427. Question. If, while I am reciting the Psalms or praying or reading, an inappropriate thought arises, should I pay attention to it and interrupt my psalmody or prayer or reading in order to oppose it with appropriate thoughts?
Response by Barsanuphius
Show contempt to yourself and pay close attention to your psalmody and prayer and reading in order that you may be able to receive strength from the words that are recited. For if we accept to spend time with the thoughts of the enemy, then we would never be able to do anything good, which is precisely what the enemy is looking for. And when you notice that you are so congested by such thoughts, that they are bothering you in your psalmody or prayer or reading, even then do not struggle against them; for this is not something within your control. Rather, strive to invoke the name of God, and he will come to your assistance and abolish the machinations of the enemies. For his is the power and the glory to the ages. Amen.
After man had been brought into being by God, resplendent with the beauty of incorruptibility and immortality, he chose, instead of intelligible beauty, the relative deformity of the material nature surrounding him, and consequently lost the memory of his soul’s exalted dignity—or rather he became wholly oblivious of God, who had beautified the soul with divine form.
It was thus that man plucked fruit, which, according to the divine decree that wisely directs our salvation, was commensurate with the inclination of his mind, and so drew down on himself not simply the corruption and death of his body, but also the capacity and indeed propensity for all the passions, and, not least, the instability and disorder of the material substance that surrounded him, along with its facility and susceptibility to suffer change.
St Maximos the Confessor Ambiguum 8
Kontakion (tone three) to Saint Xenia of St. Petersburg
A wandering stranger on a foreign earth,
ever sighing for the heavenly homeland,
thou was known as a fool by the violent and unbelieving,
but as a most wise and holy by the faithful,
and wast crowned by God with glory and honor,
O Xenia, manly in mind and divinely wise,
wherefore we cry to thee: Rejoice, O blessed one.
for after earthly wandering thou hast come to dwell in the Father’s House.