What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Faith's Meaning

    To hold the faith does not only mean that we believe God to be our Creator. It also means that we recognize His unceasing and detailed attention to our good.
                                                                 Staretz Macarius of Optina
                                                                 "Russian Letters of direction"


 Fasting is beneficial when it is undertaken for quelling desire, humbling the soul, transforming hatred, extinguishing anger, erasing rememberance of wrongs, and for the purity of the understanding and the practice of prayer.
                                           St. Gregory Palamas
                                           "Homily Thirteen: On the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus"

Living in Unity

    ...It is fitting for you to set yourselves in harmony with the mind of the bishop, as indeed you do. For your noble presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted to the bishop, as the strings to a harp. And thus by means of your accord and harmonious love Jesus Christ is sung. Form yourselves one and all into a choir, that blending in concord, taking the key-note of God, you may sing in unison with one voice through Jesus Christ to the Father, that He may hear you and recognize by means of your well-doing that you are members of His Son. Therefore it is profitable for you to live in unblameable unity, that you may be also partakers of God continually.
                                                                               St. Ignatius
                                                                               "The Epistle to the Ephesians"


  It would be difficult to find anyone who does not seek to establish and secure himself materially and provide for his needs in some way. Nothing is wrong with this. But one must be vigilant lest the pursuit of wealth possesses one's soul, remembering the Lord's warning that one could not "serve both God and Mammon", the idol of riches. If God sends wealth, it is to be shared with others in a Christian manner as did God's saints.
                                                          St. Philaret, The New Confessor of New York
                                                          "Sermon on Luke 12:16-21"  (12-1/14-70)


    When the Christian communes, what mind could understand the gifts and graces he enjoys after Divine Communion? How can our feeble tongue express it?
    Anyone who does not commune frequently is following the opposite way, for he is not sealed with the precious Blood of the Lord, as St. Gregory the Theologian states.
    And so, my brethren, if we do as our Holy Fathers direct and receive frequently, we have not only the cooperation and help of divine grace during this temporal life, we also have the assistance of the angels of God and of Him who is the Lord of the angels.
    This Blood of the Lord is salvation for our souls; with it the soul rejoices, with it, it is beautified, it is warmed; this Blood makes the mind shine more brightly than the light; it makes the soul more beautiful than gold. Those who partake of the Body stand with the angels and archangels and the powers above; with it they are adorned with royal robes and the weapons of the Spirit. Those who receive Communion receive the very King Himself.
    Do you see what graces you receive if you commune frequently? Do you see how the mind becomes radiant, thoughts shine, and all the powers of the soul are purified with frequent Communion? If you love mortifying the fleshly passions, commune frequently and you will delight.
    Without frequent Communion we will not be able to free ourselves from the passions nor raise ourselves to the heights of sobriety.
                                                     St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain
                                                     "On Holy Communion, the Purifying Treasure"
                                                     (Orthodox Life, Sept.-Oct., 1983)

Directions on Humility and Faith

    And so your good intentions have been frustrated by forces entirely outside your control. In the hard days to come, keep constantly in mind that God knows well how firm was your resolution, how keen your eagerness to act; and He may record your intention as having the value of an accomplished fact. He is particularly likely to do so if your humility remains quick, if it does not wither under the winds of adversity. Remember, too, that your careful tending of your humility can alone bring you consolation and peace.
    And mind you do not let your faith grow dull. For even these great servants of God, the prophets, could do nought for them who lacked in faith.
                                                             Staretz Macarius of Optina
                                                             "Russian Letters of Direction"
                                                             (On Failure)                                                              

To Know God

    The most grievous disease of the soul, the worst calamity and disaster, is not to know God, who has created all for man and has given him mind and word, by which, rising on high, he can enter into communion with God, contemplating and glorifying Him.
                                                     St. Antony the Great
                                                     "170 Texts on Saintly Life"
                                                     (Early Fathers from the Philokalia)

Perils of Drawing Near to God

    The more you draw near to God, the more mightily the enemy pursues you. Therefore, if you come to work for the Lord, prepare your soul for temptation.
                                                            Staretz Parfeny Of Kiev Caves

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thank God

 There is no holier tongue than the one which thanks God during misfortune.
                                               St. John Maximovitch of Chernigov
                                               "The Royal Way of the Cross of our Lord
                                                     Leading to Eternal Life"

Work of the Word

  Those who hear the word ought to give proof of the work of the word in their own souls.
                                                      St. Macarius the Great
                                                      "Homily 30"

Prayer from the Heart

 How can we teach ourselves to speak the truth from our heart during prayer? We must bring every word of the prayer down to our heart, lay it to heart, feel its truth in our heart, be convinced of our need of that for which we ask, or of the need of heartfelt gratitude for God's great and innumerable benefits to us.
                                                   St. John of Kronstadt
                                                   "My Life in Christ"


 Sin has always existed among the descendants of Adam, but never before has it enjoyed such freedom and open justification as in our days.
                                                              Protopresbyter George Grabbe
                                                              "The Dogma of the Church in the Modern World"
                                                             (Orthodox Life    May-June, 1975)

Man's Duty

  To lead a good life, to do good, to think good  -  this is not a sacrifice to God, but man's duty to Him.
                                                       Staretz Parfeny
                                                       (Orthodox Life; Sept. - Oct. 1977)

The Lamp

   Our soul is like a lamp with good works for oil. Instead of a wick it holds love, upon which rests, not light, but the grace of the divine Spirit.
                                                           St. Gregory Palamas
                                                           "On Peace with One Another"  (Homily One)


   The Fathers speak thus: "The feeling of compunction is not your own, but a gift from God: what must be yours is the labor to receive it." What kind of labor? Above all else, the labor of a virtuous life in general, and that in relation to the podvig of prayer itself in particular.
                                              Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky
                                              "A Letter to a Priest about Prayer"
                                              (Orthodox Life  9-10/1977)

He is All to Us

 To the degree that we let go of our worldly cares, the Lord allows us to feel that He is with us. The Lord is peace, joy; He is father, mother, and friend to us. We have everything in Him. He is the One Who satisfies the needs of the soul.
                                                         Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
                                                         "Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives"

Rest Of Heart

 The greatest gift of God, which we mostly need and which we very often obtain from God, through our prayers, is peace or rest of heart. As the Lord Himself says: "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). Therefore, having obtained this rest, rejoice, and consider yourself as rich and possessing all things.
                                                                              St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                              "My Life in Christ"

Holy Scripture

  Holy Scripture enlightens the eyes of people who possess a well-disposed conscience and who search with sincerity.
                                                 St. Nectarios of Pentapolis

The Light of Truth

    Oh what gladsome tidings! What fortune! Man's burning desire has been fulfilled, eternal life has been granted to him, the truth has appeared, and the light of knowledge has illumined his noetic eyes. Already possessing a secure and certain hope of eternal life, man is able to await unburdened the completion of his toilsome life. Already with a peaceful spirit and a tranquil heart, he can view life's changes and philosophize about the things of the world. He can confront life's uphill and adverse changes full of spiritual tranquillity; he can endure all of life's trials courageously and bravely. Already knowing the only true God, Whose name was revealed to people by the Son of God, Who came down from heaven - the expectation of the nations and Israel, the Saviour of the world -, man, with his mind illuminated by the triune divine light, can view God's glory, ascend towards Him, approach His throne of glory, speak with Him, and be united with the eternal life through unbreakable divine bonds. Man already knows - because he has been assured - that he was created for eternity, and that at the completion of this earthly life, the stage of contest, immortality is being guarded for him. He already knows that through Jesus Christ he has become a friend of God and has been honored with sonship: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God, even to those who believe in His name" (Jn. 1:12). Oh what a wondrous change! How greatly has man's situation been altered! Behold, everything is already new! A new heaven and new earth! Faith, hope, love, these three heavenly virtues came and drove away doubt, despair, and hatred from the hearts of people. Worship in spirit and truth has been realized. It has replaced the bloody sacrifices and worship of the law - as well as the rest of the holy rites -, and has put an end to the lie and deception. Man now believes in God the Saviour, he knows the truth, and he is enlightened by the immense light of truth.
                                                                     St. Nectarios, Bishop of Pentapolis
                                                                     (Man's Burning Desire Has Been Fulfilled)

Presence of God

    Love and self-control free the soul from passions; spiritual reading and contemplation deliver the intellect from ignorance; and the state of prayer brings it into the presence of God Himself.
                                                             St. Maximos the Confessor
                                                             "The Philokalia" 
                                                             (Fourth Century on Love)


  An elder said: "the more spiritual a person is, the fewer rights he wants in his life."
                                            An Athonite Gerontikon
                                            (Sayings of the Holy Fathers of Mount Athos)

Word of God

    ...For those who are bearers of the Spirit of God are led to the Word, that is, to the Son; but the Son takes them and presents them to the Father; and the Father confers incorruptibility. So without the Spirit there is no seeing the Word of God, and without the Son there is no approaching the Father; for the Son is knowledge of the Father, and knowledge of the Son is through the Holy Spirit. But the Son, according to the Father's good-pleasure, administers the Spirit charismatically as the Father will, to those to whom He will.
                                                                 St. Irenaeus
                                                                 "Proof of the Apostolic Preaching"


    Repentance is a ceaseless necessity for Christians until their last breath.
                                                 Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                 "The Prologue from Ochrid"

Faulty Human Reason

  Poor human reason, when it trusts in itself, substitutes the strangest absurdities for the highest divine concepts.
                                                                St. John Chrysostom

Love Only

 Since God is full of love, and since everything He made, above and below, came out of His great love, He does not seek anything else from man but love.
                                                            Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                            "Monastic Letters" (Seventy-ninth Letter)

Seek Ye First

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. How are we to seek first the kingdom of God? In the following manner: let us suppose that you wish to go somewhere on any temporal business; before doing so, first pray to the Lord that He may correct the ways of your heart, and then also the present way of your body, or that He may direct the way of your life in accordance with His commandments; desire this with all of your heart, and often renew this prayer. The Lord, noting your sincere desire and endeavour to walk in accordance with His commandments, will, by degrees, correct all your ways.
                                                       St. John of Kronstadt
                                                       "My Life in Christ"

To Find Rest In God

 We do not need riches or learning in order to know the Lord: we must simply be obedient and sober, have a humble spirit and love our fellow-men. The Lord will love a soul that does this, and of His own accord make Himself manifest to her and instruct her in love and humility, and give her all things necessary for her to find rest in God.
                                                                     Staretz Silouan
                                                                     "Wisdom from Mount Athos"

Our Sinful Nature

The fact that a man slips into accidental sins demonstrates the weakness of his nature; for to our profit God has permitted our nature to be susceptible to sinful occurrences. For He has not thought it good to make the soul superior to these occurrences before the second regeneration. It is profitable for the soul to be susceptible to accidental sins because this pricks the conscience. To persist in them, however, is audacious and shameful. There are three ways by which every rational soul can draw nigh to God: by fervency of faith, by fear, and by the Lord's chastisement. No man can draw nigh to the love of God if one of these three does not lead the way.

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

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Divine Liturgy

The Divine Liturgy is truly a heavenly service upon earth, during which God Himself, in a particular, immediate, and most close manner, is present and dwells in men, being Himself the invisible Celebrant of the service, offering and being offered. There is nothing upon earth holier, higher, grander, more solemn, more life-giving than the Liturgy. The temple, at this particular time, becomes an earthly heaven; those who officiate represent Christ Himself, the Angels, the Cherubim, Seraphim and Apostles. The Liturgy is the continually repeated solemnization of God’s love to mankind, and His all powerful mediation for the salvation of the whole world.

                                                                St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                “My Life in Christ”

Moral Obligations

Living in this world, a Christian is in a constant, lively intercourse with God and with his neighbors. In addition to this, during the course of his whole life, he cares for himself, for his physical well-being and for the salvation of his soul. His moral obligations, therefore, can be divided into three groups: (1) concerning himself, (2) concerning neighbors, and (3) highest of all, concerning God.

The first, and the most important obligation which man has concerning himself, is the working out within oneself of a spiritual character, of our true Christian "I." The spiritual character of a Christian is not something given to him at first. No, it is something sought for, acquired and worked out by his personal toils and efforts (Lk. Ch.16). Neither the body of a Christian with its capabilities, powers and strivings, nor his soul itself - as an innate center of his conscious experiences and as a vital principle - are his spiritual personality, the spiritual "I." This spiritual character in an Orthodox Christian is what sharply differs him from every non-Christian. In the Holy Scripture it is not called a soul, but a spirit. This spirit is precisely the center, the concentration of the spiritual life; it strives toward God and the immortal, blessed, eternal life.

We define the task of the entire life of man as the necessity to use the earthly, transitory life for preparation toward the eternal, spiritual life. In the present instance, this can be said in other words: the task of the earthly life of man consists in that he is able, in the course of this life, to build up, to work out his spiritual character, his true, living, eternal "I."

                                                                            St. Philaret of New York
                                                                            "The Law of God"

Faithfulness 2

It is natural for men to make mistakes and to fall. But these personal errors and lapses are correctable through repentance. But in matters of Faith and spiritual principles, we must be especially careful that we will preserve intact in our convictions the faithfulness to Christ the Saviour and His Church. Then we can be sure that the radiant promise of Christ will come true: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (Rev. 2:10)

                                                               St. Philaret the New Confessor
                                                               Sermon - 3/16, January, 1971

As a Debtor 2

He who asks God for gifts in return for his labors has laid unsure foundations. He who regards himself as a debtor will unexpectedly and suddenly receive riches.

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

Unity 2

The Lord says, "I and the Father are one." And again of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit it is written: "And these three are one." Does anyone believe that this unity which comes from divine strength, which is closely connected with the Divine Sacraments, can be broken asunder in the Church and be separated by the divisions of colliding wills? He who does not hold this unity, does not hold the law of God, does not hold the faith of the Father and the Son, does not hold life and salvation.

                                                             St. Cyprian of Carthage
                                                             "The Unity of the Church"

Love of Your Fellow Man

Peace in our souls is not possible if we do not beg the Lord with all our hearts to give us love for all men.

                                                                             Staretz Silouan
                                                                             "Wisdom from Mount Athos"