The life of man hangs by a hair. At every step, our life hangs in the balance. How many millions of people woke up in the morning, never to see the evening? How many millions of people fell asleep, never to wake up?
Elder Ephraim of Arizona and Mt. Athos
Indeed, the life of man is a dream. In a dream, one sees things that do not exist: he might see that he is crowned a king, but when he wakes up, he sees that in reality he is just a pauper.
In this life that we live, man labors to become rich, to become educated, to have an easy life, to become great; but unfortunately, death comes and foils everything. Then what he labored for all his life is taken by others, while he leaves life with a guilty conscience and a soiled soul. Who is wise and will understand these things and will renounce them and follow Christ the Bridegroom, so that all the works he will do will be recompensed infinitely in His kingdom?
Always, remember death and the judgment of God which we will unavoidably undergo.
Bear them in mind to have more fear of God, and weep for your sins, because tears console the soul of him who weeps.
Glory to Thee our God.
+ Glory to Thee for All Things! +
From Counsels from the Holy Mountain, by Elder Ephraim of Philotheou, Mount Athos [now of St. Anthony’s Monastery in Florence, AZ]. Widely available from Orthodox bookstores.