What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Sunday, August 17, 2014

"Love of God"

 "Love of God," Saint Maximos the Confessor writes, "is a virtuous tendency of the soul, and he who has it desires nothing of created things over the love of God. However, it is impossible to maintain such love when one feels even the slightest inclination toward worldly things. He who loves God lives an Angelic life on earth. He fasts, is watchful, prays, and always has good thoughts about his fellow man."
                                                                          Flowers from the Desert

Nailed to the Cross

  Souls that love truth and God, that long with much hope and faith to put on Christ completely, do not need so much to be put in remembrance by others, nor do they endure, if for a while, to be deprived of the heavenly desire and of passionate affection to the Lord; but being wholly and entirely nailed to the cross of Christ, they perceive in themselves day by day a sense of spiritual advance towards the spiritual Bridegroom. Being smitten with the heavenly longing, and hungering for the righteousness of the virtues, they have a great and insatiable desire for the shining forth of the Spirit.
                                                           St. Macarius the Great
                                                           "Spiritual Homilies" (Homily 5)

The Church

 Nothing is more abiding than the Church: she is your salvation; she is your refuge.
                                                                       St. John Chrysostom
                                                                       "Daily Readings..."

True Follower of Christ

 Never pity yourself in anything, crucify yourself - your old man, nestling above all in the flesh - and you will strike at the root of all your vices. Bear patiently all that is unpleasant to your flesh; do not spare it, oppose it, and you will become a true follower of Christ. The whole wisdom of a Christian consists in wisely opposing the flesh in everything throughout life.
                                                                                    St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                                    "My Life in Christ"

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Humble Yourself

Humble yourself, and you will be saved. Do not insist on your own way.
                                       St. Anatoly of Optina
                                       "A Collection of Letters to Nuns"

Approaching God

 The abbot Mathios said, "The nearer a man approaches God, the greater sinner he sees himself to be."
                                                                  The Desert Fathers


...Nothing makes one so dizzy as human reasoning, which sees everything from an earthly point of view, and does not allow illumination to come from above. Earthly reasoning is covered with mud. Therefore, we have need of streams from above, so that, when the mud has fallen away, whatever part of the reason is pure may be carried on high and may be thoroughly imbued with the lessons taught there. This takes place when we manifest both a well-disposed soul and an upright life.
                                                                      St. John Chrysostom

Turn to God

The servants of Antichrist more than anything else strive to force God out of the life of men, so that men, satisfied with their material comfort, might not feel any need to turn to God in prayer, might not remember God, but might live as though He did not exist. Therefore, the whole order of today's life in the so-called 'free' countries, where there is no open bloody persecution against faith, where everyone has the right to believe as he wishes, is an even greater danger for the soul of a Christian (than open persecution), for it chains him entirely to the earth, compelling him to forget about heaven. The whole of contemporary 'culture,' directed to purely earthly attainments and the frantic whirlpool of life bound up with it, keeps a man in a constant state of emptiness and distraction which gives no opportunity for one to go at least a little deeper into his soul, and so the spiritual life in him gradually dies out.
                                                                           Archbishop Averky
                                                                           "True Orthodoxy and the Contemporary World"


Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man (Matt. 15:11). The Lord said this not because He did not favor fasting, or because He considered it unnecessary for us. No, He himself fasted, and taught the Apostles to do so, and He established fasts in His Holy Church. Rather, He said this so that not only we would fast by eating little or only uncooked food, but we might also keep the fast in our soul, not indulging it with desires and passionate inclinations. This is the important thing. Fasting serves as a powerful means for this. The foundation of the passions is the flesh; when the flesh is emaciated, then it is as if the passions are undermined and their fortress is destroyed. Without fasting, overcoming the passions would be a miracle, similar to being in a fire and not be burned. How can he who profusely satisfies his flesh with food, sleep, and rest keep anything spiritual in his mind and in his intentions? It would be easy for him to renounce the earth, to contemplate and strive for the invisible world, as it is for an old decrepit bird to rise up from the earth.
                                                                           St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                                           "Thoughts for Each Day of the Year"


Suspicions are evil and they never allow the soul to find peace.
                                                     Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
                                                     "Practical Teaching on the Christian Life"

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit Which dwells in the Church gives each member of the Church strength to become a new creature whose life is guided by love.
                                                                Holy New Martyr Archbishop Ilarion (Troitsky)
                                                                "Christianity or The Church?"


 He who has achieved detachment has his attention fixed always on God through contemplation. For detachment from material things gives rise to the contemplation of spiritual realities...
                                            St. Peter of Damaskos
                                            "The Philokalia"

Be Merciful

 Be ye therefore Merciful. How great the reward of mercy we receive under the law of Divine adoption! Walk in the way of mercy that you may merit this divine blessing.
                                                                        St. Ambrose of Milan
                                                                        "The Character of a Just Judge"

Summoning to Salvation

 ...Man's salvation is worked out simultaneously through the action of God's saving Grace, and through the personal efforts of man himself. According to the profound expression of certain of the Fathers of the Church, God created man without the participation of man himself - but He does not save him without his agreement and desire, for He created him unfettered. Man is free to choose good or evil, salvation or ruin - and God does not impede his freedom, although He constantly summons him to salvation.

Returning to the Original State of Grace

Human beings were made in the image of God, but because of their sin the beauty of the image was destroyed and the soul dragged down by passionate desires. But God who made humanity is the true life. And so, as a consequence of humanity losing its likeness to God, it lost its harmony with life, since we cannot be outside God and still live a contented life.
     Let us return to the original state of grace from which we were exiled by sin, making ourselves in the image of God once more, so that we may be like the Creator in our freedom from desire. For if you can make your life as close to the passionless calm of the divine nature as possible, then your soul will be restored to the image of God. And if you can achieve this similarity to God, you will also have attained the image of the divine life which lasts for ever in its eternal happiness.

Look Toward Heaven

 Look to Heaven, and measure every step of your life so that it is a step towards it.
                                                          St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                          "The Spiritual Life"

Condemn No One

  ...Condemn no one. But one cannot attain to this quickly. The best thing for us to do is to reproach ourselves quickly when we do condemn someone.
                                                      St. Anatoly of Optina
                                                      "A Collection of Letters to Nuns"

Asking for Forgiveness

     There is no prayer so quickly heard as the prayer whereby a man asks to be reconciled with those who are angry with him. For when he charges himself with the offense, this prayer is immediately answered.
                                                               St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                               "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 24)

The Guardian Angel

 If you feel sweetness or compunction at some word of your prayer, dwell on it; for then our guardian angel is praying with us.
                 St. John Climacus
                 "The Ladder of Divine Ascent"  (Step 28)

A Man's Cross

When a man walks the straight path, he does not have a cross. But when he begins to step away from one side to another, then various circumstances arise that push him back unto the right path. These pushes comprise a man's cross. They vary, of course, according to what each individual needs.
                                                          Elder Ambrose of Optina

Beware of Arrogance

  Unless curbed by the fear of God that accompanies the practice of the virtues, spiritual knowledge leads to vanity; for it encourages the person puffed up by it to regard as his own what has merely been lent to him, and to use his borrowed intelligence to win praise for himself. But when his practice of the virtues increases concomitantly with his longing for God, and he does not arrogate to himself more spiritual knowledge than is needed for the task in hand, then he is made humble, reduced to himself by principles which are beyond his capacity.
                                                           St. Maximos the Confessor
                                                           "The Philokalia"


Patience makes men humble in prosperity, courageous in adversity, mild in the face of injuries and contempt. It teaches us how to forgive promptly those who offend us; and should we offend teaches us to plead long and earnestly for pardon. It withstands temptation, it endures persecution, it brings sufferings as well as martyrdoms to their perfect fulfillment. It is patience which makes firm the foundations of our faith. It is patience which subtly brings about the increase in our hope. It is patience which directs the mind to an awareness of what we are doing so that as we walk forward we may keep to the way of Christ. As long as we imitate the patience of our Father, this will enable us to continue to be Children of God.
                                                                             St. Cyprian of Carthage
                                                                             "On the Advantages of Patience"


From humility it is known that a man is a true disciple of Jesus, meek and humble of heart. If we wish to show evidence that we are true Christians, let us learn from Christ to be humble as He himself enjoins us, Learn of Me; for I am meek, and lowly in heart. (Mt.11:29). Let us engrave and deepen in our memory the saying of the Apostle now explained, For God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble (I Pet. 5:6).
                                                  St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                  "Journey to Heaven"

Guard Your Passions

 If an eagle gets out of a snare except for one claw which remains caught in the net, it has lost all its power to escape. Though it is outside the net, is it not half-captive by it? Can the hunter not strike it down whenever he pleases? So it is with the soul: if it has one passion set into a bad habit, the enemy at any moment he pleases strikes it down, for he has the upper hand over the soul through that passion.
                                                  St. Dorotheos of Gaza
                                                  "Discourses and Sayings"

Deny Yourself

 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.
                                                          Lorenzo Scupoli
                                                          (Edited by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and revised by
                                                                     Theophan the Recluse)
                                                          "Unseen Warfare"

Watch Your Heart

 Pray that you may be granted the grace to read the Fathers with right understanding, the grace to live up to the standards they put before you, and the grace clearly to see your own frailty. You will not long be left wanting and waiting. God will give you help.
     In the meanwhile carefully examine the movements of your heart, the pattern of your thoughts, the intention of all your words and actions. In your case, it may even be good to do this in writing. It may help to make more clear to you your utter poverty; it may humble your pride of mind.
                                                                   Staretz Macarius of Optina
                                                                   "Russian Letters of Direction"

Monday, May 19, 2014

Easter 2014

                  Come, receive ye light from the Unwaning Light, and glorify Christ, Who is arisen from the dead.


                              Χριστός Ανέστη – Christos Anesti!

                                               CHRIST IS RISEN!    TRULY HE IS RISEN!

Recovering from Sin

 A man who falls into sin is different from the way he was created. He is different, because he changes by his own actions the way he was meant to be. Man renounces himself when he becomes a different person through repentance. He leaves a corrupted man, which he had become through sin, and becomes such as he once was created, through mercy.
                                      St. John Maximovitch of Chernigov
                                      "The Royal Way of the Cross of Our Lord
                                             Leading to Eternal Life"


 But what shall we do if sin completely enslaves our soul, as if covering it with a tombstone; and so day after day goes by and passions start to exude their sinful stench, just as with Lazarus? What should we do then? Well, then we need confession, the sacrament which Christ established after His Resurrection, when He said to His disciples, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit: Whose so ever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven" (Jn. 20:22-23). See how all this is reflected in the resurrection of Lazarus. Lazarus, on his own, could not go out from the tomb because it was blocked by a stone. He couldn’t even walk, because he was bound hand and foot with funeral bandages. And here Christ said to His disciples, "Loose him." In application to us, this means that the Lord orders our clergy, who have received in the Sacrament of the Priesthood the gift of the Holy Spirit, to loose our sins. What joy!
                                                Archbishop Andrew of Novo Diveyovo
                                                "The One Thing Needful"
                                                (Lazarus Saturday)

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"