“Do not give your heart to that which does not satisfy your heart.” [Abba Poemen, Paradise of the Fathers]
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” [Augustine of Hippo, Confessions]
[Speaking about St. Paul the Apostle:]
In bonds he sailed, and retrieved the wreck, and bound fast the tempest. It was when he was in bonds that the monster fastened on him, and fell from his hand, having done no hurt. He was bound at Rome, and preaching in bonds drew thousands to his cause, holding forward, in the place of every other, this very argument, I mean his chain.
It is not however our lot to be bound nowadays. And yet there is another chain if we have a mind to wear it. And what is it? It is to restrain our hand, to be not so forward to covetousness. With this chain let us bind ourselves. Let the fear of God be unto us instead of a band of iron. Let us loose them that are bound by poverty, by affliction. There is no comparison between opening the doors of a prison, and releasing an enthralled soul. There is no comparison between loosing the bonds of prisoners and “setting at liberty them that are bruised;” (Luke 4:18.) this last is far greater than the other; for the other there is no reward in store, for this last there are ten thousand rewards.
[Excerpt from St. John Chrysostom’s Homily VIII on the Epistle to the Ephesians]
Begin manly with every work of excellence; do not approach it with a double heart. Do not doubt in thy heart, on the way of thy course, of the hope of God’s grace, lest thy toiling become in vain and the work of thy service become heavy for thee. But believe in thy heart that God is merciful and gives grace to those who seek Him, not in accordance with our service but in accordance with the love of our soul and our faith in Him. For as thou hast believed, so it will happen to thee. [Mar Isaac the Syrian, Ascetical Homilies]
And whilst fasting often, and during the time of prayer and silent contemplation, that devil of error, who bringeth back to the remembrance of the mind the wickedness of former habits, would come to him, and tempt him to such a degree that, even as he himself hath told us, it wanted exceedingly little to make him fall from his covenant.
And having come to the old man Isidore the great, who had arrived from Scete, Moses told him concerning the war of his body; and the old man said unto him,
“Be not distressed, for these are the beginning of the birth pangs, and they come upon thee seeking what they are accustomed to receive, even as a dog which cometh continually to the cook, and if a man give him nothing he will not go there again. And thus also it is with thee, for if thou wilt continue in fasting, and in prayer, and in silent contemplation, the devil will straightaway fall into despair and will flee from thee.”
[Excerpt from Chapter X, Of Abba Moses the Indian, [a Captain] of Thieves, Book ii, The Paradise of Palladius, The Paradise of the Holy Fathers, E.A Wallis Budge]