has revived; and: When the heart is happy the face is cheerful. So when the whole man is in a manner commingled with the love of God, then even his outward appearance in the body, as in a kind of mirror, shows the splendour of his soul. That is how Moses who had looked upon God was glorified.

Ὁ μὲν φόβος ὅταν αἰσθήσει ψυχῆς γένηται, ἐκτήκειν καὶ κατεσθίειν τὴν ῥυπαρίαν πέφυκε. Καθήλωσον γὰρ, φησὶν, ἐκ τοῦ φόβου σου τὰς σάρκας μου.  Ἡ δὲ ὁσία ἀγάπη ἐνίους μὲν κατεσθίειν εἴωθε, κατὰ τὸν εἰπόντα· Ἐκαρδίωσας ἡμᾶς, ἐκαρδίωσας.  Ποτὲ δέ τινας λαμπρύνειν, καὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθαι ποιεῖ.  Ἐπ’ αὐτῷ γάρ φησιν· Ἤλπισεν ἡ καρδία μου καὶ ἐβοηθύνθην [ἐβοηθήθην], καὶ ἀνέταλεν [ἀνέθαλεν] ἡ σάρξ μου· καὶ καρδίας εὐφραινομένης, πρόσωπον θάλλει. Ὅταν λοιπὸν ὅλος ὁ ἄνθρωπος οἷόν πως συνανακραθῇ τῇ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀγάπῃ, τότε καὶ ἐκτὸς τοῦ ἐν τῷ σώματι ὡς δι’ ἐσόπτρου τινὸς τὴν τῆς ψυχῆς δείκνυσι λαμπρότητα· οὕτως δοξάζεται Μωϋσῆς ὁ θεόπτης ἐκεῖνος.

30.18. Those who have reached such an angelic state often forget about bodily food. I think that often they do not even feel any desire for it. And no wonder, for frequently a contrary desire knocks out the thought of food.

 Οἱ τοιοῦτον ἰσάγγελον κατειληφότες, πολλάκις τροφῆς σωματικῆς ἐπιλανθάνονται. Οἶμαι δὲ οὐδὲ συχνότερον ταύτης ὀρέγονται. Καὶ οὐ θαῦμα· εἴπερ καὶ πόθος ἐναντίος πολλάκις τροφὴν διεκρούσατο,

30.19. I think that the body of those incorruptible men is not even subject to sickness any longer, because it has been rendered incorruptible; for they have purified the inflammable flesh in the flame of purity. I think that even the food that is set before them they accept without any pleasure. For there is an underground stream that nourishes the root of a plant, and their souls too are sustained by a celestial fire.

 οἶμαι τῶν ἀφθάρτων τούτων λοιπὸν, μηδὲ, ὡς ἔτυχε, τὸ σῶμα νοσηλεύεσθαι· ἡγνίσθη γὰρ καὶ τρόπον τινὰ ἐφθαρτοποιήθη διὰ φλογὸς ἁγνείας διακοψάσης φλόγα.

 Οἶμαι μηδὲ αὐτὴν βρῶσιν, ἣν προσίενται λοιπὸν μεθ’ ἡδύτητος προσίεσθαι.

 Ὕδωρ μὲν γὰρ ὑπόγειον ῥίζαν φυτοῦ, τούτων δὲ ψυχὴν πῦρ οὐρανίον τρέφειν πέφυκεν·

30.20. The growth of fear is the beginning of love, but a complete state of purity is the foundation of divine knowledge.

αὔξησις φόβου ἀρχὴ ἀγάπης· τέλος δὲ ἁγνείας ὑπόθεσις θεολογίας. 

30.21. He who has perfectly united his feeling to God is mystically led by Him to an understanding of His words. But without this union it is difficult to speak about God.

Ὁ Θεῷ τελείως τὰς αἰσθήσεις ἑνώσας τοὺς λόγους αὐτοῦ μυσταγωγεῖται ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ· τούτων γὰρ μὴ συναφθέντων χαλεπὸν περὶ Θεοῦ διαλέγεσθαι.

30.22. The engrafted Word perfects purity, and slays death by His presence; and after the slaying of death, the disciple of divine knowledge is illumined.

 Ἐνούσιος μὲν λόγος τελειοῖ ἁγνείαν, παρουσίᾳ ἑαυτοῦ νεκρώσας τὸν θάνατον· τούτου δὲ νεκρωθέντος, ὁ τῆς θεολογίας μαθητὴς πεφώτισται.

30.23. The Word of the Lord which is from God the Father is pure, and remains so eternally. But he who has not come to know God merely speculates.

 Ὁ λόγος Κυρίου ὁ ἐκ Κυρίου ἁγνὸς διαμένων εἰς αἰῶνα αἰῶνος· ὁ γὰρ Θεὸν μὴ γνοὺς στοχαστικῶς ἀποφθέγγεται· ἁγνεία

30.24. Purity makes its disciple a theologian, who of himself grasps the dogmas of the Trinity.

μαθητὴν θεολόγον εἰργάσατο δι’ ἑαυτοῦ κρατύναντα τῆς τριάδος τῶν τριῶν [al. abest τῶν τριῶν] τὰ δόγματα.

30.25. He who loves the Lord has first loved his brother, because the second is a proof of the first.

 Ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὸν Κύριον, τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ προηγάπησεν. Ἀπόδειξις γὰρ τοῦ προτέρου τὸ δεύτερον.

30.26. One who loves his neighbour can never tolerate slanderers, but rather runs from them as from fire.

 Ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὸν πλησίον οὐδέποτε καταλαλούντων ἀνέξεται· ὡς ἀπὸ πυρὸς μᾶλλον δὲ ἀποφεύξεται.

30.27. He who says that he loves the Lord but is angry with his brother is like a man who dreams that he is running.

 Ὁ λέγων Κύριον ἀγαπᾷν καὶ τῷ ἀδελφῷ αὐτοῦ ὀργιζόμενος, ὅμοιός ἐστι τῷ καθ’ ὕπνους τρέχοντι.

30.28. The power of love is in hope, because by it we await the reward of love.

 Κράτος ἀγάπης ἐλπὶς, δι’ αὐτῆς γὰρ τὸν τῆς ἀγάπης μισθὸν ἀπεκδεχόμεθα.

30.29. Hope is a wealth of hidden riches. Hope is a treasure of assurance of the treasure in store for us.

Ἐλπίς ἐστιν ἀδήλου πλούτου πλοῦτος· ἐλπίς ἐστιν ἀνενδοίαστος πρὸ θησαυροῦ θησαυρός·

30.30. It is a rest from labours; it is the door of love; it is the superannuation of despair; it is an image of what is absent.

αὕτη κόπων ἀνάπαυλαι, αὕτη ἀγάπης θύρα, αὕτη ἀναιρεῖ ἀπόγνωσιν, αὕτη τῶν ἀπ-  όντων εἰκών·

30.30. The failure of hope is the disappearance of love. Toils are bound by it. Labours depend on it. Mercy encircles it.

ἐλπίδος ἔλλειψις, ἀγάπης ἀφανισμὸς, ταύτῃ δέδενται πόνοι, ταύτῃ κρέμανται κόποι· ταύτην κυκλοῖ ἔλεος.

30.31. A monk of good hope is a slayer of despondency; with this sword he routs it.

 Εὔελπις μοναχὸς, ἀκηδίας σφάκτης, ἐν μαχαίρᾳ ταύτης, ἐκείνην τροπούμενος,

30.32. Experience of the Lord’s gift engenders hope; he who is without experience remains in doubt.

Ἐλπίδα τίκτει δώρων Κυρίου πεῖρα· ὁ γὰρ ἄπειρος οὐκ ἀδίστακτος μένει.

30.33. Anger destroys hope, because hope does not disappoint, but a passionate man has no grace.

 Ἐλπίδα [ἐλπίς] λύει θυμός· ἡ μὲν γὰρ οὐ καταισχύνει· ἀνὴρ δὲ θυμώδης οὐκ εὐσχήμων.

30.34. Love bestows prophecy; love yields miracles; love is an abyss of illumination; love is a fountain of fire—in the measure that it bubbles up, it inflames the thirsty soul. Love is the state of angels. Love is the progress of eternity.

Ἀγάπη προφητείας χορηγός· ἀγάπη τεράτων παρεκτική· ἀγάπη ἐλλάμψεως ἄβυσσος.

 Ἀγάπη πηγὴ πυρός· ὅσον ἀναβλύσει, τοσοῦτον τὸν διψῶντα καταφλέξει· ἀγάπη ἀγγέλων στάσις· ἀγάπη προκοπὴ τῶν αἰώνων.

30.35. Tell us, fairest of virtues, where thou feedest thy flock, where thou restest at noon. Enlighten us, quench our thirst, guide us, take us by the hand; for we wish at last to soar to thee. Thou rulest over all. And now thou hast ravished my soul. I cannot contain thy flame. So I will go forward praising thee. Thou rulest the power of the sea, and stillest the surge of its waves and puttest it to death. Thou hast humbled the proud—the proud thought—like a wounded man. With the arm of thy power thou hast scattered thy enemies, and thou hast made thy lovers invincible.

 Ἀπάγγειλον ἡμῖν, ὦ καλὴ ἐν ἀρεταῖς, ποῦ ποιμαίνεις τὰ πρόβατά σου, ποῦ κατασκηνοῖς ἐν μεσημβρίᾳ; φώτισον ἡμᾶς, πότισον ἡμᾶς, ὁδήγησον ἡμᾶς, χειραγώγησον ἡμᾶς, ἐπειδὴ λοιπὸν ἀναβαίνειν πρὸς σὲ βουλόμεθα.

 Σὺ γὰρ δεσπόζεις πάντων.

 Νῦν δέ μου ψυχὴν κεκαρδίωκας, καὶ οὐ δύναμαι κατέχειν σου τὴν φλόγα, ὅθεν ὑμνήσας σε πορεύομαι· Σὺ δὲ δεσπόζεις τοῦ κράτους τῆς θαλάσσης, τὸν δὲ σάλον τῶν κυμάτων αὐτῆς σὺ καταπραΰνεις, καὶ νεκροῖς· σὺ ταπεινοῖς ὡς τραυματίαν ὑπερήφανον λογισμόν· ἐν τῷ βραχίονι τῆς δυνάμεώς σου διεσκόρπισας τοὺς ἐχθρούς σου, καὶ ἀπολεμήτους τοὺς σοὺς ἐραστὰς ἀπεργάζῃ.

But I long to know how Jacob saw thee fixed above the ladder. Satisfy my desire, tell me, What are the means of such an ascent? What the manner, what the law that joins together the steps which thy lover sets as an ascent in his heart? I thirst to know the number of those steps, and the time needed for the ascent. He who knows the struggle and the vision has told us of the guides. But he would not, or rather, he could not, enlighten us any further.

 Πῶς δὲ ὁ Ἰακὼβ ἐπὶ τὴν κλίμακά σε ἐστηριγμένην τεθέαται μαθεῖν ἐπείγομαι.

 Τί δὲ ἄρα τὸ εἶδος τῆς τοιαύτης ἀνόδου ἐρωμένῳ φράσον· τίς δὲ ὁ τρόπος καὶ ὁ ἔρανός σου τῆς τῶν βαθμῶν ἐκείνης συνθέσεως, ἃς ἀναβάσεις ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ διέθετο ὁ σὸς ἐραστής· τίς δὲ ὁ ἀριθμὸς τούτων ἐδίψων γνῶναι· ὅσος δὲ ἄρα τοῦ δρόμου χρόνος.

 Τοὺς γὰρ χειραγωγοὺς ἀπήγγειλεν ὁ μαθών σου τὴν πάλην καὶ τὴν ὅρασιν· οὐδὲν δὶ ἕτερον φωτίζειν βεβούληται, μᾶλλον δὲ δεδύνηται, εἰ δέοι με λέγειν οἰκειότερον.

And this queen (or I think I might more properly say king), as if appearing to me from heaven and as if speaking in the ear of my soul, said: Unless, beloved, you renounce your gross flesh, you cannot know my beauty. May this ladder teach you the spiritual combination of the virtues. On the top of it I have established myself, as my great initiate said: And now there remain faith, hope, love—these three; but the greatest of all is love.

 Ἡ δὲ ὥσπερ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ μοι φανεῖσα, ἡ βασίλισσα αὔτη, καὶ ὡς ἐν ὠτί μου ψυχῆς τοῦτο προσομιλοῦσα ἔλεγεν· Ἐὰν μὴ λυθῇς, ὦ ἐραστὰ, τῆς παχύτητος, ἐμὴν ὥραν, ὡς ἔστι, μανθάνειν οὐ δύνασαι.

 Ἡ δὲ κλίμαξ τὴν τῶν ἀρετῶν σε διδασκέτω πνευματικὴν σύνθεσιν· ἐπ’ αὐτῆς διεστήριγμαι ἐγὼ τῆς κορυφῆς, καθὰ ὁ μέγας μου μύστης ἔφησε.

 Νῦν δὲ μένει τὰ τρία ταῦτα, πίστις, ἐλπὶς, ἀγάπη· μείζων δὲ πάντων ἡ ἀγάπη.

a brief exhortation summarizing all that has been said at length in this book

 Προτροπὴ ἐπίτομος καὶ ἰσοδύναμος τῶν διὰ πλάτους εἰρημένων.

Ascend, brothers, ascend eagerly, and be resolved in your hearts to ascend and hear Him who says: Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord and to the house of our God, who makes our feet like hind’s feet, and sets us on high places, that we may be victorious with His song.

Ἀναβαίνετε, ἀναβαίνετε, ἀναβάσεις προθύμως  ἐν καρδίᾳ τιθέμενοι, ἀδελφοὶ, τοῦ φάσκοντος ἀκούοντες· Δεῦτε, ἀναβῶμεν εἰς τὸ ὅρος Κυρίου· καὶ εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν τοῦ καταρτίζοντος τοὺς πόδας ἡμῶν ὡσεὶ ἐλάφου, καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ ὑψηλὰ ἱστῶντος, τοῦ νικῆσαι ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ αὐτοῦ.

Run, I beseech you, with him who said: Let us hasten until we attain to the unity of faith and of the knowledge of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, who, when He was baptized in the thirtieth year of His visible age, attained the thirtieth step in the spiritual ladder; since God is indeed love, to whom be praise, dominion, power, in whom is and was and will be the cause of all goodness throughout infinite ages. Amen.

 Δράμετε, δυσωπῶ, μετ’ ἐκείνου τοῦ λέγοντος· Σπουδάσωμεν ἕως οὗ καταντήσωμεν εἰς τὴν ἑνότητα πάντες τῆς πίστεως, καὶ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὃς τριακονταέτης τῇ ὁρωμένῃ ἡλικίᾳ βαπτισθεὶς, τὸν τριακοστὸν βαθμὸν ἐν τῇ νοερᾷ κλίμακι ἐκληρώσατο· εἴπερ ἡ ἀγάπη ἐστὶν ὁ Θεός· ᾧ ὕμνος, ᾧ κράτος, ᾧ σθένος· ᾧ τὸ πάντων ἀγαθῶν αἴτιον ἔνεστι, καὶ ἦν, καὶ ἔσται εἰς ἀορίστους αἰῶνας.


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