55 Maxims of the Christian Life

+Fr. Thomas Hopko was once asked to come up with a simple and concise list of the essence of our Life in Christ. He came up with the following 55 maxims:

  • Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.

  • Pray as you can, not as you think you must.

  • Have a keepable rule of prayer done by discipline.

  • Say the Lord's Prayer several times each day.

  • Repeat a short prayer when your mind is not occupied.

  • Make some prostrations when you pray.

  • Eat good foods in moderation and fast on fasting days.

  • Practice silence, inner and outer.

  • Sit in silence 20 to 30 minutes each day.

  • Do acts of mercy in secret.

  • Go to liturgical services regularly.

  • Go to confession and holy communion regularly.

  • Do not engage intrusive thoughts and feelings.

  • Reveal all your thoughts and feelings to a trusted person regularly.

  • Read the scriptures regularly.

  • Read good books, a little at a time.

  • Cultivate communion with the saints.

  • Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.

  • Be polite with everyone, first of all family members.

  • Maintain cleanliness and order in your home.

  • Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.

  • Be totally honest, first of all with yourself.

  • Be totally honest, first of all with yourself.

  • Be faithful in little things.

  • Do your work, then forget it.

  • Do the most difficult and painful things first.

  • Face reality.

  • Be grateful.

  • Be cheerful.

  • Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.

  • Never bring attention to yourself.

  • Listen when people talk to you.

  • Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.

  • Think and talk about things no more than necessary.

  • Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.

  • Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis, figuring things out.

  • Flee carnal, sexual things at their first appearance.

  • Don't complain, grumble, murmur or whine.

  • Don't seek or expect pity or praise.

  • Don't compare yourself with anyone.

  • Don't judge anyone for anything.

  • Don't try to convince anyone of anything.

  • Don't defend or justify yourself.

  • Be defined and bound by God, not people.

  • Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.

  • Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.

  • Do nothing for people that they can and should do for themselves.

  • Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim and caprice.

  • Be merciful with yourself and others.

  • Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.

  • Focus exclusively on God and light, and never on darkness, temptation and sin.

  • Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God's mercy.

  • When you fall, get up immediately and start over.

  • Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.


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+Fr. Tom Hopko

+Fr. Tom Hopko