Human Weakness

by Scott D. Hendricks

Realise your nothingness and constantly keep in your mind the fact that by yourself you can do nothing good which is worthy of the kingdom of heaven. Listen to the words of the wise fathers: Peter of Damascus assures us that ‘nothing is better than to realise one’s weakness and ignorance, and nothing is worse than not to be aware of them’ (Philokalia). St. Maximus the Confessor teaches: ‘The foundation of every virtue is the realisation of human weakness’ (Philokalia). St. John Chrysostom says: ‘He alone knows himself in the best way possible who thinks of himself as being nothing.’

~ from The Unseen Warfare

E. Kadloubovsky and G. E. H. Palmer, trans., Unseen Warfare: The Spiritual Combat & Path to Paradise of Lorenzo Scupoli edited by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain & revised by Theophan the Recluse (Crestwood: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, n.d.), 82-83.