What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sacrifice

"The important thing is this: to be able at a moment's notice to sacrifice what we are for what we could become."

- Charles du Bos

Watchfulness

"Watchfulness cleanses the conscience and makes it lucid.




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

Sufferings and Tribulations

"If you have no works, do not speak on virtues. Afflictions suffered for the Lord's sake are more precious to Him than every vow and sacrifice; and the odor of their sweat surpasses every fragrance [and choice incense]. Regard every virtue performed without bodily toils premature, stillborn fruit of the womb. The offering of the righteous is the tears of their eyes; and their acceptable sacrifice is their sighings during vigil. The righteous, burdened by the weight of their body, cry out dolefully to the Lord and send forth their supplications to God with pain; and at the cry of their voice the angelic orders stand close at hand and aid them, to encourage them with hope, and to comfort them. For the holy angels are partakers of the sufferings and the tribulations of the saints through their nearness to them.





St. Isaac the Syrian
'Ascetical Homilies' (Homily Six)"

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Virtuous Life

"...See what an admirable foundation St. Paul lays for a virtuous life: honor and respect for one's parents. This is the first good practice commanded us in the Scriptures, because before all others, except God, our parents are the authors of our life, and they deserve to be the first ones to receive the fruits of our good deeds. Only after we honor our parents can we do anything good for the rest of mankind. If a man does not honor his parents, he will never treat other people with kindness.





St. John Chrysostom
'On Marriage and Family Life'"

The Sick

"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. 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
'Little Russian Philokalia'
(From a letter of June 20, 1820)"

Suffering Insults

"I want to speak about those who are uprooting a passion. There are some who rejoice when they are insulted because they expect a reward. Such persons are uprooting the passion but not intelligently. Another person rejoices when he is insulted and thinks that he should be insulted, because he gave the occasion for it. Such a person is uprooting the passion intelligently. There is another who not only rejoices when he is insulted and considers himself guilty, but who even grieves for the distress he caused for the person who insulted him. May God bring us to such a state!




Elder Basil of Poiana Marului
'His Life and Writings'"

Power of the Holy Spirit

"Whatever the soul may think fit to do itself, whatever care and pains it may take, relying only upon its own power, and thinking to be able to effect a perfect success by itself, without the co-operation of the Spirit, it is greatly mistaken. It is of no use for the heavenly places; it is of no use for the kingdom - that soul, which supposes that it can achieve perfect purity of itself, and by itself alone, without the Spirit. Unless the man who is under the influence of the passions will come to God, denying the world, and will believe with patience and hope to receive a good thing foreign to his own nature, namely the power of the Holy Spirit, and unless the Lord shall drop upon the soul from on high the life of the Godhead, such a man will never experience true life, will never recover from the drunkenness of materialism; the enlightenment of the Spirit will never shine in that benighted soul, or kindle in it a holy daytime; it will never awake out of that deepest sleep of ignorance, and so come to know God of a truth through God's power and the efficacy of grace.



St. Macarius the Great
'Spiritual Homilies' (Homily 24)"

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 of New York
'On the Thyateira Confession'"

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pardon

"Great is the Lord, Who pardons some because of the merits of others; and while subjecting some to trials, He forgives others their sins. Why should not the prayer of your fellow-man avail with you, when a servant had both the merit of pleading for another before God and the privilege of obtaining what he prayed for? Learn you who judge, to forgive. Learn you who are sick, to gain health through prayer. Should you be diffident because of your grave sins, seek the prayers of others, call upon the Church to pray for you, and in His regard for her, the Lord will give what He could refuse to you.




St. Ambrose of Milan
'The Healing of the Paralytic'
(The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers)"

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Light

"If from one burning lamp someone lights another, then another from that one, and so on in succession, he has light continuously. In the same way, through the Apostles ordaining their successors, and these successors ordaining others, and so on, the grace of the Holy Spirit is handed down through all generations and enlightens all who obey their shepherds and teachers.




St. Gregory Palamas
'On how the Holy Spirit was manifested
and shared out at Pentecost'"

Remission of Sins

"...So then, as often as you shall receive, what does the Apostle say to you? As often as you shall receive, you shall announce the death of the Lord. If we announce His death, we announce the forgiveness of sins. If as often as His Blood is shed, it is shed unto the remission of sins, I ought to receive. It always; that my sins may always be forgiven. I who am always sinning ought always to have what heals me.




St. Ambrose of Milan
'The Sacrifice of Melchisedech'
(The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers)"

Accusations

"We reckon to achieve peace of soul and to take a straight road to it, yet we never come to the point of accusing ourselves. This is true, isn't it? If a man were to discipline himself in a thousand ways and not take this road, he would never stop troubling others or being troubled by them, and he would waste all his labors. How much joy, how much peace of soul would a man not have wherever he went, as Abba Poemen says, if he was one who habitually accused himself? For if anything happened to him, some punishment, a dishonor, or any kind of trouble, he would accept it as if he deserved it and would never be put to confusion. That man would have complete freedom from care."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Prayer

"The foundation of prayer is the yearning of the image towards its prototype, as of like to like.




St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

God's Word

"Save yourself! Endure patiently whatever God sends. And believe God's word, that He will not send you any temptation which is beyond your strength! But in the measure in which you will grieve and suffer, in that same measure you will also see the glory of God. Not only there, after your death - but in part, here as well.





St. Anatoly of Optina
'A Collection of Letters to Nuns'"

Good Actions

"If anyone, while keeping fast, adds something to it by his own will, or if he fasts seeking men's praise or some gain from it, such a fast is abomination in the eyes of God. And so it is in all things. Every good action, which is done not merely from the love of God, but is mingled with one's own will, is unclean and unpleasing to God.




St. Barsanuphius and St. John
'Directions in Spiritual Work'
(The Philokalia)"

Self-Sacrifice

"Love for God and our neighbor, in our present corrupt state, is impossible without self-sacrifice; he who wishes to fulfill the commandment ought to devote himself in good time to great deeds and sufferings for the sake of those that he loves.





St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Truth

"He who seeks to understand commandments without fulfilling commandments, and to acquire such understanding through learning and reading, is like a man who takes a shadow for truth. For the undestanding of truth is given to those who have become participants in truth (who have tasted it through living). Those who are not participants in truth and are not initiated therein, when they seek this understanding, draw it from a distorted wisdom.




St. Gregory of Sinai
'Texts on Commandments and Dogmas'
(The Philokalia)"

The Light

"I offer light to the Lord, in order that He may bestow the light of grace, spiritual light, upon me, that He may lead me from the darkness of sin into the light of knowledge of God and of virtue; I offer fire that the fire of the grace of the Holy Spirit may be kindled in my heart, and that it may quench the fire of the vices of that miserable heart. I bring a light that I myself may become a light, burning and shining to all that are in the church.




St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Piety

"A real man strives to be pious. Then man is pious who desires nothing alien to him. What is alien to man is everything created.





St. Antony the Great
'Texts on Saintly Life'
(The Philokalia)"

Almsgiving

"Nothing equals the merit of almsgiving. It was said of Cornelius the centurion that he was a just man, and feared God with all his house, giving much alms to the people, and praying always to God. And his almsgiving opened for him the gates of heaven. So much was done, as the Scripture tells us, to bring Cornelius to believe, so that even an angel is sent to him, and the grace of the Spirit worked in him, and the chief of the Apostles is called to him, and he received a wondrous vision; for him nothing was left undone. How many other centurions were there, and rulers and kings, and none of them received what this man received.




St. John Chrysostom
'The Fountain of Alms'"

Virtue

"What lies in time and goes according to the temporal order comes to a stop when it reaches completion, for then its natural growth is finished. But what is brought forth by the grace of God according to the order of virtuous living, when it reaches completion proceeds to grow again - for here the end of one serves as the beginning of another. He who by active virtue has put a stop to corruptible passions in him, by this very fact has begun other Divine transformations 'from glory to glory' (2 Cor. iii.18), since God, acting in him, never ceases, just as He never began, to enact good.




St. Maximus the Confessor
'Contemplative and Active Texts'
(The Philokalia)"

One Faith

"…There is one body and one spirit (Ephesians 4:4). The Holy Apostle counsels the faithful to strive to be one body and one spirit. By one body is understood 'one Faith,'' without divisions, without heresies and without self-will: the whole Church is one body of which Christ is the Head. By one spirit is understood 'love,'' the ardent love of all the faithful for Christ, from which proceeds mutual love. The many become as one; many men become as one man. This is the miracle of the Christian Faith and Christian love. There is no power in the world which can be a stronger bond among men: not the same blood, or the same language, or the same hearth, or the same parents, or any type of common material interests. None of these is even nearly as powerful a bond as Christian faith and love. By this powerful, irresistible bond, all the members of the Church are bound to each other. The Church of God stands as one man, in time and in eternity - one body and one spirit. There is nothing more contradictory to this wondrous unity than the pride of individual men. Pride distorts faith, cools love, creates heresies, divides the Church, and sacrifices the good of the whole for individual satisfaction. Pride, in essence, is the absence of both faith and love. Brethren, may God save us from pride, the primal infirmity of the human race, that we may always be one body and one spirit in our Lord Jesus Christ.




Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
'The Prologue from Ochrid'"

Most Holy Mother

"We who understand the salvation begun for our sake through the Most Holy Virgin, give Her thanks and praise according to our ability. And truly, if the grateful woman (of whom the Gospel tells us), after hearing the saving words of the Lord, blessed and thanked His Mother, raising her voice above the din of the crowd and saying to Christ, 'Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the paps Thou hast sucked' (Luke 11:27), then we who have the words of eternal life written out for us, and not only the words, but also the miracles and the Passion, and the raising of our nature from death, and its ascent from earth to Heaven, and the promise of immortal life and unfailing salvation, then how shall we not unceasingly hymn and bless the Mother of the Author of our Salvation and the Giver of Life, celebrating Her conception and birth, and now Her Entry into the Holy of Holies?"

Most Holy Mother II

"Now, brethren, let us remove ourselves from earthly to celestial things. Let us change our path from the flesh to the spirit. Let us change our desire from temporal things to those that endure. Let us scorn fleshly delights, which serve as allurements for the soul and soon pass away. Let us desire spiritual gifts, which remain undiminished. Let us turn our reason and our attention from earthly concerns and raise them to the inaccessible places of Heaven, to the Holy of Holies, where the Mother of God now resides.

Therefore, in such manner our songs and prayers to Her will gain entry, and thus through her mediation, we shall be heirs of the everlasting blessings to come, through the grace and love for mankind of Him Who was born of Her for our sake, our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory, honor and worship, together with His Unoriginate Father and His Coeternal and Life-Creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.


St. Gregory Palamas
'Discourse on the Feast of the Entry of our Most Pure Lady Theotokos
into the Holy of Holies'"

Be Firm in Faith

"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 in Seleucia, another in Constantinople, another in Zelis, another in Lampsake, and a different one for Rome. The faith that is professed today is not different from the one that came before; it is the one and same faith. As we have learned from the Lord, so we are baptized; we are baptized as we believe; and as we believe, we glorify God . . . Be firm in the faith.




St. Basil the Great
'Letter to the Evaisenians'
(The Fathers Speak)"

Monday, November 30, 2009

Love of God

"...For when thou seest the Lord sacrificed, and laid upon the altar, and the priest standing and praying over the victim, and all the worshippers empurpled with that precious blood, canst thou then think that thou art still amongst men, and standing upon the earth? Art thou not, on the contrary, straightway translated to Heaven, and casting out every carnal thought from the soul, dost thou not with disembodied spirit and pure reason contemplate the things which are in Heaven? Oh! what a marvel! what love of God to man! He who sitteth on high with the Father is at that hour held in the hands of all, and gives Himself to those who are willing to embrace and grasp Him. And this all do through the eyes of faith!






St. John Chrysostom
'On the Priesthood'"

Sin

"You have fallen of your own free-will, corrupted by sin: this ought to be your most powerful incentive to prayer. Daily you receive great mercy from God; this ought to be a powerful incentive to thank God. Daily you contemplate the works of God's omnipotence, wisdom and goodness: this also ought to be an incentive to daily praise.




St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

A Courageous Soul

"A courageous soul resurrects his dying mind, but despondency and sloth squander all his riches.




St. John Climacus
'The Ladder of Divine Ascent' (Step 13)"

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Eye

"The heart is the eye of the human being; the purer it is, the quicker, farther and clearer it can see.




St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Faith

"...For as he who hath learned anything ill, unless he put away the whole, and make his soul level and clear, and so offer it to him who is to write on it, will know no wholesome truth for certain; so also in regard of the wisdom from without. Unless thou turn out the whole and sweep thy mind clear, and like one that is ignorant yield up thyself unto the faith, thou wilt know accurately nothing excellent.




St. John Chrysostom
'Homilies on First Corinthians'"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Gospel

"The flow of history confirms the reality of the Gospel: the Church is filled to overflowing with sinners. Does their presence in the Church reduce, violate, or destroy her sanctity? Not in the least! For her Head - the Lord Christ, and her soul - the Holy Spirit, and her divine teaching, her mysteries, and her virtues, are indissolubly and immutably holy. The Church tolerates sinners, shelters them, and instructs them, that they may be awakened and roused to repentance and spiritual recovery and transfiguration; but they do not hinder the Church from being holy. Only unrepentant sinners, persistent in evil and godless malice, are cut off from the Church either by the visible action of the theanthropic authority of the Church, or by the invisible action of divine judgment, so that thus also the holiness of the Church may be preserved.




Archimandrite Justin Popovich
'The Attributes of the Church'"

The Shoulders of Christ

"Let us therefore rejoice because that sheep which had fallen in Adam is uplifted in Christ. The shoulders of Christ are the arms of His Cross. There have I laid down my sins; upon the neck of that sublime yoke of torment have I found rest.





St. Ambrose of Milan
'Exposition of the Gospel of St. Luke'"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Conscience

"...Awake thy conscience, that inward accuser, in order that thou mayest have no accuser at the judgement seat of the Lord.




St. John Chysostom
'Resisting the Temptations of the Devil'"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Achievements of the Saints

"All the achievements of the saints are clearly gifts of grace from God. None of the saints had the least thing other than the goodness granted to him by the Lord God according to the measure of His gratitude and love. And what he acquired he acquired only in so far as he surrendered himself to the Lord who bestowed it.




St. Maximus the Confessor
'Third Century of Various Texts'
(The Philokalia)"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Humility and Intellect

"The wrath of God is the painful sensation we experience when we are being trained by Him. Through this painful experience of unsought sufferings God often abases and humbles an intellect conceited about its knowledge and virtue; for such sufferings make it conscious of itself and its own weakness."

Forgiveness

"One day the saint heard a squire who mistreated his serfs. His Grace intervened and betook himself to the lord of that estate in order to remonstrate with him. The hot-blooded nobleman started a dispute. The Bishop answered gently but firmly. The anger of the nobleman grew, and finally he forgot himself so far as to strike the Bishop on the cheek. His Grace then left the nobleman's house. But on his way, true to the evangelical precept, he resolved to return to the man who had insulted him and to beg forgiveness for 'having led him into such temptation.' So, going back, he fell at the feet of his host. The story goes on to say that this unexpected act of the pastor who knew no anger so deeply impressed the nobleman that he himself fell on his knees at the Bishop's feet, imploring forgiveness. From that day on his behavior towards his serfs was completely altered.




from the life of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk"

Good Works

"As one candle is lit from another, so good works are caught from others. A nobleman decided to give a gold cross to a church, and found a young but experienced goldsmith, gave him a great measure of gold and told him to make whatever sort of cross he liked. The poor goldsmith, seeing such an offering made by the nobleman for the sake of his soul, was fired in his own heart with love for God, and decided to add ten gold pieces of his own to the nobleman's heap of gold. When the cross was ready, the nobleman weighed it and found that it was heavier than the gold that he had given to the young man. He immediately began to abuse him as a thief, suspecting him of having abstracted some of the gold and substituted a heavier metal. When the young man saw the noblemen in such a rage, he confessed his deed. 'I added', he said, 'some gold of my own, as the widow gave her two mites, to receive Christ's reward along with you.' Hearing this, the nobleman's heart was touched and he said to the young man: 'From this day, you are my son and the inheritor of all my goods.'




Biship Nikolai Velimirovic
'The Prologue from Ochrid'"

Saints

"Our Church honors saints not as gods, but as faithful servants, as holy men and friends of God. It extols the struggles they engaged in and the deeds they performed for the glory of God with the action of His grace, in such a way that all the honor that the Church gives them refers to the Supreme Being, Who has viewed their life on earth with gratification. The Church honors them by commemorating them annually through public celebrations and through the erection of Churches in honor of their name.



St. Nectarios of Aegina"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holiness

"We sin in thought, word and deed. In order to become pure images of the Holy Trinity we must strive that we be holy in thought, word and deed.




St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Monday, November 16, 2009

Obedience

"It is well known that obedience is the chief among the intitiatory virtues, for first it displaces presumption, and then it engenders humility within us. Thus it becomes, for those who willingly embrace it, a door leading to the love of God.





St. Diadochos of Photiki
'On Spiritual Knowledge'
(The Philokalia)"

Feeding of the Soul

"It is remarkable that, however much we trouble about our health, however much care we take of ourselves, whatever wholesome and pleasant food and drink we take, however much we walk in the fresh air, still, notwithstanding all this, in the end we sicken and corrupt; whilst the saints, who despise the flesh, and mortify it by continual abstinance and fasting, by lying on the bare earth, by watchfulness, labours, unceasing prayer, make both their souls and bodies immortal. Our well-fed bodies decay and after death emit an offensive odour, whilst theirs remain fragrant and flourishing both in life and after death. It is a remarkable thing: we, by building up our body, destroy it, whilst they, by destroying theirs, build it up - by caring only for the fragrance of their souls before God, they obtain fragrance of the body also.




St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Divine Logos

"No one can plead the weakness of the flesh as an excuse when he sins; for the union of our humanity with the divine Logos through the Incarnation has renewed the whole of nature by lifting the curse, and so we have no excuse if our will remains attached to the passions. For the divinity of the Logos, which always dwells by grace in those who believe in Him, withers the rule of sin in the flesh.




St. Maximus the Confessor
'Third Century of Various Texts'
(The Philokalia)"

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fear of God

"Fear of God purifies us through awe and self-abasement.





St. Theognostos
'On the Practice of the Virtues'
(The Philokalia)"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Life or Death

"...During a persecution, the Prefect Lysias arrested him and said: ``I offer you two choices: life or death; life if you worship the gods, or death if you do not.'' St. Zenobius replied: ``Life without Christ is not life but death, whereas death for the sake of Christ is not death but life.''



From the life of St. Zenobius
'Prologue from Ochrid'
(Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic)"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Infusion of Grace

"When we are conscious of the infusion of grace, we should not grow careless or become too easily elated, but should turn to God and thank Him, recalling the sins he has allowed us to commit; we should remember how long we fell at such a time, how bestial our thoughts became. We should also remind ourselves of the wretched condition that our nature is in, considering the impure images and the hideous idols which arose before our disordered minds during that period so lately passed when our souls were racked in blind turmoil. Understand that all this has been brought upon you by Divine Providence, to humble you.




St. Nilus Sorsky
'The Tradition of the Disciples'
(A Treasury of Russian Spirituality)"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christian Point of View

"Each Christian, with God's help, shapes his own earthly life, in the sense that he or she directs its course toward virtue. In order to be virtuous, however, one must not only do good for others, but work on oneself, struggling with his insufficiencies and vices, developing in himself a good, Christian-valued foundation. This work on oneself, this struggle toward moral perfection of man's earthly life is indispensable for every Christian. The Lord Himself said: 'the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault and violent men seize it by force' (Mt.11:12).
The moral character and features of each person are worked out in such a life-struggle. A Christian must, of course, be a Christian before all else, a person with an established, solid moral character and he must aim for the building of such a character. In other words, he must strive for progress in himself toward moral perfection.
Thus, from a Christian point of view, life is a moral struggle, a path of constant striving toward good and perfection. There can be no pause on this path, according to the law of the spiritual life. A man who stops working on himself will not remain the same as he was, but will inevitably become worse - like a stone which is thrown upwards and stops rising, it will not remain suspended in the air, but will fall downward.



St. Philaret on New York
'On the Law of God'"

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Way is Narrow

"Why is it that only the narrow way and narrow gate lead to life? Who makes the way of the chosen narrow? The world oppresses the chosen, the flesh oppresses them, the devil oppresses them; it is these that make our way to the kingdom of heaven narrow.





St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Draw Nigh to God

"Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you (James 4:8). It is for us to begin. If we take one step toward the Lord, He takes ten toward us - He who saw the Prodigal Son while he was yet at a distance, and had compassion and ran and embraced him. (Luke 15:20).
Some time you must take the first uncertain steps - if you wish at all to draw near to God. Do not be anxious about the clumsy beginning; do not yield to shyness and uncertainty, and the mocking laughter of enemies, who try to persuade you that you are behaving ridiculously and that the whole thing is only a child of fantasy and meaningless. Know that there is nothing the enemy fears like prayer.





Tito Colliander
'Way of the Ascetics'"

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chastisement

"God's love for man far exceeds man's love for his fellow man as heaven is higher than the earth; and so God, in His love for man, chastises him. He chastises him, not to kill him but to correct and save him. O blessed chastisement by the hand of love! ... With what does God chastise? With a rod. With what sort of rod? A rod of sickness, a rod of misfortune, of loss or hunger, of failure of crops, of drought, of floods, and of death of kinsfolk and friends, of evil spirits when He allows them power over men. These are God's rods, with which He chastises His children to correct them, instruct them, enlighten them and save them.




Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
'The Prologue from Ochrid'"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Exiled

"Do not lend your ear to the tongue of the slanderer, nor your tongue to the ear of him who likes malicious talk, speaking or listening with enjoyment to words against one's neighbor. Cut yourself off from them, lest you fall away from the love of God, and find yourself exiled from eternal life.




St. Maximos the Confessor
'First Century on Love'"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Desire Salvation

"Repent, desire salvation in the Lord, and acquire good cheer in it. These actions are calming; they occur inwardly and give contentment through their local manifestation. The final action - the willingness to do everything which is required - is the real active force in salvation, insofar as it depends upon us; it is the source of saving activity and the life that is saved. This willingness, while it is expressed by us alone, is weak; but when Divine grace establishes itself within us, then it becomes all powerful, knows no impediment, and overcomes everything. It is the unquenchable zeal for pleasing God and complete sincerity in fulfillment of the Divine will, in the presence of complete faith in the Lord and trust in Him Alone. It fulfills the Divine eternal purpose; we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4), for which the Lord makes us zealous of good works (Titus 2:14).




St. Theophan the Recluse
'The Spiritual Life'"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

All the Saints

"All the saints in heaven, and all true Christians on earth, are one body and one spirit; this is why the prayer of believers is heard so easily, so speedily, so truly, in heaven, and why there is so much to be hoped for from calling upon the saints. But in order that our prayers should always be speedily and easily heard by the saints, we must have their spirit - the spirit of faith and of love for God and our neighbor, the spirit of meekness, humility, abstinence, purity and chastity, brave and valiant, thirsting after righteousness, the spirit of compassion - heavenly, and not earthly.





St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Faith/Reason

"Unfortunately our faith is hindered by the shortsightedness of our reason. Faith understands directly whilst reason arrives at the truth by circuitous ways; faith is the means of communication between one spirit and another, whilst reason is the means of communication between the spiritually sensual and the simply material; the first is of the spirit, and the latter of the flesh.




St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Self-Indulgence

"...There is nothing more dangerous than self-indulgence. It prepares the ground for all the vices because it chases out from the soul the fear of God.





Abba Agathon
'Abba Dorotheos of Gaza; Discourses and Sayings'"

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Temptations

"As the eyelids come close to each other, even so are temptations close to men. But God has ordered these things with wisdom for your profit, so that you would knock persistently at His door, and that by your fear of what oppresses you the remembrance of Him would be sown in your mind, and you would draw near to Him through your entreaties, and your heart would be sanctified by constant remembrance of Him. When you pray, He will hearken to you.





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

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Control Your Will

"In addition to training your mind to learn, you should also control your will, so as not to let it lean towards your own desires, but instead to lead it to be perfectly as one with the will of God. Moreover keep it firmly planted in your mind, that it is not enough for you merely to desire and seek to please God always and in everything; you must desire it as if moved by God Himself, and for one single aim - to please Him with a pure heart. To be firmly grounded in this aim, we have to endure a great struggle with our nature. For our nature is so accustomed to please itself, that it seeks its own comfort and pleasure in all its doings, even the most righteous and spiritual, and secetly and lustfully feeds on it as though it were food.




Lorenzo Scupoli
(edited by Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain)
'Unseen Warfare'"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Powers of the Soul

"It is through the measure in which we misuse the powers of the soul, namely its desire, emotion, reason, that the vices instill themselves: ignorance and folly in the reasoning faculty, hatred and debauchery in the desires and emotions. Their right use, on the contrary, produces right knowledge and prudence, charity and chastity.
Nothing that God created is in itself bad. Food is not bad, gluttony is; the procreation of children is not bad, lechery is; wealth is not bad, avarice is; glory is not bad, only vainglory is.
So you see nothing is bad in itself, only the misuse of it, which is the soul's negligence in cultivating its true nature.





St. Maximus the Confessor
'Centuries on Charity'"

Divine Subjects

"When our thoughts revolve around divine subjects and abide in God's truth, holding back and taking care of the desiring part of the soul and driving away the body's desires, carnal thoughts leave us. Then the grace of the Spirit takes possession of the quiet soul, and gives it a taste of the unspeakable good things to come, which no passionate and negligent eye has seen, nor ear hear, neither have entered into the heart of man (cf. 1 Cor. 2:9). This taste is the earnest of these good things, and the heart which accepts these pledges becomes spiritual and receives assurance of its salvation.





St. Gregory Palamas
'Homilies'"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Humility

"...The work of fulfilling the Commandments generates a state of humility.



Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
'Discourses amd Sayings'"

The Incarnate

"If man had not been created according to the image of God, the Lord would not have been incarnate of the most Holy Virgin.





St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Death

"...It does not depend on us whether we should be preserved from suffering wounds. To become either mortal or immortal depends on us, for if we do not despair we shall not die, 'death will have no dominion over us' (Rom. 6:9), but we shall always be strong if we flee in penitence to our all-powerful and gracious God.




St. Symeon the New Theologian
'The Discourses'"

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Children of God

"Those who are privileged to become children of God and to have Christ shining forth within them are guided by varied and differing qualities of the Spirit, and are cherished by grace in the secret places of the heart. The seeming joys of the world are not to be compared with the experience of divine grace in the soul.





St. Makarios of Egypt
'The Philokalia'"

Friday, October 23, 2009

Patience and Thanksgiving

"The most important thing during illness is to offer to God patience and thanksgiving for His merciful visitations. Sickness purifies sins and gives one time to meditate on the past.




Staretz Macarius of Optina"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Patience and Humility

"One monk, a disciple of Fr. Leonid, came to him one evening when the brethren were visiting the staretz for the daily manifestation of thoughts. When everybody had left, he asked the staretz: 'I observed this evening how the brethren have been coming to you and how they have been received by you. One monk came before everybody but waited longer than anyone else and came to see you the last. Others, arriving, waited a little and then came to you and explained their cases. Some people did not want to wait at all but as soon as they arrived, they went forward and demanded to be received at once. Is there some difference?' 'There is a difference,' the staretz said, 'a big difference. Those who, coming to me, do not want to wait and try to come first of all, are unable to retain in their memory what I tell them. They ask again, and again forget. But those who come to ask my advice and wait with patience and humility, allowing all others to come before them, considering others better than themselves, keep my word firmly in their heart. They will remember as long as they live what I said.'




'Russian Mystics'
(The Startzy of Optina)"

Our Salvation

"...All of us Christians. while we are still alive, should be careful and attentive to our salvation.






Elder Ambrose of Optina"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Love Your Neighbor

"...Do not misunderstand me: I am not denigrating your rule of prayer, or your reading of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. I want to leave you quite free to continue these occupations or to modify them according to your own light. But do try to remember that love of the neighbor is the first work you must strive for. And you do not even have to leave your house to find that neighbor: your husband is that neighbor; your mother is that neighbor; and so are your children.




Starets Macarius of Optina
'Russian Letters of Direction'"

Meekness and Temperance

"...I sincerely desire with all my heart that you may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10), and not look for anything good to come of your own knowledge and strength. For the strength of God is made perfect in weakness (II Corinthians 12:9), that our hope may be in the Lord. Meekness and temperance, along with the patient endurance of tribulations, will bring God's blessing upon you, and according to the sure word of Christ, 'he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved' (Mark 13:13). I cast upon the Lord my heartfelt care for you according to my feeling and duty of brotherly and fatherly love, and I calm myself through hope in His salvation.





Elder Moses of Optina"

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Jesus Prayer

"The Jesus Prayer has no limits. The mind, when it practices the reading of the Holy Scriptures, prayer, and similar things, is purified from the passions and is enlightened. But when it is immersed only in what is earthly it becomes incapable of understanding spiritual things.





Elder Barsanuphrius of Optina"

Friday, October 16, 2009

As a Wheel Turns

"We should live on the earth as a wheel turns - one point touches the earth, all the rest reaches upward...




Elder Ambrose of Optina"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Salvation

"Without winter there will be no spring, without spring there would be no summer. It is the same in the spiritual life: a little consolation and then a little affliction, and so, little by little, the path of salvation unfolds...





St. Anatoly of Optina
'A Collection of Letters to Nuns'"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Lamp

"The soul of each of us is a lamp.




St. Symeon the New Theologian
'The Discourses'"

Icons

"The wonder-working icons of the Mother of God, and of other saints, teach us to look upon every icon as upon the saint himself or herself to whom we pray as living persons conversing with us, for they are as near, and still nearer to us than the icons, if only we pray to them with faith and sincerity. It is the same with the life-giving cross. Where the cross is, or the sign of the cross, there is Christ Himself, His power and His salvation...




St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mind on Church

"....It reminded me of that priest, or rather that saint, who saw a vision when the priest was censing. Some who were sitting in their stall he did not cense, while others who were away doing an obedience - their stall was empty - he did cense, because their mind was in church. Whereas the others, who were thinking worldly things, were not there.





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

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reception of Spiritual Joys

"When a valve of the heart closes to the receptivity of worldly enjoyments, another valve opens for the reception of spiritual joys.





Elder Barsanuphius of Optina"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Compunction

"An attentive life leads to compunction; while compunction, especially when accompanied by tears, procures an increased attention that is the gift of grace.




Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
'The Arena'"

Grace

"I assure you that even the Apostles, though they had the Comforter, were not entirely without anxiety. With joy and gladness they had fear and trembling, proceeding from grace itself, not from the side of evil; but the same grace secured them, that they might not swerve, though it were but a little.





St. Macarius the Great
'Spiritual Homilies' (Homily 17)"

Inward Intentions

"When we fulfil the commandments in our outward actions, we receive from the Lord what is appropriate; but any real benefit we gain depends on our inward intention.




St. Mark the Ascetic
'On the Spiritual Law: Two Hundred Texts'
(The Philokalia)"

True Orthodox Christian

"It is important to know and to remember that a true Orthodox Christian is not someone who just accepts the dogmas of Orthodoxy formally, but a person who, as our great Russian hierarch St. Tikhon of Zadonsk taught so beautifully, thinks in an Orthodox way, feels in an Orthodox way, and lives in an Orthodox way, incarnating the spirit of Orthodoxy in his life.




Archbishop Averky of Syracuse and Holy Trinity Monastery
'Are the Terms 'Christian' and 'Orthodox' Accurate in our Times?'"

Evil and Faults

"Evil is corrected by good; faults by love, kindness, meekness, humility and patience.




St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Valleys

"Know, beloved, that the valleys shall abound with wheat and spiritual fruit. This valley is a soul low and humble among the mountains, that is, it is filled with labours and virtues, and always remains unhaughty and steadfast.






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

Contrition

"...The deeper the contrition, the better. But however deep the contrition, never admit a shadow of doubt about forgiveness. Forgiveness is already fully prepared and the record of all sins has been torn up on the Cross. Repentance and contrition alone are expected of every man, before he too can participate in the power of the redemption of the sins of the world through the Crucifixion. Trusting in this, prostrate yourself in body and soul and cry: 'Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving-kindness' (Ps. li. 1) and do not cease to cry thus, until you feel yourself together guilty and forgiven, so that guilt and forgiveness merge into one feeling.



Lorenzo Scupoli
(Edited by Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain)
'Unseen Warfare'"

Fleeting Shadows

"Look upon everything in this world as upon a fleeting shadow, and do not cling with your heart to anything; do not consider anything in this world great, and do not lay your hopes upon anything earthly. Cling to the One imperishable, invisible, most wise God. 'While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.' (2 Cor. 4:18).



St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Peace

"Show patience, and there will be peace.





St. Anatoly of Optina
'A Collection of Letters to Nuns'"

The Cross and the Eternal

"...For the Cross of the Lord, an instrument of torture in the intention of the Jews, is become glorious in the might of the Crucified. The multitude raged against one man; Christ had compassion on all men. What was inflicted through cruelty was suffered by majesty: so that in the permitting of the evil deed, the purpose of the eternal will might be accomplished.





St. Leo the Great
'On the Passion of our Lord'"

Salvation, The Cross, and Forgiveness

"By the Cross, the Son of God having become man, accomplished our salvation. He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross (Phil. 2:8). Having stretched out His hands upon the Cross, the Saviour with them, as it were, embraced the world, and by His blood shed on it, like a king with red ink, He signed forgiveness of the human race.




St. John Maximovitch
'The Cross, Preserver of the Universe'"

Power of the Cross

"The Cross of Christ was mysteriously proclaimed in advance and foreshadowed from generations of old and no one was ever reconciled with God except by the power of the Cross.





St. Gregory Palamas
Homily: 'On the Precious and Life-Giving Cross'"

Human Nature

"...God adorned human nature in this way because He was going to clothe Himself in it. He was to assume it from the blood of the Virgin, transform it into something better, and set it on high above all principality and power...




St. Gregory Palamas
'Homilies'"

Falling Away

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





St. Silouan of Mt. Athos"

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. Afflictions offers benefits in each case...




St. Basil the Great
'Gateway to Paradise'"

Patience

"When patience greatly increases in our soul, it is a sign that we have secretly received the grace of consolation. The power of patience is stronger than the joyful thoughts that descend into the heart.





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

Fasting

"The heart cannot remain firm in purity, so as not to be defiled, if it will not be crushed by fasting. It is impossible also to preserve holiness without fasting, and the flesh will not submit to the spirit for spiritual activity, and prayer itself will not rise up and act because natural needs predominate. And the flesh will be compelled to become feverish. And from thoughts the heart is aroused and is defiled, and through this, grace departs, and the unclean spirits have boldness to rule over us as much as they wish.



St. Paisius Velichkovsky
'Field Flowers'"

Stem Of Jesse

"Today, as prophesied, out of the 'stem of Jesse' a rod has come forth (cf. Isa. 11:1), from which a flower has grown which knows no wilting. This rod recalls our human nature, which had withered and fallen away from the unfading garden of delight, makes it bloom again, grants it to flourish for ever, brings it up to heaven, and leads it into paradise.





St. Gregory Palamas
'Homily on the Nativity of the Theotokos'"

Baptized

"As we have learned from the Lord, so are we baptized; we are baptized as we believe; and as we believe, we glorify God....





St. Basil the Great
'Letter to Evaisenians'
(The Fathers Speak)"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The True Heart

"As you are at heart, so are you before the Lord.





St. Theophan the Recluse
'The Path to Salvation'"

Promised Glory

"In afflictions and sufferings, endurance and faith, are concealed the promised glory and the recovery of celestial blessings.





St. Macarius the Great"

Invoke in Prayer

"Smoke from wood kindling a fire troubles the eyes; but then the fire gives them light and gladdens them. Similarly, unceasing attentiveness is irksome; but when, invoked in prayer, Jesus draws near, He illumines the heart; for remembrance of Him confers on us spritual enlightenment and the highest of all blessings.




St. Philotheos of Sinai
'Forty Texts on Watchfulness'"

Have Mercy on Us

"Thou Who wast unutterably born of a Virgin, have mercy on us who have grown cold, through the prayers of Thy Most Pure Mother and all who have pleased Thee!




Elder Ambrose of Optina"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Keep to the Path

"...The root cause of every disturbance, if we examine it carefully, is from not blaming ourselves. Consequently, we are crushed and we never find rest. It is no wonder when we hear all the saints say that there is no other way but this. We can see that no one ever followed another way and found rest. We attempt to find rest and keep to the right path without ever allowing our own self-reproach. Indeed, even if a person has a wealth of good conduct yet does not keep to this path, he will never stop causing upset and being upset himself and thus he will lose all his hard work.




Abba Dorotheos
'Practical Teaching on the Christian Life'"

Monday, September 14, 2009

God's Providence

Without devotion to God's Providence, you will not acquire peace.


Elder Ambrose of Optina

Self-Love

"The root of every evil is a self-loving heart, or self-pity, self-sparing; it is from self-love, or excessive and unlawful love for oneself that all the vices proceed.... Sins of thought are not an unimportant matter for the Christian, because all that is pleasing to God in us is comprised in thoughts, for the thoughts are the beginning from which words and deeds proceed. Words are important because they either benefit those who hear them, or are corrupt and tempt others, perverting their hearts and thoughts; deeds still more so, because examples act more powerfully than anything upon people, inciting them to imitate them. The Lord is so holy, so simple in His holiness, that one single evil or impure thought deprives us of Him, Who is the peace and light of our souls.





St. John of Kronstadt
'Spiritual Counsels'"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

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.' (1 Cor. 11:19).



St. Cyrian of Carthage
'The Unity of the Church'"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Purity of Heart

"The purer the heart becomes, the larger it becomes.





St. John of Kronstadt
'Spiritual Counsels'"

"Abba, 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'"

Remembrance of God

"...Those who intend to purify gold, if even for a short time they allow the fire to go out in the furnace, they produce hardening again in the material that is being purified. Similarly he who sometimes remembers God and sometimes forgets Him ruins by sloth what he thinks to acquire by prayer. It is the part of a virtue-loving man constantly to root out earthliness of heart by the remembrance of God, so that in this way evil may be gradually consumed by the fire of the remembrance of good and the soul may be perfectly restored to its natural brightness with greater glory. Thus by remaining in the heart, the mind prays purely and without delusion, as Saint Diadochus has said: Prayer is true and free from delusion when the mind keeps watch over the heart at the time that it prays.




Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
'On the Prayer of Jesus'"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Our Words, Our Deeds

"...And we shall render an account, not only of our deeds but also of our words. For just as we, when we entrust money to servants, we ask an account of everything, so will God require of us an account of the words He has entrusted to us; of how we have expended them. Let us ask ourselves and examine ourselves scrupulously, as to whether we have spent them rashly or foolishly; for money foolishly expended does not do so much harm as rash and foolish words, spoken without need. For money foolishly spent may sometimes do harm, but speech imprudently used may bring sadness to whole families and undo and ruin souls. The loss of money can be made good; but the word once gone forth can never be recalled.



St. John Chrysostom
'The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers'"

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Church

"The first and fundamental criterion, which we may use as a guide to distinguish the True Church of Christ from the false Churches (of which there are so many), is the fact that it has preserved the Truth intact, undistorted by human sophistries, for according to the Word of God, 'the Church is the pillar and ground of truth' (1 Tim. 3:15), and therefore in her there can be no falsehood.





Archbishop Averky of Syracuse and Holy Trinity Monastery
'What is Orthodoxy?'"

Infinite Perfection

"For a Christian there exists no yardstick of any kind, beyond which he has no need to grow spiritually. His yardstick is infinite perfection, together with infinitely increasing blessedness, because we affirm that virtue and blessedness are one. 'The measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,' (Eph. 4:13) - this is the measure of a Christian.




Archbishop Hilarion Troitsky
'The Unity of Christ's Ideal'"

The Struggle - Pray Unceasingly

"The brethren asked Abba Agathon: 'Amongst all our different activities, father, which is the virtue that requires the greatest effort?' He answered: 'Forgive me, but I think there is no labor greater than praying to God. For every time a man wants to pray, his enemies the demons try to prevent him; for they know that nothing obstructs them so much as prayer to God. In everything else that a man undertakes, if he perseveres, he will attain rest. But in order to pray a man must struggle to his last breath.





The Sayings of the Desert Fathers"

Deny Envy

"The passion of envy does not allow anyone who is possessed by it to rejoice completely at any joyous feast or in any joyous circumstance. Like a worm, it always gnaws at the soul and heart with its turbid sorrow, because the envious considers his neighbor's happiness and success to be his own unhappiness, and the preference given to others he considers his own unmerited offense.





"Elder Ambrose of Optina"

Chastisement

"...What the medicines, surgery and cautery are for the physician, chastisement is for God.




St. John Chrysostom
'On Wealth and Poverty'"

Faith in Christ Crucified

"We believe in Jesus Christ crucified; let us strive through faith to follow Him also, and to follow Him after each of us has taken up his cross.





St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
'On Self-Examination'"

Pray Fervently

"Do not be slothful in praying fervently for others at their request, or of yourself, and together with them; you will thus obtain recompense from God - the grace of God in your heart, which shall rejoice you and strengthen you in faith and love for God and your neighbor.




St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Observe All Things

"Your brother writes: 'The dogmas are clearly formulated postulates. The dogmas were contrived by the Ecumenical Councils.' Dogmas are not human postulates, clearly formulated, but the divine truth about God - a truth which people themselves could not possibly arrive at had it not been revealed to them by God. Truth can be investigated, truth can be known, truth can be proven, but truth cannot be contrived. Your brother asserts: 'Dogmas are as far from the Christian spirit as the stars from the earth.' This is not true. When the incarnate Son of God revealed the dogma of the Holy Trinity to His disciples the Apostles, saying: Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, He inextricably united the dogma with the teaching about the spirit of Christianity, saying: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you (Matt. 28: 19-20)...."

Be Brave

"...It is a great struggle for one to bear all the burdens of the world today, when everyone demands that his neighbor fulfills all the commandments, while ignoring them himself.
This is how our times are. For this reason, patience is required until we breathe our last standing upright. Therefore be brave, and may your soul be strengthened for whatever is to come."

The Holy Saints

"...If, then, 'death of the righteous man is honorable' (cf. Ps. 115:6) and the 'memory of the just man is celebrated with songs of praise' (Prov. 10:7), how much more ought we to honor with great praises the memory of the holiest of the saints, she by whom all holiness is afforded to the saints, I mean the Ever-Virgin Mother of God!"

Draw Nigh to God

"'Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you' (James 4:8). It is for us to begin. If we take one step towards the Lord, He takes ten towards us - He who saw the prodigal son while he was yet at a distance, and had compassion and ran and embraced him.



Tito Colliander
'Way of the Ascetics'"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Perseverance

"The head of every good striving and the pinnacle of all corrections is to persevere in prayer, by which we may ever obtain, through entreaty with God, all the other virtues as well. By prayer those who are worthy partake of the sanctity of God and spiritual activity and the union of the mind with the Lord in unutterable love. He who constantly forces himself to endure in prayer is roused by spiritual love to Divine fervor and flaming desire towards God, and he receives, according to his measure, the grace of spiritual, sanctifying perfection.




St. Macarius the Great
'Spiritual Homilies' (Homily 40)"

Not Of This World

"...Unless we avoid all obsession with the body and with the concerns of this world, we shall never succeed in pleasing God. We must depart as it were to another world in our way of thinking, as the Apostle said: 'Our citizenship is in Heaven'. For the Lord said quite clearly: 'Any of you who does not renounce everything he cannot be my disciple'.
Once we have managed to achieve this, we must remain ever on our guard to ensure that we never lose the thought of God, or destroy the memory of his wonders with our wandering minds. For we must keep the pure thought of God continually imprinted in our souls, as if it were an indelible seal.
For in this way we may gain the love of God, which both stirs us to carry out the Lord's commandments and is preserved by them in security for ever.




St. Basil the Great
'Gateway to Paradise'"

Abstinence

"An abstinent man's way of life is dearly beloved of God, but his proximity is most oppressive to the greedy. Christ exceedingly praises the silent man, but his presence will not seem sweet to those whom the demons take captive through amusements and distractions. Who does not love a humble and meek man? Only proud men and slanderers, who are foreign to his work.




St. Isaac the Syrian
'Ascetical Homilies' (Homily Fifteen)"

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sun of Righteousness

"I feel bright, warm, and tranquil, when I turn with my whole soul to the mental sun, the Sun of righteousness, to Christ my God. Then the ice of my heart melts, all its darkness, impurity, and corruption, vanish; spiritual death flees, heavenly life reigns in its stead, and nothing earthly occupies me any longer.





St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thine Will Be Done

"Give up your own will, for it is one's spiritual death. And let each one of you cover up each other's faults, so that Christ in turn will cover up yours. For if you seek justice from your brother, immediately you find yourself up against God, Who puts up with you the sinner.





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

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Prayer of Jesus

"...Let us not be scared, practisers of the prayer of Jesus, either by winds or waves! By winds I mean diabolic thoughts and imaginings, and by waves the revolt of the passions aroused by thoughts and reveries. From the midst of the most furious storm, with perseverance, courage and weeping you will cry to the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will rebuke the winds and waves. And having learnt from experience the omnipotence of Jesus, we shall render to Him due adoration, saying: Thou are indeed the Son of God (Matt. 14:33)."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Repentance

"God, my child, is everywhere, and His eye observes everything, but He overlooks our sins because He awaits our repentance. When we are at fault, whether slightly or greatly, He sees it because He is present, but we do not see Him because we are infants in knowledge. And when He punishes us so that we may turn towards Him, we think that we are suffering unjustly. However, when we humble ourselves, then the eyes of our soul are opened and we realize that everything the Lord does is very good. Then we look upon Him as Father abundant in mercy and overflowing with perfect love and kindness.



Elder Joseph the Hesychast
'Monastic Wisdom'"

Trials and Tribulations

"Labor conscientiously, pray, and ask God for patience. Tribulations are a good sign, they show that we are on the narrow way. Humble yourself more and reproach yourself.





Elder Joseph of Optina
'Letters'"

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tedium

"Tedium is the granddaughter of despondency, and the daughter of slothfulness. In order to drive it away, labor at your work, and do not be slothful in prayer. The tedium will pass, and zeal will come. And if to this you add patience and humility, then you will be rid of all misfortunes and evils.




St. Ambrose of Optina"

Habits and Manners

"Clothes and raiment drape statues, but habits and manners drape men.





The Epistle of Palladius
'The Paradise of the Fathers'"

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pray to God

"...We must struggle and pray to God, night and day, that we might not fall into temptation. Even if, as humans, we are defeated and we fall into sin, let us try to get up immediately. Let us repent and cry before God's goodness. Let us be attentive. Let us labor and God, seeing our will and our contrition, will give us a helping hand and will grant us His mercy.




Abba Dorotheos
'Practical Teaching on the Christian Life"

Freedom in God

"...The goal of human freedom is not in freedom itself, nor is it in man, but in God. By giving man freedom God has yielded to man a piece of His divine authority, but with the intention that man himself would voluntarily bring it as a sacrifice to God, as a most perfect offering. Therefore, if you have mastered yourself, now give yourself to God. When you sinned, you not only lost yourself, but in losing yourself you took yourself away from God. Now, having returned from the captivity of sin, after you have mastered yourself, return yourself also to God.




St. Theophan the Recluse
'The Path to Salvation'"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Suffer for Christ

"Until Christ becomes to the soul all that has any lasting and unchanging worth; until then a man cannot come to suffer for Christ.





Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
'The Prologue from Ochrid'"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Three Reasons

"You should thank the Lord that He sends you everything. This is for three reasons: to bring you to your senses, to awareness and to thankfulness.





Elder Ambrose of Optina"

Monday, August 3, 2009

Love

"The life of the heart is love, whilst malice and enmity against our brother are its death. The Lord keeps us on the earth in order that love for God and our neighbour may wholly penetrate our heart. This is what He expects from us all. This is, indeed, the purpose of the world's standing.





St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Overcoming Obstacles

"This is the wisdom and the power of God: to be victorious through weakness, exalted through humility, rich through poverty.




St. Gregory Palamas"

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Watch Constantly

"...Never insist that anything should be according to your will, for this gives birth to anger. Do not judge or humiliate anyone, for this exhausts the heart and blinds the mind, and thereon leads to negligence and makes the heart unfeeling. Watch constantly...




St. Barsanuphius and St. John
'Directions in Spiritual Work'
(Philokalia)"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Repentance

"He who would be saved should ever have his heart disposed to repentance and broken, according to the Psalmist: A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit: a broken and humbled heart God will not despise (Ps. 50:17).
In such brokenness of spirit a man can easily pass securely through the artful snares of the proud devil, whose whole care consists in agitating the human spirit, and in agitation sowing his tares, in accordance with the words of the Gospel: Lord, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this (Matt. 13:27-28).
When, however, a man strives within himself to have his heart humble and his thought not agitated, but peaceful, then all the snares of the enemy are without effect; for where there is peace in one's thoughts, there resides the Lord God Himself - His place is in peace (Ps. 75:3).



St. Seraphim of Sarov
'Little Russian Philokalia' (Repentance)"

Prayer of a Priest

"The prayer of a priest for men has great power with God, if only the priest calls upon the Lord with his whole heart, with faith and love. God grant that there may be more priests who would pray to God with an ardent spirit, for who should pray to the Lord for His sheep with such power, if not the priest, who has received grace and authority to do so from God Himself?




St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Patience

"...It is patience that both commends us to God, and saves us for God. It is that same patience which tempers anger, bridles the tongue, governs the mind, guards peace, rules discipline, breaks the onslaught of lust, suppresses the violence of pride, extinguishes the fire of dissension, restrains the power of the wealthy, renews the endurance of the poor in bearing their lot, guards the blessed integrity of virgins, the difficult chastity of widows, and the indivisible love of husbands and wives. It makes men humble in prosperity, brave in adversity, meek in the face of injuries and insults. It teaches us to pardon our offenders quickly; if you yourself should offend, it teaches you to ask pardon often and with perseverance. It vanquishes temptations, sustains persecutions, endures sufferings and martyrdoms to the end. It is this patience which strongly fortifies the foundations of our faith. It is this patience which sublimely promotes the growth of hope. It directs our action, so that we can keep to the way of Christ while we make progress because of his forbearance. It ensures our perseverance as sons of God while we imitate the patience of the Father.




St. Cyprian of Carthage
'The Good of Patience'"

Humility

"Strive for humility! Humility, without which no virtue is true in the sight of God.




Staretz Macarius of Optina"

Know Yourself

"He who has come to know himself has obtained an understanding of the fear of the Lord; and he who has walked by the aid of this fear, has reached the door of love.




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

Virtue

"Virtue can only be attained by unremitting effort.




St. John of Damascus
'On the Virtues and the Vices'"

Humility

"Let us humble ourselves and the Spirit of God Himself will instruct the soul.




Staretz Silouan
'Wisdom from Mount Athos'"

Lamp Of the True Faith

"...We want not only that you do not get lost, disintegrate and sink in the sea of heterodoxy that surrounds you, but that you yourselves be lamps of the true Faith and unhypocritical Christian piety, in order that those of other faiths, by looking at you, may glorify the Orthodox Faith as the undoubtedly original faith of Christ.





Archbishop Averky of Syracuse - Holy Trinity
'Address to Orthodox youth'"

God Is Life

"God is Life; He gave being and life to everything. He is That Which Is and Almighty, for everything proceeds from Him, and everything is supported by Him; let us therefore know Him Who alone Is. The Devil is death, because he voluntarily turned away from God the Life, and as God is That Which Is, so the Devil, by reason of his completely fallen away from That Which Is, is the cause of that which is not, of imagination, enticement, for he cannot truly bring anything into being by the word; thus he is falsehood, as God is Truth.




St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

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 honors 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'"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Remembrance of Death

A good teacher both of the body and the soul is perfect remembrance of death, when a man, looking beyond everything that is between, (that is, between the present moment and the hour of death), is always seeing forward to that bed upon which we shall one day lie, breathing out our life; and at that which comes after.

Hesychius of Jerusalem
"Texts on Sobriety and Prayer"
(Writings from the Philokalia)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Receiving the Holy Spirit

The aim of all those who live in God is to please our Lord Jesus Christ and become reconciled with God the Father through receiving the Holy Spirit, thus securing their salvation, for in this consists the salvation of every soul. If this aim and this activity is lacking, all other labour is useless and all other striving is in vain. Every path of life which does not lead to this is without profit.

St. Simeon the New Theologian
"Writings from the Philokalia"

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Holy Trinity

In Jesus Christ the Son, God is revealed as love "which passeth all understanding." He, through whom the Holy Trinity has created the world, demonstrates Himself as a man of the flesh, so that the love of the Holy Trinity is manifested to mankind, a love thus far unknown to the world. How did it demonstrate itself? In a manner in which only great love is not shy, as it shows itself for the sake of the salvation of the beloved: by humiliation and kenosis, by service, suffering, and finally by the supreme sacrifice.

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
"Kassiana"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

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)

Contemplative Prayer

The greatest reverence for contemplative prayer of the heart is inspired by the sublime descriptions of it in the writings of the Fathers. We need this reference and real vision in order to renounce all premature, self-willed, proud, imprudent striving to enter the secret sanctuary. And reverence and wisdom teach us to wait with attentive prayer, the prayer of penitence, at the doors of the temple. Attention and contrition of spirit - that is the waiting room that is given as a haven to penitent sinners.

Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
"On the Prayer of Jesus"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Humility

In accordance with God's most wise order in this world, one thing precedes another, and one is changed into another: dishonour and honour, poverty and wealth, health and sickness. Before bestowing wealth upon anyone, God often tries him by extreme poverty, depriving, on the other hand, the rich of everything; before honour, by dishonour; and thosed raised to honour, by humiliation, so that we may learn to value God's gifts, and not be proud in our prosperity, knowing that it is the gift of the Master, undeserved by us.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Security Against Sinning

Reading the Scriptures is a great means of security against sinning. The ignorance of Scripture is a great cliff and a deep abyss; to know nothing of the divine laws is a great betrayal of salvation. This has given birth to heresies, this has introduced a corrupt way of life, this has put down the things above. For it is impossible, impossible for anyone to depart without benefit if he reads continually with attention.

St. John Chrysostom
"On Wealth and Poverty"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul

The feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul indicates the lot of the Holy Apostles here on earth and reveals the glory that followed it. The earthly lot of the Apostles was to go around the earth preaching of the Heavenly Kingdom, in this emulating Christ by their poverty, endurance of dishonor and sufferings, by their love for the children of the Heavenly Father, their inward torments of childbirth over those who heeded their preaching and their grief over those who paid no heed to their words and finally, by offering themselves as a sacrifice. However, the culmination of their earthly life is the beginning of their heavenly glory. Their end is for them a dissolving of earthly ties and an ascent to Christ, Whom they loved, in order to remain eternally with Him (Phil. 1:23).

St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
"About the Apostles Peter and Paul"

Working the Spirit

As a husbandman governs a yoke of oxen and tills the ground, so the Lord Jesus, the fair 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)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Self-Esteem's Opposition

The ever-memorable Fathers laid down that the way to humility, and its foundation, is bodily toil; but I would say obedience and honesty of heart, because they are naturally opposed to self-esteem.

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

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Remember God

In St. Petersburg, as often as you leave your own apartments, so often you will witness things which will lead you away from the path of piety. Fear vile company. Remember God. Pray before going to bed and in the morning. Eat with blessing and thanksgiving, do not imitate those who gulp like beasts. Seek no honors, but if they are bestowed upon you in spite of yourself, accept and do not rejoice in them. . . . Be simple in honors, only do what your sense of honor and the oath prescribe. Be kindly to all, but also have a kind heart, for otherwise kindness is nothing but flattery and craftiness. Forgive offenses. Keep the memory of death in your mind. Close your ears to rumors, and turn your eyes from the well-known as though from monsters. Speak about no one unless it is really necessary. Remember that we shall leave everything here behind and shall go naked into the other world.

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
"Letter to a young nobleman who lived in the capital"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rejoice for the Things to Come

So I am not distressed because of things past, my child, but I rejoice for the things to come. For the lesser is blessed by the greater (Heb. 7:7), and a sin, whether small or great, is blotted out through repentance. Therefore, do not look at things which are behind, but reach forth unto those which are ahead (cf. Phil. 3:13).

Elder Joseph the Hesychast
"Monastic Wisdom; Letters..."

The Saints Peter and Paul

When we call to mind what they accomplished we add nothing to their good deeds. How could we, given that we are not even competent to depict their virtue as it really is? For the sake of the sublime rewards promised by God, they strove honourably to the limit of human nature and showed us the way of life that was equally sublime. We certainly do not augment their treasures by praising them - not at all! But we do increase their bounty to us by looking up towards them as lanterns aglow with divine light, and by understanding better and welcoming the beautifying power which comes from them.



St. Gregory Palamas
"Homily on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul, Leaders of the Apostles"

Recourse

Have recourse to God in all your difficulties...

Staretz Macarius of Optina

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Eternal Beings

Brethren! amongst the beings created by God, there are the temporal, transitory ones, such as all unintelligent, animate and inanimate creatures, organic and inorganic, as well as the world itself, which will pass away; "for the fashion of this world passeth away" (1 Cor. 7:31). And there are eternal beings, which are not transitory, such as the angels and the souls of men, the demons themselves with Satan. For man, the earthly life, life in the body, serves only as a preparation for eternal life, which will begin after the death of the body. Therefore we must avail ourselves without delay of the present life as a preparation for the other life; and as we chiefly work during week-days for the earthly life, we must work on Sundays and other holidays wholly for the Lord God, devoting them to attendance at Divine service, to reading the Word of God, to pious meditation, to edifying conversations, good works, and especially to works of mercy. Those sin grievously who neglect the matter of their spiritual education for eternal life in the world above. How can we forget our final destination? How is it possible to be so ungrateful to the Creator, Who created us after His own image and likeness, incorruptible, and for union with Himself; Who redeemed us by His cross, and opened to us the gates of the kingdom of heaven? How can many of us become "like the beasts that perish"? ((Psalm 49:12). "Let us lift up our hearts!"

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

A Very Great Love

To take another's sin on oneself is a form of martyrdom, and a sign of very great love for one's neighbor.

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
"The Prologue from Ochrid"

Friday, July 3, 2009

Churches

...Churches are not needed by God Whose throne is heaven and Whose footstool is the earth; it is we who need them.



St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
"Time to Build"

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Justin the Philosopher

Tomorrow is the day of the memory of the first literary apologist of Christianity - Justin the Philosopher. A brilliant lawyer and legal expert, he came to understand that knowledge of laws is not yet the knowledge of Truth. Studying philosophical systems, he did not find in them an answer to the question - What is truth? Once, on the sea shore he met an elder; they struck up a conversation, and Justin said that no one could teach him truth, that no one could teach him to understand God. The elder answered that he would never reach his goal, because he wanted to understand God through the mind. But the truth of God has to be comprehended not by the mind alone, but with all one's strength: by the mind and the will and the heart; one has to live according to the truth in order to come to know the truth.

St. John Maximovitch
"On St. Justin, Martyr"

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"

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Compassion

...There lived, in that place a certain monk of very venerable life named Martyrius, who on one occasion went to visit another monastery, ruled over by a holy abbot. And on his way he met a certain leper, whose members were all afflicted with elephantiasis, who was trying to return to his dwelling, but could not through weakness. His house, he said, was on the road along which Martyrius was going. The man of God had compassion on the weakness of the poor leper, and so he spread his own cloak upon the ground, and, placing the leper upon it, wrapped him securely in his cloak, and lifting him upon his shoulders brought him along with him. And when they drew near the monastery gates the abbot of the monastery began to cry out with a great voice: 'Hurry, hurry, run quickly and open the gates. Brother Martyrius is coming, and bringing the Lord with him.' As soon as Martyrius reached the entrance to the monastery, the man he thought was a leper leaped down from his shoulders, and Jesus Christ, True God and true man, appearing in that form in which the Redeemer of mankind was known to men, returned to heaven before the eyes of Martyrius. And as He was ascending He said to him: 'Martyrius, you were not ashamed of me on earth; I shall not be ashamed of you in heaven.' And when the holy man went into the monastery the abbot said to him: 'Brother Martyrius, where is He you were carrying?' Martyrius answered: 'Had I known Who it was I would have held Him by the feet.' Then he told them that while he was carrying Him he had felt no weight. And it is not to be wondered at that he could not feel His weight Who upheld him who was carrying Him. And from this account we should reflect upon the power of fraternal compassion, and on how closely the inward mercy of the heart unites us to Almighty God. For we then draw near to Him Who is above all things, when through compassion for our neighbour we renounce even our own selves.

St. Gregory the Great
"The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tranquility

Withdraw from multitudinous affairs and have your own conduct as your concern, so that your soul may be saved from any fragmentation of its interior tranquility.

St. Isaac the Syrian

Repentance

...Repentance which is true and truly from the heart persuades the penitent not to sin any more, not to mix with corrupt people, and not to gape in curiousity at evil pleasures, but to despise things present, cling to things to come, struggle against passions, seek after virtues, be self-controlled in every respect, keep vigil with prayers to God, and shun dishonest gain. It convinces him to be merciful to those who wrong him, gracious to those who ask something of him, ready with all his heart to bend down and help in any way he can, whether by words, actions or money, all who seek his assistance, that through kindness to his fellow-man he might gain God's love in return for loving his neighbor, draw the Divine favour to himself, and attain to eternal mercy and God's everlasting blessing and grace.

St. Gregory Palamas
"Homily on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul"

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Struggle

...If you should fall short in something, reproach yourself, and the Lord will receive even this in the place of struggle. That is why Pimen the Great said, "Self-reproach is the easiest virtue." And Isaac the Syrian says, "Humility, even without works, can save a man"...

St. Anatoly of Optina
"A Collection of Letters to Nuns"

Icons

"The Lord keeps" not only "all the bones," (Ps. 24: 20) but also the images of the saints, not allowing them to perish through corruption, through carelessness and neglect, but miraculously recovering them, as we know from descriptions of the appearances of thaumaturgical icons, especially of that of the most pure Mother of God - our Lady. So dear to God is the image of man, especially that of a holy man, as a vessel of grace. Through such images He works miracles and bestows invisible powers of healing and consolation.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Seeking the Lost

The race of man wandered upon the face of the earth; it had slipped away from the hand of the Supreme Shepherd. Because of this He came to us Who feeds His heavenly flocks above, that He might lead us also into His fold, that He might unite us to those who had not wandered, that He might drive away the wild beast that works evil, and frustrate the unholy robber band of the unclean spirits of evil. He came therefore seeking the one that was lost...

St. Cyril of Alexandria
"The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers"

Monday, June 22, 2009

Trials

Trials are of two kinds. Either affliction will test our souls as gold is tried in a furnace, and make trial of us through patience, or the very prosperity of our lives will oftentimes, for many, be itself an occasion of trial and temptation.

St. Basil the Great
"I Will Pull Down My Barns"

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Guard Against Passions

Nothing is better for rendering the heart penitent and the soul humble than wise solitude and complete silence. Nothing has a greater power of disturbing the state of silence, and of depriving it of God's help, than the following principal passions: presumptuousness, gluttony, talkativeness and vain cares, arrogance and the mistress of all passions - self-regard. Whoever readily permits himself to acquire the habit of these passions will become, in the course of time, more and more shrouded in darkness, until finally he is completely deadened. If, however, he comes to himself and begins to practise the necessary observances with faith and zeal, he will once more obtain what he seeks, especially if he seeks it with humility.

St. Gregory of Sinai
"Texts on Commandments and Dogmas"

Prepare Your House

May the Lord Jesus, Who said: 'Ask, and ye shall receive' (John 16:24), grant all your requests. Only prepare your house, and sweep it thoroughly to receive the Divine gifts. They remain secure only in a house swept clean, and exude their sweet scent only where there is no impurity.

St. Barsanuphius and St. John
"Directions in Spiritual Work"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

He Waits

He Who before our offence forbids us to sin, after our offense ceases not from waiting for us to repent. He Whom we have rejected calls after us. We have turned away from Him, but He has not turned from us.

St. Gregory the Great
"The Angelic Choirs"

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"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Drawing Near To God

"As an ill-natured man, coming with a request to one who is kind, gentle and meek, for the greater success of his request tries to resemble him, so the Christian, approaching God with a prayer to Him, or to His most pure Mother, or to the angels and saints, in order to insure the success of his prayer, ought to try to resemble as far as possible the Lord Himself, or His most pure Mother, or the angels and saints. In this lies the secret of drawing near to God, and of His speedily hearing our prayers.




St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Guidance and Protection

...Beware you do not blindly insist that things must work out according to what you consider to be right and good. God sometimes does permit such blind insistence to be followed by the fulfillment of our ardent desires. This always leads to misery and disaster (intended to open our eyes on our folly), and happens particularly often when our desires are founded on wild passions. Pray to our Lord for guidance, and to His Holy Mother for special protection.

Staretz Macarius of Optina
"Russian Letters of Direction"

Saturday, June 13, 2009

One God

There is only one God of my heart, my Lord and my God, and He is everything to me, as He is also everything to the whole world, visible and invisible, which was created by Him from nothing. Therefore, I ought not to cling to anything but to my God; I ought to part from everything that I have without regret, as from the dust which we trample under feet, and ought only to have in my heart love for God, and my brethren who are received in Christ into union with the Divine nature. "Ye might be partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (Peter i, 4). "Now are we the sons of God." (I Cor. x. 17). Whilst malice is the child of the Devil, may it never, neither pride, nor self-exaltation, and envy, touch our heart, even for a single moment!

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Gifts for Disciples

...These gifts set before us do not come from human power. He Who then made them at that Supper, the Same now makes what is here before us. We who minister, hold but the place of servants; it is He who consecrates, He who changes them. Therefore, let there be no Judas present; no lover of silver. If there be any one who is not a disciple, let him withdraw; the Table does not receive such as these.

St. John Chrysostom
"The Eucharist the Memorial of Christ's Passion"

Salvation

The Lord saves us; we don't save ourselves, but He, the Merciful One, saves us, in view of our desire for this.

Elder Barsanuphius of Optina

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Afflictions

Every affliction tests our will, showing whether it is inclined to good or evil. This is why an unforseen affliction is called a test, because it enables a man to test his hidden desires.

St. Mark the Ascetic

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Christian

A Christian was I born, a Christian shall I die.

St. John the Russian
(To his Muslim captors)

All Pervasive

By a single infinitely powerful act of will, God in His goodness will gather all together, angels and men, the good and the evil. But, although God pervades all things absolutely, not all will participate in Him equally: they will participate in Him according to what they are.

St. Maximos the Confessor
"The Philokalia"

Monday, June 8, 2009

Holy Spirit

Everything that breathes, breathes by air and cannot live without air; similarly all reasonable free creatures live by the Holy Spirit, as though by air, and cannot live without Him. "Every soul is quickened by the Holy Spirit." Recognise that the Holy Spirit stands in the same relation to your soul as air stands in relation to your body.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pentecost

All came to pass as it had been foretold. The Holy Spirit was promised, and the Holy Spirit came.

Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
"Homily on Pentecost"

Friday, June 5, 2009

Unity

Take away a ray of light from the body of the sun, its unity does not take on any division of its light; break a branch from a tree, the branch thus broken will not be able to bud; cut off a stream from its source, the stream thus off dries up. Thus too the Church bathed in the light of the Lord projects its rays over the whole world, yet there is one light which is diffused everywhere, and the unity of the body is not separated. She extends her branches over the whole earth in fruitful abundance; she extends her richly flowing streams far and wide; yet her head is One, and her source is One, and she is the one mother copious in the results of her fruitfulness. By her womb we are born, by her milk we are nourished; by her spirit we are animated.

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

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Desire Nothing

Paissy the Great, having lost his temper, begged the Lord to deliver him from irritability. The Lord appeared to him and said, 'Paissy, if thou dost not wish to get angry, desire nothing, neither criticize nor hate any man, and thou wilt have no anger.' Thus every one who renounces his own will before God and other people will always be at peace in his soul; but the man who likes to have his own way will never know peace.

Staretz Silouan
"Wisdom from Mount Athos"

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Anything Good

Christ does not demand anything from you to give you His holy gifts other than to acknowledge that anything good you happen to have belongs to Him.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast
"Monastic Wisdom" (Ninth Letter)

Purpose

Think nothing and do nothing without a purpose directed to God…

St. Mark the Ascetic

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Comforter

The Saviour and the Comforter, two Persons of the Godhead: the One ever saves from sins, and the Other comforts him who is saved. Their very names are taken from their deeds, and are always actually justified. He comforts! The Holy Spirit comforts the believing soul, as a mother comforts her child.

St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Monday, June 1, 2009

Patience and Humility

...In proportion to your humility you are given patience in your woes; and in proportion to your patience the burden of your afflictions is made lighter and you will find consolation; in proportion to your consolation, your love of God increases; and in proportion to your love, your joy in the Holy Spirit is magnified. Once men have truly become His sons, our tenderly compassionate Father does not take away their temptations from them when it is His pleasure to 'make for them a way to escape' (1 Cor. 10:13), but instead He gives His sons patience in their trials. All these good things are given into the hand of their patience for the perfecting of their souls.

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

Saturday, May 30, 2009

For God's Sake

An old man also said, "He who constraineth himself in everything, for God's sake, is a confessor." And again he said, "He who constraineth himself for the sake of the Son of God will not be forgotten by the Son of God," And he also said, "Him who hath made himself a fool for the sake of God, God will make him to be wise." "

The Paradise of the Fathers"

Friday, May 29, 2009

Serving the Sick

Serving the sick is one of the most powerful weapons for guarding one's purity.

St. Anatoly of Optina
"A Collection of Letters to Nuns"

Munificence of God

What is it we commemorate this day? It is the great and wondrous munificence of God, Dearly Beloved, which surpasses the power of human understanding, and is worthy of Him from Whom it proceeds. For this day all mankind was restored to God. This day the long warfare, the prolonged estrangement, was ended. This day a wondrous peace returned to us: a peace we had not expected. For who could have hoped that God would be reconciled to man? Not that the Lord is unmerciful, but because the servant was slothful and indifferent; not that the Lord was cruel and vindictive, but because His servant was ungrateful and unrepentant.

St. John Chrysostom
"Christ's Ascension Man's Exaltation"