What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Meek

   Once a laymen came to me and addressed me with the following question: "How does one walk in the way of God? How does he learn this? Tell me in a few words." I even hesitated a bit - what should I tell him? Then I said, "Have you been reading the Psalter?"
    "I have."
    "Well then, it's said there, the Lord will teach the meek His ways (Ps. 24:9).
                                                 Elder Barsanuphius of Optina
                                                 (from his Life)

The Holy Eucharist

  The Holy Eucharist is the first, most important, and greatest miracle of Christ. All the other Gospel miracles are secondary. How could we not call the greatest miracle the fact that simple bread and wine were once transformed by the Lord into His very Body and His very Blood, and then have continued to be transformed for nearly two thousand years by the prayers of priests, who are but simple human beings? And what is more, this mystery has continued to effect a miraculous change in those people who communicate of the Divine Mysteries with faith and humility.
                                             Elder Ambrose of Optina

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Conscience

  Do not do anything that your conscience prohibits, and do not omit anything that it says to do, whether great or small. The conscience is always our moral guide.
                                                           St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                           "The Spiritual Life"


 Without temptations, pure souls are not known, virtue does not show, patience is not discernible. Without temptations, it is impossible for the soul to become healthy. They are the cleansing fire which makes the soul pure and bright.
                                                     Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                     "Monastic Wisdom"  (Thirty-eighth Letter)

Body and Blood

    As in Jesus Christ "dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9), so likewise in the life-giving Sacrament of His Body and Blood. In the small human body dwelleth all the fullness of the infinite, uncontainable Godhead, and in the small lamb, or bread, in each smallest particle, dwelleth all divine fullness. Glory to Thy Omnipotence and Goodness, O Lord!
                                                 St. John of Kronstadt
                                                 "My Life in Christ"

Holiness and Truth; Body and Soul

    And since man is an animal made up of soul and body, that must come about through the instrumentality of both of these; and since occasions of stumbling follow from both of them, there is bodily holiness, the safeguard of abstinence from all shameful things and all wicked deeds, and holiness of soul, the preservation in its integrity of faith in God, adding nothing and subtracting nothing from it. For piety is clouded and loses its lustre by contamination, by impurity of body, and is broken and stained and loses its integrity when falsehood enters the soul; but it will be preserved in beauty and measure by the constant abiding of truth in the mind and of holiness in the body. For what is the use of knowing the truth in word, while defiling the body and accomplishing the works of evil? Or what real good at all can bodily holiness do, if truth be not in the soul? For these two rejoice together in each other's company, and agree together and fight side by side to set man in the presence of God.
                                                      St. Irenaeus
                                                      "Proof of the Apostolic Preaching"

Climbing Upwards

    Let us then elevate our very selves by our prayers to the higher ascent of the Divine and good rays, - - as if a luminous chain being suspended from the celestial heights, and reaching down hither, we, by ever clutching this upwards, first with one hand, and then with another, seem indeed to draw it down, but in reality we do not draw it down, it being above and below, but ourselves are carried upwards to the higher splendours of the luminous rays.
                                           St. Dionysius the Areopagite
                                           "Caput III: What is the power of prayer..."
                                          (The Works of Dionysius the Areopagite)

True Friendship

 The excellence of a horse is made apparent in battle, and the disposition of a friend is put to the test in tribulation.
                                                   The Epistle of Palladius
                                                   "The Paradise of the Holy Fathers"

Sunday, October 16, 2011


  "How can I protect myself from pride, elder?"
    "Listen, it takes struggle. When they provoke you, do not react. Even if they should spit in your face, do not talk back or get angry. When others disdain you or criticize you, do not be distressed. God will permit some to disdain you, but He will enlighten others to love you. As for you, never return evil for evil. Always offer what is good. If someone gives you pepper, you give him honey. Say, this I have, this I give you. Pepper I have not. Never admit anger into yourself. Whatever another may do to you, you are obliged to forgive him immediately. Reading will help you much in the beginning. Regularly read the Holy Scriptures and patristic books. But strive to apply the things you read. Otherwise, the knowledge will not only not profit you, but it will fill you with pride."
                                       Elder Ieronymos of Aegina
                                       (from his Life, by Peter Botsis)

Friday, October 14, 2011


  The Lord defines mercy as likeness to the Heavenly Father because mercy brings near to Him those who practice it.
                                               St. Isaac the Syrian
                                               "Ascetical Homilies"  (Homily Seventy-Six)

Mary, Mother of God

    The Most Holy Mother of God prays for us ceaselessly. She is always visiting us. Whenever we turn to her in our heart, she is there. After the Lord, she is the greatest protection for mankind.
                                              Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
                                              "Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives"

Obtaining Gifts of the Holy Spirit

    If we understand the commandments of Christ and of the Apostles aright, our business as Christians consists not in increasing the number of our good deeds which are only the means of furthering the purpose of our Christian life, but in deriving from them the utmost profit, that is, in acquiring the most abundant gifts of the Holy Spirit.
                                                             St. Seraphim of Sarov
                                                             "A Wonderful Revelation to the World"
                                                             (A Conversation with N.A. Motovilov)

The Cross

   While man can scarcely keep what belongs to him by nature, Christ gives the grace of sonship through the Cross.
                              St. Mark the Ascetic
                              "On Those who Think They Are Made Righteous by Works: Two Hundred Twenty Six Texts"

The Trinity

   ...Therefore the baptism of our rebirth comes through these three articles, granting us rebirth unto God the Father, through His Son, by the Holy Spirit. 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. Iranaeus
                                                                "Proof of the Apostolic Preaching"

The Will of God

   It is of little use to prove by human logic and words that Christ's teaching is of God. The quickest and most dependable way to prove His veracity is to do the will of God in the way that Christ expounded and to which He bore witness. Whoever does this, he will also know.
    If you weep for the sake of God, you know how God is consolation; if you are compassionate, you know the compassion of God. If you make peace, you will learn how it becomes you to be called a son of God. If you forgive men, you will know how God forgives you.
    No man can ever discover that Christ's teaching is from God but he who does the will of God. For only the doing of the will of God, the fulfilling of the commandments of God, is the key to unlock Paradise, in which God is seen. That is the key to the understanding of Holy Scripture and of all the secrets of the Revelation.
    St. Basil writes: 'Purity of life is necessary in order to recognize that which is hidden in Holy Scripture.'
                                                     Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                     "The Prologue from Ochrid"


   What is holiness? Freedom from every sin, and the fullness of every virtue. This is only attained by a few zealous persons in this life, and that not suddenly, but gradually, by prolonged and manifold sorrows, sicknesses, and labors, by fasting, vigilance and prayer; and that not by their own strength, but by the grace of Christ.
                                                            St. John of Kronstadt
                                                            "My Life in Christ"

Patience as a Virtue

  ...The virtue of patience extends widely and its wealth and abundance proceed from a source that has indeed a single name, but with its full-flowing streams it is diffused through many glorious courses, and nothing in our actions can avail towards the full realization of merit which does not take the power for its accomplishment from that source. It is patience that both commends us to God and saves us for God. It is that same patience which tempers anger, bridles the tongue, governs the mind, guards peace, rules discipline, breaks the onslaught of lust, suppresses the violence of pride, extinguishes the fire of dissension, restrains the power of the wealthy, renews the endurance of the poor in bearing their lot, guards the blessed integrity of virgins, the difficult chastity of widows, and the indivisible love of husbands and wives. It makes men humble in prosperity, brave in adversity, meek in the face of injuries and insults. It teaches us to pardon our offenders quickly; if you yourself should offend, it teaches you to ask pardon often and with perseverance. It vanquishes temptations, sustains persecutions, endures sufferings and martyrdoms to the end. It is this patience which strongly fortifies the foundations of our faith. It is this patience which sublimely promotes the growth of hope. It directs our action, so that we can keep to the way of Christ while we make progress because of His forbearance. It ensures our perseverance as sons of God while we imitate the patience of the Father.
                                                           St. Cyprian of Carthage
                                                           "The Good of Patience"

A Merciful Person

A truly merciful person is not one that deliberately gives away superfluous things, but one that forgives those who deprive him of what he needs.
                                                             Ilias the Presbyter
                                                             (The Philokalia)

Deny the World

  ...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 (Phil. 3:20).
                                                       St. Macarius the Great
                                                       "Homily 24" (Spiritual Homilies)

Judge Not

 To judge others is a shameless arrogation of the Divine prerogative; to condemn is the ruin of one's soul.
                                     St. John Climacus
                                     "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 10)

Signs of the Will of God

  How will we know whether we are living according to the will of God or not? If you are sad for whatever reason, this means that you have not given yourself over to God, although from the outside it may seem that you have. He who lives according to God's will has no worries. When he needs something, he simply prays for it. If he does not receive that which he asked for, he is joyful as though he had received it. A soul that has given itself over to God has no fear of anything, not even robbers, sickness, or death. Whatever happens, such a soul always cries, "It was the will of God."
                                           Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
                                           "Our Thoughts Determine our Lives"

Saintly Words

 The words of the saints are words of God and not of men.
                                            St. Symeon the New Theologian
                                            "The Discourses" 

The Sign of the Cross

 This is the wisdom and power of God: to be victorious through weakness, exalted through humility, rich through poverty. Not only the word and the mystery of the Cross are divine and to be reverenced, but so also is its sign. For it is a holy, saving and venerable seal, able to hallow and perfect all the good, marvelous and indescribable things which God has done for the human race. It can take away the curse and condemnation, destroy corruption and death, bestow eternal life and blessing. It is the wood of salvation, the regal sceptre, the divine trophy of victory over visible and invisible enemies, even though the heretics' followers are insanely displeased.
                                                      St. Gregory Palamas
                                                      "Homily Eleven: On the Precious and Life-giving Cross"

The Receiving of the Holy Sacraments

    If with faith you receive the holy sacraments, you will see that they will bring forth in your spiritual powers deep peace, with a wonderful sense of joy and freedom. The Lord loads us with benefits according to the measure of our faith; the Body and Blood give life to the believer's heart, according to the measure of its preparedness.
                                                      St. John of Kronstadt
                                                      "My Life in Christ"

Glory to God

 Glory be to God for all things!
                                             St. John Chrysostom
                                             (his last earthly words)

Abolition of Sin

    As the Apostle says, "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh" (Gal. 5:17). God, however, is Spirit, absolute Goodness and Virtue, and our own spirit is after His image and likeness, although sin has made it good for nothing. So how could anyone at all be spiritually renewed and reconciled with God, unless sin and life according to the flesh had been abolished? The Cross of Christ is this abolition of sin. One of our Fathers inspired by God was asked by an unbeliever if he really believed in Christ Crucified. "Yes", he replied, "I believe in Him Who crucified sin."
                                                   St. Gregory Palamas
                                                   "Homily Eleven: On the Precious and Life-giving Cross"

Blessed Are the Meek

  ...The time of this present life passes, elapses, and does not come back. The time of this present life is a time for harvesting, and each person gathers spiritual food - as pure as possible - and stores it up for the other life.
    It is not the clever, the noble, the polished speakers, or even the rich who win, but whoever is insulted and forbears, whoever is slandered and endures, whoever becomes a sponge and mops up whatever they might say to him. Such a person is cleansed and polished even more. He reaches great heights. He delights in the theoria of mysteries. And finally, it is he who is already inside paradise, while still in this life.
                                                      Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                      "Monastic Wisdom"  (Thirty-eighth Letter)