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