Why do we fail when it comes to practically living as a Christian? – Abba Pachomius the Great


“The great Pachomius was once asked by a brother, ‘Why is it that before the demon comes to trouble us, we possess out mind’s understanding in a healthy state and we philosophise about temperance, humility, and other virtues, but when the hour comes to display in deed what we have been philosophising about, such as longsuffering in the time of anger, absence of vainglory when subjected to praise, and many other similar things, we are often defeated?’

In answer to this the Great Man said, ‘Because we do not pursue the active life perfectly – this is why we do not understand all the demon’s mind and versatility well enough to be able, when the troubler manifests his presence, to repel swiftly the confusion of such thoughts which surrounds us by the contemplative power of the soul. Therefore,’ he said, ‘let us pour the fear of God like oil upon the contemplative part of the soul, every day and every hour. That fear, which accomplishes works and is a lamp for the contemplation of the things which concern us, makes our mind unshakeable, not carried away by anger, wrath, rancor, and any of the other passions which lead us to wickedness. It makes it contemplative and raises it to that incorporeal region; it forces it to hold in contempt the things which are wrought by devils and prepares it to tread underfoot serpents and scorpions and all the whole strength of the enemy.’ (Luke 10:19)

[Abba Pachomius the Great, Paralipomena, Chapter VI]