What is the Science of Salvation?

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

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"