St Diadochos on Obedience

St Diadochos of Photiki. "On Spiritual Knowledge and Discrimination One Hundred Texts".

41. It is well known that obedience is the chief among the initiatory virtues, for first it displaces presumption and then it engenders humility within us. Thus it becomes, for those who willingly embrace it, a door leading to the love of God. It was because he rejected humility that Adam fell into the lowest depths of Hades. It was because He loved humility that the Lord, in accordance with the divine purpose, was obedient to His Father even to the cross and death, although He was in no way inferior to the Father; and so through His own obedience He has freed mankind from the crime of disobedience and leads back to the blessedness of eternal life all who live in obedience. Thus humility should be the first concern of those who are fighting the presumption of the devil, for as we advance it will be a sure guide to all the paths of virtue.

The Ladder on Obedience

St. John of Sinai. "The Ladder of Divine Ascent"

Step 4 On blessed and ever-memorable obedience

1. Our treatise now appropriately touches upon warriors (Gk. puktai, ‘prizefighters’) and athletes of Christ. As the flower precedes the fruit, so exiles (exile appears to be essentially equivalent to detachment) either of body or will always precedes obedience. For with the help of these two virtues, the holy soul steadily ascends to heaven as upon golden wings. And perhaps it was about this that he who had received the Holy Spirit sang: Who will give me wings like a dove? And I will fly by activity, and be at rest by contemplation and humility.(Psalm liv, 7.)

2. But let us not fail, if you agree, to describe clearly in our treatise the weapons of these brave warriors: how they hold the shield of faith in God and their trainer, (Gk. gymnastēs, the trainer of athletes. Here it refers to the spiritual director or superior) and with it they ward off, so to speak, every thought of unbelief and vacillation; how they constantly raise the drawn sword of the Spirit and slay every wish of their own that approaches them; how, clad in the iron armour of meekness and patience, they avert every insult and injury and missile. And for a helmet of salvation they have their superior’s protection through prayer. And they do not stand with their feet together, for one is stretched out in service and the other is immovable in prayer.

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