What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Fasting and Watchfulness

It is remarkable that, however much we trouble about our health, however much care we take of ourselves, whatever wholesome and pleasant food and drink we take, however much we walk in the fresh air, still, notwithstanding all this, in the end we sicken and corrupt; whilst the saints, who despise the flesh, and mortify it by continual abstinence and fasting, by lying on bare earth, by watchfulness, labours, unceasing prayer, make both their souls and bodies immortal. Our well-fed bodies decay and after death emit an offensive odour, whilst theirs remain fragrant and flourishing both in life and after death. It is a remarkable thing: we, by building up our body, destroy it, whilst they, by destroying theirs, build it up - by caring only for the fragrance of their souls before God, they obtain fragrance of the body also.




St. John of Kronstadt

"My Life in Christ"

Works and Mercy

"The remedies for appropriating God have been given in the words of God Himself; divine instructions have taught that God is satisfied by just works, that sins are cleansed by the merits of mercy.




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

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Love One Another

Let us show loving deeds towards our brethren in Christ by being merciful to the poor and restoring those who have gone astray, whatever their poverty or error may be, by obtaining justice for the wronged, by encouraging those laid low by sickness, whether their sufferings be due to visible enemies and physical ailments or to invisible evil spirits and dishonourable passions, by visiting those confined in prison, and even by bearing with those who injure us, forgiving one another any cause for complaint we may have among ourselves, as Christ forgave us. In a word, let us show love to one another by all our actions and words. So may we attain to God's love, receive His blessing and inherit the eternal heavenly kingdom promised to us and prepared for us from the foundation of the world.




St. Gregory Palamas

"Homily Four: On Christ's Second Coming"

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Humility

The Holy Fathers say that, unless we humble ourselves, the Lord will not stop humbling us. He will use someone in order to humble us. Someone will provoke our anger and do it until we learn to remain calm and peaceful when provoked. When we can stay calm when someone attacks us from all sides, when we can keep our inner peace in spite of that person's rudeness, then our soul will become meek and humble and we will live this life with a full understanding of it. And our neighbors will tell us, "You have changed; you used to have a fiery temperament but now you have somehow become calm and dispassionate." But we have not become dispassionate. Rather, this is how the victory over evil manifests itself.



Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

"Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives"

Friday, February 25, 2011

Scrutiny

...But when a man is filled with grace, is always cautious, and never becomes overconfident or trusts in himself, but rather has constant fear throughout his life, then when the evil one approaches, he notices some anomaly - a certain disparity occurs. And then his nous, heart, intellect, and all the strength of his soul, seek the One Who can save him. He seeks Him Who brought everything to existence out of nothingness and scrutinizes everything: Him Who is able to divide the waters from the waters (cf. Gen. 1:6). And when you fervently call upon Him with copious tears, the deception is revealed, and you learn how to avoid delusion. Once you have experienced such things many times, you become a "practiced" man. Then you endlessly glorify and thank God Who opens our nous to recognize traps and wiles of the evil one so that we may escape them.




Elder Joseph the Hesychast

"Monastic Wisdom" (Thirty-sixth Letter)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

All For One

"As therefore the Lord did nothing without the Father being united with Him, neither of Himself nor by the Apostles, so neither do you act in anything apart from the bishop or presbyters. Neither attempt to persuade yourself that anything is right which you do of yourselves apart. But in common let there be one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, in love, in joy that is without blame, which is Jesus Christ - for there is naught better than He.





St. Ignatius the God-Bearer
'Epistle to the Magnesians'"

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Enemy - In Whatever Form

But not only must we guard against things which are open and manifest but also against those which deceive with subtlety of clever fraud. Now what is more clever, or what more subtle than that the enemy, detected and cast down by the coming of Christ, after light had come to the Gentiles, and the saving splendor had shone forth for the preservation of man, that the deaf might receive the hearing of spiritual grace, the blind open their eyes to the Lord, the weak grow strong with eternal health, the lame run to the church, the dumb supplicate with clear voices and prayers, seeing the idols abandoned and his shrines and temples deserted because of the great populace of believers, devise a new fraud, under the very title of Christian name to deceive the incautious? He invented heresies and schisms with which to overthrow the faith, to corrupt the truth, to divide unity. Those whom he cannot hold in the blindness of the old way, he circumvents and deceives by the error of a new way. He snatches men from the Church itself, and, while they seem to themselves to have already approached the light and to have escaped the night of the world, he again pours forth other shadows upon the unsuspecting, so that, although they do not stand with the Gospel of Christ and with the observation of Him and with the law, they call themselves Christians, and, although they walk in darkness, they think that they have light, while the adversary cajoles and deceives, who, as the Apostle says, transforms himself into an angel of light, and adorns his ministers as those of justice who offer night for day, death for salvation, despair under the offer of hope, perfidy under the pretext of faith, antichrist under the name of Christ, so that while they tell plausible lies, they frustrate the truth by their subtlety. This happens, most beloved brethren, because there is no return to the source of truth, and the Head is not sought, and the doctrine of the heavenly Master is not kept.



St. Cyprian of Carthage

"Treatises" (The Unity of the Church)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Unity

...They come to be made into one body. See the mystery of love! If the two do not become one, they cannot increase; they can increase only by decreasing! How great is the strength of unity!





St. John Chysostom

"On Marriage and Family Life"

(Homily 12: On Colossians 4:18)

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Prodigal Son

"As we are taught by the Saviour, as long as the prodigal son was in the land of the passions, even though he thought and spoke words of repentance, he gained no benefit at all. Only when he left all his sinful deeds and ran to his father did he attain what was beyond hope.






St. Greory Palamas
'Homily Three: On the Lord's Parable Of the Prodigal
who was Saved'"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pride and Humility

"Wherever there is hardness and pride, there also are disobedience and scandals. Wherever there is obedience and humility, God rests. The Holy Fathers say, 'Pride goeth before a fall, and humility before grace.




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

Friday, February 18, 2011

Humility

"What joy is ours that the Lord not only forgives our sins but allows the soul to know Him, so soon as she humbles herself. The poorest wretch may humble himself and know God in the Holy Spirit. There is no need of money or possessions to know God, only of humility. The Lord freely gives Himself, for His mercy's sake alone. I did not know this before, but now every day and hour, every minute, I clearly see the mercy of God. The Lord gives peace even in sleep, but without God there is no peace in the soul.





Staretz Silouan
'Wisdom from Mount Athos'"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Soul's Advancement

"A soul's motivation is rightly ordered when its desiring power is subordinated to self-control, when its incensive power rejects hatred and cleaves to love, and when its power of intelligence, through prayer and spitritual contemplation, advances towards God.






St. Maximos the Confessor
'Fourth Century of Love'
(The Philokalia)"

Thanksgiving

"The thanksgiving of the receiver incites the giver to give gifts greater than the first.





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

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Christianity

"One cannot say that Christianity is a religion. Christianity is a revelation of eternity and life. The angels rejoice greatly because God has revealed Himself mystically to His creature, man. Our human nature has become part of the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and that is a great gift which we do not even appreciate; instead, we have cleaved to the things of this world. We have been given the opportunity to prepare ourselves for eternity, to vanquish evil, and to always be with our Heavenly Father.



Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
'Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives'"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Repentance


Our word repentance is usually taken to mean that one admits to having sinned and feels sorry that it was committed. But in the Greek language, the word for repentance is metanoia, which means much more than regretful admittance of wrongdoing. It indicates a steadfast reform of one's life to the better, a sincere repentance in which a man labors to cleanse his soul. At first glance, it seems easy for one to reform: "I can stop sinning anytime I want to." Only after one tastes even the least prayerful ascetic experience can one really understand. Only then does he feel himself to be overpowered by sin, sensing how deeply sin has penetrated his nature, realizing that he alone cannot conquer it. This is why the Church teaches us to turn to God, asking that He "Open the doors of repentance..." because without God's help, true repentance is not possible.



St. Philaret, New Confessor of New York

Sermon on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee (1971)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Obedience and Disobedience

"...Notice that the Creator and Lord of the law is completely obedient to the law. What does He achieve by this? He makes our nature obedient in all things to the Father, He completely heals us of its disobedience and transforms the curse on it into a blessing.





St. Gregory Palamas
'On the Meeting of our Lord and God
and Saviour Jesus Christ'"

Inward Order

"Do not limit yourself to striving for the right outward order: fasting and prayer. Strive also for greater inward order, only to be attained through intensified love and deep humility.






Elder Macarius of Optina
'Russian Letters of Direction, 1834-1860'"

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Approaching the Lord

In the past I have related the story told by the Optina elder, Ambrose, concerning the rich and pious lady who, because she did many charitable acts, she thought she had no serious sins. But once she was granted to see a vision: in a clearing stands the Lord Himself surrounded by simple people, speaking to them. She approached Him, confident that if He spoke so freely with simple people, surely she could approach Him. But He took no notice of her. She tried very hard to get His attention, but He looked at her. . . and turned away! She was a pious woman, and what can be more terrible to a believer than having the Lord Himself turn away from him?


Speaking on the Last Judgment, St. John Chrysostom notes that it is preferable to suffer a thousand Gehennas and be lashed by a thousand lightning-bolts than to see the Lord turn away from you. Nothing is, nothing can be more terrible than this. The poor woman then became frightened, fell on the ground, and cried: "I am a terrible sinner. I am lost; what shall I do now that even the Lord turns away from me!" Lifting up her head, she saw the Lord standing near her, looking at her mercifully and saying: "Now, this is how you should approach me."



St. Philaret the New Confessor of New York

Sermon on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee (1971)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Humility

Why does humility lead up to the heights of righteousness, wheras self-conceit leads down to the depths of sin? Because anybody who thinks he is something great, even before God, is rightly abandoned by God, as one who thinks that he does not need His help. Anybody who despises himself, on the other hand, and relies on mercy from above, wins God's sympathy, help and grace. As it says, "The Lord resisteth the proud: but he giveth grace unto the lowly" (Prov. 3:34 Lxx).




St. Gregory Palamas

"On the Lord's Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stillness

"The silence of Jesus put Pilate to shame, and by a man's stillness, vainglory is vanquished.





St. John Climacus
'The Ladder of Divine Ascent' (Step 11)"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Church

Christ founded the Church. The Church existed even when there was not yet a single book of New Testament Scripture. The books of the New Testament were written by the Apostles later, over the course of more than half a century after the beginning of the historical existence of the Church. In the books written by them, the Apostles left behind testimony of their oral preaching of the Gospel. they wrote for a Church already in existence, and entrusted their books to the Church to serve as perpetual edification. It is evident that the books of Holy Scripture do not constitute the essence of Christianity, since Christianity itself is not a teaching but a new life, established in mankind by the Holy Spirit on the basis of the Incarnation of the Son of God. Thus, it would not be impertinent to say that it is not by Holy Scripture, as a book, that man is saved, but by the grace of the Holy Spirit, Who lives in the Church. The Church guides people to perfection.



New Hieromartyr Hilarion

"Holy Scripture and the Church"

Monday, February 7, 2011

To See the Light...Follow the Source

Therefore now also, when He had finished these sayings He departed from Galilee and came into the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan; He dwells well in Galilee, in order that the people which sat in darkness may see great Light. (Isaiah 9:1) He removes to Judea in order that He may persuade people to rise up from the Letter and to follow the Spirit. He teaches, now on a mountain; now He discourses on a plain; now He passes over into a ship; now He rebukes the surges. And perhaps He goes to sleep, in order that He may bless sleep also; perhaps He is tired that He may hallow weariness also; perhaps He weeps that He may make tears blessed. He removes from place to place, Who is not contained in any place; the timeless, the bodiless, the uncircumscript, the same Who was and is; Who was both above time, and came under time, and was invisible and is seen. He was in the beginning and was with God, and was God.



St. Gregory the Theologian

"Oration 37" (On Matthew 19)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Christianity

"`Christianity must remain eternally unchanging, in no way being dependent on or guided by the spirit of each age.






St. Theophan the Recluse
'Why Christianity Should Not Change with the Times'"

Call Upon the Saints

All the saints in heaven, and all true Christians on earth, are one body and one spirit; this is why the prayer of believers is heard so easily, so speedily, so truly, in heaven, and why there is so much to be hoped for from calling upon the saints. But in order that our prayers should always be speedily and easily heard by the saints, we must have their spirit - the spirit of faith and love for God and our neighbor, the spirit of meekness, humility, abstinence, purity and chastity, brave and valiant, thirsting after righteousness, the spirit of compassion - heavenly, and not earthly.



St. John of Kronstadt

"My Life in Christ"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

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 also will 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 recognise that which is hidden in Holy Scripture.'


Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic

"The Prologue from Ochrid"

Friday, February 4, 2011

Charity

If 'charity suffereth long, and is kind' (I Cor. xiii. 4), does not he who is fainthearted in sorrowful happenings, who bears malice against those offending him or who cuts himself off from love for them, fail to conform to the aim of Divine Providence?



St. Maximus the Confessor

"Fourth Century on Love"

(The Philokalia)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Love of God

Love is that good disposition of the soul in which it prefers nothing that exists to knowledge of God. But no man can come to such a state of love if he be attached to anything earthly.




St. Maximus the Confessor

"First Century on Love"

(The Philokalia)

A Prayer

"Therefore, in so far as this is what has been commanded you by the Holy Apostles,-stand aright, hold firmly to the traditions which you have received, both written and by word of mouth, that you be not deprived of your firmness if you become led away by the delusions of the lawless. May God, Who is All-powerful, make them also to know their delusion; and having delivered us from them as from evil tares, may He gather us into His granaries like pure and useful wheat, in Jesus Christ our Lord, to Whom belongs all glory, honor, and worship, with His Father Who is without beginning, and His All-holy and Good and Life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.




St. Mark of Ephesus
(concluding section of St.Marks' encyclical letter on the subject of the false union)"