In the month of January the Orthodox Church celebrates the life of many monastic saints, including St. Seraphim of Sarov (Jan 2), St. Synclitike (Jan 5), St. Theodosios the Cenobiarch (Jan 11), St. Makarios of Egypt (Jan 19), St. Euthymios (Jan 20) and many more.
Today’s spiritual counsel is from one of the founders of monasticism – St. Anthony the Great, whose memory is celebrated on January 17. He is asked what one must do to please God and be saved. He responds with some very practical advice.
1. Someone asked Abba Anthony, “What must one do in order to please God?”
The elder replied, “Pay attention to what I tell you: Wherever you go, always have God before your eyes; whatever you do, do it according to the testimony of the Holy Scriptures; in whatever place you live, do not easily leave it. Keep these three precepts and you will be saved.”
2. Abba Pambo asked Abba Anthony, saying, “What shall I do to obtain salvation?”
The elder said to him, “Put no confidence in your own righteousness, do not grieve upon a matter which is past, and be persistent in restraining your tongue and your belly.
Source: Gerontikon (Sayings of the Desert Fathers)