Feast Day: March 5th


The Life of Saint Mark the Ascetic: Because he was diligent and studious, he acquired great spiritual wealth, which he distributes to all those who study his words, “educating all and concisely benefitting”…

+


Prayers

Saint Mark Pray to God for us.


Responding to the request of his disciples and of devout Christians, he wrote spiritual treatises of such importance that, in the Monasteries of Byzantium, it became customary to say: ‘Sell everything to buy Mark!’

+

“At the times when you remember God, increase your Prayers, so that when you forget Him, the Lord may remind you.”

“Pray persistently about everything, and then you will never do anything without God’s help.”

“Prayer is called a virtue, but in reality it is the mother of the virtues: for it gives birth to them through union with Christ.”

“Undistracted prayer is a sign of love for God; but careless or distracted prayer is a sign of love for pleasure.”

“Nothing is stronger than prayer in its action, nothing more effective in winning God’s favor.”

“Call upon God to open the eyes of your heart, so that you may see the value of prayer and of spiritual reading when understood and applied.”

“It is better to join oneself to God through hope and prayer than to call to mind external things, even if such thoughts are helpful.”

“Do not try to decide a difficult matter by means of disputing, but that which is enjoined by the spiritual law, namely patience, prayer, and thoughtful hope.”

“By praying for those who wrong us we overthrow the devil; opposing them we are wounded by him.”

“Consistently pray in all things, so that you might not do anything without the help of God… Whoever does or busies himself with anything without prayer does not succeed in the end. Concerning this, the Lord said: ‘Without Me you can’t do anything’ (John 15:5).”

+

“The devil makes small sins seem smaller in our eyes, for otherwise he can’t lead us to greater evil.”

“Conquer temptations by patience and prayer. If you oppose them without these, you will fall all the more severely.”

“If, as Scripture teaches, everything involuntary has its cause in what is voluntary, man has no greater enemy than himself.”

“Sin is a blazing fire. The less fuel you give it, the faster it dies down; the more you feed it, the more it burns.”

“When you first become involved in something evil, don’t say: ‘It will not overpower me.’ For to the extent that you are involved you have already been overpowered by it.”

“One evil reinforces another; likewise, good things also increase because of each other and urge the person who shares in them on to better things.”

“Consider with me that there twelve passions that lead to sin. If you willingly cherish one of them, that one passion will come to occupy the place of the other twelve.”

“We should often, if not daily, examine our souls and repent of the sins we find there.”

“Until you have eradicated the evils in your heart, do not obey it, because the heart seeks to increase what it already has stored inside.”

“A man who hates the passion cuts off their causes. But a man who remains among their causes experiences even against his will the conflict from the passions. It is not possible to be mentally inclined toward a passion if one does not love its cause. For who, disdaining shame, is given to vainglory? Or who, loving lowliness, is bothered by dishonour? Who, having a broken and humble heart, accepts fleshly sweetness? Or who, believing in Christ, is concerned about temporal things, or argues about them?”

“A passion which we allow to grow active within us through our own choice afterwards forces itself upon us against our will.”

“If someone falls into any sin and is not sincerely grieved about it, it is easy for him to fall into the same thing again.”

“His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin’ (Prov. 5:22). There is a sin which is always ‘unto death’ (1 John 5:16), the sin for which we do not repent. For this sin even a saint’s prayers will not be heard.”

“From a pleasure-loving heart arise unhealthy thoughts and words; and from the smoke of a fire we recognize the fuel.”

“Those who, always by choice, incline to sensual pleasures – refrain from doing what lies within their power on the grounds that they lack help.”

“One kind of evil dwells in the heart through long-continued prepossession; another kind attacks our thoughts through the medium of everyday things.”

+

“Suffering reminds the wise man of God, but crushes those who forget Him.”

“God tested Abraham. That is, He sent him afflictions for his benefit, not so that He could find out what sort of man he was, for God knows everything, but so that He could give him the means to perfect his faith”

“Let all involuntary suffering teach you to remember God, and you will not lack occasion for repentance.”

“Unexpected trials are sent by God to teach to practice the ascetic life; and they lead us to repentance even when we are reluctant.”

“Look to the end of every involuntary suffering and you will find in it removal of sins.”

“The mercy of God is hidden in sufferings not of our choice; and if we accept such sufferings patiently, they bring us to repentance and deliver us from everlasting punishment.”

“Every affliction tests our will, showing whether it is inclined to good or evil. That is why an unforeseen affliction is called a test, because it enables a man to test his hidden desires.”

“Do not claim to have acquired virtue unless you have suffered affliction, for without affliction virtue has not been tested.”

“If it is not easy to find anyone conforming to God’s will who has not been put to the test, we ought to thank God for everything that happens to us.”

“If you wish to remember God unceasingly do not reject as undeserved what happens to you, but patiently accept it.”

“He, who does not choose to suffer for the sake of truth, will be chastened more painfully by the suffering he has not chosen.”

+

“Never belittle the significance of your thoughts, for not one escapes God’s notice.”

“The cause of all our sufferings lays in our thoughts.”

“The roots of evil thoughts are the obvious vices, which we keep trying to justify in our words and actions.”

“When you sin, blame your thought, not your action. For had your intellect not run ahead, your body would not have followed.”

“When a thought lingers within a man, this indicates his attachment to it; but when it is quickly destroyed, this signifies his opposition and hostility to it.”

+

“Even though knowledge is true, it is still not firmly established if unaccompanied by works. For everything is established by being put into practice.”

“When the mind forgets the purpose of Christian life, then even the clear fulfillment of virtue becomes profitless.”

“Do not think about or do anything without a spiritual purpose, whereby it is done for God. For If you travel without purpose, you shall labor in vain.”

“Everything that happens has a small beginning, and grows the more it is nourished.”

“If you love true knowledge, devote yourself to the ascetic life; for mere theoretical knowledge puffs a man up (1 Cor 8:1).”

“He who tries to conquer his own will by means of obedience and prayer is following a wise ascetic method. His renunciation of external things indicates his inward struggle.”

“If you are looking for spiritual healing, pay attention to your conscience; do whatever it tells you, and you will benefit.”

“God and our conscience know our secrets. Let them correct us.”

“The conscience is nature’s book. He, who applies what he reads there, experiences God’s help.”

“Everyone receives what he deserves in accordance with his inner state. But only God understands the many different ways in which this happens.”

“Do good when you remember, and what you forget will be revealed to you, and do not surrender your mind to blind forgetfulness.”

“A man advises his neighbour according to his own understanding; but in the one who listens to such advice, God acts in proportion to his faith.”

“Once someone has placed his hope in God concerning any matter, he no longer quarrels about it with his neighbour.”

“When you delight in hearing evil talk, be angry with yourself and not with the speaker. For listening in a sinful way makes the messenger seem sinful.”

“He who believes in the blessings of the world to come abstains of his own accord from the pleasures of this present world. But he who lacks such faith becomes pleasure-loving and insensitive.”

“Deeper spiritual knowledge helps the hard-hearted man: for unless he has fear, he refuses to accept the labor of repentance.”

“He who does not make his will agree with God is tripped up by his own schemes and falls into the hands of his enemies.”

“A seed will not grow without earth and water; and a man will not develop without voluntary suffering and Divine help.”

“If you want with a few words to benefit one who is eager to learn, speak to him about prayer, right faith, and the patient acceptance of what comes. For all else that is good is found through these.”

“A humble man who lives a spiritual life, when he reads the Holy Scriptures, will relate all things to himself and not to others”

“He, who repents rightly, does not imagine that it is his own effort which cancels his former sins; but through this effort, he makes his peace with God.”

“You should continually and unceasingly call to mind all the blessings which God in His love has bestowed on you in the past, and still bestows for the Salvation of your Soul.”

“Rejoice, not when you do good to someone, but when you endure without rancor the hostility that follows. For just as night follows day, so acts of malice follow acts of kindness.”

“Again, Grace may be hidden in advice given by a neighbour. Sometimes it also accompanies our understanding during reading, and as a natural result teaches our intellect the truth about itself. If, then, we do not hide the talent given to us in this way, we shall enter actively into the joy of the Lord.”

“We must receive the one who curses us as a messenger from God, rebuking our hidden evil thoughts, so that we, seeing our thoughts with exactness, might correct ourselves. For we do not know how many hidden evils we have; Only a perfect man can understand all of his own shortcomings.”

+

“While man can scarcely keep what belongs to him by nature, Christ gives the Grace of sonship through the Cross.”

“Peace is deliverance from the passions, and is not found except through the action of the Holy Spirit.”

“God is the source of every virtue, as the sun is of daylight.”

“The Lord is hidden in His own Commandments, and He is to be found there in the measure that He is sought.”

“If Peter had not failed to catch anything during the night’s fishing (Luke 5:5), he would not have caught anything during the day. And if Paul had not suffered physical blindness (Acts 9:8), he would not have been given spiritual sight. And if Stephen had not been slandered as a blasphemer, he would not have seen the heavens opened and have looked on God (Acts 6:15; 7:56).”

“The Apostles were pure because of the word they had heard (John 15:3). They made full us of the active power that comes with the word and thus became pure: ‘Indeed the Word of God is living and active’ (Heb 4:12).”

“Do not seek the perfection of the law in human virtues, for it is not found perfect in them. Its perfection is hidden in the Cross of Christ.”

“God assesses our action according to our intention; for it is said that the Lord will ‘reward you according to your heart’ (Ps. 20:4).”

“Just as a thought is made manifest through actions and words, so is our future reward through the impulses of the heart.”

“Knowledge of created beings is one thing, and knowledge of the Divine Truth is another. The second surpasses the first just as the sun outshines the moon.”

“God, Who sees everything, rewards at their proper value not only our actions but also our voluntary thoughts and purposes.”