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“…most of the thoughts which torment us from the inside are not ours at all, but come from the demons, that every one of us has the God-given power and freedom to refuse such thoughts, and that our lives depend on the quality of the thoughts we nurture in our minds and hearts…A person who is entrapped in the vicious cycle of chaotic thoughts, in the atmosphere of hades, or has only so much as touched it, feels the torments of hell. For example, we read the newspapers or take a walk in the streets, and afterwards we suddenly feel that something is not quite right in our souls; we feel an emptiness; we feel sadness. That is because by reading all sorts of things, our mind becomes distracted and the atmosphere of hades has free access to our minds.” (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)

“For nine years a monk was tormented by the thought of leaving his monastery. Each evening he packed his clothes and said to himself: "I will leave tomorrow without delay." When day would break, he would reflect: "For the love of Christ, I will be patient today and leave tomorrow." Since he struggled arduously for eight whole years and was not overcome by his thoughts, the Lord took the temptation from him.” (V. Rev. Chrysostomos)

“The delay in seeing our prayer requests fulfilled, in having our questions answered, is yet another point on which our life of prayer is tested. It is neither a matter of God not hearing our prayers nor of his being indifferent to our suffering. God does not want us to be troubled and tormented, but to be in constant communion with him with our fervent prayers, which should increase if not immediately answered. We should thank God whether he gives us what we ask for or not, since in either case he is acting for our own good. We should not be discouraged and disillusioned when we do not receive what we ask for in prayer. God may be testing our persistence. Let us not tire easily. If we do not receive what we seek we should thank God, nonetheless, as if our prayer has indeed been answered, since he knows our true needs of the present hour better than we do. It may be that our hope does not materialize because what we desire is not essential, even though it may seem indispensable to us at the time.” (Monk Moses)

“If someone is suffering inner torment and afflicted by a certain passionate thought, and puts it in action, the passion is strengthened against him. In other words, he gives the passion the power to torment him more. If, on the other hand, he struggles and battles against his thought, exercising the opposite, then—as I have told you many times—the passion becomes weak and powerless to torment him. Thus, little by little—struggling, with the help of God—he overcomes the passion.” (St. Dorotheos of Gaza)

“Trusting self more than God is a recipe for bondage and torment though we often don’t see it or experience it that way because we don’t know any better. Submitting to and trusting in God is the way of liberation and inner peace but we seem to have trouble making this choice. It’s almost as if we have to be broken completely before we are able to do so.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

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