What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Intention

In all our actions God looks at the intention, whether we do them for Him or from some other motive.




St. Maximus the Confessor
"Second Century on Love"
(Early Fathers of the Philokalia)

Friday, December 26, 2008

God's Grace

God guides all by the action of His grace. Therefore do not be lazy or lose heart, but call to God day and night to entreat God the Father in His loving-kindness to send you help from above to teach you what to do.

St. Antony the Great

Thursday, December 25, 2008

True Christians

A true Christian is made by faith and love of Christ. Our sins do not in the least hinder our Christianity, according to the word of the Savior Himself. He said: I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance; there is more joy in heaven over one who repents than over ninety and nine just ones. Likewise concerning the sinful woman who touched His feet, He said to the Pharisee Simon: to one who has love, a great debt is forgiven, but from one who has no love, even a small debt will be demanded. From these judgements a Christian should bring himself to hope and joy, and not in the least accept the torment of despair. Here one needs the shield of faith.
Sin, to one who loves God, is nothing other than an arrow from the enemy in battle. The true Christian is a warrior fighting his way through the regiments of the unseen enemy to his heavenly homeland. According to the word of the Apostle, our homeland is in heaven; and about the warrior he says: we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph.6: 12)].
The vain desires of this world separate us from our homeland; love of them and habit clothe our soul as if in a hideous garment. This is called by the Apostles the outward man. We, traveling on the journey of this life and calling on God to help us, ought to be divesting ourselves of this hideous garment and clothing ourselves in new desires, in a new love of the age to come, and thereby to receive knowledge of how near or how far we are from our heavenly homeland. But it is not possible to do this quickly; rather one must follow the example of sick people, who, wishing the desired health, do not leave off seeking means to cure themselves.

St. Herman of Alaska
(From a Letter of June 20, 1820)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Repent

Come, let us fall down before God in contrition and simplicity of heart, for He is good and kindhearted and saves those who repent.

St. Ephraim the Syrian
"A Spiritual Psalter"

Holy Angels

When we rise from sleep in a good and peaceful mood, we are being secretly encouraged by the holy angels, especially if we went to sleep with much prayer and watching.


St. John Climacus
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 15)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Contrite and Humble Heart

What else is so dear to God and welcome as a contrite and humble heart, and pride laid low in a spirit of humility? It is in such a condition of soul that God Himself comes to dwell and make His rest...

St. Symeon the New Theologian
"On the Mystical Life" (The Ethical Discourses)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Virtues and Sins

As virtues are usually born from painfull afflictions and ignominy - so are sins from vanity and indulgences.


St. Mark the Ascetic

Sunday, December 21, 2008

God's Providence

...Especially does God's Providence become revealed to them when, for His sake, they enter into temptation. For then they sense God's Providence, as though seeing it with physical eyes, in proportion to the measure and cause of the temption, which overtakes each one of them, to incite them to courage, as it was with Jacob, Joshua, the three youths, Peter, and other saints, to whom God's Providence appeared in some human form, to hearten them and affirm them in righteousness.

St. Isaac the Syrian

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Prayer

If you wish to pray as you ought, do nothing that is opposed to prayer, in order that God may draw near and descend to you.

St. Nilus of Sinai

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Virtue II

Every virtue has its beginning from God.


St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain

Virtue

While exercising the virtues, be not dejected by the labors involved, for there can be no virtue without labor.


St. Ephraim the Syrian
"A Spiritual Psalter"

Discontent

Rancour is inseparable from discontent.


St. Maximus the Confessor

Righteousness

‘All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for training in righteousness.’ 2 Tim. 3:16. The soul therefore gains great advantage from the reading of the Bible. ‘Like a tree planted by streams of water,’ Ps. 1:3 the soul is irrigated by the Bible and acquires vigour, produces tasty fruit, namely, true faith, and is beautified with a thousand green leaves, namely, actions that please God. The Bible, in fact, leads us towards pure holiness and holy actions. In it we find encouragement to all the virtues and the warning to flee from evil.

St. John Damascene
"On the Orthodox Faith"

Humility

A certain staretz said: "Above all we need humility." Why did he say this? Why did he not say that above all we need self-mastery, since the Apostle says, "Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things" (1 Cor. ix. 25). Or why did he not say that above all we need the fear of God, since the Scriptures say, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Prov. i. 7). Or why did he not say that above all we need mercy or faith, since it is said, "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged" (A.V. Prov. xvi. 6) and, "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Herb. xi. 6). Why then, laying aside all these which are so needful, does the staretz stress only humility? He shows us by this that neither fear of God, nor mercy, nor faith nor self-mastery, nor any other virtue can be achieved without humility. Moreover, humility destroys all the arrows of the enemy. All the saints followed the way of humility and laboured at it. "Look upon mine affliction and my trouble; and forgive all my sins" ((Ps. xxiv. 18), and again "I was brought low, and he delivered me" (Ps. cxiv. 6).

St. Abba Dorotheos
"Early Fathers of the Philokalia"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Love Your Neighbor

It is when we love our neighbor that we show that we love Christ, too.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast
"Monastic Wisdom" (Seventy-seventh Letter)

Path of Humility

He who has come to know himself is never tricked into undertaking what is beyond him, but keeps his feet safely on the blessed path of humility henceforth.

St. John Climacus
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 25)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Darkness and Light

Just as the darkness does not go away unless the light is present, so the disease of the soul is not banished unless He Who takes away our infirmities comes and unites Himself with us. He is called health when He comes because He chases away every disease and infirmity of the soul and gives us back our health; and He is called light, Who transcends all light, because He illuminates us; and life, Who is beyond all life, because He vivifies us. Shining around us all, and encircling and cherishing us with the glory of His divinity, He is called raiment, and so we say that we clothe ourselves with Him Who is intangible in every way and Who cannot be grasped. Uniting Himself without mingling with our soul, and making it all as light, He is said to indwell us and, uncircumscribed, becomes circumscribed. O the miracle! It is thus that He Who transcends all things is said to become all things for us: bread, shelter and the water of which He said to the Samaritan woman of old that he who would drink of it would never thirst.

St. Symeon the New Theologian
"On the Mystical Life" (The Ethical Discourses)

Two Wings

Prayer is one wing, faith the other, that lifts us heavenward. With only one wing no one can fly: prayer without faith is as meaningless as faith without prayer.

Tito Colliander
"Way of the Ascetics"

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Word of Truth

People who have been deceived by heterodoxy and have decided to revert to the unity of Orthodoxy, and those also who for the first time wish to be taught the doctrine of the Word of Truth must be instructed in the confession that has been written by the blessed Fathers who met at Nicaea. The same may prove useful also against people suspected to be opposed to the sound doctrine, and who conceal their corrupt theories under deceptive excuses; for them also, the present confession of faith itself will be sufficient...

St. Basil the Great
"Letters"

Friday, December 5, 2008

One Lord

We have one Lord, one faith, one hope.

St. Basil the Great
"Letter to Western Bishops"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Holy Spirit

So the Holy Spirit came in a dove. It is a simple and happy animal, not bitter with gall, not cruel with its bites, not violent with lacerating claws; it loves the hospitalities of men; when they give birth they bring forth their offspring together; when they go and come they cling together; they spend their lives in mutual intercourse; they recognize the concord of peace by the kiss of the beak; they fulfill the law of unanimity in all things. This is the simplicity which ought to be known in the Church; this the charity to be attained, that the love of the brethren imitate the doves, that their gentleness and tenderness equal that of the lambs and the sheep.

St. Cyrian of Carthage
"The Unity of the Church" (Treatises)

The Christian Heart

The Christian heart, when it has received something Divine, does not demand anything else in order to convince it that this is precisely from the Lord; but by that very effect it is convinced that this is heavenly, for it senses within itself fruits: love, joy, peace, and the rest (Gal. 5:22).

St. Seraphim of Sarov
"Little Russian Philokalia"

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Way of the Cross

Our quest for spiritual advancement cannot lead our soul only on to the meadows of joy and consolation, and leave it there. Sooner or later it is inevitably led on to the way of the cross. Carrying our spiritual cross we learn patience and docility.

Staretz Macarius of Optina

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lowly and Simple People

Learn to respect and love lowly and simple people. They are the greatest on earth, and are also the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.


Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
"The Prologue from Ochrid"

Hold the Faith

To hold the faith does not only mean that we believe God to be our Creator. It also means that we recognize His unceasing and detailed attention to our good.

Staretz Macarius of Optina

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Repentance

The main thing in repentance is the anguish of the heart over being deficient in the Lord's eyes and a firm resolution to try to be diligent in everything in the future.

St. Theophan the Recluse
"The Spiritual Life"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tribulations

"Tribulations worketh patience, and patience probation, and probation hope, " (Rom. 5:3,4). And even as the violence of the wind, when it rushes upon strong trees, and sways them in all directions, does not root them up, but renders them still firmer and stronger by these attacks; so the soul that is holy, and lives in a religious state, is not supplanted by the inroads of trial and tribulation, but stimulated thereby to more patience; even as the blessed Job, whom they made more illustrious and honourable.

St. John Chrysostom
"Concerning the Statutes"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Flesh

One should not undertake ascetic labors beyond one's measure, but one should strive to make our friend - the flesh - faithful and capable of performing virtues.

St. Seraphim of Sarov
"Little Russian Philokalia"

Watchfulness

Where humility is combined with the remembrance of God that is established through watchfulness and attention, and also with recurrent prayer inflexible in its resistance to the enemy, there is the place of God, the heaven of the heart in which because of God's presence no demonic army dares to make a stand.

St. Philotheos of Sinai
"Forty Texts on Watchfulness"
(The Philokalia)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Human Suffering

When can someone understand human suffering? When he also suffers. When he goes through the same, he learns and understands the other person's suffering.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast
"Monastic Wisdom; Letters..." (Twenty-second Letter)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Love of God

As the roof of a house will not stand without foundations, neither is it possible to find the love of God in a human soul which is without faith and sure hope.

St. Symeon the New Theologian
"On the Mystical Life"

Prayer

Prayer unites one with God, being a divine conversation and spiritual communion with the Being that is most beautiful and highest. Prayer is forgetting earthly things, an ascent to heaven. Through prayer we flee to God.

St. Nectarios of Pentapolis

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Watching Yourself

Watch yourself continually, in order that the spiritual life and spiritual wisdom should not be dried up within you. Meditate oftener upon what you read, or sing, or hear in church, or sometimes at home. Live as the saints lived: by their prayers, wisdom and virtues; in meekness, humility, and gentleness, not sparing yourself, but renouncing yourself, your rest, ease and enjoyment for the love of God and your neighbor, in patience, courage and struggle - have their faith, hope, and love. "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding." (Luke 12:35-36)

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Working of the Spirit

As the husbandman governs a yoke of oxen and tills the ground, so the Lord Jesus, the true Husbandman, yoked the apostles two and two and sent them forth, tilling with them the ground of those who hear and truly believe. Only this is worth saying, that the kingdom of God and the preaching of the apostles is not in the word of hearing only, like one who knows a set of words and rehearses them to others, but the kingdom is in power and effectual working of the Spirit.

St. Macarius the Great
"Spiritual Homilies" (Homily 28)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

God's Temple

Attend God's temple more often, especially in times of affliction. It's good to stand in some dark corner, to pray and weep from your soul. And the Lord will comfort you - He will unfailingly comfort you. And you'll say, 'Lord - and I thought that there was no way out of my grievous situation, but Thou, O Lord, didst help me.'

Elder Barsanuphius of Optina

Monday, November 17, 2008

Prayer and Faith

Prayer is one wing, faith the other, that lifts us heavenward. With only one wing no one can fly: prayer without faith is as meaningless as faith without prayer.

Tito Colliander
"Way of the Ascetics"

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Humility

He who has come to know himself by discerning each feeling of his soul has sown on earth; but those who have not thus sown cannot expect humility to blossom forth.
St. John Climacus
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 25)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Prayer

Prayer is a golden link connecting the Christian man, the wanderer and the stranger upon earth, with the spiritual world of which he is a member, and, above all, with God the source of life. The soul came forth from God, and to God may it ever ascend through prayer.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Saints

The weather shifts from cloudy to clear and then back to rain: thus it is with human nature. One must always expect clouds to hide the sun sometimes. Even the saints have had their dark hours, days and weeks.

Tito Colliander
"Way of the Ascetics"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our Daily Bread

Who can give life, my brethren, save He who created it? Who can in truth be the Bread of life save our Creator? He created, He sustains, He feeds and He gives life. If wheat feeds the body, Christ feeds the soul. If our earthly body is sustained by bread, our soul is fed and given life by Christ.

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
"The Prologue from Ochrid"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Confession

...For the Lord is kind to those who confess their sins.

St. Ambrose of Milan

Communion with God

Only one thing is impossible for man - to avoid death. To have communion with God is possible for him, if he understands how it is possible. For if he so wishes and understands (how it is to be done), through faith and love, testified by a good life, a man can commune with God.

St. Antony the Great
"Texts on Saintly Life"

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Enmity

...For nothing gives so much place to the devil as enmities. So long as we are united one to another he cannot insert his evil devices to create enmity among us; but the moment a rift is made he pours in like a torrent.

St. John Chrysostom
"The Christian Manner of Life"
(The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers)

Spiritual Understanding

The more a man progresses in spiritual understanding and purity of heart, the deeper, it seems to him, is the valley in which he finds himself and the higher the peak to which he is aspiring.

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
"The Prologue from Ochrid"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Soul of Man

The tree firmly fixed in the earth by its roots grows and brings forth fruit. The soul of a man firmly fixed in God by faith and love, as by spiritual roots, also lives, grows spiritually, and brings forth the fruits of virtue pleasing to God, through which the soul lives now and shall live in the future world. The tree, when uprooted from the ground, ceases to live by the life which it received from the heart through the roots. Similarly, the soul of the man which has lost faith and love to God and does not dwell in God, in Whom alone it can live, spiritually dies. What the earth is to the plants, God is to the soul.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Commandments

Begin to fulfill the commandments relating to small things, and you will come to fulfill the commandments relating to great things: small things everywhere lead to great ones.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Saints

God's saints are near to believing hearts and, like the truest and kindest of friends, are ready in a moment to help the faithful and pious who call upon them with faith and love.
St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Humility and Mercy

...When a man becomes humble, at once mercy encircles him, and then his heart is aware of Divine help, because it finds a certain power and assurance moving in itself.




St. Isaac the Syrian
"Ascetical Homilies" (Homily Eight)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Watch

Be wary, O my soul, watch over thy conscience; pay no attention to the falls of others, but instead more attentive to thine own falls.

St. Ephraim the Syrian
"A Spiritual Psalter"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Time for Harvesting

The time of this present life is a time for harvesting, and each person gathers spiritual food - as pure as possible - and stores it up for the other life. It is not the clever, the noble, the polished speakers, or the rich who win, but whoever is insulted and forbears, whoever is wronged and forgives, whoever is slandered and endures, whoever becomes a sponge and mops up whatever they might say to him. Such a person is cleansed and polished even more. He reaches great heights. He delights in the theoria of mysteries. And finally, it is he who is already inside paradise, while still in this life.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast
"Monastic Wisdom: Letters" (Thirty-eighth Letter)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

God is Light

God is light (1 John 1:5), and to those who have entered into union with Him He imparts of His own brightness to the extent that they have been purified. When the lamp of the soul, that is, the mind, has been kindled, then it knows that a divine fire has taken hold of it and inflamed it.

St. Symeon the New Theologian
"The Discourses"

Friday, October 24, 2008

Enlighten Gently

We must expound to our brethren gently and with love. Peace is lost if we vaunt or exalt ourselves above our brethren, if we find fault, if we enlighten otherwise than gently and with love...

Staretz Silouan
"Wisdom from Mount Athos"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Purify your Heart

...Purify your heart, you will learn everything.

Elder Anthony of Optina

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bearing Your Cross

Everyone bears his cross - you too should bear your cross. Even if it's with one finger, bear it just the same. The bearing of the cross is an essential requisite for the salvation of every Christian, and not only for a monk. Yes, everyone bears his cross and has borne it. The Incarnate Lord bore the Cross, and His Cross was the heaviest, since it contained within itself the crosses of all people. And take note: God bore His Cross, and a man helped Him (Simon the Cyrenian) by taking the Cross from Him and carrying it himself. That means that we too, bearing our crosses, help the Lord in the bearing of the Cross, that is, we prepare ourselves to be His servants in the heavens in the choir of bodiless spirits... What a high calling!
Elder Barsanuphius of Optina

Narrow Way

...If then, God highly exalted His Christ because He humbled Himself, suffered dishonor, was tempted and endured a shameful cross and death for our sake, how will He save, glorify and raise us up if we neither choose humility, nor show love to our fellows, nor gain our souls by enduring temptation (Luke 21:19), nor follow the saving Guide through the "strait gate" and along the "narrow way" leading to eternal life (Matt. 7:14)? To this we are called, says Peter, the chief Apostle, "Because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow his steps." (1 Peter 2:21).
St. Gregory Palamas
"Homilies"

Monday, October 20, 2008

Love

Where there is love, my brethren, there is no compulsion; a request replaces a command. Among those who love, a request has more power than does a command among those who do not. The Holy Trinity presents the highest majesty and magnificence of love.

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
"The Prologue from Ochrid"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Healing through Faith

Those who touched the Saviour's garment were made whole. Why is it that those who employ holy water with faith are even now healed? Because the Cross, immersed in the water, with the prayer of faith, is as though the life-giving Lord Himself. As the Saviour's garments were penetrated with His life, so also the water, in which the life-giving Cross is immersed, is itself penetrated with life, and thus becomes healing.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dogmas of Faith

...I understood that the Divine services are not merely a ritual, but that in them are revealed the dogmas of faith. They are the foundation of man's reception of Divinity.

Archbishop Andrew of Novo Diveyevo Convent
"The Restoration of the Orthodox Way of Life"

Tilling the Fields

When a farmer sees the seeds sprouting, he tills the fields with greater eagerness and hastens willingly to make further sowings.

St. John Chrysostom

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Spirit

Living by the spirit rather than by the flesh we overcome the weakness of the body by the strength of the soul.

St. Cyprian of Carthage
"To Demetrian"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hope

When you pray, bring to mind the ploughman who sows in hope. He Who causes to return twofold the seed that the ploughman sows with hope, Who has esteemed the seeking of His kingdom and His righteousness to be greater than temporal things, He himself will reward your entreaty according to His promise.

St. Isaac the Syrian
"Ascetical Homilies" (Homily Twenty-Five)

Holy Spirit

The Saints in Heaven through the Holy Spirit behold the glory of God and the beauty of the Lord's Countenance. But in this same Holy Spirit they see our lives too, and our deeds. They know our sorrows and hear our burning prayers. When they were living on earth they learned of the love of God from the Holy Spirit; and he who knows love on earth takes it with him into eternal life in the kingdom of Heaven, where love grows and becomes perfect. And if love makes one unable to forget a brother here, how much more must the Saints remember and pray for us!




Staretz Silouan
"Wisdom from Mount Athos"

Monday, October 13, 2008

Forgiveness

Now when someone says, "Forgive me, for God's sake," then let that be the end of it!

Elder Moses of Optina

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Temptations

Temptations show what is hidden in our heart.

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Nothing Higher Than Man

He who becomes irritated against another on account of something material, places a material object above his brother. But what can be higher than man? Nothing on earth is higher.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Humility

In the humble God rejoices, but from the proud He is driven away; where there is humility, the glory of God shines forth.

Elder Hilarion of Sarov and Valaam
"Little Russian Philokalia"

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Faith

Faith is as if one’s spiritual mouth: the more freely it opens, the greater the flow of Godly sources into us; let this mouth open (in prayer) as freely as your bodily mouth; let it not be compressed by doubt and lack of faith: if it is compressed by doubt and lack of faith, then God’s treasury of blessings will be closed to you. The more open-heartedly you can believe in God’s All-mightiness, the more the generosity of God’s heart will be revealed to you. When you ask in prayer, believe, that you will receive: and it will given to you.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Holy Spirit

As the Lord put on the body, leaving behind all principality and power, so Christians put on the Holy Spirit, and are at rest.

St. Macarius the Great
"Spiritual Homilies" (Homily 26)

Poverty

Total poverty for Christ's sake is a great treasure for the soul but it can be attained by man only if he has a firm, unhesitating, trust in Divine Providence.

Staretz Parthenius of Kiev

Monday, October 6, 2008

Simplicity

Walk before God in simplicity, and not in subtleties of the mind. Simplicity brings faith; but subtle and intricate speculations bring conceit; and conceit brings withdrawal from God.

St. Isaac of Syria
"Early Fathers from the Philokalia"

Prayers of the Saints

The Saints fulfilled the word of the Lord; the Lord fulfils their word; they worked for Him - He does so for them. The Lord Himself said: "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." This is why the Lord speedily fulfills the prayers of the Saints for us.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Our Will

...Every tribulation reveals the state of our will.

St. Mark the Ascetic

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Will of God

If some misfortune befall you, refect in this wise: 'The Lord sees my heart, and if this is His will all will be well, both for me and for others.' And thus your soul will always be at peace.

Staretz Silouan
"Wisdom from Mt. Athos"

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Children of the Heavenly Father

When entering the temple of God to pray, we should know and remember that we are the children of the Heavenly Father, and have come into His house; therefore we must stand there with son-like feelings of sincere love and gratitude in fervent prayer. Our spirit should cry, "Abba, Father!"

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Temptations

...As long as you are journeying in the way to the city of the Kingdom and are drawing nigh the city of God, this will be a sign for you: the strength of the temptations that you encounter.

St. Isaac the Syrian
"Ascetical Homilies" (Homily Forty-Two)

Our Weaknesses

We should indeed be the strangest of people if we were to find any pleasure in the schisms and divisions that beset the Church, and if we did not consider it as the greatest achievement to see the scattered limbs of Christ reassembled once more. Our desire to achieve this is as strong as the knowledge of our weakness to do so.

St. Basil the Great
Letter to Evagrius, a priest

Monday, September 29, 2008

Benefits of Confession

Your faith in the holy sacrament of confession will save you; the grace of God present in the sacrament of confession will heal you.

Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
"The Arena"

Be Ever Watchful

...Let us be on the watch and go on fighting, and God, seeing our good-will, our humility and our contrition, will lend us a hand and extend his mercy to us.

Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
"Discourses and Sayings"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Patience and Humility

...Through Christ, everyone who follows the path of patience and humility shall reach Christ. On this road one will encounter intensity of labor, clouds of sadness, the terror of fear, the traps of the oppressors, threats of the strong and reproaches of the arrogant. That is why the Lord Himself, the King of Glory, suffered all this so that His followers would not wish to shrink from and avoid the misery in this life, but to overcome it with patience.

St. John Maximovitch of Chernigov
"The Royal Way of the Cross of Our Lord..."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Christ - The Natural Son

Man can barely preserve what is natural to him; but Christ gives sonship by the cross.

St. Mark the Ascetic
"Early Fathers from the Philokalia

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Prayer

Prayer attunes us for converse with God and, through long practice, leads us to friendship with Him.

St. Nilus of Sinai
"Early Fathers from the Philokalia"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Charity

Charity is the bond of brotherhood, the foundation of peace, the steadfastness and firmness of unity; it is greater than both hope and faith (1 Cor. 13:13); it excels both good works and suffering of the faith; and, as an eternal virtue, it will abide with us forever in the kingdom of heaven. Take patience away from it, and thus forsaken, it will not last; take away the substance of enduring and tolerating, and it attempts to last with no roots or strength.

St. Cyprian of Carthage
"The Good of Patience"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rewards of Endurance

...Things that seem awful to us are the things that bring greater profit to the soul, when we endure them without grumbling. It is amazing, though, how all the temporary, all the vain things of this present life change and shift. And then, in a moment, the first shall become last and the last first.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast
"Monastic Wisdom" (Fifty-third Letter)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Desiring the Kingdom of Heaven

We claim that we desire the kingdom of heaven, and yet we neglect those things that ensure we could gain entry there. And although we make no efforts to fulfill the Lord's commands, we still imagine in our foolishness that we will receive the same honours as those who have fought against sin right up to their death. Who has ever stayed at home doing nothing at harvest-time and managed to fill his arms with bundles of corn? Who has ever gathered grapes from the vine he has not planted and worked hard for? Those who have worked receive the fruits, those who are victorious are crowned.

St. Basil the Great
"Gateway to Paradise"

Inward Disposition

Our inward disposition, even when unexpressed by outward signs, strongly affects the inward disposition of others.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Giving Thanks

There is no holier tongue than the one which thanks God during misfortune.

St. John Maximovitch of Chernigov
"The Royal Way of the Cross of Our Lord..."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Knocking at Heaven's Door

A servant of the Lord is he who in body stands before men, but in mind knocks at Heaven with prayer.

St. John Climacus
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 4)

Only the Soul

Let us be concerned only about the soul, and in every need have, as the one who takes care of you, God. Nowhere, never, and in no need does God leave those who hope without doubt in Him entirely and who serve Him with all their hearts in love towards Him.

St. Paisius Velichkovsky
"Field Flowers"

Afflictions

Listen! God Himself says, Call upon me in the time of trouble; so will I hear thee, and thou shalt praise me (Ps. 50: 15-16). Afflictions confirm us in our faith, and teach us to set worldly glory at nought. Believe firmly that no suffering or sorrow can visit us - not a hair of our heads can fall - without God intending it. Although we are always inclined to put down our misfortunes to the ill-will or stupidy of other men, these are, in reality, only tools in the hand of God. Tools, used to fashion our salvation.

Staretz Macarius of Optina
"Russian Letters of Direction 1834-1860)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gentleness

Whatever gentleness you use in speaking with others, that very same gentleness will Christ use with you. With whatever measure you measure out to others, with that very same measure will He apportion out to you. Just as you forgive the failings of others, He forgives yours. With whatever love and gentleness you seek Him, likewise will He appear to you.




Elder Joseph the Hesychast
"Monastic Wisdom" (Seventy-first Letter)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Praying for Salvation

When praying a man must lay aside every worldly care and only care for the salvation of his soul.

St. John of Krostadt
"My Life in Christ"

Patience

Nothing else can relieve those who labor and toil more than the consolation derived from patience.

St. Cyprian of Carthage
"The Good of Patience"

Love Your Neighbor

Love covers everything. If anyone does good to his neighbor out of affection and not merely out of duty, the devil will not disturb such a man; but where good is done merely out of duty, he tries to make trouble. God has mercy on him who labors, but sends His consolation to the one who loves.

Staretz Isaac of Optina

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Live Simply

Live simply and God will not leave you.

Staretz Leonid of Optina
"Russian Mystics"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fruit of Repentance

All that St. John recommends as the fruit of repentance is not enough to save the soul from sin, but it is enough to make men worthy to appear before Christ. The Forerunner's task was, then, to sound the alarm, for men, even in some small way, to cleanse themselves and be made worthy to appear before the divine face of the Saviour.

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
"Homilies"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Humility

...Christ comes to teach men the humility that they had forgotten and the obedience they had transgressed. He gives us a perfect example in His humility and obedience towards His heavenly Father. And His Forerunner teaches us by his example of humility and obedience - in his sinless humility and obedience to Christ. Men who have no humility or obedience, have no wisdom or love. And he who does not have these does not have God. and he who does not have God does not have himself, but is as if he did not exist, being in darkness and the shadow of death. If any among us were to say: Christ is too high an example for me; I cannot look to Him - then there is John the Forerunner who is, as an ordinary man, closer to mortal men. Let him look to John's humility and obedience. But, alas, if a man does not want to do good, he will always find an excuse to flee from it. But he who seeks to shed light on his miserable existence on earth, he will with joy find it in the star of John the Forerunner. He is fortunate, for that star, like the one that led the astrologers from the East to Bethlehem, will lead him to the most resplendent Sun, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the one hymn of the angels and the one salvation of men, yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
"Homilies"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Man Being Tripped Up

A man would be always tripped up by that thing which he would not cut off of himself.

Abba Pimen

Monday, September 8, 2008

Aspiration after God

The soul that really loves God and Christ, though it may do ten thousand righteousnesses, esteems itself as having wrought nothing, by reason of its insatiable aspiration after God. Though it should exhaust the body with fastings, with watchings, its attitude towards the virtues is as if it had not yet even begun to labor for them.

St. Macarius the Great
"Spiritual Homilies" (Homily 10)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Faith

By our own free will faith either decreases or increases.

St. Paisius Velichkovsky
"Field Flowers"

Seek Love

If you wish to be saved, seek no other thing here in this world as much as love.

St. Cosmas of Aetolia

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Eternal Life

...'But what can we do,' you say, 'to obtain the enjoyment of that [eternal] life?' Listen to the Judge Himself conversing with a certain young man on this subject. When the latter asked: 'What shall I do to obtain eternal life?' Christ, after mentioning to him the other commandments, ended with the love of his neighbor. And perhaps some of my listeners, like that rich young man, will say: 'We also have kept these, for we have not stolen, we have not committed adultery.' However, you will not be able to say this, also: that you have loved your neighbor as you ought. For, if a man has been envious, or has spoken slander, or has not helped one who wronged him, or has not shared his possessions, he has not loved his neighbor.

St. John Chrysostom
"Daily Readings from the Writings of..."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Spiritual Helpers

God's saints are near to believing hearts and, like the truest and kindest of friends, are ready in a moment to help the faithful and pious who call upon them with faith and love. We have for the most part to send, and have sometimes to wait long for earthly helpers, whilst we have not to send for nor wait long for spiritual helpers: the faith of him who prays can place them close to his very heart in a moment, and he will as speedily receive through faith full spiritual help.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Man's Prayers

If a man's deeds are not in harmony with his prayer, his labors are in vain.

Abba Moses the Ethiopian

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

On the Path of Perfection

One must not hinder any man on the path of perfect self-giving and service of God.

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
"The Prologue from Ochrid"

The Right Path

When a man walks a 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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

God's Bounties

We eat and drink every day, yet on the morrow our bodies need drink and food again. In like manner, the recollection of God's bounties never wearies the soul but disposes her still more to think on God.

Staretz Silouan
"Wisdom from Mt. Athos"

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The True Teaching

In these days of vacillation, confusion of thought and corruption, we confess the true teaching of the Church regardless of the opinions held by those who might hear us and disregarding the skepticism and faithlessness of our environment. If, for the sake of conforming to the errors of the times, we would suppress the truth or yet profess distorted doctrines to please the world, we would in fact be offering stones instead of bread. And the higher the position of one who would act in this way, the more profound the temptation and the more serious the consequences.

St. Philaret the New Confessor

Gateway to God

...And so let us be glad and bear with patience everything the world throws at us, secure in the knowledge that it is then that we are most in the mind of God.

St. Basil the Great
"Gateway to Paradise"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yielding

It is always better to yield. If you insist on fairness, it is the same as a paper ruble, but if you yield, it is a silver ruble.

Elder Ambrose of Optina

The Theotokos

Through Her the unspeakable abyss of God's love has been made open to all.

St. John Damascene
Homily on the Dormition of the Theotokos

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Growth of Humility

When pride retreats from a man, humility begins to dwell in him, and the more pride is diminished, so much more does humility grow. The one gives way to the other as to its opposite. Darkness departs and light appears. Pride is darkness, but humility is light.

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
"Journey to Heaven"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Humility Bears Fruit

There are certain kinds of trees which never bear any fruit as long as their branches stay 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.


St. Dorotheos of Gaza
"Discourses and Sayings"
(On Humility)

Love of Christ

Just as the love of Jesus Christ is beyond our understanding so we cannot conceive of the depth of His suffering, because our own love for the Lord is so infinitely small. But with greater love comes more understanding even of the Lord's sufferings. There is love in small degree, medium love and perfect love; and the more perfect our love the more perfect our knowledge.

Staretz Silouan
"Wisdom from Mount Athos"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Our Lady

In praying to our Lady, you call Her an abyss of mercies and bounties. Try yourself to be like Her, as far as lies in your power, in mercy and bountifulness in regard to those who have need of your mercy and bounties. Do not be angry with them, do not despise them, but love them the more they require your help. Consider their position clearly and soberly according to the teaching of the Gospel, often putting yourself in their place - and our Lady will multiply Her mercies upon you.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Humility

God is not unjust and does not close the door against those who knock with humility.

St. John Climacus
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 26)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mary Mother of God

From Apostolic times and to our days all who truly love Christ give veneration to Her Who gave birth to Him, raised Him and protected Him in the days of His youth. If God the Father chose Her, God the Holy Spirit descended upon Her, and God the Son dwelt in Her, submitted to Her in the days of His youth, was concerned for Her when hanging on the Cross - then should not everyone who confesses the Holy Trinity venerate Her?

St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Fransisco
The Orthodox Veneration of Mary, The Birthgiver of God

True Love

True love willingly bears privations, troubles, and labors; endures offences, humiliations, defects, sins, and injustices, if they do not harm others; bears patiently and meekly with the baseness and malice of others, leaving judgement to the all-seeing God, the righteous Judge, and praying that He may teach those who are darkened by senseless passions.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Patience

It is not when we courageously endure the derision of our father that we are judged patient, but we endure it from all manner of men.

St. John Climacus
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 4)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Christianity

...Christianity is that bridge and ladder whereby men ascend from the earthly Church to the Heavenly.

St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
"A Discourse on Iconography"

God's Providence

In God's providence everything is absolutely right and whatever happens is for the assistance of the soul. For whatever God does with us, He does out of His love and consideration for us because it is adapted to our needs.

St. Dorotheos of Gaza
"Discourses and Sayings"
(On Enduring Temptation Calmly and Thankfully)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Gift of the Priesthood

Those who have accepted the gift of the priesthood have as their main purpose the regeneration of human souls and leading them to the eternal Kingdom of God.

St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco

"Man of God"
(Decrees and Exhortations)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Proud Man

A thief abominates the sun; a proud man scorns the meek.

St. John Climacus
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 23)

Friday, August 8, 2008

The One

Gazing upon the One hanging on the Cross, he saw as in a mirror his moral downfall. All the good concealed within him was awakened and surfaced. He came to a realization of his sins, he understood that it was his own fault that had brought him to this bitter end; he had no one to blame. Like the thief crucified on Christ's left, he too had been gripped by hatred for the executioners, but this gave way to a feeling of humility and compunction. He felt fear at God's coming judgement.

St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Fancisco
"Man of God"
(Why the Wise Thief was Pardoned)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Desire for God

When we return to prayer after a period of reading we find a rejuvenated and envigorated soul, stirred by the desire for God. The best form of prayer is one that implants the clearest idea of God in the soul and thus makes space for the presence of God within us. We become a temple of God when our continuous meditation on Him is not constantly interrupted by ordinary worries, and the spirit is not disturbed by unexpected emotions.

St. Basil the Great
"Gateway to Paradise"
(Selected Letters)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sacred Tradition

Before the writing of the Holy Scriptures, that is, of the sacred texts of the Gospels, the Acts and the Epistles of the Apostles, and before they were spread to the churches of the world, the Church was based on Sacred Tradition....The holy texts are in relation to Sacred Tradition what the part is to the whole. The Church Fathers regard Sacred Tradition as the safe guide in the interpretation of Holy Scripture and absolutely necessary for understanding the truths contained in the Holy Scripture. The Church received many traditions from the Apostles... The constitution of the church services, especially of the Divine Liturgy, the holy Mysteria themselves and the manner of performing them, certain prayers and other institutions of the Church go back to the Sacred Tradition of the Apostles.

St. Nectarios of Pentapolis

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Sick Man

A man who is wrathful with us is a sick man; we must apply a plaster to his heart - love; we must treat him kindly, speak to him gently, lovingly. And if there is not deeply-rooted malice against us within him - but only a temporary fit of anger, you will see how his heart, or his malice, will melt away through your kindness and love - how good will conquer evil. A Christian must always be kind, gracious, and wise in order to conquer evil by good.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Holy Spirit

...Filled with love, the holy Apostles went into the world, preaching salvation to mankind and fearing nothing, for the Spirit of God was their strength. When St. Andrew was threatened with death upon the cross if he did not stay his preaching he answered: 'If I feared the cross I should not be preaching the Cross." In this manner all the other Apostles, and after them the martyrs and holy men who wrestled against evil, went forward with joy to meet pain and suffering. For the Holy Spirit, sweet and gracious, draws the soul to love the Lord, and in the sweetness of the Holy Spirit the soul loses her fear of suffering.

Staretz Silouan
"Wisdom from Mt. Athos"

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Middle Path

A man is upright at heart when his estimation of things is not biased towards excess or defect, but goes straight to the middle path of virtue.

St. Basil the Great

Friday, August 1, 2008

Holy Spirit

The true aim of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God.

St. Seraphim of Sarov
"A Wonderful Revelation to the World"

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Salvation

Two factors are involved in man's salvation: the grace of God and the will of man. Both must work together, if salvation is to be attained.

St. Nectarios of Pentapolis

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Passions

As a bird tied by the leg, when it starts to rise upwards is pulled back to earth by the string, so the mind which has not yet attained passionlessness, although rising to the knowledge of heavenly things, is pulled back to earth by the passions.

St. Maximus the Confessor
"Early Fathers of the Philokalia"

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

God's Will

If you approach any task and see there is an absence of God’s will, do not attempt it under any circumstances.

St. Anthony the Great

Abstinence

Do not trust that because of abstinence you will not fall. One who had never eaten was cast from Heaven.

St. John Climacus
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 15)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Suffering and Afflictions

If you are a good Christian, you should be pleased if you suffer troubles, since you will become more worthy. And if you are a sinner, you should be pleased if you are afflicted, for in this way you will be cleansed of your sins and will find consolation in the time to come. Affliction offers benefits in each case, for: 'The spirit which has suffered is a sacrifice for God; God does not despise the heart which is contrite and humble'.

St. Basil the Great
"Gateway to Paradise"

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Heart of Man

The heart of the man who oversees his soul at all times is made joyous by revelations.
St. Isaac the Syrian
"Ascetical Homilies" (Homily Fifteen)

Mastering Passion

A man who fights a passion at its inception quickly masters it.

St. Isaac the Syrian
"Early Fathers of the Philokalia"

Friday, July 25, 2008

Reliance on God

Nothing is fearful to him who relies on God.

St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Askesis

...Training accustoms one to be lenient, temperate, capable of controlling his anger, subduing his desires, doing works of charity, showing love for his fellow men, practicing virtue. Training is virtuous askesis, rendering one's way of life admirable. Askesis is practice, meditation, training, self-control, love of labor.

St. Nectarios of Pentapolis
"Spiritual Training"

True Humility

Let anyone desiring to find true humility and rest for his soul learn lowliness of mind and see that in it is all joy and all glory and all tranquility, and in pretentions to superiority, just the contrary.

St. Dorotheos of Gaza
"Discourses and Sayings"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Breath of Hope

`Prayer breathes hope....

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Sobriety

It is impossible for the soul to attain anything spiritual and pleasing to God, or to be free of inner sin, without guarding of the mind and purity of heart, in other words, without sobriety ...If with God's help we gain something daily through our sobriety, we should take care not to enter into communication with other people without discrimination, lest we suffer loss through our converse with them and are led into temptation.

St. Hesychius the Priest
"Texts on Sobriety and Prayer"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fountain of Mercy

If you desire that God should rain upon you from as it were the fountains of His mercy, let you also have a fountain.

St. John Chrysostom
"The Fountain of Alms"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

All Things Through Christ

Be bold, resolute in every good work, be especially generous in words of kindness, tenderness, sympathy, and still more so in works of compassion and mutual help. Consider despondency, despair in any good work, as an illusion. Say: "I can do all things through Christ Which strengtheneth me," (Phil. 4:13) though indeed I am the greatest of sinners. "All things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23).

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Faith

...The first virtue is faith, for by faith even mountains are moved and men receive everything they wish, as the Lord said. Each one, in all glorious and wondrous deeds, is confirmed by his faith. By our own free will faith either decreases or increases.

St. Paisius Velichkovsky
"Field Flowers"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Salvation

The mystery of our salvation is concluded with the appearance of God among men in the human body. St. Meliton of Sardis writes: "The works of Christ, following His baptism, manifested and proved to the world that in His body, His divinity was hidden. Being God, He was also perfect man. He revealed to us His two natures. Divinity, by His miracles performed throughout the three years following His baptism and, His humanity, throughout those years when the weakness of the flesh hid the signs of His divinity, even though He was truly the Eternal God." The manner of the union of divinity with humanity is difficult to comprehend but the event of the appearance of God as a man among men is perfectly comprehensible from the concept of the love of God for man. Not even the creation of the world, as an event, is more comprehensible; one can say even less comprehensible--than the event above the events: the Incarnation of God.

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
"Prologue from Ochrid"

The Saints - Signs of Wonder

God rests in the saints and even in their very names, in their very images; it is only necessary to use their images with faith, and they will work miracles.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Humility

A humble and spiritually active man, when he reads the Holy Scriptures, will refer everything to himself and not to another.





St. Mark the Ascetic
"Early Fathers from the Philokalia"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Empty Oneself

...This decision not to rely on self is for most people a severe obstacle at the very outset. It must be over come, otherwise we have no prospect of going further. . . .
We must empty ourselves, therefore, of the immoderately high faith we have in ourselves. Often it is so deeply rooted in us that we do not see how it rules over our heart. It is precisely our egoism, our self-centeredness and self-love that cause all our difficulties, our lack of freedom in suffering, our disappointments and our anguish of soul and body.



Tito Colliander
"Way of the Ascetics"

Monday, July 14, 2008

Anger

Nothing is so inappropriate to those repenting as a spirit agitated by anger...

St. John Climacus
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 8)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Saints

As we consider the outcome of their lives, let us imitate how they lived, or at least how they were restored through humility and repentance...

St. Gregory Palamas
"Homily Twenty-Eight"
(Delivered on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul)

Friday, July 11, 2008

'The Saints

During their earthly lives, all the saints are an incentive to virtue for those who hear and see them with understanding, for they are human icons of excellence, animated pillars of goodness, and living books, which teach us the way to better things. Afterwards, when they depart this life, the benefit we gain from them is kept alive for ever through the remembrance of their virtues. By commemorating their noble deeds, we offer them that praise which, on the one hand, we owe them for the good they did our Ancestors, by which, on the other, is also fitting for us at the present time, on account of the help they give us now.

St. Gregory Palamas
"Homily Twenty-Eight"
(Delivered on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Watchfulness

Just as it is impossible to fight battles without weapons, or to swim a great sea with clothes on, or to live without breathing, so without humility and the constant prayer to Christ it is impossible to master the art of inward spiritual warfare or to set about it and pursue it skillfully.

Hesychios the Priest
"On Watchfulness and Holiness"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Repentance

It is impossible for us who have fallen into the pit of iniquities ever to be drawn out of it, unless we sink into the abyss of the humility of the repentant.




St. John Climacus
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 5)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sinfulness

A man who fears sins will traverse a terrible passage without stumbling, and at a time of darkness he will find light before him and within himself. The Lord carefully watches the steps of the man who fears sins, and God's mercy forestalls him when he slips.




St. Isaac the Syrian
"Ascetical Homilies" (Homily Five)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sweet Ointments

...As sweet ointments make those pleasant who use them, so likewise does good and pleasant conversation.




St. John Chrysostom
"The Christian Manner of Life"

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Christian Mind

The Christian mind and way of thinking is always in the heavenly frame.

St. Macarius the Great
"Spiritual Homilies" (Homily V)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Pleasing God

...Have the monks alone the duty of pleasing God? Certainly not. God wishes that all become holy and not neglect any virtue.

St. John Chrysostom
"Daily Readings..."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Faith/Unbelief

Faith gives rest and joy; unbelief, troubles and wounds.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Struggle Over Sin

...God saves His fallen creature by His own love for him, but man's love for his Creator is also necessary; without it he cannot be saved. Striving toward God and cleaving unto the Lord by its humble love, the human soul obtains power to cleanse itself from sin and to strengthen itself for the struggle to complete victory over sin.

St. John Maximovitch of Shangahi and San Francisco
"The Church as the Body of Christ"

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Church

The Church, standing on her foundation on earth and headed by the Son of God seated at the right hand of the Father, is mysteriously guided by the Holy Spirit. She inwardly links together all of her children and unites them with God. Through the Church, God's gifts of grace are poured out on those striving to follow the way of Christ; they sanctify and fortify all good in them, cleanse them from sin and every defilement, making them able to become receptacles of the radiance of the glory and power of God.

St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco
"Come, O Ye People"

Monday, June 30, 2008

Holiness

Holiness is not simple righteousness, for which the righteous are rewarded with blessedness in the Kingdom of God; rather, it is such a height of righteousness that people are so filled with the grace of God that it flows from them even upon those who associate with them. Great is their blessedness, which proceeds from their direct contemplation of the glory of God. Being filled also with love for men, which proceeds from love of God, they are responsive to men's needs, and at their entreaties they act as mediators and intercessors for them before God.

St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco
"The Glorification of God-Pleasers"

Grow in Courage

St. Paul does not forbid us to be sorry after a godly manner (II Cor. 7:9) but wishes us to grow in courage. Try to do as he says.

Staretz Macarius of Optina
"Russian Letters of Direction"

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Church

A Church pure and untouched by the harshness of our times is not easily found and from now on rarely to be seen - a Church that has preserved the Apostolic doctrine unadulterated and inviolate! . . . Beloved brethren, we are small and humble, but we have not accommodated our faith according to changing events.

St. Basil the Great
(Letter to the Evaisenians)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sin

We all sin, we all transgress Christ's commandments and the laws of the holy Church, but some acknowledge themselves to be sinners and repent of their transgressions, while others, instead, reject the very laws and do not want to submit to them; they say that these laws are out-dated, that they are no longer needed; as if we are smarter than those who gave us the Church laws, which the Lord Himself gave through His Apostles and hierarchs. Here before you are two paths: the path of the wise thief, and the path of the one who was pulled down to hades by the weight of his blasphemy.

St. John Maximovitch
"Sermon on the Sunday of Orthodoxy"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Devotion

Think and you will see that the mystery of devotion in the chosen ones of God was realized through repentance.

St. Mark the Ascetic

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tools to Everlasting Life

Anyone who is to inherit the everlasting kingdom must have good works as the proof and the fruit of love, as the crown of all the other virtues.

St. Gregory Palamas
"Homilies"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

First Fulfill, Then Teach

"Nor did we eat food received free from everyone. On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked so as not to burden any of you" (2 Thessalonians 3:8). First fulfill then teach. All the apostles and all of the saints of God adhered to this rule. Thus, the Apostle Paul, even before he spoke the command: "If anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10), declares for himself and for his assistants in preaching that they did not eat anyone's bread for free, rather by effort and labor earned their bread. "Night and day we worked!" Behold the true laborers! Behold the honey-bearing bees of Christ! Daily and nightly toil: where is their time for sin? Daily and nightly toil: where is their room for sin? Daily and nightly toil: where can the devil weave his nest of passions? Daily and nightly toil: where is their cause for scandal?

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
"Prologue from Ochrid"
(About the Apostles' love for Labors)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Come to God

He who comes to God, and desires to be in truth a partner of Christ's throne, ought to come with a view to this end, that he may be changed, and altered from his former condition and conduct, and be made a good and new man, who brings nothing of the old man with him.

St. Macarius the Great
"Spiritual Homilies" (Homily 44)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Vainglory

The Lord often brings the vainglorious to a state free of vainglory through the dishonour that befalls them.

St. John Climacus
"Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 22)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Everything

Everything is God's, nothing is ours.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Regeneration

Regeneration is the assimilation of redemption through faith, contrary to the notions of Scholastic theology which divorce one from the other. Every attentive observer of life will have found cases of spiritual regeneration, perhaps many of them, or may even have experienced such spiritual regeneration himself, if his piety was not innate, but acquired after temporary denial of God and His commandments. Both Lutheran and Russian theologians like to describe regeneration by means of the parable of the prodigal son; yet this depicts the first stage only, that of repentance, and the Lutheran theologians go no further than this. The Apostles saw it more completely in the conversion of Zacchaeus, who not only repented, but undertook the moral exploit of a decisive change of life, so that our Lord said: "Today is salvation come to this house." This example is of special value since the regeneration of Zacchaeus took place under the direct influence of our Redeemer.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky
"The Dogma of Redemption"

Good Works

Whenever you wish to make a beginning in some good work, first prepare yourself for the temptations that will come upon you, and do not doubt the truth. For it is the enemy's custom, whenever he sees a man beginning a good mode of life with fervent faith, to confront him with diverse and fearful temptations, so that he should be afraid, his good intention should be chilled, and he should lack the fervor to undertake the God-pleasing work. It is not that our adversary has such power (for then no one could ever do good), but God concedes it to him, as we have learned with the righteous Job. Therefore prepare yourself manfully to encounter the temptations which are brought against the virtues, and then begin to practice them. For if you have not prepared yourself beforehand to meet temptations, then refrain from practicing the virtues.

St. Isaac the Syrian
"Ascetical Homilies" (Homily Five)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Humility

The humbler we grow, the more firm and secure our spiritual life becomes.

Staretz Macarius of Optina
"Russian Letters of Direction"

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tribulations

If you see the Church scattered and smitten with the severest of trials, if its members are beaten with rods, if he who was entrusted with its government is exiled to far distant lands, do not look only at these tribulations themselves. Think of their outcome too: the wages, the reward, the prize for the struggle. "Whoever endures to the end will be saved," is the teaching of the Scripture. (Matt. 10:22). Our fathers in Old Testament times saw events contradicting the promises of God, yet they were not shocked or worried. They trusted in a Providence beyond their understanding. Knowing the richness and skill of the Divine Wisdom they awaited the outcome and in the meantime they endured all the adversities, giving thanks to God and singing His praises despite His allowing these trials.

St. John Chrysostom
"On Providence"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Charity

...For where there is charity the worst faults come to nothing; where there is charity the unruly thoughts of the mind come to an end.

St. John Chrysostom
"The Gifts of the Holy Spirit"

Work of the Holy Spirit

...For as of old on the fiftieth day after the Sacrifice of the Lamb, the Law was given on Mount Sinai to the Hebrew people, now delivered from the Egyptians, so, after the Passion of Christ, in which the True Lamb of God was slain, on the fiftieth day after His Resurrection, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and upon the people who believed (Acts ii.3); so that an earnest Christian might know beyond any uncertainty, that the sacred rites of the Old Testament had served as foundations for the Gospel, and that by this same Spirit was the Second Covenant laid down, by Whom the first had been established.

St. Leo the Great

"The Work of the Holy Spirit"

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chosen Souls

The pre-eternal wisdom of God had made Itself abodes from the chosen souls of men. And the Spirit of God's power and wisdom was needed to come down into this abode and consecrate it.

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
"Homilies" (Pentecost)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Spirit of God

The pre-eternal wisdom of God had made Itself abodes from the chosen souls of men. And the Spirit of God's power and wisdom was needed to come down into this abode and consecrate it.
Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
"Homilies" (Pentecost)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Restoration to Paradise

Through the Holy Spirit comes our restoration to paradise, our ascension into the kingdom of heaven, our return to the adoption of sons, our liberty to call God our Father, our being made partakers of the grace of Christ, our being called children of light, our sharing in eternal glory, and, in a word, our being brought into a state of all "fulness of blessing," both in this world and in the world to come, of all the good gifts that are in store for us, by promise hereof, through faith, beholding the reflection of their grace as though they were already present, we await the full enjoyment.

St. Basil the Great
"On the Holy Spirit"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

On the Holy Spirit

Now the Spirit is not brought into intimate association with the soul by local approximation. How indeed could there be a corporeal approach to the incorporeal? This association results from the withdrawal of the passions which, coming afterwards gradually on the soul from its friendship to the flesh, have alienated it from its close relationship with God. Only then after a man is purified from the shame whose stain he took through his wickedness, and has come back again to his natural beauty, and as it were cleaning the Royal Image and restoring its ancient form, only thus is it possible for him to draw near to the Paraclete. And He, like the sun, will by the aid of thy purified eye show thee in Himself the image of the invisible, and in the blessed spectacle of the image thou shalt behold the unspeakable beauty of the archetype. Through His aid hearts are lifted up, the weak are held by the hand, and they who are advancing are brought to perfection. Shining upon those that are cleansed from every spot, He makes them spiritual by fellowship with Himself. Just as when a sunbeam falls on bright and transparent bodies, they themselves become brilliant too, and shed forth a fresh brightness from themselves, so souls wherein the Spirit dwells, illuminated by the Spirit, themselves become spiritual, and send forth their grace to others.

St. Basil the Great
"On the Holy Spirit"

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Heresies

...Hence heresies have both frequently arisen and are arising, while the perverse mind has no peace, while discordant perfidy does not maintain unity. Indeed the Lord permits and suffers these things to happen, while the choice of one's own liberty remains, so that, while the norm of truth examines our hearts and minds, the sound faith of those who are approved may become manifest in a clear light. Through the Apostle the Holy Spirit forewarns and says: 'For there must be factions, so that those who are approved among you may be made manifest' (I Cor. 11:19). Thus the faithful are approved; thus the perfidious are disclosed; thus also before the day of judgement, already here too the souls of the just and the unjust are divided and the chaff is separated from the wheat.

St. Cyprian of Carthage
"The Unity of the Church"

Sunday, June 8, 2008

How To Act

...Once when he was appointing a monk to be the senior prophora baker and instructing him on how to act toward the brethren he was in charge of, Father Archimandrite Moses said. "Now when someone says, 'Forgive me, for God's sake,' then let that be the end of it!" And that is exactly how he himself acted.

"The Elder Moses of Optina"

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Mystical Life

Just as the darkness does not go away unless the light is present, so the disease of the soul is not banished unless He Who takes away our infirmities comes and unites Himself with us.
St. Symeon the New Theologian
"On the Mystical Life: The Ethical Discourses"

Friday, June 6, 2008

Redemption

We must constantly bear in remembrance and strive to live in accordance with the mystery of our redemption by Christ, His sufferings, His death on the cross, and His resurrection and ascension, and His second coming; we must honour above all the holiness of the Mother of God as the living ark and temple of the Godhead, and ask Her, after the Lord Himself, for cleansing and holiness, and steadfastness in faith and love.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Christian Home

...A home is a Christian one, when all the members of the household bear each other's burdens, and when each one condemns only himself.

Staretz Macarius of Optina

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Preparation

The disciples worshipped the most high Lord Who had come down from above the heavens, made the earth into heaven and gone up again whence He came, having united things below with things above and formed one Church, at the same time heavenly and earthly, to the glory of His love for mankind. Then they returned with joy from the Mount of Olives, whence the Master had ascended, to Jerusalem and were continuously in the Temple with their minds set on heaven, praising and blessing God (Luke 24:53), and preparing themselves to receive the promised coming of the divine Spirit.

St. Gregory Palamas
(Homily Twenty-One: On the Ascension...)

Spiritual Life

No art is acquired easily or without much diligent study and practice. Could it be otherwise with the greatest art of all - the art of arts - the spiritual life, the soul's salvation?




Staretz Macarius of Optina
"Russian Letters of Direction"

Monday, June 2, 2008

Trust in God

We must trust in God in all temptations, in all desolate conditions of the soul. The Lord will deliver.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Sin and Mercy

...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"

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Word and Deed

Dearly Beloved, each word and deed of Our Saviour Jesus Christ is for us a lesson in virtue and piety. For this end also did He assume our nature, so that every man and every woman, contemplating as in a picture the practice of all virtue and piety, might strive with all their hearts to imitate His example. For this He bore our body, so that as far as we could we might repeat within us the manner of His Life. And so therefore, when you hear mention of some word or deed of His, take care not to receive it simply as something that incidentally happened, but raise your mind upwards towards the sublimity of what He is teaching, and strive to see what has been mystically handed down to us.

St. Basil the Great
"That Prayer is to be placed Before all Things"
(The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Patience

...And patience, Dearly Beloved, not alone keeps watch over what is good, it will also drive away evil.

St. Cyprian of Carthage
"The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers"

Repentance2

Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins.
St. John Climacus
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 5)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Prayer2

If you yourself do not hear or understand what you are saying, how is it you want God to hear it?

Elder Ieronymos of Aegina
(on prayer)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Love2

When someone begins to expound to you about love or fruitful action independent of true belief, tell him: Wait, first believe correctly. By faith acquire all the salvific precepts of Christianity. Through them be united with the Lord, make your life and strength depend on Him like you would on an injection for your health and then you will begin to act in a fruitful way. It is a fact that the witness to a righteous life is fruitful activity in love, but in order to attain it and to remain in it one must accept all of God's Truth with faith and pass through all of God's sanctifying actions [on one's self]. Only under these conditions, i.e., by abiding in True Love, may we grow up into Him in all things, Who is the head, even Christ (Eph. 4,15). We could summarize thus: he who does not have the right Faith cannot enter into the proper state, and he who does not enter into the right state cannot properly act. Now do you see how one cannot say: "Believe as you wish, only love"?

Bishop Theophan the Recluse
"A God-pleasing Life, General Themes"

Humility 2

If you practice an excellent virtue without perceiving the taste of its aid, do not marvel; for until a man becomes humble, he will not receive the reward of his labor. The recompense is not given for labor but for humility. He who maltreats the latter loses the former.

St. Isaac the Syrian
"Ascetical Homilies" (Homily Fifty-Seven)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Love Your Neighbor

...And now if you exert yourself in the prayer and pray continuously, if you read lives of saints and toil a little at night, you will quickly obtain what you seek, and your little soul will rejoice that Christ loves you so much. He is Love and He seeks love from us. It is when we love our neighbor that we show that we love Christ, too.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast
"Monastic Wisdom: Letters.." (77th Letter)

Holy Spirit

As the Lord put on the body, leaving behind all principality and power, so Christians put on the Holy Spirit, and are at rest.

St. Macarius the Great
"Spiritual Homilies" (Homily 26)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Repayment

...Repay your Benefactor with the practice of a good life. Reflect on the greatness of His sacrifice and so adorn the members of your body.

St. John Chrysostom
"Daily Readings"

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Grace

...The direct entrance of Christ's nature, of His good volitions into our nature is called grace, which is invisibly poured into us in the various inner states and outer incidents of our life, and especially in the holy Mysteries, if these are worthily received, that is, if our conscious, personal will freely submits itself to the mysterious flow of grace-inspired dispositions which Christ plants in our souls by the special means of communion which He has established.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitski
"The Dogma of Redemption"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Anger

But we have a use for anger most properly planted within us, and for this use alone is it profitable and healthful for us to entertain it, namely, when we burn with wrathful indignation against the lustful motions of our own hearts, and are enraged to find that those things which we should be ashamed to do or speak of before men have found admittance into the secret places of our minds. We may then well dread and fear exceedingly the presence of the Angels and the Omnipresence of God Himself, and His all-seeing Eye from which no secrets of our hearts can ever lie hid.

St. John Cassian
"Selected Writings"
(Of the Only Case in Which Anger is Good)

Mercy

No service is so pleasing to God as mercy, writes St. Gregory the Theologian, because it is most akin to the merciful and just God, to Whom one ought to bring mercy rather than judgement as a gift. The righteous Giver showers his love for humanity most on those who themselves show love for humanity...

St. John of Kronstadt
"Ten Homilies on the Beatitudes"
(7th Homily, On Mercy)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Daily Self Examination

It is said by the pillar of the Church, our great Father Basil, the mouth of Christ: 'It is a great help towards not sinning and not falling into the same sins on the following day, if at the end of the day we judge ourselves in our conscience, as far as we can, what we have done wrong and what we have done right. This also Job did on behalf of himself and his children." For this daily examination throws light on what happens every hour (teaches us to examine ourselves hourly, in order to see every hour how to act rightly).

Hesychius of Jerusalem
"Writings from the Philokalia"

Signs of Humility

A deep feeling of spiritual poverty, a lamentation at the existence of evil, a thirst after salvation, are to be found in every straightforward and humble soul.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Union with God

The problem of our life is union with God, and sin completely prevents this; therefore flee from sin as from a terrible enemy, as from the destroyer of the soul, because to be without God is death and not life. Let us therefore understand our destination; let us always remember that our common Master calls us to union with Himself.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Commandments

Some of the commandments of the Gospel teach us how to act in a manner pleasing to God; others teach us how to react so as to please God when outside forces act upon us. It is more difficult to learn the latter than the former. But the former will be understood satisfactorily when the soul learns and accepts the latter.

Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
"The Arena" (Chapter 14)

Salvation

The salvation which Christ brought to humanity consists not only of the conscious assimilation of Christ's principle truths and of His love, but also of the fact that by means of His compassionate love Christ demolishes the partition which sin sets up between men, restores the original oneness of nature, and obtains direct access to the spiritual bosom of human nature, so that the man who has subjected himself to this action of Christ finds new dispositions, new feelings and longings, not only in his thoughts, but also in his very character, these being created not by himself, but coming from Christ who has united Himself to him.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky
"The Dogma of Redemption"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Small Things

Be on your guard against small things so that you do not fall in great matters.

St. Isaac the Syrian
"Ascetical Homilies" (Homily Four)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Purity of Faith

Every effort of learning is in vain without the effort of attaining purity of faith and life. The heavenly world is revealed not to the learned but to the pure.

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
"The Prologue from Ochrid"

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Gospels

...Whenever you read the gospel Christ Himself is speaking to you. And while you read, you are praying and talking with Him. God speaks to man, the King of Heaven talks with the corruptible creature, the Lord holds converse with the servant. What can be more pleasant . . . more instructive?

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Thy Kingdom Come

"Thy kingdom come" - that is, Thy perfect reign in our hearts!

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Remember God

...Let the wealthy, and those engaged in public business, heed that Joseph's high rank in no way hindered him from living a virtuous life. "Joseph" means "increase", and "Arimathea" means "taking hold of that". Let us be like Joseph, always increasing in virtue, and taking hold of that which is truly good. And let us also take the Body of Jesus, through Holy Communion, and place It in a tomb hewn out of rock, that is, place It within a soul which always remembers God and does not forget Him. And let the soul be hewn from a rock, that is, from Christ Who is the Rock on which we are established.

Blessed Theophylact
"The Explanation of The Holy Gospel according to Mark"

Friday, May 9, 2008

Conscience

...More than anything else let us all keep a guard on our conscience in all matters, concerning God, our neighbor and material things. Before we say or do anything let us search ourselves as to whether it is the will of God. Thus, after we pray let us say or do it and let us cast our weakness before God so that His goodness will follow us in everything.

Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
"Practical Teaching on the Christian Life"

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Humble

God reveals Himself to the humble, who live in accordance with virtue.

St. Nectarios of Pentapolis

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Purity

...The beginning of purity is the mind's refusal to sin.

St. Paisius Velichkovsky
"Field Flowers"

Word of God

We were created for eternal life by our Creator, we are called to it by the word of God, and we are renewed by holy Baptism. And Christ the Son of God came into the world for this, that He should call us and take us there, and He is the one thing needful. For this reason your very first endeavor and care should be to receive it. Without it everything is as nothing, though you have the whole world under you.

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
"Journey to Heaven"

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Humility

The eyes of the Lord are upon the humble to make them glad; but the face of the Lord is against the proud to make them humble.

St. Isaac the Syrian
"Ascetical Homilies" (Homily Five)