“… There are two watchful guards that a warrior of Christ should constantly resort to sobriety and discretion. The former is turned inside a human soul while the latter is facing outward. One observes the movements emerging from within the heart, while the other foresees its movements caused by external influence. The law for the former is this: after every thought has been driven out of the soul by the memory of God’s presence, stand at your heart’s door and carefully watch over everything that comes in or out of it. Above all, do not let your actions be set off by sentiment or desire, for they are the root of all evil.
Saint Theophan the Recluse
“Is it possible to avoid combat while being in the spiritual army? An invisible and unceasing battle that is! On top of that, the enemies are strong, evil, cunning, and treacherous; and they are strengthened even more by our laziness and negligence; and above all by our pride, through which they attack us most boldly and daringly. Thinking that you have already learned to be free from passions and wishing to fly higher and higher every day without really having entered the field of spiritual warfare is equally or, perhaps, even more untenable than for a recruit who has not yet been in many battles to suddenly (or even soon) become a general and a skilled warrior. Do not presume too far thinking that you have already learned spiritual warfare. No, you haven’t, because it is diverse. Do not hope to soon overcome passions: this requires much time, feat, labor, humility, and God’s help. “
Saint Macarius of Optina
“… One who does not oppose <internally> sin allows the inner vice to pour out gradually. Its multiplication draws a person into actively committing obvious sins, because evil, like a springhead, always exudes a stream from itself”.
“The main weapon of a spiritual warrior and an ascetic is that, having entered his heart, he wrestles with Satan, hates himself, denies his soul, becomes angry with it, reproaches it, resists his usual desires, disagrees with his thoughts and fights with his own self”.
“… Enemies never remain inactive and wage war, not indulging in laziness.”
Saint Macarius of Egypt
“Wherever the enemy has deposed you, rise and fight back, so that your redemption may be revealed to those who saw your shortcomings,.”
“Whether in the world or in the ascetic life, no one becomes rewarded without a struggle. It is also through struggle that one can receive the unfading crown and eternal life because real life is always like a battlefield.”
Saint Ephraim the Syrian
“One should not be afraid of some outward enemy; our enemy is in ourselves. This is why an incessant inner war is being waged in us. If we win that victory, all the external battles will become insignificant. Everything will then make peace with a warrior of Christ, and everything will surrender to him. There will be no need to fear the enemy from the outside when the one inside us is defeated and submits to the spirit. “
Saint John Cassian the Roman
“The Lord has commanded us unceasing prayerful vigilance over ourselves, called sobriety. Sobriety is true humility, which renounces all self-reliance and trust in people while concentrating all its hope in God. Acquire constant sobriety and constant vigilance over yourself. Without strict vigilance, it is impossible to succeed in any virtue. “
Saint Ignatius (Brianchaninov)
“Oh, how full of calamities, how vicious, arduous, and grievous earthly life is! From morning to evening, every day one must wage a heavy battle against the passions of the flesh, which are at war with the soul; against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world…(Eph 6:12) Their wiliness and cunning are measureless, malicious, infernally proficient and wakeful…”
Saint John of Kronstadt
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds