How to Seek Rest in the Soul

Extracted from Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian Homily 4, Holy Transfiguration Monastery, ©2011

The soul that loves God finds rest only in God. First loose yourself from all external bonds and then you will be able to bind your heart to God, because the being bound to God is preceeded by the being loosed from matter.

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Make it a rule for your soul to practice deeds of mercy, accustom your soul not to seek your justification in other works, lest you find yourself scattering with one hnad what you have gathered with the other.

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Honor the work of vigil, that consolation may come near your soul.

Persevere in reading while dwelloing in stillness, that your mindmay be drawn toward the wonders of God at all times.

Love poverty with patience, that your mind may be collected and secured from wandering.

Detest superfulity, that you may preserve your thoughts untroubled.

Withdraw yourself from multitudinous affairs and have your soul as your only concern, so that you may save her innermost tranquility from dispersion

Love chastity, that you may not be disgraced in the time of your prayer to Christ as the Judge of the contest.

Acquire purity in your actions, that your soul may glisten with joy during prayer, and that at the rememberance of death rejoicing may be kindled in your mind.

Be on your guard against small things, lest you fall into great matters.

Be not slothful in your work, lest you be disgraced when you stand in the midst of your companions.

Conduct your works with knowledge, lest you abandon your entire course.

Acquire freedom in your manner of life, that you may be freed from turmoil.

Do not bind your freedom by what affords your pleasure lest you become a slave of slaves.

Love mean apparel as your dress so that you may set at nought the thoughts which spring up in you, I mean, haughtiness of heart and licentiousness.

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