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Selected quotes and teachings of the Holy Fathers

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Sayings of the Holy Fathers:

On Love of money

"The third struggle facing us is that with the spirit of love for money — an alien passion, which is foreign to our nature. This passion originates from faint-heartedness, spiritual carelessness and absence of love for God. Other passions are seemingly implanted into human nature and consequently are conquered only after lengthy labours. The sickness of love of money comes to a person later in life and fastens on to the soul from without. That is why in the beginning it is easy to dislodge. However, should it take root in our heart because of our apathy and continued neglect, it will become more ruinous than the other passions and consequently would be very difficult to remove. Entrenched love of money, according to Apostle Paul, is "a root of all kinds of evil" (1 Tim. 6:10), because it arouses all the other passions."

Saint John Cassian

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Love of money is the root of all evil. Like a sick branch, it produces many other passions (vexation, anger, envy, falsehood, hypocrisy, vainglory and others). That’s why, in order to eradicate the other passions, a person must first tear out their root.

Nilus of Sinai

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An illness that has become chronic, like the habit of wrong-doing that has become ingrained is very hard to heal. If after that, as very often happens, the habit turns into second nature, a cure is out of the question.

So the ideal would be to have no contact with evil. But there is another possibility: to distance yourself from evil, to run away from it as from a poisonous snake, once you have experienced it.

I have known some unfortunate people who in their youth let themselves slide into evil habits which have held them enslaved all their lives. Like pigs wallowing continually in the mire and becoming increasingly filthy, such sinners as these multiply their shame every day with fresh sins.

So blessed is the one who has never thought of evil. However, if through his wiles, the suggestions of the Enemy have found a foothold in your heart, do not remain inactive in the toils of sin.

Be careful not to be utterly overcome by it. If the sin is already weighing you down, if the dust of riches has already settled on you, if your soul has been dragged right down by attachment to material things, then before you fall into utter ruin get rid of the heavy burden. Before the ship sinks, follow the example of sailors and cast overboard the possessions you have accumulated overmuch.

St. Basil the Great

From Commentary on Psalm 1

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Some people with possessions possess them dispassionately, and so when deprived of them they are not dismayed but are like those who accepted the seizure of their goods with joy (cf. Heb. 10:34). Others possess with passion, so that when they are in danger of being dispossessed they become utterly dejected, like the rich man in the Gospel who went away full of sorrow (cf. Matt. 19:22); and if they actually are dispossessed, they remain dejected until they die. Dispossession, then, reveals whether a man's inner state is dispassionate or dominated by passion.

St. Maximos the Confessor
Second Century on Love no.89