- About the indispensability of sobriety in battle against the devil
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring
lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
Orthodox monks have elevated sobriety and vigilance to the status of
mortification. The spirit must be sober in order to sense danger and
vigilant in order to recognize from which side the danger is coming and
My child, be vigilant that you do not tread on a serpent, that you do not
fall into a pit, that you do not encounter a wolf, that you do not step out
into deep water, that you do not stray from the path and get lost in the
forest! Thus a mother counsels her child, fearing for his body. With no
less love does the Church counsel a man, fearing for his soul. Therefore
children, "be sober, be vigilant." Your old adversary the devil does not
rest nor sleep but, similar to a hungry lion, stalks and seeks whomsoever
he can devour. "Be sober, be vigilant," for you are as sheep and he is as a
lion. When sheep sense the foul odor of the wolf, they flee to their
shepherd. Therefore, "be vigilant" all of you and sense the foulness of the
devil when he approaches you and flee immediately under the wings and
protection of your shepherd, Christ the Lord. And You will sense the odious
smell of the devil through your thoughts, through your feelings, through
your intentions and through your passions of the flesh. All that you would
have thought, imaged, felt, intended and desired contrary to Christ and the
Law of Christ, know that that is the snare of the devil, the foulness of
the devil know that and flee to your Shepherd directing your entire mind
and all your heart and all your soul and body to Him.
O Lord Jesus, our Sober and Vigilant Shepherd, make us "sober and vigilant"
at every moment so that our enemy will not surprise us and devour us.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.