St. Peter of Damascus

I marvel at God's wisdom, at how the most indispensable things - air, fire, water, earth - are readily available to all.

And not simply this, but things conducive to the soul's salvation are more accessible than other things, while soul-destroying things are harder to come by.

St. Peter of Damascus: People struggle greatly for these things, but only a few attain them, and in any case the benefit they confer is fleeting. In short, they produce a great deal of trouble and very little enjoyment. For they bring to those who possess them, as well as to those who do not possess them but desire to do so, all manner of distress.

For example, poverty, which anyone can experience, is conducive to the soul's salvation; while riches, which are not simply at our command, are generally a hindrance.

It is the same with dishonor, humiliation, patience, obedience, submission, self-control, fasting, vigils, the cutting off of one's will, bodily enfeeblement, thankfulness for all things, trials, injuries, the lack of life's necessities, abstinence from sensual pleasure, destitution, forbearance in short, all the things conducive to the spiritual life are freely available.

St. Peter of Damascus: No one fights over them. On the contrary, everyone leaves them to those who choose to accept them, whether they have been sought for or have come against our will.

Soul-destroying things, on the other hand, are not so readily within our grasp - things, like wealth, glory, pride, intolerance, power, authority, dissipation, gluttony, excess, intolerance, power, authority, dissipation, gluttony, excessive sleep, having one's own way, health and bodily strength, an easy life, a good income, unrestricted hedonism, lavish and costly clothes, and so on.

People struggle greatly for these things, but only a few attain them, and in any case the benefit they confer is fleeting. In short, they produce a great deal of trouble and very little enjoyment. For they bring to those who possess them, as well as to those who do not possess them but desire to do so, all manner of distress.