What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Friday, December 10, 2010

Humility

"It is one thing to be humble, another to strive for humility, and another to praise the humble. The first belongs to the perfect, the second to the truly obedient, and the third to all the faithful.





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

Do Not Judge

"If you happen to witness your neighbor's fault, pray for yourself, lest you succumb to a similar evil, for we are all capable of it and ready to fall on any occasion; but, above all, seal your mouth by silence, and inwardly sigh to God about this brother, that God may straighten him.




St. Tikhon of Zadonsk"

Support of Life

"As the man consists of a soul and body, so, correspondingly, there are double means for supporting his life - spiritual and bodily ones. Those for supporting the bodily life are air, food, drink, light and warmth, and those for supporting the spiritual life, prayer (like air), reading the word of God, the life-giving Sacrament, and pious meditations.






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

No Cause for Despair

"I ask you to consider this question: who is greater, he who dies and rises again, or he who does not die at all? Those who extol the latter are deceived, for Christ both died and rose. But he who extols the former urges that for the dying, or rather the falling, there is no cause whatever for despair.





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

Our Heavenly Seat

"In Christ our common nature according to the flesh gained the honor of a heavenly seat.


St. Ambrose of Milan
'The Two Natures in Christ'"

Penitence

"Penitence should be sincere, perfectly free, and not in any way forced by any particular time and habit, or by the person before whom the sinner confesses. Otherwise it would not be true penitence.





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

Piety

"...Do not give yourself over to grief, do not be disturbed, do not run away; but consider yourself as dust before the feet of others.





St. Paisius Velichkovsky
'Field Flowers'"

Rules to Live By

"I implore and exhort you, my beloved fathers, brethren, and children, in the following: Love the Lord with all thy soul and all thy heart. Be righteous and just, submissive, with bowed head and your mind turned towards heaven. Have contrition towards God and men. Be a consoler of the sorrowful, patient in trials, and not given to irritation, bountiful, merciful, and a feeder of the poor, receiver of strangers, sorrowful for the sake of sins, joyful in God, hungry and thirsty, meek, patient, not a lover of glory, not a lover of gold, a lover of your neighbor, not hypocritical, not proud, a lover of labor for the sake of God, silent, pleasant in replies, fervent in fasting, in frequent prayers, vigils, and psalm-singing, sensible. Do not judge any man, but condemn yourself. And for this you will be the child of the Gospel, the son of the Resurrection, the inheritor of life in Christ Jesus our Lord.






St. Paisius Velichkovsky
'Field Flowers'"

Humility

"...Even if we should have mounted to the very pinnacle of virtue, let us consider ourselves last of all; having learned that pride is able to cast down even from the heavens themselves him who takes not heed, and humbleness of mind to bear up on high from the very abyss of sins him who knows how to be sober.





St. John Chrysostom
'Concerning Lowliness of Mind'"

Suffering and Glory

"...Have you been dishonored? Then have regard for the glory which is laid up in Heaven through patient endurance. Have you suffered a loss? Then contemplate the heavenly wealth and treasure which you have laid up for yourself through your good deeds. Have you been expelled from your homeland? Then you have Jerusalem as your heavenly homeland. Have you lost a child? Then you have Angels, with whom you will dance around the Throne of God, rejoicing eternally. By thus opposing anticipated good things to present sorrows, you will keep your soul in the cheerfulness and tranquillity to which the Apostles precept summons us. Neither let the joys of human affairs create immoderate and excessive gladness in your soul, nor let sorrows diminish its exultation and sublimity by feelings of dejection and abasement. Unless you have previously trained yourself in this way regarding the eventualities of life, you will never have a calm and tranquil life. But you will easily achieve this if you have dwelling within you the commandment which advises you always to rejoice, dismissing the vexations of the flesh and gathering that which gladdens the soul, transcending the sensation of present realities and extending your mind to the hope of eternal realities, the mere thought of which is sufficient to fill the soul with rejoicing and to make Angelic exultation reside in our hearts; in Christ Jesus our Lord, to Whom be the glory and the dominion, unto the ages. Amen.

St. Basil the Great
'Homily on Thanksgiving'"

Giving Thanks

"We praise Thee; we bless Thee, we worship Thee; we glorify Thee; we give thanks to Thee for Thy great glory...





The Great Doxology"

Seek God's Will

"When you want to resolve a complex problem, seek God's will in the matter, and you will find a constructive solution.





St. Mark the Ascetic
'The Philokalia'"

Virtues

"It is better to elude the passions by the recollection of the virtues than by resisting and disputing with them.





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

Attention

"Attention is the first teacher of truth and consequently absolutely necessary. Attention rouses the soul to study itself and its longings, to learn their true character and repulse those that are unholy. Attention is the guardian angel of the intellect, always counseling it thus : be attentive. Attention awakens the soul, rouses it from sleep... Attention examines every thought, every desire, every memory. Thoughts, desires, and memories are engendered by various causes, and often appear masked and with splendid garb, in order to deceive the inattentive intellect and enter into the soul and dominate it. Only attention can reveal their hidden form. Often their dissimulation is so perfect that the discernment of their true nature is very difficult and requires the greatest attention. One must remember the saving words of the Lord: 'Be wakeful and pray that ye enter not into temptation.' He who is wakeful does not enter into temptation, because he is vigilant and attentive.

St. Nectarios of Aegina"

The Holy Spirit

"Church doctrine has but one Source: the Holy Spirit, Who lives within the Church, Whom Christ promised would guide the Church into all truth (John 16:13). Thus, the Church possesses true doctrine not because she draws it from Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition, but only because she is in fact the Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of Truth, guided by the Holy Spirit.




New Hieromartyr Hilarion (Troitsky)
'Holy Scripture and the Church'"

Dispositions

"Christian perfection consists of constant good inclinations and dispositions, and it is essential to cultivate these in oneself. The Ten Commandments of the Old Testament prohibit sinful deeds, but the Beatitudes of Christ concern not deeds, but dispositions.






Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky
'Confession: A Series of Lectures on the Mystery of Repentance'"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Comforter

"Our merciful God often sends comfort to those pleasing to Him on earth through His saints from the other world.





Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
'The Prologue from Ochrid'"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christian Calling

"Do not be proud; do not be angry; do not be despondent, for that is all unworthy of a Christian's calling. This calling is so high and wonderful that it is hard for a man to keep himself from pride and to hold himself above despondency among all the dangers and misfortunes. Against these three unhealthy states, the Apostle stresses three healthy ones: against pride, lowliness; against anger, meekness; against despondency, longsuffering.





Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
'The Prologue from Ochrid'"

Poor in Spirit

"He who is poor in spirit does not dare to try, does not think of trying, to comprehend the incomprehensible, to penetrate God's secrets, to philosophise on the highest; he believes in the Word of the Lord, the Life-Giver, knowing that His every word is truth, spirit, and life eternal; and in the words of His Church, ever intructed in all truth by the Holy Spirit, he believes as a child believes his father or mother, not demanding proofs, but relying upon them in perfect trust.




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

Cleansing

"First, one must clean the royal house from every impurity and adorn it with every beauty, then the king may enter into it. In a similar way one must first cleanse the earth of the heart and uproot the weeds of sin and the passionate deeds and soften it with sorrows and the narrow way of life, sow in it the seed of virtue, water it with lamentation and tears, and only then does the fruit of dispassion and eternal life grow. For the Holy spirit does not dwell in a man until he has been cleansed from passions of the soul and body. Only one thing can remain within a man, either the Holy Spirit or the passions. Where the Holy Spirit is, there the passions do not come near, and where the passions are, there the Holy Spirit does not dwell...



St. Paisius Velichkosky
'Field Flowers'"

One Thing is Needful

"Our Saviour said this saying, One thing is needful (Luke 10:42) to us all, O Christians! Many Christians trouble themselves and take care for one thing or another, but they themselves often do not know for what they trouble themselves. The Lord warns us of this useless care and says to all, One thing is needful. What is it? Eternal salvation. This is the foremost task of a Christian. With Christians the most foremost care ought to be for this.




St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
'Journey to Heaven'"

Live Like a Saint

"Watch yourself continually, that spiritual life and wisdom may not dry up within you. Think oftener upon what you read, or sing, or hear, in church, or sometimes at home. Live as the saints lived, by their prayers, wisdom and virtues; in meekness, humility and gentleness, not sparing yourself, but renouncing yourself, your rest, ease and enjoyment, for the love of God and your neighbor, in patience, courage and struggle - have their faith, hope and love.




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

God's Love

"What can we say about the great love that the Lord shows us to save us! But we forget everything at the slightest temptation, yet it is in temptations and afflictions that Christ is found. Worries and cares about how to make a living cannot be called afflictions. I mean afflictions for Christ: to be persecuted; to suffer in order to save someone else; to struggle for the love of Christ and to be opposed by temptations; to suffer misfortunes until death for Christ; to endure insults and derision unjustly; to be despised by everyone as if deluded. Then the Lord justly consoles and gladdens the soul.





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

The Church

"It is solely through each man's bond with the Church that he receives all the means necessary for his moral regeneration.




New Hieromartyr Hilarion
'Holy Scripture and the Church'"

God's Grace

"God's is the grace and ours is the toil. Let no-one then, think that, as the holy apostles relied solely on the grace of God, it was easy for them; that they were able without effort to accomplish their great task in the world.





Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
'The Prologue from Ochrid'"

The Holy Spirit

"According to the teaching of the Apostle, all Church life is a manifestation of God's Holy Spirit; each manifestation of love, each virtue is the action of a gift of the Spirit. Everything is produced by one and the same Spirit. According to the words of the Apostle Peter, people are but stewards of the manifold grace of God (I Peter, 4:10). The Spirit of God has, by Its own power, penetrated the entire body of the Church and given various spiritual gifts to each of its members, making possible a new life for mankind. It unites all into one body, unifying in such a way as to instill a kind of love in the hearts of men which, in their natural state, cannot be a principle of their lives and relationships with other people.




Holy New-Martyr Archbishop Ilarion
'Christianity or The Church?'"

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'"

Union through Love

"Thou alone knowest the cares, labors, and sweat of Thy saints, in order to purify themselves to please Thee, the Father of all. Thou alone knowest Thy saints. Teach us to imitate them in our lives, so that we too may be in union with all through love.




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

Love

"What is sweeter than love? And yet there is not much love in us! Wherefore? We love our flesh exceedingly, and with it everything carnal, material and earthly! Let us, therefore, despise the flesh and walk by the spirit, mortifying the works of the flesh by the spirit.




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

Image of God

"Remember what man is. He is the image of God, a child of God, a Christian, an inheritor of the Kingdom, a member of Christ. We must therefore esteem every man, although he may bear in his soul the wounds of sins. The wounds - are wounds; they are made by the Devil and sin, but still the image is the image of God. We must pity him for his wounds, grieve, pray for him as for ourselves: for we are all - one body.




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

Rules for Trustworthy Advice

"Not every man is able to give trustworthy advice, but only he who has first governed himself well, who possesses knowledge gained from experience in all things, who does not love himself, and who does not shy away from calumnies.




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

Compunction

"Keep a firm hold of the blessed gladdening sorrow of holy compunction, and do not stop working at it until it raises you high above the things of this world, and presents you pure to Christ.





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

Christ in Me, Part II

"Let us examine ourselves. And if this is so, let us bring about a revolution within ourselves. And let us start with our thoughts; because every sin passes through thought into our feeling, and through feeling into action. This means that our main struggle with sin goes on in the thoughts. This is where we have to destroy it; then it will not even touch our heart and will not pass into action.
Yes, but our thought is already infected by sin. What are we to do? From a thought, as from a hole in the ground, little snakes are constantly darting out — sinful thoughts — and they bite and poison our feelings. But this is what we must do: run to Christ with repentance. He is our Savior from sin. In His first appearance after His Resurrection, He said to His disciples: 'Receive ye the Holy Spirit. Whose so ever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven' (Jn. 20: 22-23). Let us start with this. Let us take our sinful thoughts to confession, and we will receive absolution. And then new thoughts and new deeds will begin. A new life."

Archbishop Andrew of Novo Diveyevo
Sermon on the Sower ("The One Thing Needful")

Christ in Me, Part I

"...But who among us can honestly repeat these words of the Apostle: 'Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me'? And if we do not feel what the Apostle felt, it means that our life is not fully Christian, and we are not bearing those fruits which the Lord expects from us. What is the matter? The Word of God is as powerful today as in the days when the Savior Himself was preaching it; and yet our lives do not reflect this His Word. For if our deeds would conform to the teaching of Christ, then the whole world would turn to Christ, because our lives would be more eloquent, more strong than any sermon.
But alas, they are not like this. Our deeds are not like this because our feelings are not the feelings of Christ; they have not yet died to the law of earthly life — futile, temporary — in order to live for God, as the Apostle says. And our feelings are not like this because our thoughts are busy with unnecessary things. Only rarely are they directed toward Christ, Who loved us and gave Himself for us. Are they not wandering more often on the highways of our futile earthly life? Do they not bring our hearts into a state of stoniness, absorbed only with the cares of our temporary, materialistic welfare? Do they not get stuck between our sinful desires, as between weeds?"

Apostles

"We believe fishermen, not dialecticians.


St. Ambrose of Milan
'Loci Theologici' (Vol. 1, p107)"

Repentance and Tears

"Repentance gives rise to the tear from the depths of the soul; the tear cleanses the heart and wipes away great sins. When these have been blotted out through tears the soul finds itself in the comfort of the Spirit of God and is watered by streams of sweetest compunction. By these it is spiritually fructified day by day so that it produces the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22) and in due time yields them like an abundant harvest of grain as an unfailing supply of food for the incorruptible and eternal life of the soul. When the soul by a good zeal has reached this state it is identified with God and becomes the house and abode of the Divine Trinity. It sees its own Maker and God clearly, and as it converses with Him day by day it departs from the body and the world and from this air and ascends into the heaven of heavens. Borne aloft by the virtues and by the wings of God's love it rests from its labors together with all the righteous and is found in the infinite and divine Light, where the hosts of Christ's apostles, of the martyrs, of the blessed ones and of all the powers on high sing in chorus together.




St. Symeon the New Theologian
'Tears and the Comfort of the Spirit'
(The Discourses)"

Humility

"If you ardently long for true knowledge and unequivocal assurance of salvation, first study how to break the soul's impassioned links with the body; then, stripped of all attachment to material things, descend to the depths of humility, and there you will find the precious pearl of your salvation hidden in the shell of divine knowledge.



St. Theognostos
(The Philokalia)"

The Will

"Having mourned with His loving soul over our imperfection and our corrupt wills, the Lord has added to our nature the wellspring of new and vital power, accessible to all who have wished or ever shall wish for it, beginning with the wise thief.





Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky
'The Dogma of Redemption'"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Humility and Gifts

"We see that our all-good King, like an earthly king, sometimes distributes His gifts to his warriors Himself, sometimes through a friend, sometimes through a slave, and sometimes in an unknown way; and it will be according to the garment of humility that each of us wears.





St. John Climacus
'The Ladder of Divine Ascent' (Step 28)"

Inner Impulses

"Just as a basic concern is to be careful of anything that might be harmful to our physical health, so our spiritual concern should watch out for anything that might harm our spiritual life and the work of faith and salvation. Therefore, carefully and attentively assess your inner impulses: are they from God or from the spirit of evil? Beware of temptations from this world and from worldly people; beware of hidden, inner temptations which come from the spirit of indifference and carelessness in prayer, from the waning of Christian love.




St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
'Watch!'"

Seeds of Virtue

"...It belongs to us to engage in every activity and with much toil and weariness to sow the seeds of virtue, but by God's gift and mercy alone the rain of His loving-kindness and grace falls and causes the unfruitful soil of our hearts to bear fruit.





St. Symeon the New Theologian
'God Increases Virtue'
(The Discourses)"

Trials

"Trials are of two kinds. Either affliction will test our souls as gold is tried in the 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. For it is equally difficult to keep the soul upright and undefeated in the midst of afflictions, as to keep oneself from insolence and pride in prosperity.




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

Fire, Light, Love

"It is well to place candles before the icons. But it is still better if you bring as a sacrifice to God the fire of your love for Him and your neighbor. It is well that the one should accompany the other. But if you place candles before the icons, and have no love for God and your neighbor in your heart, if you are grasping, if you do not live in peace with others - then, your offering to God is useless.




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

Impatience and Irritability

"Our self-love and pride manifest themselves especially in impatience and irritability, when some of us cannot bear the slightest unpleasantness caused us by others, whether intentionally or unintentionally, or any obstacle, lawful or not, deliberate or not, put in our path.





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

Light On the Path

"Continual reflection on the Scriptures is light for the soul, because they imprint on the intellect recollections helpful for guarding against the passions and for continuance with God through love and the purity of prayer; further, it makes straight before us the path of peace trodden by the footsteps of the saints.




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

Speak No Evil

"But let us speak that which is good, to the edification of the faith. That is, to speak only what will help to build up our neighbor in virtue; nothing more than that. For this has God given you a tongue, and a mouth: that you might give thanks to God, that you might help to build up your neighbor in virtue.






St. John Chrysostom
'The Christian Manner of Life'"

Charity

"...Charity, he says, is patient, is kind, thinketh no evil. Let a man consider himself, how he is disposed towards himself, then let him be so disposed towards his neighbor. For no one envies himself; he prays for all good things for himself, he prefers himself to all others, he is prepared to do all things for himself. If we are thus disposed towards others, all evils come to an end: there are no more enmities, no more greed; for who would wish to be covetous of himself?





St. John Chrysostom
'Let Us Consider One Another'"

Faith and Love

"With faith, Christ comes into the heart, and with Christ comes love, and thus a man is rooted and grounded in love. First, then, faith; then, with faith, the presence of Christ in the heart. With the presence of Christ comes the presence of love and, with love, inexpressible good things.






Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
'The Prologue from Ochrid'"

Humility

"An ascetic would say: 'Trust God and your elders. Be obedient when they ask you to do this or that, and you will be at rest. All this time that you have trusted yourself, what have you gained? Self-confidence is a great obstacle to divine grace. Do not trust your reasoning. Have simple thoughts, and God for your humility will protect you, and you will experience His joy and peace. Our spiritual progress depends upon us. Unless we do things right, neither the great Antonios nor the great Varsanouphrios can save us. God is obliged to us when we totally trust in Him.'





An Athonite Gerontikon"

Seeking God's Praise

The person who wants to engage fully in spiritual combat and to win the crown of righteousness must try by every means to overcome this beast that assumes such varied forms. He should always keep in mind the works of David: 'The Lord has scattered the bones of those who please men' (Ps. 53:5). He should not do anything with a view to being praised by other people, but should seek God's reward only, always rejecting the thoughts of self-praise that enter his heart, and always regarding himself as nothing before God. In this way he will be freed, with God's help, from the demon of self-esteem.




St. John Cassian

"On the Eight Vices"

(The Philokalia)

Redemption

"I will glory not because I am righteous but because I am redeemed; I will glory not because I am free from sins but because my sins are forgiven me. I will not glory because I have done good nor because someone has done good to me but because Christ is my advocate with the Father and because the blood of Christ has been shed for me.




St. Ambrose of Milan
'Examination of the Council of Trent'"

Obstacles on the Path

Attachment to worldly things is a grave obstacle to those who are striving after holiness.




St. Neilos the Ascetic

"Ascetic Discourse"

(The Philokalia)

Suffering and Adversity

"Many benefits have come to the just from their experience of suffering. And in the same way that the earth would not be fertile and rich unless the farmers worked hard to cultivate it, and without whose efforts it would not only cease to offer up its produce to the human race but would turn into its opposite and bear thistles, so if decent people were not relentlessly afflicted by adversity they would not only fail to progress but would repeatedly slip and fall from the right path.





St. Basil the Great
'The Just Benefit from Suffering'
(Gateway to Paradise)"

"Discernment cannot be achieved without love and humility, and humility and love cannot be achieved without obedience.
Discernment and Obedience

Elder Ambrose of Optina"

Removal of Sin

"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 have fled away (Essaias 35:10).




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

Tools of Salvation

"...Always keep this in mind: you are not doing anything virtuous by your continence. Or can it be considered a virtuous act when a man who, out of his own carelessness, has been trapped deep down in a mine shaft, takes pick and shovel and tries to work his way out? Is it not, on the contrary, quite natural for him to make use of the tools given him by a higher authority to make his way up of the choking air and darkness?
From this picture you can gain wisdom. The tools are the implements of salvation, the commands of the Gospel, that were bestowed upon every Christian at holy baptism. Unused, they are of no profit to you. But used in the right manner they will open your way to freedom and light.



Tito Colliander
'Way of the Ascetics'"

Blessed Alchemy

"As iron, lead, gold, or silver, when cast into the fire, melts, and changes from its natural hardness to a soft consistency, and so long as it is in the fire continues to be molten and altered from that hard nature by the hot force of the fire, so the soul which has denied the world, and fixed its longing upon the Lord alone, in much searching, and pains, and conflict of soul, and maintains an uninterrupted waiting upon Him in hope and faith, and which has received that heavenly fire of the Godhead and the love of the Spirit, this soul is then verily disengaged from all affection of the world, and set at liberty from all mischief of the passions and casts everything out of itself, and is changed from the natural habit and hardness of sin, and considers all things indifferent in comparison with the heavenly Bridegroom whom it has received, at rest in His fervent and ineffable love.





St. Macarius the Great
'Spiritual Homilies' (Homily 4)"

Virtue

"The task of virtue is to contend against hardship and suffering. The prize for victory, given to those who stand their ground, is the soul's dispassion. In this state the soul is united with God through love, and in inward resolution it is separated from the body and the world. Those who stand their ground find that the soul's strength lies in the body's affliction.





St. Maximos the Confessor
'Various Texts on Theology, the Divine Economy,
and Virtue and Vice'
(The Philokalia)"

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Departure From Nature

"The first thought that by God's loving kindness descends into a man, that enters into his heart and guides his soul to life, is the thought of his departure from this nature. This thought is naturally followed by disdain for the world, and every good movement that leads a man to life enters him from this. And it is this that the divine power which accompanies man lays as a foundation when it wishes to manifest life in him. If he does not extinguish this thought by involvement in the affairs of life and by vain talk, and if he rears it in his soul by continual concentration within himself and by contemplating it, this thought will lead him to profound divine vision which no man can express. Satan greatly abhors this thought and makes war upon it with all his might to expunge it from man's heart. And if it were possible, he would give man dominion over the whole world, could he but by this distraction erase this thought from his mind.




St. Isaac the Syrian
'Asetical Homilies' (Homily Forty-Nine)"

Love One Another

"Live as members of one body, as children of God, in love and harmony, in peace and tranquility, esteeming one another, being indulgent to one another, as the Lord is indulgent to us.





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

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Faintness of Heart

"Faintness of heart is a sign of despondency, and negligence is the mother of both. A cowardly man shows that he suffers from two diseases: love of his flesh and lack of faith; but the love of one's flesh is a sign of unbelief. He, however, who despises the love of the flesh proves that he believes in God with his whole heart and awaits the age to come.



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

Grace

"...Pray that you may be granted the grace to read the Fathers with the right understanding, the grace to live up to the standards they put before you, and the grace clearly to see your own frailty. You will not long be left wanting and waiting. God will give you help.
In the meanwhile carefully examine the movements of your heart, the pattern of your thoughts, the intention of all your words and actions. In your case, it may even be good to do this in writing. It may help to make more clear to you your utter poverty; it may humble your pride of mind.





Staretz Macarius of Optina
'Russian Letters of Direction'"

Turn to God

"The more one turns to God, the less he remembers his grief. He whose thoughts are constantly directed toward God, cannot fully pay attention to the sorrows of the cross. And what power grief gives to prayer! As an arrow that has pierced the heart makes it necessary and forces one to seek medical treatment, so does grief striking the heart with sorrow, inducing it to seek comfort in something different, in the contemplation of eternal blessings.




St. John Maximovitch of Chernigov
'The Royal Way of the Cross of our Lord
Leading to eternal Life'"

Take Up One's Cross

"It means the willing acceptance, at the hand of Providence, of every means of healing, bitter though it may be, that is offered. Do great catastrophes fall on you? Be obedient to God’s will, as Noah was. Is sacrifice demanded of you? Give yourself into God’s hands with the same faith as Abraham had when he went to sacrifice his son. Is your property ruined? Do your children die suddenly? Suffer it all with patience, cleaving to God in your heart, as Job did. Do your friends forsake you, and you find yourself surrounded by enemies? Bear it all without grumbling and with faith in hand, as the apostles did. Are you condemned to death for Christ? Be thankful to God for such an honor, like thousands of Christian martyrs.



Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
(What it means to take up one's cross.)"

The Cross

"The Cross was sanctified by the Body of Christ which was nailed to it when He gave Himself over to torments and death for the salvation of the world. Then it was filled with life-giving power.




St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
'The Cross: Preserver of the Universe'"

The Holy Spirit

"...For as I myself was held enlivened by the very many errors of my previous life, of which I believe that I could not divest myself, so I was disposed to give in to my clinging vices, and in my despair of better things I indulged my sins as if now proper and belonging to me. But afterwards, when the strain of my past life had been washed away by the aid of the water of regeneration, a light from above poured itself upon my chastened and pure heart; afterwards when I had drunk of the Spirit from heaven a second birth restored me into a new man; immediately in a marvelous manner doubtful matters clarified themselves, the closed opened, the shadowy shone with light, what seemed impossible was able to be accomplished, so that it was possible to acknowledge that what formerly was born of the flesh and lived submissive to sins was earthly, and what the Holy Spirit already was animating began to be of God.





St. Cyprian of Carthage
'To Donatus' (Treatises)"

Do Not Hurry Prayer

"Be assured, if you hurry over your prayers to give rest to your body, you will lose both spiritual and bodily rest. What labour, sweat and tears, are needed that our hearts may approach God.



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

Like the Good Thief

"A hermit said:

When you pay back all your debts in this life, you can be saved. However, if you are hit on the head many times, you receive a bit of an extra reward. For an unjustly beaten person there is a pure reward. This means that frequently God permits those who lead good lives to be badly afflicted. Why is this so?
Let me explain with an example. There is a happy family where all its members are good: father, mother, and children. They are churchgoers and receive communion regularly. Suddenly a drunkard or crazy person kills the good father of the family for no reason. Because of this many people who have been distanced from God say. 'Look at him! You see? He was a churchgoer and that is what happened to him!'
What insolence! God allows those who are not at fault to suffer in order to give a second chance to the unrepentant, that they might be brought to repentance and thus be like the good thief who was hanged next to Christ on the cross.
What do we observe in those two robbers between whom the Lord was crucified? One blasphemed against Christ saying, 'If you are the Christ save yourself and us.' But the other rebuked him saying, 'We are receiving the just reward of our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong. Do you not even fear God?' (Luke 23: 39-41)
This is why God allows some innocent people to suffer - so that the insolent ones may benefit, although those who suffer are truly God's beloved. In paradise I believe that God will say to them, 'Here, this mansion is for you, or you can choose any one you like!'
Do you understand? This is the way it is. When we ask to be justified, we may lose everything. We lose out peace of mind and our reward.




An Athonite Gerontikon"

Reaching Divine Heights

"If we too, brethren, wish to dwell not on earth but in heaven, and not to fall to the ground or into sin that pulls us down, but to reach out continuously towards the divine heights, let us fear God, abstain from everything evil, return to Him through good works, and strive by self-control and prayer to wipe out the evil accretions within us, to change our inner thoughts for the better, and, according to the Prophet, to be in labour with the spirit of salvation and bring it to birth, having as our helper, through invoking her name, the Virgin who was today bestowed upon her parents through prayer and a manner of life pleasing to God. She transformed their sorrow, annulled the ancestral curse, and brought our first Mother's pangs to an end, painlessly bearing Christ as a virgin.



St. Gregory Palamas
'On the Saving Nativity of Our Most Pure Lady,
Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary'"

The Word

"Today a new world and a mysterious paradise have been revealed, in which and from which a New Adam came into being, re-making the Old Adam and renewing the universe. He is not led astray by the deceiver, but deceives him, and bestows freedom on those enslaved to sin through his treachery. Today a paradoxical book has been made ready on earth, which in an indescribable way can hold, not the imprint of words, but the living Word Himself; not a word consisting of air, but the Heavenly Word; not a word that perishes as soon as it is formed, but the Word Who snatches those who draw near Him from perdition; not a word made by the movement of a man's tongue, but the Word begotten of God the Father before all ages. Today the living Tabernacle of God not made with hands appears, the inspired human Ark of the true Bread of Life sent down from heaven for us. (cf. John 6:32).




St. Gregory Palamas
'On the Saving Nativity of Our Most Pure Lady,
Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary'"

Self-Reproachment

"A prayer offered while one has any cause to reproach a fellow man is an impure prayer. There is only one whom the praying person may and must reproach, and that is himself. Without self-reproach, your prayer is as worthless as it is while you are reproaching someone else in your heart. Perhaps you ask: How can one learn this? The answer is: One learns it through prayer.




Tito Colliander
'Way of the Ascetics'"

Self-Examination

"We who wish to understand must not cease to examine ourselves; if in the perception of our heart we consider that our neighbor excels us in all things, then Divine mercy is near to us.




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

Love of God

"The self-indulgent are distressed by criticism and hardship; those who love God by praise and luxury.



St. Mark the Ascetic

"On Those who think They are Made Righteous by Works; 226 texts""

Clemency and Faith

"I hear that you have been dismayed by the news that we were assaulted by riotous monks and hoodlums. No wonder this appears to you intolerable; you have thus far escaped being beaten, and you have been spared our ordeals. As for us, used to being mistreated and to having our share of outrage, we may have expected to address Your Piety with the exhortations that old age teaches and reason suggests. Yes, these events are atrocious, more than atrocious; who would contest this? They have desecrated the altars, profaned the Mysteries. As we stood between those to be baptized and those who were throwing stones at us, we had no recourse against the stoning except prayer. Virgins have given up modesty, monks have renounced decency, street-beggars have forsaken their lowly station in life. Anger has deprived them of all pity. Yet, in what we suffer, it is better to be patient and give to many an example of longanimity. Words do not persuade a crowd, but acts do, being a silent exhortation. We believe strongly in punishing evildoers; strongly, I say, because it is useful for the correction of others, but it is still better and more godly to endure stoically. Punishment bridles wickedness; but firmness under misfortune persuades people to be good, and this is much better than simply not being wicked. Let us believe that a great occasion of clemency is offered to us, in order that we may obtain to be forgiven, and let us add goodness to goodness!





St. Gregory of Nazianzus
Letter to Theodoros
(written during Holy Week 379 or 380)
'The Fathers Speak'"

Grace

"What is grace? It is the blessed power of God, given to the man who believes and has been baptised in the name of Jesus Christ - the power that cleanses, hallows, enlightens, that helps us to do good, and withdraws us from evil, that comforts and encourages us in misfortunes, sorrows, and sickness, that is a pledge of the everlasting blessings, prepared in heaven for the chosen of God.




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

Raising Children with God's Presence

"...Wealth is a hindrance, because it leaves us unprepared for the hardships of life. So, let us raise our children in such a way that they can face any trouble, and not be surprised when difficulties come, let us bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Great will be the reward in store for us, for if artists who make statues and paint portraits of kings are held in high esteem, will not God bless ten thousand times more those who reveal and beautify His royal image (for man is the image of God)? When we teach our children to be good, to be gentle, to be forgiving (all these are attributes of God), to be generous, to love their fellow men, to regard this present age as nothing, we instill virtue in their souls, and reveal the image of God within them.




St. John Chrysostom
'Homily 21' (On Ephesians 6:1-4)"

Tests of Faith

"Your past and present torments and sufferings are poured down upon you to test your faith and steel it; they also work to curb your lusts and passions. Humble yourself. God succours the humble. Judgment of others, insistence on their shortcomings, can only increase the bitterness of your sorrow. Choose the better part.




Staretz Macarius of Optina
'Russian Letters of Direction'"

Earthly Garments for Christ

"...Let us give Christ earthly garments that we may receive heavenly clothing. Let us give worldly food and drink that together with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob we may come to the heavenly banquet. Let us reap little, let us sow very much.




St. Cyprian of Carthage
'Works and Almsgiving'
(Treatises)"

Faith vs Reason

"Unfortunately our faith is hindered by the short-sightedness 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'"

Chains of Possessions

"...How can they follow Christ who are held back by the chain of their personal property? Or, how can they seek heaven, and ascend to the sublime and lofty, who are weighed down by earthly desires? They think that they possess, who rather are possessed, slaves of their own property, not lords as regards their money but rather the bond-slaves of their money.





St. Cyrprian of Carthage
'The Lapsed'
(Treatises)"

Unceasing 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 spiritual enlightenment and the highest of all blessings.




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

The Humble Man

"The truly humble man never ceases to reproach himself, even when the whole world attacks and insults him. He acts in this way, not simply in order to attain salvation as it were passively by enduring with patience whatever befalls him, but in order to press forward actively and deliberately to embrace the sufferings of Christ. From these sufferings he learns the greatest of all virtues, humility: the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, the gateway to the kingdom of heaven, that is to say, to dispassion.





St. Peter of Damaskos
'Twenty-Four Discourses: Humility'
(The Philokalia)"

Sin

"...To wage war only with the sins that make their appearance as actual deeds would be just as unsuccessful as cutting down weeds in a garden instead of digging them up at the root and throwing them out. Sins appear as inevitable outgrowths from their roots, the passions of the soul.




Metropolitan Antony Khrapovitsky
'Confession'"

Love of Truth and God

"Souls that love truth and God, that long with much hope and faith to put on Christ completely, do not need so much to be put in remembrance by others, nor do they endure, even for a while, to be deprived of the heavenly desire and of passionate affection to the Lord; but being wholly and entirely nailed to the cross of Christ, they perceive in themselves day by day a sense of spiritual advance towards the spiritual Bridegroom. Being smitten with the heavenly longing, and hungering for the righteousness of the virtues, they have a great and insatiable desire for the shining forth of the Spirit. Even if they are privileged through their faith to receive the knowledge of Divine mysteries, or are made partakers of the gladness of heavenly grace, they put no trust in themselves, thinking themselves to be somewhat, but the more they are permitted to receive spiritual gifts, the more insatiable they are of the heavenly longing, and the more they seek on with diligence. The more they perceive in themselves a spiritual advance, the more hungry and thirsty they are for the participation and increase of grace; and the richer they spiritually are, the more do they esteem themselves to be poor, being insatiable in the spiritual longing for the heavenly Bridegroom, as the Scripture says, They that eat Me shall yet be hungry, and they that drink Me shall be thirsty (Ecclus. 24:21).




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

Presence of God

"Our every endeavor is powerless without the grace and help of God. A man can easily become debauched and so destroy himself, but he cannot correct himself and be saved without God. He can easily live according to the flesh as a boat floats down a river, but of himself he cannot stand against the flesh and live spiritually, as a vessel cannot of itself sail against the rush of the current. It must move either with rowers or with sails in the wind.
So a man must be helped in the spiritual life and in the work of salvation by a supernatural and all-powerful force. He must be victorious over his own self; but how can this be without the power of God present, which is able to do all things? So great is the corruption of our nature.





St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
'Journey to Heaven'"

Church Commands

"Everything that God commands us through the Church must be preserved by us in holiness.





St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
(Letter, 1949)"

Humility

"An ascetic used to say, 'One first gives himself totally to God, and then God cleanses him and gives him back to the people. When such a person believes that he is the worst of all, then one of his 'Lord have mercies' said for the world is worth more than someone else's one thousand 'Lord have mercies.'





An Athonite Gerontikon"

Monday, September 6, 2010

To Do Thy Will

"On rising from your bed, make the sign of the cross, and say, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and add, Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin, and teach me to do Thy will.




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

Friday, September 3, 2010

Immaculate Virgin Mary

"It was for our sake that the Lord was incarnate, suffered even unto death of the cross, and rose from the dead. It was for our sake also that He adorned His Mother, the immaculate Virgin Mary, with all virtues, and endued her with every divine power, so that she, the most merciful, the most perfect, should be, after Himself, everything to us. And therefore let us not waste God's grace with which our Lady is filled. Let us come with boldness and trust to the immaculate Virgin, ever-helpful, ever-protecting. If sins trouble us, let us pray to her, that she may cleanse us with the hyssop of her prayers from every impurity of flesh and spirit.




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

Worthiness

"Pursue the small consolation that is acquired in time from toil, that you may be accounted worthy of that great consolation which dispels the troubles of this life of sorrows for those who find it. Do not despise small things, lest you be deprived of great ones.






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

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Faith and Mercy

"Mercy is a fruit of faith. Where there is true faith, then there is true mercy.





Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
'The Prologue from Ochrid'"

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mary, Mother of God

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




St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
'The Orthodox Veneration of Mary, The Birthgiver of God'"

The Theotokos

"... Hence, as it was through the Theotokos alone that the Lord came to us, appeared upon earth and lived among men, being invisible to all before this time, so likewise in the endless age to come, without her mediation, every emanation of illuminating divine light, every revelation of the mysteries of the Godhead, every form of spiritual gift, will exceed the capacity of every created being. She alone has received the all-pervading fulness of Him that filleth all things, and through her all may now contain it, for she dispenses it according to the power of each, in proportion and to the degree of the purity of each. Hence she is the treasury and overseer of the riches of the Godhead. For it is an everlasting ordinance in the heavens that the inferior partake of what lies beyond being, by the mediation of the superior, and the Virgin Mother is incomparably superior to all. It is through her that as many as partake of God do partake, and as many as know God understand her to be the enclosure of the Uncontainable One, and as many as hymn God praise her together with Him. She is the cause of what came before her, the champion of what came after her and the agent of things eternal. She is the substance of the prophets, the principle of the apostles, the firm foundation of the martyrs and the premise of the teachers of the Church . She is the glory of those upon earth, the joy of celestial beings, the adornment of all creation. She is the beginning and the source and root of unutterable good things; she is the summit and consummation of everything holy.


St. Gregory Palamas
'A Homily on the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary'"

Friday, August 27, 2010

Christ - The One Needful Thing

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




St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
'Journey to Heaven'"

Resist Evil

"If you wish to make a blameless confession to God do not go over your failings in detail, but firmly resist their renewed attacks.




St. Mark the Ascetic
'On Those who Think that They
are Made Righteous by Works'"

Turn From Evil

"...Someone wrote to the saintly bishop (Bishop Theophan the Recluse) saying, 'Master, I know that I am a sinner, but I do wish to repent. Please pray for me that I may lay the foundation for my repentance.' And Bishop Theophan answered him, 'Friend, if there will be no effort on your part, your own decision in this matter, then even if I, a sinner, or even if the entire Universe should pray, it will avail nothing. You yourself must make the turn from evil toward good. But once you have stepped upon this path, then the Lord will aid you, then will our prayers support you. God's grace will renew you, but not in such a way that it will act for you. It will follow your efforts, and will act secretly, assisting you when you weaken.'





St. Philaret the New Confessor of New York
Sermon - August 9/22, 1971"

Meekness

"Meekness is an immovable state of soul which remains unaffected, whether in evil report or in good report, in dishonor or in praise.






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

Anger

"The stronger a passion is in a person, the quicker and more fiercely it turns into anger when it is not satisfied.




Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky
'Confession'"

The Church

"The Church is the sure way to the life eternal; walk in it undeviatingly, hold fast to it, and you will gain the kingdom of heaven; but if you turn aside at the crossways of your own sophistry and unbelief, then you have only yourself to blame, you will go astray and be lost. 'I am the way, the truth, and the life' (John 14:6).




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

Transfiguration

"We believe that at the Transfiguration He manifested not some other sort of light, but only that which was concealed beneath His fleshly exterior. This Light was the Light of the Divine Nature, and as such, it was Uncreated and Divine. So also, in the teachings of the Fathers, Jesus Christ was transfigured on the Mount, not taking upon Himself something new nor being changed into something new, nor something which formerly He did not possess. Rather, it was to show His disciples that which He already was, opening their eyes and bringing them from blindness to sight. For do you not see that eyes that can perceive natural things would be blind to this Light?
Thus, this Light is not a light of the senses, and those contemplating it do not simply see with sensual eyes, but rather they are changed by the power of the Divine Spirit. They were transformed, and only in this way did they see the transformation taking place amidst the very assumption of our perishability, with the deification through union with the Word of God in place of this.



St. Gregory Palamas
Homily on the Feast of the Transfiguration"

Prayer

"That same Inscrutable Light shone and was mysteriously manifest to the Apostles and the foremost of the Prophets at that moment, when (the Lord) was praying. This shows that what brought forth this blessed sight was prayer, and that the radiance occured and was manifest by uniting the mind with God, and that it is granted to all who, with constant exercise in efforts of virtue and prayer, strive with their mind towards God. True beauty, essentially, can be contemplated only with a purified mind. To gaze upon its luminance assumes a sort of participation in it, as though some bright ray etches itself upon the face.



St. Gregory Palamas
Homily on the Feast of the Transfiguration"

Patience

"One must have patience ready at hand in all things, and not desire anything to turn out otherwise than it does, so as not to lose one's peace.





Elder Moses of Optina"

A Pure Heart

...American life, with its satiety and comfort, acts extraordinarily in favor of the acceptance of humanism. And therefore it is not astonishing that laymen often make demands to their pastors to go "in step with the times," and the pastors often fulfill their demands....

But the religious-moral foundations do not change; why, then, should priests change? Against contemporary man the same temptations, the same passions and seductions battle that tempted men a thousand years ago. Sin remains sin forever, and not a jot or tittle of the law of Christ changes: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all else will be added unto you."

The most important thing is to create a pure heart and keep it that way. Here there can be no talk of reforms. The Lord Himself has already given us everything needful in His Church.



Archbishop Andrew of Novo Diveyevo

"The Restoration of the Orthodox Way of Life"

Humility

"...Whoever wants to find true rest in his soul must learn humility and he will see that all joy, all glory and all true rest are to be found there, whilst in pride it is just the opposite.




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

Monday, August 16, 2010

Patience

"In speaking of patience, beloved brethren, and in preaching on its benefits and advantages, how can I better begin than by pointing out the fact that now, just for you to listen to me, I see that patience is necessary, as you could not even do this, namely, listen and learn, without patience. For only then is the word of God and way of salvation effectively learned, if one listens with patience to what is being said. Nor do I find, beloved brethren, among all the ways of heavenly discipline whereby we Christians are directed to seek the God-given rewards of our hope and faith, any other thing that is preferable, whether as more useful for life or more significant in attaining glory, than that we who are subject to the precepts of the Lord with an obedient fear and devotion should maintain patience especially and with extreme care.





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

Sunday, August 15, 2010

God's Will

"If a person's purpose is fixed in God with all humility and he patiently endures the trials that come to him, God will resolve for him any questions that perplexes him and perhaps even leads him into delusion. Then, greatly ashamed but full of joy, he turns back, seeking the path of the fathers. For, as St. John Climacus states, we should regard what happens according to God's will, and nothing else, as coming from grace for our good, even though in itself it is not very good.




St. Peter of Damaskos"

The Holy Spirit and Grace

"Where there is Grace, the fount of life, there good works come from the heart. When the Holy Spirit visits, any labor becomes easy...





St. Paisius Velichkovsky
'Field Flowers'"

Image of God

"Remember what man is. He is the image of God, a child of God, a Christian, an inheritor of the Kingdom, a member of Christ. We must therefore esteem every man, although he may bear in his soul the wounds of sins. The wounds - are wounds; they are made by the Devil and sin, but still the image is the image of God. We must pity him for his wounds, grieve, pray for him as ourselves: for we are all - one body.




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

Pure and Sinless

"Everything, my brethren, that the pure and sinless Lord creates is pure and sinless. Everything created by God is pure and sinless as long as it is turned towards Him, neither separated from Him nor in opposition to Him. Everything praises and glorifies God while it is pure and sinless. Therefore the Psalmist sings: 'Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Alleluia!' (Ps. 150)




Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
'The Prologue from Ochrid'"

Everpresent God

"The greatest continual error of our heart, which we ought unceasingly to fight throughout our life, morning, noon, and night, is the secret thought that we can be anywhere and at any time without God, outside Him even for a single moment.




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

Humility

...A certain nobleman complained to the Elder Makarios of Optina, that his son "offended the noble pride" of his family, when he married a girl who was not of the nobility. The Elder explained to him, that the Church does not know of "noble pride" but only of satanic pride, because of which Satan was cast down from heaven. In order to cure us of this pride, because we wanted to become gods, the Lord came to earth.


Remember what the Allpure Virgin Mary said to the righteous Elizabeth, when she found out about the great thing which was to come to Her. The Allblessed One says: "...for He hath regarded THE LOW ESTATE of His handmaiden"; because humility alone brings man up to spiritual heights.




St. Philaret the New Confessor of New York

(Sermon - 6/19 Jan. 1971)

Truth

"The patient endurance of the saints exhausts the evil power that attacks them, since it makes them glory in sufferings undergone for the sake of truth. It teaches those too much concerned with a life in the flesh to deepen themselves through such sufferings instead of pursuing ease and comfort; and it makes the flesh's natural weakness in the endurance of suffering a foundation for overwhelming spiritual power. For the natural weakness of the saints is precisely such a foundation, since the Lord has made their weakness stronger than the proud devil.




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

The Temple of God

"We become a temple of God when our continuous meditation on Him is not constantly interrupted by ordinary worries, and the spirit is not disturbed by unexpected emotions. Thus, in flight from all things, the spirit who loves God can approach God who drives out everything that leads us to evil, and holds steadfastly to everything that leads to virtue.





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

Humility

"The perfection of humility is to bear false accusations with joy.



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

The Teachings of the Church

In Orthodox teaching about the Church and the Sacraments, the single most unique mystery is the Church itself, the Body of the God-man Christ, so that she is the only source and the content of all divine Sacraments. Outside of this theanthropic and inclusive Mystery of the Church, the Pan Mystery itself, there are no and cannot be any "mysteries"; therefore, there can be no inter-communion of Mysteries. Consequently we can only speak about Mysteries within the context of this unique Pan-Mystery which is the Church. This is because the Orthodox Church, as the Body of Christ, is the source and the foundation of the Sacraments and not the other way around. The Mysteries, or Sacraments, cannot be elevated above the church, or examined outside the Body of Christ.





Fr. Justin Popovich

"Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ"

Without Pride

"It is a sign of the beginning of health when our thought no longer prides itself on its natural gifts. But as long as it has that stench in its nose, it cannot detect the fragrance of myrrh.




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

The Goal of Life

"...Certainly one must know the goal of life. But is this difficult? And hasn't it already been determined? The general situation is this: since there is life after death, then the goal of all of our present, earthly life must be, without exception, not here, but there.





St. Theophan the Recluse
(from a letter to a spiritual daughter)"

A Christian Life

"The person of Christ the God-man presents in itself the ideal image of human personality and knowledge. The person of Christ of itself traces and defines the path of a Christian's life in every way. In Him is found the most perfect realization of the mystical union of God and man, while at the same time He reveals both God's work in man and man's work in God.
God and man working together is the basic indication of Christian activity in the world. Man works with God and God with man (cf. 1 Cor. 3:9). Working within and around himself, the Christian gives himself entirely to ascesis, but he does this, and is able to do it, only through the ceaseless activity of the divine power that is grace.




Fr. Justin Popovich
'Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ'"

Christians

"The Holy Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Philippians (i.e. to the Christians living in the large city of Philippi) wrote that they shone as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation (Phil. 2:15). A lofty spiritual disposition and irreproachably clean, strictly chaste life - these were the characteristic traits of the Philippian Christians, for which the Apostle praised them. We live in later times; nineteen centuries separate us from those days in which the Apostle Paul wrote his epistles. But now, just as the Christians of the first centuries, we are encircled by an environment full of shamelessness and perversion. May the high and holy example of the pure and chaste life of the ancient Christians teach us to be steadfast and firm in the observance of the laws of Christian morals, and not accede to the temptations which surround us.






St. Philaret, New Confessor of New York"

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Love-filled Heart

The Lord seeks a heart filled to overflowing with love for God and our neighbour; this is the throne on which He loves to sit and on which He appears in the fullness of His heavenly glory.




St. Seraphim of Sarov

"Conversation with N.A. Motovilov"

(A Wonderful Revelation to the World)

Pride

"Just as a deadly plague destroys not just one member of the body, but the whole of it, so pride corrupts the whole soul, not just part of it. Each of the other passions that trouble the soul attacks and tries to overcome the single virtue which is opposed to it, and so it darkens and troubles the soul only partially. But the passion of pride darkens the soul completely and leads to its utter downfall.




St. John Cassian
'On the Eight Vices'
(The Philokalia)"

The Soul

"In true Christians, as in spiritual temples, God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, abides with love. The Lord says of this, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode in him (Jn. 14:23). What can be more honorable and noble than that soul in which the Tri-hypostatic God abides with grace and love? It is a glorious thing for people to receive an earthly king into their house; it is incomparably more glorious to receive the Heavenly King into the house of our soul, and to have Him living therein.



St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
'Journey to Heaven'"

Mother of God

"When you look upon the image of the Mother of God, with her Eternal Child, marvel how most truly the Godhead was united with human nature, glorify God's omnipotent goodness, and recognizing your own dignity as man live worthily of your high calling in Christ - the calling of a child of God, an inheritor of eternal bliss.




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

Belief in Christ

"Christ is Master by virtue of His own essence and Master by virtue of His incarnate life. For He creates man from nothing, and through His own Blood redeems him when dead in sin; and to those who believe in Him He has given His grace.




St. Mark the Ascetic
'On Those who Think They Are Made Righteous by Works: Two Hundred Twenty Six Texts'"

Repentance

"Repentance is not something of just an hour or a day. It must be an inner preoccupation for us to the end of our lives.




Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
'The Prologue from Ochrid'"

Body of Christ

"If you are the body of Christ, carry the cross...




St. John Chrysostom"

The Word

"Why is the Son of God also called 'the Word'? Because through Him the Father expresses His will.





St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
'In the Beginning was the Word'"

Seeking

"...You, my child, are seeking Christ. You are seeking to enter the heavenly city. The elder and the fathers are praying for this, and I, too, the poor one, am praying out here on the crags. So the Lord heard all of us, and in order to crush your proud soul, to humble and defeat your anger, wrath, temper, and ego, He sent you a flea - this small temptation - to keep biting you, so that you learn to bear it. He sent it to bother you, so that you learn to be patient. In this way, your anger, wrath, and agitation are gradually soothed. He sent it so that you learn to choke temptations inside you and not let harsh words come out. and then, once that power of Satan has been stifled inside you repetitively, he goes away and leaves the person meek and calm like a little lamb.




Elder Joseph the Hesychast
'Monastic Wisdom' (Seventh Letter)"

Christians

"Christians are like merchants trading for very great gains. As merchants amass out of the earth earthly gains, so Christians collect together out of all the earth, by means of all virtues and the power of the Spirit, the thoughts of their own heart in this present age. This is the greatest and the true merchandise. For this world is opposed to the world above, and this present age to the eternity above. The Christian therefore, according to Holy Scripture, must deny the world, and be translated and pass in mind out of this present age, in which the mind is placed and exposed to allurements ever since the transgression of Adam, into another age, and in frame of thought must live in the world of the Godhead above, as it is said, But our conversation is in heaven.



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

Wealth

"Wealth is not a possession, it is not property, it is a loan for use.





St. John Chrysostom"

Demands of Life

"...Certainly it was not something that we strive for! We can sincerely attest one to the other, more than anyone else, that we were well satisfied with a pedestrian philosophy: remaining here below. It may have been better that this did not happen, but I do not know what to say, as long as I am in ignorance of the designs of the Spirit. Since this is the way things happened, we must accept them, it seems to me, especially on account of the time which loosens many heretic tongues against us; so we must not neglect the demands of our own life, or disappoint the hope of those who believe in us.




St. Gregory of Nazianzus
'Letter to Basil, Letter 8' (On the Priesthood)"

Divine Grace

"Divine grace is like bait which enters the soul and without coercion attracts a person toward higher and superior things.




Elder Joseph the Hesychast
'Monastic Wisdom' (Third Letter)"

A Perfect Soul

A soul is perfect whose desiring power is wholly directed towards God.





St. Maximus the Confessor

"Third Century on Love"

(The Philokalia)

Peace

QUESTION: Batiushka, pray for me, that I would be able to bring peace to others. ANSWER: "First be at peace yourself, then you will be able to bring peace to others."





Elder Ambrose of Optina

(From his life.)

Anger

"When one gets angry, he is deprived of God's protection.




Elder Ambrose of Optina"

Vainglory and Pride

"Vainglory and pride are very like each other. But vainglory incites us to show off our piety or intelligence and to put much store in the opinion others hold of us; it makes us love praise and go out of our way to get it, and fills us with false shame; whereas pride is chiefly manifested through anger and embarrassment, through the despising, condemnation, and humiliation of others, and through holding oneself - one's own actions and achievements - in high esteem. Pride has made great men - men spiritually great - fall very low. All human misfortunes and all un-Christian actions spring from pride; all good comes from humility.



Straretz Macarius of Optina
'Russian Letters of Direction'"

God's Word

"What is the aim of the incarnate dispensation of God's Word, preached in all the Holy Scriptures but which we, who read them, do not know? The only aim is that, having entered into what is our own, we should participate in what is His.




St. Simeon the New Theologian
'Practical and Theological Precepts'
(The Philokalia)"

Degrees of Perfection

"According to the condition and stature of each mind, Holy Scripture calls our free wills to various degrees of perfection. For it was not possible that one uniform crown of perfection should be forward for all men alike. Not all have the same virtue, or will, or fervor, and therefore the inspired Word has given us, so to say, divers orders of these very perfections and divers measures with them. That this is so, is evidenced by the different Beatitudes pronounced in the Gospel...




St. John Cassian
'On the Different Kinds of Perfection'
(Selected Writings)"

The Divine Liturgy

"The Divine Liturgy is truly a heavenly service on earth, in which God Himself, in a particular, immediate and most close manner is present and dwells with men, for He Himself is the invisible celebrant of the service, He is both the offerer and the offering. There is on earth nothing higher, greater, more holy, than the Liturgy; nothing more solemn, nothing more life-giving.




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

Heavenly Glory

"...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). The day of their earthly end is the day of their heavenly birth, and the celebration of it is a solemnity of the coming of the future age for those who have followed Christ in this age.




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

Intercessions

"Innocent is he whose soul is in its natural purity as it was created, and who makes intercession for all.




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

The Cross

"It is not possible to represent and to think of the cross without love. Where the cross is, there is love. In church you see crosses everywhere and on everything, in order that everything should remind you that you are in the temple of the God of love, the temple of love crucified for us.





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

Suffering

"You who suffer for the true faith, are suffering for what your spiritual vision sees. You who suffer for the false faith, are suffering for what your physical eyes see. You former suffer for faith in reality and truth; you latter suffer for a dream and a fantasy.
Spiritual vision calls its knowledge by a humble name - - faith. Physical eyes call your faith by a boastful name - - knowledge. Both the one and the other are seeing: the first is seeing of the peaceful and sparkling essence of creation; the second is the seeing of flickers of that essence through the darkness.





Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
'Prayers by the Lake'"

Confession

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




St. Basil the Great
'Profession of Faith' (Letter)"

Know Yourself

"Try to know yourself, your own wickedness. Think on the greatness of God and your wretchedness. Meditate on the suffering of Christ, the magnitude of Whose love and suffering surpass our understanding. Ascribe the good that you do to God alone. Do not think about the sin of a brother but about what in him is better than in yourself .... Flee from glory, honors and praise, but if this is impossible, be sorry that such is your lot. Be benevolent to people of low origin. Be freely and willingly obedient not only to those above you but to those below .... The lowlier we are in spirit, the better we know ourselves, and without humility we cannot see God.


St. Tikhon of Zadonsk"

Watch Continually

"Watch yourself continually, that spiritual life and wisdom may not dry up within you. Think oftener upon what you read, or sing, or hear, in church, or sometimes at home. Live as the saints lived, by their prayers, wisdom and virtues; in meekness, humility and gentleness, not sparing yourself, but renouncing yourself, your rest, ease and enjoyment, for the love of God and your neighbor, in patience, courage and struggle - have their faith, hope and love.





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

An Accounting

"In your earthly life be ready at any moment to give Him an account.


St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
(from the sermon 'Watch')"

Communion

To receive communion even daily and partake of the sacred Body and Blood of Christ is good and beneficial, for He said clearly: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life" (John 6:54). Who would doubt that partaking regularly of life is anything else but living continually?





St. Basil the Great

"Letter to Kaisaria"

(The Fathers Speak)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Orthodox Church

"Do not seek grace in any other faith, for truth is only in the Orthodox Church.


St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
(from a pastoral letter)"

Sin

"Perception is a property of the soul, but sin is the buffeting of perception.



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

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Humility

"...How do we come to this saving humility, leaving behind us the deadly swelling of arrogance? By exercising ourselves in it in all things, and by keeping in mind that there is nothing which cannot be a danger to us. For the soul becomes like the things it gives itself to; and takes the character and appearance of what it does.




St. Basil the Great
'On Humility'"

Friday, July 2, 2010

Repentance

"There is no sin that cannot be washed away by repentance.



St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
from the sermon 'In Memory of the Royal Martyrs'"

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Repentance

"The sin against him and against Russia was perpetuated by all who in one way or another acted against him, who did not oppose, or who merely by sympathizing participated in those events which took place forty years ago. That sin lies upon everyone until it is washed away by sincere repentance.




St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
'Homily Before a Memorial Service for the Tsar Martyr'"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Union with God

"Sin, having cut man off from the source of life - God, rent man asunder. The union of spirit, soul and body was violated, and death entered into him. The soul, no longer surrounded by the streams of life, could not transmit them to the body, which became corruptible, and the soul began to languish.
Christ came to earth to restore the fallen image and return it to union with Him Whose image it is. Uniting man unto Himself, God thus restores him to his original goodness in all its fullness.




St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
''The Church as the Body of Christ'"

Think of Others First

"...That bread you hold in your clutches, that belongs to the starving. That cloak you keep locked away in your wardrobe, that belongs to the naked. Those shoes that are going to waste with you, they belong to the barefooted. The silver you buried away, that belongs to the needy. Whomever you could have helped and did not, to so many have you been unjust.





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

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Icons

"Icons are not simply pictures of certain people or events. An icon is a symbol of the invisible. It depicts not only the outward, visible countenance of the Lord and His saints, but also their inner likeness, their sanctity.




St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
'Concerning Talents and Iconography'"

Compassion

"...Nothing so nourishes love as to be compassionate towards others.





St. Joh Chrysostom
'The Fountain of Alms'"

The Word

"The Word of God gives life. He is the source of life: In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.




St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
'In the Beginning was the Word'"

Mutual Need

"...For if you think it is a dreadful thing to be in need of others, know that it is impossible not to be. If you desire to escape from the crowd, you may do this by fleeing to the untroubled harbour of poverty. Then, cut off from the multiple disquiet of affairs, do not think it a disgrace to be dependent on others: for this has been brought about by God's unspeakable wisdom. For if some of us have need of others, does not the necessity of our need draw us one to another?





St. John Chrysostom
'Mutual Need'"

Body and Blood

"Not only the soul, but also a man's body is sanctified and communes with God by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, through which he is united with the entire Holy Trinity. Through Divine grace, with the participation of his own will and effort, man becomes a new creature, a participant in the eternal Kingdom of God.




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

Things on High

"He who has tasted the things on high easily despises what is below. But he who has not tasted the things above finds joy in possessions.





St. John Climacus
'The Ladder of Divine Ascent' (Step 17)"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Prayer

"When you weep with bitter pain of soul for having sinned against God and having saddened Him, then comfort and consolation overshadow you, and then the door of prayer opens.





Elder Joseph the Hesychast
'Monastic Wisdom' (Sixty-second Letter)"

Monday, June 21, 2010

Heavenly Fruits

"....Whatever fruits of beneficence you do yield, you gather up for yourself; for the grace of good works and their reward is returned to the giver. Have you given something to a person in need; what you have given becomes yours, and is returned to you with an increase. And as the wheat that falls to the earth brings increase to the one who has thrown it there, so the bread that you give the hungry will later bring you a great gain. Therefore, let the end of your earthly tilling be the beginning of your heavenly sowing.




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

Friday, June 18, 2010

Vainglory

"Simpler people are not much infected with the poison of vainglory, because vainglory is a loss of simplicity and an insincere way of life.



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

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Charity

"...For all your labor is in vain and without profit, if you have not charity, without which whatever the good work or deed you do maybe remains unsanctified; even though the one who does them may lay claim to virginity, even though he fasts, or keeps watch in the night, though he gives shelter to the poor, though he is seen to offer gifts to God, or first-fruits. or do good works, even though he should build a church, or do any other kind of good work short of possessing charity, all these will be held as nothing to him by God; for without charity there is nothing in them that is pleasing to the Lord.




St. Ephraim the Syrian
'Charity and Forgiveness'"

Humility

"...Let you beware of lifting yourself above anyone, not even above those who are great sinners. For he who is guilty of many great sins, oftentimes will be delivered from them through humility. So never let you hold yourself as more virtuous than another, for fear that declared just by your own sentence, you may be condemned by the sentence of God.





St. Basil the Great
'On Humility'"

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Words

"What are the nets of the Apostles which they are commanded to let down, if not the forms of words, and as it were certain profundities of speech, and the subtleties of discussion, which do not let go those that come to their nets? And well it is said that the Apostles use nets in their fishing, since they do not destroy those they catch, but save them, and draw them upwards from the depths to the light; bringing those who are wavering, from the knowledge of the lowest things to the knowledge of the highest.




St. Ambrose of Milan"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Churches

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




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

Conscience

"Why has God set in the mind of every one of us such a continuously watchful and sober judge? I mean the conscience. For there is no judge, no judge at all among men as sleepless as our conscience. External judges are corrupted by money, influenced by flattery, and induced by fear to give false judgments; and many other factors spoil their upright decisions. But the court of conscience cannot yield to any of these influences. Whether you give bribes, or flatter, or threaten, or do anything else, this court will bring forth a just judgment against your sinful intentions. He who commits sin himself condemns himself even if no one else accuses him.




St. John Chrysostom
'On Wealth and Poverty'"

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Patience

"...Take away the contestant and you take away the occasion of gaining a crown. You have seen how athletes toughen themselves with bags of sand? But you have no need to resort to such means. Life is full of things that test you, and make you strong. Look at the trees. The more they are shaken by the wind the more tough and unyielding they become. And we also, if we are patient, we also shall become strong, For he that is patient is governed with much wisdom; but he that is impatient, exalteth his folly (Prov. 14: 29).





St. John Chrysostom
'Let Us Consider One Another'
(The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers)"

Friday, June 11, 2010

Salvation

"...Man is saved only in Christ, and God's Grace is the main acting strength in this salvation. Nevertheless, besides the action of God's Grace for salvation, the personal efforts of man himself are also necessary. Man's personal efforts alone are insufficient for his salvation - but they are necessary, for without them, God's Grace will not begin to work out the matter of his salvation.
Thus, man's salvation is worked out simultaneously through the action of God's saving Grace, and through the personal efforts of man himself. According to the profound expression of certain of the Fathers of the Church, God created man without the participation of man himself - but He does not save him without his agreement and desire, for He created him as if unfettered. Man is free to choose good or evil, salvation or ruin - and God does not impede his freedom, although He constantly summons him to salvation.




St. Philaret the New Confessor of New York
'On the Law of God'
(Grace and Salvation)"

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Scriptures

"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.




St. John Chrysostom
'On Wealth and Poverty'"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Eternal Salvation

Indeed, Christ the Saviour did not promise eternal salvation to the majority, but, quite the contrary, He promised it to His "little flock", which will remain faithful to Him to the end, in the day of His Glorious and Terrible Second Coming, when He will come "to judge the living and the dead".










Archbishop Averky of Syracuse and Holy Trinity Monastery

"Are the Terms 'Christian' and 'Orthodox' Accurate in our Times?"

(Orthodox Life, May-June 1975)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Humility

"Humility is a heavenly siphon which from the abyss of sins can raise the soul to Heaven.




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

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Avoid Sin

"Now, I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them.



St. Vincent of Lerins
'Commonitorium' (Chapter Seven)"

Renunciation

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




Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
'Discourses and Sayings' (On Renunciation)"

Friday, June 4, 2010

Father and Mother

"He cannot have God as father who does not have the Church as a mother.






St. Cyprian of Carthage
'The Unity of the Church' (Chapter 6)"

Intellect

"No man can conquer the passions except by the palpable virtues; and no one can conquer the wandering of the intellect except by the study of spiritual knowledge. Our intellect is volatile, and if it is not tied down by some reflection, it never stops wandering.




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

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Faith

"Faith brings peace to the intellect and, in bringing it, uproots rebellious thoughts. Sin is the source of restlessness and strife in the thoughts and is also the source of man's struggle against heaven and with other men.




Fr. Justin Popovich
'Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ'"

Signs

"The Christian heart, when it has received something Divine, does not demand anything else in order to convince it that this is precisely from the Lord; but by that very effect it is convinced that this is heavenly, for it senses within itself spritual fruits: love, joy, peace, and the rest (Gal. 5:22).
On the contrary, though the devil might transform himself even into an angel of light (11 Cor. 11:14), or might produce thoughts seemingly good: still the heart would feel a certain obscureness and agitation in its thoughts. Explaining this, St. Macarius of Egypt says: though satan might produce also visions of light, he is entirely unable to produce a blessed effect: which is the well-known sign of his works (St. Maracius, Homily 4, ch. 13).



St. Seraphim of Sarov
'Little Russian Philokalia'"

The Soul

"When the flesh flourishes, the soul fades; when the flesh has full liberty, the soul is straitened; when the flesh is satiated, the soul hungers; when the flesh is adorned, the soul is deformed; when the flesh overflows with laughter, the soul is surrounded by misfortune; when the flesh is in the light, the soul is in darkness...



St.. John of Kronstadt"

Monday, May 31, 2010

With God

"...Without God, no one shall put me in chains, cast me into prison, or send me into exile. If these things are done to me, it means that God has consented to them. No one shall deprive me of my riches, honor, fame, against God's will. And if I am deprived of these things, it means that such is God's pleasure. And if it is pleasing to God, then so be it. God holds all things in His hand, and nothing happens to us except through His will. And nothing occurs through God's will but what is good, even as light is generated by the sun, warmth by fire and mercy by love. God offers us His good, for He is good. He permits the Devil's attacks against us, as well as the attacks of evil men, and through them He permits misfortunes, disasters, and temptations, but He permits them according to the measure of our strength and inasmuch as we can bear them. He permits all this for our good. For from a God that is true and eternal, nothing but good can issue.





St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
'A Treasury of Russian Spirituality'
(excerpt from a letter)"

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Saints

"We ought to have the most lively spiritual union with the dwellers in heaven, the apostles, prophets, martyrs, saintly bishops, confessors, with all the saints, as they are all members of one body, the Church of Christ, to which we sinners also belong, and the living Head of which is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. This is why we call upon them in prayer, converse with them, thank and praise them. It is urgently necessary for every Christian to be in union with them if he desires to make Christian progress; for the saints are our friends, our guides to slavation, who pray and intercede for us.




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

Faith

"There is absolutely nothing for a Christian to be proud of in accomplishing works of righteousness, for he is saved, constantly delivered, from every evil through faith alone; in the same manner he accomplishes works of righteousness also by the same faith. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.




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

Simple Hearts

"The Lord reposes in simple hearts.




Elder Ambrose of Optina"

The Teachings Part II

"We also bless the water for baptism, and also the oil of chrism, and even the person baptized. On the authority of what writings? Is it not rather on the authority of secret mystic tradition? And the anointing with oil, what written words tell us to do this? And the threefold immersion, where does it come from? And the other practices in baptism, the renouncing of Satan, and his angels? Do these not come from that veiled and secret doctrine which our Fathers have safeguarded in unquestioning and simple silence? For they have learned to guard the sacredness of the mysteries in silence.




St. Basil the Great
'Sacred Tradition a Divine Guide'"

The Teachings

"Of the beliefs and public doctrines entrusted to the care of the Church, there are some which are based on Scriptural teaching, others which we have received handed down in mystery by the tradition of the Apostles; and in relation to the true religion they both have the same force. Nor is there anyone will contradict them; no one certainly who has the least acquaintance with the established laws of the Church.
For were we to attempt to reject the unwritten practices of the Church, as being without great importance, we would unknowingly inflict mortal wounds on the Gospel, or rather, we would make of our public teaching a mere pretence and nothing more. For example, if I may cite in the first place what are the first and most common practices of Tradition, who is it has taught us in writing to sign with the sign of the Cross those who place their trust in Jesus Christ our Lord? What that is written has taught us to turn towards the East when we pray? The words of invocation at the consecration of the Eucharistic Bread and the Chalice of Blessing, which of the saints has left them to us in writing? For we are not content with the words both the Gospel and the Apostle have recorded, but have added some others, both before these and after them, as having great significance in relation to the mystery, and which have been received from unwritten tradition."

The Saints

"...Let us consider the patience of holy men and women, how they willingly endured long periods of fasting, vigil and various other physical hardships as though they were not in the body, battling to the end against evil passions and all sorts of sin, in the invincible inner warfare against principalities, powers and spiritual wickedness (Eph. 6:12). They wore away their outer selves and made them useless, but their inner man was renewed and deified by Him from Whom they received gifts of healing and mighty works. When we think on these matters and understand that they surpass human nature, we are filled with wonder and glorify God who gave them such grace and power. For even if their intentions were good and noble, without God's strength they could not have gone beyond the bounds of their nature and driven away the bodiless enemy while clothed in their bodies.




St. Gregory Palamas
'Homily Twenty-Five'
(Delivered on the Sunday of all Saints)"

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pentecost

"The holy mystery of the day of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost, is to be understood in the following manner: the spirit of man must be completed and perfected by the Holy Spirit, that is, it must be sanctified, illuminated, and divinized by the Holy Spirit. This holy mystery is realized continually in the Church of Christ and because of this the Church is really a continuous Pentecost.... From Holy Pentecost, the day of the Holy Spirit, every God-like soul in the Church of Christ is an incombustible bush which continuously burns and is inflamed with God and has a fiery tongue within it.



Fr. Justin Popovich
'Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ'"

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Holy Spirit

"How can our soul find joy in the Holy Spirit, when we occupy ourselves all the time with earthly and empty pastimes and pleasures? So it is that by serving that which corrupts and destroys we are drawn away from life incorruptible, true and eternal.




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

Friday, May 21, 2010

Guard Against Sin

"When once a man has truly repented, he must think no more of the sins committed, lest he fall again into sin. St. Antony advises: 'Guard yourself, that your mind be not fouled with the memory of former sins, and that the memory of them be not renewed within you.' And, in another place, he says: 'Don't establish the sins that you have formerly committed in your soul by pondering on them, lest they be renewed in you. Be assured that they are forgiven from the moment that you turn to God in repentance. Be in no doubt about this.'




Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
'The Prologue from Ochrid'"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Attitude

"A tempered iron can sharpen untempered, so a fervent brother has often saved an indolent one.






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