What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Faith

Faith is an eye that enlightens every conscience, and imparts understanding; for the Prophet saith, And if ye believe not, ye shall not understand.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem
"Catechetical Lectures"

Monday, March 30, 2009

Discerning Thoughts

We must carefuly discern the thoughts that come on us and set against them the testimonies from the divinely inspired Scriptures and from the teaching of the spiritual teachers, the holy Fathers, so that if we find them to agree with these witnesses and correspond to them we may with all our might hold fast these thoughts and boldly act on them. But if they are not in harmony with "the word of truth" (Eph. 1:13; Col. 1:5) we must expel them from us with much anger, as it is written, "Be ye angry, and sin not" (Ps. 4:5).

St. Symeon the New Theologian
"The Discourses"

Sunday, March 29, 2009

God Reveals

...Thus I give untiring thanks to God who kept me faithful in the day of my temptation, so that today I may confidently over my soul as a living sacrifice for Christ my Lord; who am I, Lord? or, rather, what is my calling? that You appeared to me in so great a divine quality, so that today among the barbarians I might constantly exalt and magnify Your name in whatever place I should be, and not only in good fortune, but even in affliction? So that whatever befalls me, be it good or bad, I should accept it equally, and give thanks always to God who revealed to me that I might trust in Him, implicitly and forever, and who will encourage me so that, ignorant, and in the last days, I may dare to undertake so devout and so wonderful a work; so that I might imitate one of those whom, once, long ago, the Lord already pre-ordained to be heralds of his Gospel to witness to all peoples to the ends of the earth. So are we seeing, and so it is fulfilled; behold, we are witnesses because the Gospel has been preached as far as the places beyond which no man lives.

St. Patrick of Ireland
"Confession"

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Purity means that we put on the angelic nature. Purity is the longed-for house of Christ and the earthly heaven of the heart. Purity is a supernatural denial of nature, which means that a mortal and corruptible body is rivalling the celestial spirits in a truly marvellous way.
St. John Climacus
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 15)

Spiritual Cultivation

...Just as soil that is not touched by the hand of a farmer goes wild and becomes unlovely, so likewise the soul that goes without spiritual cultivation brings forth weeds and thistles.



St. John Chrysostom

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Soul

t is not darkness and desolateness of place that give the demons power against us, but barreness of soul. And through God's providence, this sometimes happens in order that we may learn by it.

St. John Climacus
"Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 21)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stand Fast

Do not be surprised that you fall every day; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly, the angel who guards you will honour your patience.



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

Mortification

It is the pleasure-loving body that leads us to sin; mortification leads us back to forgiveness.



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

Fasting

My brethren, it is not possible for these things to come about in one day or one week! They will take much time, labor, and pain, in accordance with each man's attitude and willingness, according to the measure of faith (Rom, 12:3, 6) and one's contempt for the objects of sight and thought. In addition, it is also in accordance with the fervor of his ceaseless penitence and its constant working in the secret chamber of his heart (Mt. 6:6) that this is accomplished more quickly or more slowly by the gift and grace of God. But without fasting no one was ever able to achieve any of these virtues or any others, for fasting is the beginning and foundation of every spiritual activity. Whatever you will build on this foundation cannot collapse or be destroyed, because they are built on solid rock. But if you remove this foundation and substitute for it a full stomach and improper desires, they will be undermined like sand by evil thoughts, and the whole structure of virtues will be destroyed (cf. Mt. 7:26; Lk. 6:49). To prevent this from happening in our case, my brethren, let us gladly stand on the solid foundation of fasting. Let us stand firmly, let us stand willingly! St. Symeon the New Theologian "The Discourses"

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Love for Christ

How can man love Christ to such a degree that he denies himself on His behalf, so that on account of love - and only love - his soul clings to Him and follows Him with zeal and joy? How can man love Him so much, that he even gives up his life joyfuly on His behalf? How has the unknown conquered man's heart in such a manner that he endures everything in order to please Him? It is impossible to love something unknown. Hence, he who loves is familiar with the object that he loves, and his heart has been wounded on account of this knowledge. Therefore, the love for Christ indicates that knowledge of Christ exists. Knowledge, in turn, indicates that a revelation exists. Hence, Christ has revealed Himself to the person who believes in Him, and, as the God of love, He has filled this person's heart with love.




St. Nectarios of Pentapolis
"Christology"

Day Without Sin

Every morning at daybreak say, "My Lord Jesus Christ, make me worthy to pass my day without sin."




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

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Self-Will

Since the Fall the will has been running errands exlusively for its own ego. For this reason our warfare is directed against the life of self-will as such.



Tito Colliander
"Way of the Ascetics"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Humble

Not all souls are equally strong. Some are sturdy as stone, while others are frail as smoke. Those like smoke are the proud souls. As the wind bears smoke hither and thither, so does the enemy draw them whichever way he will, for either they are without patience or else they are equally deceived. But the humble soul keeps the Lord's commandments and stands firm in them like a rock buffeted by the waves. The humble have surrendered themselves to the will of God, and their minds are fixed on Him, and the Lord gives them the grace of the Holy Spirit.




Staretz Silouan
"Wisdom from Mount Athos"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mother of God

Our Panagia hastens everywhere. She bestows her grace abundantly upon anyone who fervently cries out to her. She is a mediatress to Christ for everyone, because she was deemed worthy to give birth to the Lord and to become the Mother of God. She carries Him in Her arms and continuously entreats Him.
Since we sinners do not have the boldness to run directly to God from the start, we cry out to His Mother. She regenerates us; she intercedes; she anticipates all our afflictions. She is our protectress and helper, more honorable than all the angels, beyond compare more glorious than the Cherubim and Seraphim, second in rank only to the Holy Trinity. Oh, but she is so good, so sweet, that you want to embrace her at every moment and obtain consoling grace. The more you love, the more you are loved.




Elder Joseph the Hesychast
"Monastic Wisdom" (Seventy-fourth letter)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Heedfulness

The fear of God is the father of heedfulness, and heedfulness is the mother of inner peace, and the latter gives birth to conscience, which causes the soul to behold its own ugliness as in a certain pure and undisturbed water; and thus are born the beginnings and roots of repentance. St. Seraphim of Sarov "Little Russian Philokalia"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Meekness

Meekness is the fellow-worker of obedience, the guide of the brotherhood, a bridle for the enraged, a check to the irritable, a minister of joy, the imitation of Christ, something proper to angels, shackles for demons, a shield against bitterness.




St. John Climacus
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 24)

Pursuit of Virtue

God alone is by nature always good, always full, and always perfect; to Him nothing can ever be added or taken away. Therefore we must with unflagging zeal and care give ourselves to the pursuit of virtue, and constantly occupy ourselves in its practice, lest at any time progress may cease, and regress immediately take its place... To cease to acquire means to lose, for the will which goes no longer forward will not be far from peril of falling back.




St. John Cassian
"Of the Need of Progress" (Selected Writings)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Man's Nobility

That man is of a noble and elevated spirit who mercifully and generously scatters his gifts upon all, and rejoices when he has an opportunity of doing good and giving pleasure to everybody without thinking of being rewarded for it.





St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

With Awareness

If you fall into some transgression, quickly turn to the realization of your weakness and be aware of it. For God allows you to fall for the very purpose of making you more aware of your weakness...

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

God's Will

In all your undertakings and in every way of life, whether you are living in obedience, or are not submitting your work to anyone, whether in outward or in spiritual matters, let it be your rule and practice to ask yourself: Am I really doing this in accordance with God's will?





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

Monday, March 9, 2009

Christianity

Why do some people, well educated and baptized as Christians, fall away from Christianity and give themselves over to philosophy and to learned theories, pretending these to be something more truthful than Christianity? They do so for two principal reasons: either out of a totally superficial understanding of Christianity or because of sin. A superficial understanding of Christ rejects Him and flees from Christ as does a criminal from a judge. Superficial and sinful Christians were as often enraged and infuriated with Christianity as were the pagans. To the superficial and culpable, it was more comfortable for them to bathe in the shallow swamp of human thoughts than in the perilous depth of Christ. For those who sincerely follow Christ, He constantly calls them to a greater and greater depth; as He once said to the Apostle Peter, "Put out into deep water" (St. Luke 5:4). St. Mark the Ascetic writes that the law of God is understood in accordance with the fulfillment of the commandments of God: "Ignorance compels a person to speak in opposition to that which is beneficial and insolence multiplies vice."




Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
"The Prologue from Ochrid"

Fasting

The Lord therefore blesses that fast which uplifts our minds in almsgiving before His eyes, which is joined to the love of our neighbor, and founded on compassion. That which you deny yourself let you therefore give to another; so that that by which your body is weakened, may refresh the body of your hungry neighbor. St. Gregory the Great

Sunday, March 8, 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 an 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 formly 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 secretly and lustfully feeds on it as though it were food.





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

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tears

My friends, God does not ask or desire that man should mourn from sorrow of heart, but rather that, out of love for Him, he should rejoice with spiritual laughter. Remove the sin, and the tear of sorrow is superfluous for your eyes. What is the use of a bandage when there is no wound? Before his transgression, Adam had no tears, just as there will be none after the resurrection, when sin will be abolished; for pain, sorrow and sighing will then fade away (Esaias 35:10).




St. John Climacus
"The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 7)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Repentance

Repentance signifies regret, change of mind. The distinguishing marks of repentance are contrition, tears, aversion towards sin, and love of the good.




St. Nectarios of Aegina

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fasting

When He had therefore fasted for forty days and for forty nights, and afterwards was hungry, He gave an opportunity to the devil to draw near, so that He might teach us through this encounter how we are to overcome and defeat him. This a wrestler also does. For in order to teach his pupils how to win he himself engages in contests with others, demonstrating on the actual bodies of others that they may learn how to gain the mastery. This is what took place here. For, desiring to draw the devil into contest, He made His hunger known to him. He met him as he approached, and meeting him, with the skill which He alone possessed, He once, twice, and a third time, threw His enemy to the ground.




St. John Chrysostom

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fasting and Moderation

...We must then so moderate our rightful use of food that our other desires may be subject to the same rule. For this is also a time of peace and serenity, in which having put away all stains of evil doing we strive after steadfastness in what is good. Now is the time when generous Christian souls forgive offences, pay no heed to insults, and wipe out the memory of past injuries. Now let the Christian soul exercise itself in the armour of justice, on the right hand and on the left, so that amid honour and dishonour, evil report and good, the praise of men will not make proud the virtue that is well rooted, the conscience that has peace, nor dishonour cast it down. The moderation of those who worship God is not melancholy, but blameless.

St. Leo the Great
"Lent the Season of Purification"
(The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers)

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Inaccessible Light

Do not grudge burning a wax taper before the icon of the Lord during prayer; remember that you burn it before the inaccessible Light and before Him Who enlightens you with His light. Your candle is as though a burnt offering to the Lord; let it be a gift to God from your whole heart; let it remind you that you yourself should also be a burning and shining light. "He was," it is said of John the Forerunner, "a burning and a shining light" (John: 5:35).



St. John of Kronstadt
"My Life in Christ"

Judge Not

One pious starets, noticing that his brother had committed a sin, sighed and said, "Woe is me! As he sinned today, so will I tomorrow." And the following is a story about another ascetic, Abba Moisei. A monk committed a sin. The brethren, who had assembled to decide his case, sent for Abba Moisei, but the humble starets refused to attend the council. When the rector sent for him a second time, he appeared, but in quite a striking manner. He had taken an old basket, filled it with sand and was carrying it on his back. "What does this mean?" asked the monks, catching sight of him. "See how many sins I bear behind me?" answered Moisei, pointing to the heap of sand. "I don't see them, yet I have come to pass judgment upon another."
So therefore, brethren, following the example of the ascetics, upon observing others' sins, we should consider our own sins, regard our own transgressions and not judge our brother. And should we hold anything against him, let us pardon and forgive him, that our merciful Lord may forgive us also.


St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (1901)

Forgiveness

....And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.



Our Lord God and Saviour
(Matthew 6:12)

Fasting and Self-Control

The outward man perishes through fasting and self-control, but the more he does so, the more the inward man is renewed...




St. Gregory Palamas
"Homilies"