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Thursday. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler (Prov. 6:4–5). Everyone who in his heart has set out now, before the face of the Lord, to live according to His commandments, should take this rule as his guide. He must not give sleep to his eyes — not these outer eyes, but the inner eyes of his mind — so that they will gaze into his heart, and faithfully observe all that occurs there, and thus enable those who are zealous to find the enemy’s snares and avoid danger from them. The heart now becomes an arena for struggle with the enemy. There the enemy unceasingly sows his own [seed], which is in turn reflect-ed in one’s thoughts. Such thoughts, however, are not always outra-geously bad, but are for the most part disguised by false kindness and correctness. The chain of all thoughts is like a net of artful de-sign! He who sets out after them heedlessly will not escape entangle-ment, and, consequently the danger of a fall. This is why, brother, you must keep the eye of your mind sharp-sighted by means of strict at-tention toward everything that oc-curs in you and around you. Notice what your relentless “advisor” pro-poses to you on the left side, and sift out the reason it was proposed to you and where it will lead, and you will never fall into his nets. Only, do not forget that attentiveness alone is not effective — it must be joined with abstinence, vigilance, and un-ceasing prayer to the Lord. Combine all these, and it will be hard to catch you.
Saint Theophan the Recluse