Abba Matoes said, “I prefer some light activity that lasts to one that is onerous at first and soon broken off.”
He also said, “To flee from the things of the body is a good thing; for the person who is close to the war against the body is like somebody standing above a very deep pit. Whenever it seems fit to the enemy, he easily throws the person down. But if he is some distance from bodily matters, he is like one far removed from the pit, so that even if the enemy drags him along to throw him down, even while he is dragging and coercing him, God sends him help.”
[Abba Poemen, Apophtegmata Patrum]
Abba Poemen said about Abba John the Short that he besought God, and the passions were taken away from him, he then became without a care. Going to an elder, he announced to him, “I see myself reposing, with no battle to fight.” The elder said to him, “Go and beseech God for the battle to come upon you, for it is by fighting battles that the soul makes progress.” The battle came, and he no longer prayed for it to be taken away; he said, “Lord, give me patience in the battles.”
An elder said, “Reading, watching, and prayer stabilise a wandering mind; hunger, labour and isolation quench burning desire; psalm-singing, long-suffering, and mercy put anger to rest, if these things are activated at the appropriate times and in due proportion. For that which is disproportionate or not in due season is short lasting and harmful rather than beneficial.