What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Cross

Where did Christ despoil and drive completely away the principalities and powers of the evil spirits, which had taken a hold on our nature since the time of the tree of disobedience? Where did He triumph over them and put them to shame, so that we could be set free? Where was the middle wall of partition broken down and our enmity towards God abolished and put to death? By what means were we reconciled with God and how did we hear the Good News of peace with Him? Surely it was on the Cross and by means of the Cross.




St. Gregory Palamas

"On the Precious and Life-Giving Cross"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Take Up the Cross

"... One must reject his whims and sinful inclinations, condemn the empty way of life in which he is caught up in nonsense and sin, and then follow Christ by fulfilling His commandments. .In trying to follow our Lord's precepts one notices that in these times everything seems to be so arranged that it is much easier to disregard them; their fulfillment becomes a real matter of cross-bearing. All along the way, the struggler must contend with the fearsome charms of empty, sinful enjoyments.... But remember, O man, that this life on earth is given you but once. There will be no repetition, but we will enter endless eternity. But this eternal life, this endlessness, will be of a nature determined by the life lived on earth which was but an infinitely small space of time of your being. Think on this, especially today when the Lord calls us to become cross-bearers, to take up our cross and follow Him, so that at another time, in another day, we might lay down our life's cross at the foot of His all-embracing, life-bearing Cross. This cross-bearing is the duty of every Christian. It is not without reason that at our Baptism we received a cross. It is not without reason that when a Christian is buried to await the general Resurrection the life-giving cross is placed over him, indicating that he was, or at least was supposed to have been, a cross-bearer. Let us therefore keep all these things in mind, and as we bow before the life-giving Cross, let us pray that the Lord grant us the strength, constancy, patience and steadfastness to be able to bear our life's cross to the end. St. Philaret. New Confessor of New York 'Sermon on the Cross-venerating Sunday' (March, 1971)"

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Grace

"The grace of God doesn't depend on one's years, but on the way he struggles and on the mercy of the Lord. Experience through praxis is obtained with the years; but grace - and that is why it is called grace, in other words, a gift - depends on God and is given in proportion to the fervency of faith, humility, and good intentions.






Elder Joseph the Hesychast
'Monastic Wisdom' (Thirteenth Letter)"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Cross

"The cross and the Heavenly Kingdom are joined with each other; by not bearing the first, one cannot reach the second.





St. John Maximovitch of Chernigov
'The Royal Path of the Lord's Cross'"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor

It is necessary that the following words should be indelibly engraved upon our hearts, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Mark 12:31), and that these words should guide our heart upon meeting with anyone, at any time, whether he comes to us or we go to him; whether we have to do some work for him, or to give him anything, or simply to converse with him. Thus bear in your heart the words, "love him as thyself," and carry on a perpetual mental war for the observance of these living words of our Lord. Force yourself to mutual love; intentionally trouble and disturb the worm of self-love and evil concealed within you; crucify it, and conquer it "by the power of the might" (Ephesians 6:10) of our Lord Jesus Christ.



St. John of Kronstadt

"My Life in Christ"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Love Your Enemies

"Why does the Lord command us to love our enemies and to pray for them? Not for their sake, but for ours! For as long as we bear grudges, as long as we dwell on how someone offended us, we will have no peace.





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

Tithing

And so, dearly beloved, as it was commanded in the Law to offer tithes of all things, so let you offer Him a tithe of your days. Let each one mortify his own body, as far as his strength allows, and let him weaken its desires, and lower the pride of its evil lusts, so that he may become, in the words of Paul, a living sacrifice (Rom, 12:1). A man is both living and a sacrifice when he has died to the desires of his body, though he has not departed from this life. It is the pleasure-loving body that leads us into sin; mortification leads us back to forgiveness. The parent of our death sinned against the commandments of our life, because of the fruit of the forbidden tree. We therefore who because of eating have fallen from the joy of paradise may, as far as we are able, return to it once more through fasting.



St. Gregory the Great

"The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fraternal Charity

...What sacrifices do the imitators of priests believe that they celebrate? Do they who are gathered together outside the Church of Christ think that Christ is with them when they have been gathered together?


Even if such men are slain in confession of the Name that stain is not washed away by blood; the inexpiable and serious fault of discord is purged not even by martyrdom. He cannot be a martyr who is not in the Church. He will not be able to arrive in the kingdom who deserted her who is to rule. Christ gave us peace; He ordered us to be in agreement and of one mind; He commanded us to keep the bonds of love and charity uncorrupted and inviolate. He cannot display himself a martyr who has not maintained fraternal charity.



St. Cyprian of Carthage

The Cross

"My spirit abases itself for the sake of the Cross, which is an offense to the unbelievers, but to us it is salvation and life eternal.





St. Ignatius
'Epistle to the Ephesians'"

Ascesis

"Ascesis, my son, requires deprivation. You cannot obtain virtues through luxury and the easy life. It takes a struggle and much labor. It takes crying out to Christ day and night. It takes patience in all temptations and afflictions.It takes suppressing your anger and desires.
You will fatigue greatly until you realize that prayer without attention and watchfulness is a waste of time; work without pay. You must set attention as a vigilant guard over all your inner and outer senses. Without attention, both the nous and the powers of the soul are diffused in vain and ordinary things, like useless water running down the streets.





Elder Joseph the Hesychast
'Monastic Wisdom' (Fourth Letter"

Compunction

"Keep a firm hold of the blessed gladdening sorrow of holy compunction, and do not stop working at it until it raises you high above the things of this world, and presents you pure to Christ.





St. John Climacus
'The Ladder of Divine Ascent' (Step 7)"

The Liturgy

"The divine liturgy is truly a heavenly service on earth, in which God himself, in a particular, immediate and most close manner is present and dwells with men, for He Himself is the invisible celebrant of the service; He is both the offerer and the offering. There is on earth nothing higher, greater, more holy, than the liturgy; nothing more solemn, nothing more life-giving.




St. John of Kronstadt
'My Life in Christ'"

Against Evil

"Say to yourself that wise proverb about evil habits: 'The best learning for man is to unlearn evil.'






Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain
'A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel'"

Barrenness

"It is not darkness and desolateness of place that give the demons power against us, but barrenness of soul. And through God's providence, this sometimes happens in order that we may learn by it.





St. John Climacus
'The Ladder of Divine Ascent' (Step 21)"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Work for Grace

"A fire cannot be ignited with wet wood, nor can the divine fervour be kindled in a heart that loves ease.





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

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Anathema

"...An anathema is precisely separation from the Church, or the exclusion from her midst of those who do not fulfil the conditions of unity with her and begin to think differently from the way she does, differently from the way they themselves promised to think upon joining her.





St. Theophan the Recluse
'What is an Anathema?"

Anathema

"...An anathema is precisely separation from the Church, or the exclusion from her midst of those who do not fulfil the conditions of unity with her and begin to think differently from the way she does, differently from the way they themselves promised to think upon joining her.





St. Theophan the Recluse
'What is an Anethema?"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Papa Nicholas Planas

To the same degree that a bad and cunning individual is tiresome, the good and pious individual gives us rest. The Prophet David says about the bad person: "His tongue causes weariness and pain" (Psalm 9:28). The ancient Greeks quite rightly used to call the bad man "mochtheros," which means "tiresome." Such a miserable individual is not only tiresome for others, but is himself tired by his evil cares, whereas the person who is good-natured and simple is untired. This is why the Lord said: "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). With these words He called near Him not only those who are tired from the afflictions and adversities of life, but called also those who are tired because they are laden with vain kinds of knowledge, vain cares, and complicated cunning that cast a man into the despair of unbelief.


The talk of the good person gives rest and peace, because it is straight, simple and sincere. And our soul is delighted to hear him, like the wayfarer who satiates his thirst by drinking the cool water of a fountain in the wilderness.

Such a person was Papa-Nicholas Planas, and for this reason he lived joyfully as though he were a little child, despite the harsh events he went through. For he had within him the Holy Spirit, which is called the Parakletos, that is, the Comforter, because whosoever is illuminated by Him has the consolation that overcomes all the sorrows, and his face is radiant.


Photios Kontoglou

Friday, March 11, 2011

Alchemy

As iron, lead, gold, or silver, when cast into the fire, melts, and changes from its natural hardness to a soft consistency, and so long as it is in the fire continues to be molten and altered from that hard nature by the hot force of the fire, so the soul which has denied the world, and fixed its longing upon the Lord alone, in much searching, and pains, and conflict of soul, and maintains an uninterrupted waiting upon Him in hope and faith, and which has received that heavenly fire of the Godhead and of the love of the Spirit, this soul is then verily disengaged from all affection of the world, and set at liberty from all mischief of the passions, and casts everything out of itself, and is changed from the natural habit and hardness if sin, and considers all things indifferent in comparison with the heavenly Bridegroom whom it has received, at rest in His fervent and ineffable love.


St. Macarius the Great

"Fifty Spiritual Homilies" (Homily 4)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Holy Spirit and Humility

"The Lord loves man but He sends affliction that we may perceive our weakness and humble ourselves, and for this humility receive the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit all things are good, all things are joyful, all things are well.





Staretz Silouan
'Wisdom from Mount Athos'"

Compunction

Compunction comes when you consider how much you have grieved God Who is so good, so sweet, so merciful, so kind, and entirely full of love; Who was crucified and suffered everything for us. When you meditate on these and other things the Lord has suffered, they bring compunction.






Elder Joseph the Hesychast

"Monastic Wisdom" (First Letter)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cleansing

"As we are therefore beginning this sacred season, dedicated to the purification of the soul, let us be careful to fulfill the Apostolic command that we cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit (IICor. 7:11), so that restraining the conflict that exists between the one and the other substance, the soul, which in the Providence of God is meant to be the ruler of the body, may regain the dignity of its rightful authority, so that, giving offense to no man, we may not incur the contumely of evil mongers. With just contempt shall we be tormented by those who have no faith, and from our wickedness evil tongues will draw weapons to wound religion, if the way of life of those who fast be not in accord with what is needed in true self-denial. For the sum total of our fasting does not consist in merely abstaining from food. In vain do we deny our body food if we do not withhold our heart from iniquity, and restrain our lips that they speak no evil.





St. Leo the Great
'Lent the Season of Purification'"

Fasting and Mastery

When He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards was hungry, He gave an opportunity to the devil to draw near, so that He might teach us through this encounter how we are to overcome and defeat him. This a wrestler also does. For in order to teach his pupils how to win he himself engages in contests with others, demonstrating on the actual bodies of others that they may learn how to gain the mastery. This is what took place here. For, desiring to draw the devil into contest, He made His hunger known to him. He met him as he approached, and meeting him, with the skill which He alone possessed, He once, twice, and a third time, threw His enemy to the ground.



St. John Chrysostom

"The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers"

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Forgiveness

"Some, for the sake of forgiveness, give themselves up to labors and struggles, but a man who is forgetful of wrongs excels them. If you forgive quickly, then you will be generously forgiven.





St. John Climacus
'The Ladder of Divine Ascent' (Step 9)"

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dispassion

Do not think that you will find rest when you speak out seeking justice for yourself. Justice is to endure with bravery the temptation that comes so that you emerge victorious, whether or not you were at fault. But if you say, "But why?" you are fighting against God Who sent the afflictions because of your passionate condition. God disciplines us so that we reach dispassion. Thus, if you do not endure it, truly you are fighting against God.




Elder Joseph the Hesychast

"Monastic Wisdom" (Sixth Letter)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

God's Will

...When you start to do anything you must, as far as you can, strip yourself of all wishes of your own and neither desire to do that thing nor turn away from it, until you perceive that the only thing which moves and draws you towards it is the consciousness of God's will. If you cannot always actively perceive God moving you in all your actions, whether external or, what is more important, internal, those of your soul, then be content to make this perception possible; in other words, always sincerely dispose yourself to keep nothing but God's pleasure in view.



Lorenzo Scupoli

(edited by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and revised by St. Theophan the Recluse)

"Unseen Warfare"

Obedience

"Obedience is constructive, and self-will is destructive.





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

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

God's Creation

"If man were not God's creation, he would not be able to seek perfection and to sacrifice himself on its behalf.






St. Nectarios of Pentapolis
'Christology' (Concerning the Way that Divine Revelation takes Place)"