What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Sunday, January 29, 2012


 God dwells in the humble, but departs from the proud.
                                            Abbot Nazarius of Valaam
                                            "Indications of the Most Essential
                                                Dispositions and Virtues"
                                            (Little Russian Philokalia)

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Spiritual Path

    To be on the spiritual path means seeking the Lord in your heart through fulfilling the commandments. For when you listen to John the Baptist crying in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight' (Matt 3:3), you must understand that he is referring to the commandments and their fulfillment both in the heart and in actions. It is impossible to 'make straight' the path of the commandments and to act rightly unless your heart too is straight and upright.
                                                                          St. Gregory of Sinai
                                                                          "On Commandments and Doctrine"
                                                                          (The Philokalia)

Read the Holy Scriptures

 A humble and spiritually active man, when he reads the Holy Scriptures, will refer everything to himself and not to another.
                                                                               St. Mark the Ascetic

Open Your Heart

    One should always endure any trial for the sake of God with gratitude. Our life is a single minute in comparison with eternity; and therefore, according to the Apostle, the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18).
    Bear it in silence when an enemy offends you, and open your heart to the Lord.
                                                               St. Seraphim of Sarov
                                                               "Little Russian Philokalia"

Sin and Repentance

  A man who falls into sin is different from the way he was meant to be. Man renounces himself when he becomes a different person through repentance. He leaves a corrupted man, which he had become through sin, and becomes such as he once was created, through mercy.
                                            St. John Maximovitch of Chernigov
                                            "The Royal Way of the Cross of Our Lord
                                                      Leading to Eternal Life"

Foundation of Prayer

  The foundation of prayer is the yearning of the image towards its prototype, as of like to like.
                                               St. John of Kronstadt
                                               "My Life in Christ"

"Lose Our Lives"

 The one who knows God will follow the Lord's footsteps, bearing the cross of the Saviour. It is said, "the world is crucified to him, and he to the world." (Gal. 6:14) The Lord says, "He who loses his life will save it." (Matt. 10:39) We can "lose our lives" in one of two ways. First, we can risk our lives, just as the Lord did for us. Secondly, we can separate our lives from the customary things of this world. Bearing the cross means to separate our souls from the delights and pleasures of this life. If you do this, you will find your life again - resting in the hope of what is to come. Dying to ourselves means being content with the necessities of life. When we want more than these necessities, it is easy to sin.
                                                     St. Clement of Alexandria
                                                     "The One Who Knows God"

The Soul and the Will of God

   You see, when the soul is humbled, when it submits to the will of God, the spirits of evil no longer have power over it, for it is protected by the Grace of the Holy Spirit and hidden by the Divine flame.
                                                                 Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
                                                                 "Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives"

Prayer and the Heart

  It is necessary to rouse the heart to pray, otherwise it will become dry.
                                                         St. John of Kronstadt
                                                         "My Life in Christ"

The Nativity

  However great the heaven of heavens may be, or the upper waters which form a roof over the celestial regions, or any heavenly place, state or order, they are no more marvelous or honorable than the cave, the manger, the water sprinkled on the infant and His swaddling clothes. For nothing done by God from the beginning of time was more beneficial to all and more divine than Christ's Nativity...
                                                     St. Gregory Palamas
                                                     "Homily 58: On the Saving Nativity of Christ"

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Dream Big

"When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."

                                   Melchizedek to Santiago, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, 1988

The Pilgrim's Prayer

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy on me."

The Pilgrim
Way of a Pilgrim

Christ's Birth

   The Birth of Christ is the greatest gift of the goodness of God - the gift of God to man . . . Who is that Infant whom the Most Holy Virgin is holding in her most pure arms? asks St. John of Kronstadt, and he himself answers: It is God in person, the One Wno Is, Who brought to existence everything from non-existence, Who in His power sustains all creation and by His disposition builds the whole world. The Saviour of the world was born - assumed the nature of man and became similar to us in everything except sin, without ceasing to be God. Who can measure the depth of that inscrutable and dreadful mystery?
                                                    St. Philaret the New Confessor of New York
                                                    (Nativity Epistle)

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

   "For the Life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us" (1 John, 1,2).  This new life is our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is now born in Bethlehem, as He Himself said during the last days of His earthly life: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).
                              Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitski
                              Nativity Sermon, 1906
                         Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Son of God

    ...For it was to Him no lowering to put on what He Himself had made. Let that handiwork be forever glorified, which became the cloak of its own Creator. For as in the first creation of flesh, man could not be made before the clay had come into His hand, so neither could this corruptible body be glorified, until it had first become the garment of its Maker. 
                                                            St. John Chysostom
                                                            "Sermon on the Nativity"

Source of Salvation

    The very incarnation of the Son of God and His coming into the world encourages sinners to repentance. For whose sake did Christ come into the world? For the sake of sinners. To what end? For the sake of their salvation. O how dear to God was our salvation! He Himself came into the world, O sinners, for the sake of our salvation.
    Listen, sinners, and understand! God Himself came into the world for the sake of our salvation, and He came in our image. O truly great is the mystery of piety! God appeared in the flesh... 
                                                                    St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                                    "Journey to Heaven"

Thursday, January 5, 2012

For Sinners' Sake

  The very incarnation of the Son of God and His coming into the world encourages sinners to repentance. For whose sake did Christ come into the world? For the sake of sinners. To what end? For the sake of their salvation. O how dear to God was our salvation! He Himself came into the world, O sinners, for the sake of our salvation.
    Listen, sinners, and understand! God Himself came into the world for the sake of our salvation, and He came in our image. O truly great is the mystery of piety! God appeared in the flesh... 
                                                                    St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                                    "Journey to Heaven"

Mary, Mother of God

 In the womb of Mary, God and man were joined. She was the One Who served as it were as the ladder for the Son of God, Who descended from heaven.
                                                        St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                        "The Orthodox Veneration of Mary The Birthgiver of God"

Beware of False Piety

  For as many as are of God and Jesus Christ, these are with the bishop. And as many as repent and enter the unity of the Church, they also shall belong to God, that they may be living according to Jesus Christ. Be not deceived, my brethren. If any one follow a man that causes schism, he does not inherit God's kingdom. (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9). If any man walks in strange opinions, he has no part in the passion.
                                                          St. Ignatius the God-bearer
                                                          "Epistle to the Philadelphians"

Poor in Spirit

    Spiritual poverty, or meekness, is the virtue of the greatest minds that the world ever had. It is a self-consciousness of one's nothingness before God's magnificence, of one's filthiness before the Creator's purity, of one's complete dependence on the Lord's infinite power.
    King David said of himself, "I am a worm and not a man". And he was not of a slow wit. He was a genius of a great mind. His son, the most wise Solomon said, "Trust in the Lord with your whole heart, but in your own reason, do not trust". This is what it means to be poor in spirit - to turn oneself over completely to God, and not trust oneself.
    Blessed is he who can honestly say, "My strength is nothing, my reason is weak, my will is wavering - Lord help me!"
                                                              Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                              "Missionary Letters"
                                                              (To a Student Who Asks, "Who are the Poor in Spirit?")

Temple of God

   I'm happy for you and for everyone whom the Lord is preserving. Thank Him that you have a place of tranquility of soul, a place for prayer, and, the main thing - a place for repentance, for the cleansing of your sins, and for salvation: this is God's holy temple. Strive and struggle, that all of you might be vouchsafed, in the words of the holy Apostle Paul, to be temples of the Most High God - for the Holy Spirit lives in you (cf. 1 Cor. 3:16).
                                                     New Hiero-Confessor Raphael of Optina
                                                     (from a letter to child Lyubov)

Pride before a Fall

    When a fall has overtaken us, there pride has already pitched its tent; because a fall is an indication of pride.
                                                 St. John Climacus
                                                 "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 23) 

Practice Patience

   ...And what shall I say of anger, of discord, of strife: things which should have no place in the Christian heart? Let there be patience in the breast, and these things will have no place there! And should they try to enter they will speedily be excluded, and will depart, so that God may continue to have a peaceful abode in the heart where it pleases Him to dwell.
                                                                                St. Cyprian of Carthage
                                                                                "On Patience"


  Peace is the beginning of the purification of the soul, the tongue freed from speaking of the things of men, the eyes no longer dwelling on the beauty of bodies and the elegance of our surroundings, the hearing not undoing the strength of the soul through listening to melodies that were composed for pleasure, nor through the talk of clever and frivolous men, which more than anything else has power to undo the purpose of the soul. For the mind, when not wasted on outward things, or led astray by the world of the senses, turns inwards on itself, and through this ascends to the thought of God, and lit by that inward beauty becomes unmindful even of nature, and no more troubled by anxiety for its food, or with concern for clothing; at rest from earth's cares, all its zeal is given to gaining the things that are good forever.
                                                                 St. Basil the Great
                                                                 "On Prayer"  

A Son of God

    The person who puts to death by the Spirit the deeds of our sinful nature will live, says the Apostle. This is not surprising since one who has the Spirit of God becomes a child of God. So true is it that he is a child of God that he receives not a spirit that enslaves but the Spirit that makes us sons. So much so that the Holy Spirit bears witness to our spirit that we are sons of God.
                                              St. Ambrose of Milan


   ...Examine what sort of being you are. Know your own nature, that your body is mortal but your soul is immortal, and that our life is twofold in kind. One kind is proper to the flesh, quickly passing by, while the other is akin to the soul, not admitting of circumscription. Therefore be attentive to yourself, neither remaining in mortal things as if they were eternal, nor despising eternal things as if they were passing. Look down on the flesh, for it is passing away; take care of the soul, for it is something immortal. Understand yourself with all exactness, that you may know what gift to apportion to each  -  for the flesh nourishment and coverings, and for the soul doctrines of piety, education in courtesy, training in virtue, correction of passions. Do not fatten the body excessively and do not seek a lot of flesh. For since "the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh" (Gal 5-17), and these are opposite to each other, see that you do not add to the flesh and grant great power to what is inferior. For as in the turning of scales, if you weigh down one side you truly make the opposite lighter, so also with the body and the soul, the increase of one necessarily produces a decrease in the other.
                                                                       St. Basil the Great
                                                                       Homily on the Words "Be Attentive to Yourself"
                                                                       (On the Human Condition)

Pray Without Ceasing

  ...Why do you pray to God only in the time of trouble? You thus humiliate yourself and you offend God. Our Creator expects us to always feel that we are in His presence, and that we always talk to Him in prayer. "Pray without ceasing." By praying to God only in times of trouble, you make yourself a mere beggar and you shame God because you call on Him like one calls on a fireman only when the house is burning. Christ gave us the right to call on His Father as our Father. What is sweeter than this? What is sweeter for children than being in the presence of their parents? Let us strive, therefore, to stand always in the presence of our heavenly Father, with our heart and thoughts and prayers. Our prayer in the time of progress and joy is like a prayerful investment which is of more use in the days of trouble and torment than the prayer which we pour forth when such days already begin.
                                                 Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                 "Missionary Letters; Vol. 2"
                                                 (To a Merchant S.T. Whom 'God Does Not Hear')

The Church and Prayer

  I love to pray in God's temple, especially within the holy altar, before the Holy Table or the Prothesis, for by God's grace I become wonderfully changed in the temple. During the prayer of repentance and devotion, the thorns, the bonds of the passions, fall from my soul, and I feel so light: all the enticement of the passions vanish, and I seem to die to the world; and the world , with all it blessings, dies for me. I live in God and for God, for God alone. I am wholly penetrated by Him. I become like a child soothed on its mother's knee. Then my heart is full of most heavenly, sweet peace. My soul is enlightened by the light of heaven. At such times we see everything clearly; we look upon everything rightly; we feel friendship and love towards everyone, even towards our enemies, readily excusing and forgiving everyone. O, how blessed is the soul when it is with God! Truly the Church is an earthly paradise.
                                                          St. John of Kronstadt
                                                          "My Life in Christ"

To Know God

    He who has been granted knowledge of God and has truly tasted its sweetness scorns all pleasures born of the desiring power.
                                                     St. Maximus the Confessor
                                                     "Third Century on Love"
                                                     (Early Fathers from the Philokalia)

Look for a Cure

    The empty years of these desires separate us from our heavenly homeland, and our Love for these desires and our habits clothe us, as it were, in an odious dress; it is called by the Apostle 'the external (earthly) man.' (I Cor. 15:47). We who are wanderers in the journey of this life call to God for aid. We must divest ourselves of this repulsiveness, and put on new desires, and a new love for the coming age. Thus, through this we will know either an attraction or a repulsion for the heavenly homeland. ...We must follow the example of the sick, who wishing for desired health, do not stop searching for means of curing themselves.
                                                        St. Herman of Alaska

The Holy Spirit

  "And in fact the Lord has frequently demonstrated before many witnesses how the grace of the Holy Spirit acts on people whom He has sanctified and illumined by His great inspirations. Remember Moses after his talk with God on Mount Sinai. He so shone with an extraordinary light that people were unable to look at him. He was even forced to wear a veil when he appeared in public. Remember the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor. A great light encircled Him, and his raiment became shining, exceedingly white like snow (Mk. 9:3), and His disciples fell on their faces from fear. But when Moses and Elijah appeared to Him in that light, a cloud overshadowed them in order to hide the radiance of the light of the divine grace which blinded the eyes of the disciples. Thus the grace of the All-Holy Spirit of God appears in an ineffable light to all to whom God reveals its action."
    "But how," I asked Father Seraphim, "can I know that I am in the grace of the Holy Spirit?"
    "It is very simple, your Godliness," he replied. "That is why the Lord says: All things are plain to those who find knowledge. The trouble is that we do not seek this divine knowledge which does not puff up or breed conceit, for it is not of this world. This knowledge which is full of the love of God and for our neighbor builds up every man for his salvation. Of this knowledge the Lord said that God wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). And of the lack of this knowledge He said to His Apostles: Are you also yet without understanding (Matt. 15:16)? Concerning this understanding it is said of the Apostles in the Gospel: Then He opened their understanding (Luke 24:25), and the Apostles always perceived whether the Spirit of God was dwelling in them or not; and being filled with understanding, they saw the presence of the Holy Spirit with them and declared positively that their work was holy and entirely pleasing to the Lord God. That explains why in their epistles they write: It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us (Acts 15:26). Only on these grounds did they offer their epistles as immutable truth for the benefit of all the faithful. Thus the holy Apostles were consciously aware of the presence in themselves of the Spirit of God. And so you see, your Godliness, how simple it is!"
                                                                              St. Seraphim of Sarov
                                                                              "A Wonderful Revelation to the World"
                                                                              (A Conversation with N.A. Motovilov)

Our Insignificance

    To him whom the Lord desires to bring to Himself, to the knowledge of Him, He sends unceasing afflictions, especially when in that soul there is at least the leaven of the Christian virtues. But such a soul, drawn by every kind of weakness, is attracted to the earth, and is infected with "love for the world." From heaven God sees who needs what! The fact that we are all transitory wanderers on the earth is a tangible truth. All of our existence on earth is less than an instant, more insignificant than a dewdrop compared to the waters of the ocean - that is how insignificant our life is compared to eternity. That we pay so little attention to that eternity, that we forget it, is a sure sign of our fall, not only of the body, but even more so of the mind, of the heart. The knowledge of God, the knowledge of oneself, is true wisdom, a true treasure, man's true happiness on earth.
                                                   New Hiero-Confessor Raphael of Optina
                                                   (from a letter to Tatiana)

Temptations and Humility

    In order for one to realize his weak nature, he must encounter many great temptations. And then, through many trials he is humbled and learns true humility. But it takes time.
                                                                               Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                                               "Monastic Wisdom" (Sixty-third Letter)

Prayer and Solitude

 An indescribable benefit flows from solitude, but prayer must be inseparable from it.
                                                            Staretz Parfeny of Kiev-Caves Lavra