What is the Science of Salvation?

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

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'"