What is the Science of Salvation?

A collection of quotes and sayings about Truth from the great traditions of the world.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Blessed Patience

The beginning of blessed patience is to accept dishonor with sorrow and bitterness of soul. The middle stage is to be free from pain in the midst of these things. But perfection is to regard dishonor as praise. Let the first rejoice; let the second be strong; blessed is the third, for he exults in the Lord.
                                                                 St. John Climacus
                                                                 "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 8)

Calmly Endure

  The temptations are profitable to the person that calmly endures them. Even if we are bothered by a passion, we must not be disturbed. If a person is disturbed when he is bothered by a passion that is a sign of ignorance, pride, not knowing his own condition and of idleness. The fathers say that we do not progress because we do not know our own measure and because we do not have patience in all our undertakings which we begin but we seek to obtain the virtues without labor.
                                                                              Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
                                                                              "Practical Teaching on the Christian Life"

Prayer to the Theotokos

  O loving Lady, thou hast shown me thy great love for all men. Glory to God Who receives the repentance of sinners through thee. What more can I recollect or say, I who am so sinful! It is time for me, O Lady, to fulfill my vow, according to thy witness. Now lead me by the hand along the path of repentance!

                                                           St. Mary of Egypt
                                                           (from her Life; conversation with the Theotokos)

Defense Against the Evil One

     May God defend us from the evil one and from his designs, for fierce is his struggle against us.
                                                                   St. Mary of Egypt
                                                                   (from her life; conversation with St. Zosimas)

Unceasing Prayer

     Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt. 6:21) says the Lord. If we would place all our treasure, that is all that is dear to us and loved by us, in the Lord alone, then without doubt He alone would fill our heart and thoughts and all our spiritual being with Himself. The instruction of the Apostle about unceasing prayer should not be an extremely difficult commandment for us, but should be only the fulfilling of our soul's need and the satisfaction of its yearning - to be always inseparably with the Lord in heart and mind. Unceasing "mental" prayer should be our indefeasible precious possession, a fountain of spiritual sweetness and of spaciousness of the heart.
                                                              Abbess Thaisia of Leushino
                                                              "Letters to a Beginner"

Will of God

     In order to do the will of God, it is necessary to know it. Only with this knowledge is the renunciation of one's damaged will possible and its healing by the will of God. The will of God is a divine mystery. No one knows the thoughts of God, says the Apostle, except the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:11). Consequently, men can obtain the knowledge of the will of God only through divine revelation.
                                                                Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
                                                                "The Arena"

Love Thy Neighbor

    ....An excellent clarification of this bond between love for God and neighbor is given by one of the great Orthodox strugglers, Abba Dorotheos. He gave the illustration that mankind is like the rim of a wheel. God is the hub, and each person is like a spoke. If we look at a wheel, we notice that the closer the spokes come to the hub, the closer they come to one another. But man can come close to God and neighbor only through love. It is clear that if one loves God, one will inevitably love one's neighbors.
                                                         St. Philaret of New York
                                                         "The Law of God"

Way of the Saints

     He who keeps in mind the way of the saints by imitating them not only shakes off the deadly paralysis of the passions but also takes up the life of the virtues.
                                                            St. Maximos the Confessor
                                                            "Second Century of Various Texts..."
                                                            (The Philokalia)

For Our Betterment

  May we humble ourselves, refrain from all condemnation of others, and accept in a spirit of love and devotion all that God sends for our betterment.
                                                        St. Macarius of Optina
                                                        "Russian Letters of Direction"

Deeds Not Words

     Let us try to learn Divine truth more by toil and sweat than by mere word, for at the time of our departure it is not words but deeds that will have to be shown.
                                   St. John Climacus
                                   "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 26)

Sign of True Repentance

     A sign of true repentance is the acknowledgment that we deserve all the afflictions, visible and invisible, that come upon us, and even greater ones.
                                                               St. John Climacus
                                                               "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 5)

Feed the Flame

 ...Like a flammable material, if you hold it a long time before the fire it not only will become hot, but it may also catch fire. So can the desire to lead a grace-filled life be inflamed if you hold it as long as you can under the influence of grace.
     Therefore estrange yourself from anything that might put out this igniting little flame, and surround yourself with everything that might feed it and fan it into a fire.
                                                                St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                                "The Path to Salvation"

On The Need For Guidance

 We need assistance, we need guidance in addition to God's grace. No one is more wretched, no one is more easily caught unawares, than a man who has no one to guide him along the road to God. It says, 'Those who have no guidance fall like leaves'. Leaves are always green in the beginning, they grow vigorously and are pleasing to look at. Then after a short time they dry up and fall off, and in the end they are blown about by the wind and trodden underfoot. So is the man who is not guided by someone. At first he has great fervor about fasting, keeping vigil, keeping silence, and obedience and other good customs. Then after a short time the fire is extinguished and, not having anyone to guide him and strengthen him and kindle his fire again, he shrivels up and so, becoming disobedient, he falls and finally becomes a tool in the hand of his enemies, who do what they like with him.
                                                               Abba Dorotheos of Sinai
                                                               "On the Need for Consultation"
                                                               (Discourses and Sayings)

Deny Yourself In All Things

  So let no one dream of acquiring a true Christian disposition and Christian virtue, and of working for God as he should, if he does not want to compel himself to renounce and overcome all the passionate impulses of the will of the flesh, whether great or small, which he was formerly accustomed to satisfy, willingly and fondly. The chief reason why so few people attain to full Christian perfection is exactly their reluctance, through self-pity, to force themselves to deny themselves absolutely everything. But if, having overcome great passionate tendencies, they do not wish, thereafter, to compel themselves to overcome small ones, which seem unimportant, then, since these small tendencies are the outcome and expression of the great, by indulging in them they inevitably feed the latter, and so make them continue to live and act in the heart, in spite of the fact that they no longer manifest themselves on a large scale. And so the heart remains passionate and impure, and, above all, in no whit freed from self-indulgence and self-pity, which always make any practice to please God of doubtful value.
                                                         Lorenzo Scupoli
                                                         (edited by Nicodemus of the Hoy Mountain
                                                            and revised by St. Theophan the Recluse)
                                                         "Unseen Warfare"

Profession of Faith

Peace is not preserved except by having a single profession of faith.

                                                St. Leo the Great
                                                (Letter 130)

Love and Joy

   A manifest sign of love for God is a heartfelt gladness in God, for we rejoice in what we love. Likewise, love of God cannot exist without joy, and whenever a man feels the sweetness of the love of God within his heart, he rejoices in God. For so sweet a virtue as love cannot be felt without joy.
                                                    St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                    "Journey to Heaven"


 The Lord wishes you to regard every man as superior to yourself.
                                                       St. Barsanuphius and St. John
                                                       "Directions in Spiritual Work"
                                                       (The Philokalia)


   ...So contemplation in God and the sacred mystery of the Cross do not just drive away evil passions, and the devils who devise them, from the soul, but also heretical doctrines.
                                                                St. Gregory Palamas
                                                                "On the Precious and Life-Giving Cross"

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Watch Your Vices

 Watch your vices, above all at home, where they appear freely, like moles in a safe place. Outside your own home, some of our vices are usually screened by other more decorous ones, whilst at home there is no possibility of concealing these black moles that undermine the integrity of the soul.
                                                            St. John of Kronstadt
                                                            "My Life in Christ"

Power Of Christ; Reliance On God

  We are made helpless in the struggle with adversities because we are not strengthened by the power of Christ, and rely not on God, but on human power and means.
                                                                    St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                                    "Nothing is Fearful to Him Who Relies on God"

Humility and Prayer

  O man, learn the humility of Christ and the Lord will give you to taste of the sweetness of prayer. And if you would pray cleanly, be humble and temperate, confess yourself thoroughly, prayer will feel at home with you.
                                              Staretz Silouan
                                              "Wisdom from Mount Athos"

Remaining In Prayer

     He who cannot make his will and hence his prayer coincide with God's will, will meet obstacles in his undertakings and constantly fall into the enemy's ambush. He becomes discontented or angry, unhappy, perplexed or impatient or troubled; and in such a state of mind no one can remain in prayer.
                                                          Tito Colliander
                                                          "Way of the Ascetics"

Fasting III

  As a cloud veils the light of the moon, so the vapors of the belly banish the wisdom of God from the soul.
                                                                  St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                                  "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily Six)

Repentance and Its Worth

  Since the kingdom of God is at hand and within us and will soon arrive, let us make ourselves worthy of it by works of repentance. Let us exercise force on ourselves, driving away evil prejudices and habits. For the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force (Matt. 11:12)
                                                                    St. Gregory Palamas
                                                                    "Homily 10: On the Paralyzed Man in Capernaum"

Soul and Virtue

...While it is possible to find earth which is unsuitable for cultivation, every human soul is naturally suited to virtue.
                                                       St. Gregory Palamas
                                                       "Homily 6: To Encourage Fasting"

Lying and Its Effects

     A lie is the destruction of love, and a false oath is a denial of God.
                                               St. John Climacus
                                               "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 12)

Self Denial

  The Lord demands resolute self denial of those who want to follow Him: Let him deny himself (Matt. 16:24). It could be expressed like this: Cast aside your interests and pursue only the interests of the Lord. You will be fulfilling this when you always do what is pleasing to Him. How can one do this? Mind carefully what is in you, and what is around you on the outside, and discern strictly in one or another situation, be it internal or external, how to act in the way that is most pleasing to God. Then, not pitying yourself and not inserting your own calculations, act accordingly, with complete self-denial. You say, "It's complicated to determine this." No, it's not complicated. We have been given clear and definite commandments. They express what we can do to be pleasing to the Lord. All that remains is to apply them to the given situation, and this does not present any great problem. Having common sense is enough. If you cannot figure something out, ask your spiritual father or someone else whose words you respect, and act according to his directions. But it is better to refine your discernment through reading the word of God and the writings of the Fathers, so that you will always have an arbiter with you.
                                                                                St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                                                "Thoughts for Each Day of the Year"

Faith and Love

     Faith and love are conjoined in a living and undivided unity by the presence in the heart of the living Lord Jesus Christ. By strengthening our faith, we overcome more and more the estrangement between ourselves and Christ the Lord, for firm faith draws us to Christ.
                                                                        Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                                        "The Prologue from Ochrid"

Fasting II

  ...For to not eat bread and not to drink water or anything else is not yet fasting, for neither do the demons eat or drink anything at all. And yet they are evil and hateful to God. But fasting for us is, as the Church chants, "the estrangement from evil, restraint of tongue, refraining from anger, separation from lust, slanders, lies and false oaths. Abstinence from these things is a true and acceptable fast."
                                                           St. Anatoly of Optina
                                                           "A Collection of Letters to Nuns"


 ...Let there be an end to vengeance. Let offences be forgiven. Let harshness be changed to mildness, disdain to gentleness, discord into peace. Let us all make trial of being modest, let all be gentle, all be kind: so that your fasting may be pleasing to God. To Him we shall offer a true sacrifice of self denial and devotion if we keep ourselves from all iniquity.
                                                                 St. Leo, Pope of Rome
                                                                 "Lent the Season of Purification"

Humanity and Divinity

The Lord Jesus Christ is the union of all that is human and all that is divine...
                                                                      St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                                      "A Discourse on Iconography"

Repentance II

When a man has repented he gives himself up to the service of God; and immediately begins this service by walking in His commandments and His will.
                                                              Lorenzo Scupoli
                                                              "Unseen Warfare"
                                                              (edited by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and
                                                                   revised by St. Theophan the Recluse)


  He who repents rightly does not imagine that it is his own effort which cancels his former sins; but through this effort he makes peace with God.
                                                            St. Mark the Ascetic
                                                            (The Philokalia)


  Ascetics are tempted so that their wealth may be increased; the weak, that they may keep themselves from what is harmful for them; those who are asleep, that they may rouse themselves; those who are far away, that they may draw near; His own, that they may be confirmed in confidence.
                                                                   Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
                                                                   "The Arena"


 The first kind of humility is to hold my brother to be wiser than myself, and in all things to rate him higher than myself, and simply, as that holy man said, to put oneself below everyone. The second kind is to attribute to God all virtuous actions. This is the perfect humility of the saints. It is generated naturally in the soul by the performance of the commandments. It is just like a tree bearing much fruit: it is the fruit that bends the branches and lowers them down, but when there is no fruit, the branches point upwards and grow straight.
     There are certain kinds of trees which never bear any fruit as long as their branches stay up straight, but if stones are hung on the branches to bend them down they begin to bear fruit. So it is with the soul. When it is humbled it begins to bear fruit, and the more fruit it bears the lowlier it becomes. So also the saints; the nearer they get to God, the more they see themselves as sinners.
                                                              Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
                                                              "Discourses and Sayings"

God Is My Strength

  I myself am all infirmity and misery. God is my strength. To know this is to me the highest wisdom, making me blessed.
                                               St. John of Kronstadt
                                               "My Life in Christ"

Prayer and Fasting

  After He had fasted forty days in the wilderness, hunger revealed the Lord's human nature. Therefore, O my soul, do not despair if the enemy attacks you, for it is only through prayer and fasting that he shall be defeated.
                                           Ode 9, Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

The Mind's Nature

   The mind acts in accordance with its nature when it keeps passions in subjection, contemplates the meaning of all that is and abides in God.
                                                                 St. Maximos the Confessor
                                                                 "Fourth Century on Love"
                                                                 (The Philokalia)

Sunday, March 2, 2014


 In this time of fasting and prayer, brethren, let us with all our hearts forgive anything real or imaginary we have against anyone. May we all devote ourselves to love, and let us consider one another as an incentive to love and good works, speaking in defense of one another, having good thoughts and dispositions within us before God and men. In this way our fasting will be laudable and blameless, and our requests to God while we fast will be readily received.
                                                    St. Gregory Palamas
                                                    "Homily Seven: On Fasting"

Essence of Sin

   The essence of sin consists not in the infringement of ethical standards but in falling away from the divine eternal life for which man was made and to which, by his very nature, he is called.
                                                          Archimandrite Sophrony
                                                          "The Monk of Mt. Athos"

Christianity Is...

One cannot say that Christianity is a religion. Christianity is a revelation of eternity and life.
                                                  Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
                                                  "Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives"