What is the Science of Salvation?

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

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"