OS (Text) -- 26
150 Sailing the intelligible sea, take courage in Jesus. For within he speaks secretly in your heart: ‘Fear not my servant
151 ‘He shall delight in an abundance of peace,’ [cf. Ps. 36, 11] according to David, he who does not receive the face of man [cf. Lev. 19, 15], judging injustice in his heart [ibid.], that is, not accepting the forms of the wicked spirits and by means of the forms inferring the sin; and judging severely and giving judgement in the land of his own heart [cf. Ps. 57, 12], giving to sin what it deserves. For in certain of their writings, the great and gnostic Fathers called even the demons ‘men’ on account of the rational nature, as is also the practice of the Gospel, where the Lord says that a wicked man did this [cf. Matt. 13, 28], and mixed the weeds up with the grain. There is not a quick rebuttal by those who do wickedness. For the sake of this we also are devoured by the thoughts (logismoi).
152 Having begun to live the life of attention of the mind (nous), if, on the one hand, we join humility to sobriety and glue together the prayer (euche) to rebuttal, we will travel well the road of the intellect (dianoia), beautifying, as it were, and sweeping and adorning and cleaning out the house of our heart from wickedness with the small torch of light of the worshipful and holy name of Jesus Christ. If, on the other hand, we take courage only in our sobriety or attention, quickly being pushed by the enemies, we will fall having been overturned and the crafty of counsel and most treacherous will overthrow us, and we will become more entangled in their nets, the wicked considerations, or we will even readily be slain by them, not having the mighty spear, the name of Jesus Christ. For only this venerable sword very densely turned round in a solitary heart knows to gather them up and to cut them down and to burn them up and to conceal them, as fire, reed.
153 The work (ergon) of unceasing sobriety, verily gain and great profit of soul, is directly to see the imaginations of thoughts (logismoi) figured in the mind (nous). Of rebuttal, utterly to refute and to disclose the thought (logismos) which is attempting to enter into the air of our mind (nous) by means of the imagination of some sensible object. To extinguish and directly to reduce to naught every mental representation, every word (logos), every phantasm, every image, every wicked pillar, of the enemies is [the work] of the invocation of the Lord. For we ourselves also see in the mind (nous) their defeat by main force—the defeat which is through Jesus our great God—and our revenge, we who are lowly and poor and unfit for war.
154 Most of us do not know that all thoughts (logismoi) are nothing other than imaginations alone of sensible and worldly objects. If, in fact, we persist in prayer (euche) keeping sobriety, the prayer (euche) on the one hand deprives the intellect (dianoia) of every turbid imagination of wicked thoughts (logismoi) and on the other hand it also makes known to the intellect (dianoia) the reasons (logoi) of the enemies and the great profit of prayer (euche) and sobriety. ‘However, with your eyes you will perceive, and intelligibly you yourself also will see and understand, the recompense of intelligible sinners,’ says David, the divine melodist [cf. Ps. 90, 8].
155 If possible, let us remember death unceasingly, through which memory are engendered in us the putting off of cares and all vanities, guarding of the mind (nous) and unbroken entreaty, an unimpassioned attitude to the body, disgust for sin—and almost to say, if it is necessary, the truth, every virtue flowing out of this gushes forth. Therefore, let us make use of the thing as of our own breath.
156 A heart that has been emptied completely from imaginations will give birth inside itself to divine and mysterious mental representations that leap in the way that fish leap and dolphins turn somersaults when the sea is still. And the sea, on the one hand, is fanned by a fine breeze; the abyss of the heart, on the other hand, by the Holy Spirit. He says: ‘Because, then, you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son in your hearts, crying “Abba, Father!”.’ [Cf. Gal. 4, 6.]
157 Every monk will be perplexed and of two minds concerning his spiritual work (ergon) until he has received sobriety of mind (nous), either not knowing the beauty of this or knowing but not being able because of negligence. He will undoubtedly be freed of perplexity when he has acquired keeping of the mind (nous)—which is and is said to be intellectual philosophy or practical philosophy of mind (nous)—as having found the Way who said ‘I am the Way, the Resurrection and the Life.’ [Cf. John 11, 25; 14, 6.]
158 Again, he will be perplexed, seeing an abyss of thoughts (logismoi) and a multitude of Babylonian infants. But Christ also solves this very perplexity if truly we stand upon him continually with the base of the intellect (dianoia). We will then beat off short all the Babylonian infants, casting them to the ground on this very Rock [cf. Ps. 136, 8–9; cf. 1 Cor. 10, 4], fulfilling our desire from them, according to the saying. For he says: ‘Whoever guards the commandment will not know a wicked word.’ [Eccl. 8, 5.] For he says: ‘Without me you can do nothing.’ [John 15, 5.]
159 Such a one is a true monk in very reality—he who achieves sobriety. And such a one is truly sober—he who is a monk in heart.
160 Among men, life is extended over years, over months, over weeks, over days and nights and hours and moments, thus revolving. It is necessary, then, that we also extend our virtuous labours—I say, in truth, sobriety and prayer (euche) and sweetness of heart, [all] for the sake of a harmonious stillness (hesychia)—until our departure.
161 The hour of death will come upon us; it will come and it is not possible to escape. And may the ruler of the world [cf. John 14, 30] and of the air [cf. Eph. 2, 2], when then he comes, find our iniquities few and insignificant, so that he will not accuse [us] speaking truth, and then will we cry profitlessly. For he says: ‘The slave who knew the will of his Lord and did not do it as a slave will be beaten much.’ [Cf. Luke 12, 47.]
162 ‘Woe to those who have lost the heart,’ he says, ‘and what will they do when the Lord shall make his visitation?’ [Cf. Sir. 2, 14.] Wherefore we must be zealous, brothers.