55 Maxims for the Spiritual Life

I saw these in a post, Living In A Strange Land, over at Fr Stephen’s blog, Glory to God For All Things. I simply must share them with you.

Fr. Thomas Hopko, Dean Emeritus of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, wrote 55 maxims for the spiritual life. They have been widely published. I know of nothing comparable as a description for a spiritual life well-lived. I append them here for your use. Print them. Study them. Do them.

1. Be always with Christ.
2. Pray as you can, not as you want.
3. Have a keepable rule of prayer that you do by discipline.
4. Say the Lord’s Prayer several times a day.
5. Have a short prayer that you constantly repeat when your mind is not occupied with other things.
6. Make some prostrations when you pray.
7. Eat good foods in moderation.
8. Keep the Church’s fasting rules.
9. Spend some time in silence every day.
10. Do acts of mercy in secret.
11. Go to liturgical services regularly.
12. Go to confession and communion regularly.
13. Do not engage intrusive thoughts and feelings. Cut them off at the start.
14. Reveal all your thoughts and feelings regularly to a trusted person.
15. Read the scriptures regularly.
16. Read good books a little at a time.
17. Cultivate communion with the saints.
18. Be an ordinary person.
19. Be polite with everyone.
20. Maintain cleanliness and order in your home.
21. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
22. Exercise regularly.
23. Live a day, and a part of a day, at a time.
24. Be totally honest, first of all, with yourself.
25. Be faithful in little things.
26. Do your work, and then forget it.
27. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
28. Face reality.
29. Be grateful in all things.
30. Be cheerful.
31. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
32. Never bring attention to yourself.
33. Listen when people talk to you.
34. Be awake and be attentive.
35. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
36. Speak simply, clearly, firmly and directly.
37. Flee imagination, analysis, figuring things out.
38. Flee carnal, sexual things at their first appearance.
39. Don’t complain, mumble, murmur or whine.
40. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
41. Don’t seek or expect praise or pity from anyone.
42. We don’t judge anyone for anything.
43. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
44. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
45. Be defined and bound by God alone.
46. Accept criticism gratefully but test it critically.
47. Give advice to others only when asked or obligated to do so.
48. Do nothing for anyone that they can and should do for themselves.
49. Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim and caprice.
50. Be merciful with yourself and with others.
51. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
52. Focus exclusively on God and light, not on sin and darkness.
53. Endure the trial of yourself and your own faults and sins peacefully, serenely, because you know that God’s mercy is greater than your wretchedness.
54. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
55. Get help when you need it, without fear and without shame.

 

One thought on “55 Maxims for the Spiritual Life

  1. I like what Jesus said so often, with less words and more content… “Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. ‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. “And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 29-31 And then the scribe answer back to the Lord, (verses 32-33)…”So when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” (Verse 34)

    I am not disagreeing with the 55 statements! Just seeking to make the point that the Jewish Scripture, and our Lord – surely as a Jew.. and the Jewish Messiah – spoke so thoroughly but so susceptibly!

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