How avoiding sin is within our power (St Mark the Ascetic)

Every good work which we perform through our own natural powers causes us to refrain from the corresponding sin: but without grace it cannot contribute to our sanctification.

  • The self-controlled refrain from gluttony;
  • those who have renounced possessions, from greed;
  • the tranquil, from loquacity;
  • the pure, from self-indulgence;
  • the modest, from unchastity;
  • the self-dependent, from avarice;
  • the gentle, from agitation;
  • the humble, from self-esteem;
  • the obedient, from quarrelling;
  • the self-critical, from hypocrisy.


  • those who pray are protected from despair;
  • the poor, from having many possessions;
  • confessors of the faith, from its denial;
  • martyrs, from idolatry.

Do you see how every virtue that is performed even to the point of death is nothing other than refraining from sin? Now to refrain from sin is a work within our own natural powers, but not something that buys us the kingdom.

While man can scarcely keep what belongs to him by nature, Christ gives the grace of sonship through the Cross.

Photo by Linda Eller-Shein from Pexels

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