What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stairway to Heaven

    Look to Heaven, and measure every step of your life so that it is a step towards it.
                                                                  St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                                  "The Spiritual Life"

Beware of Earthly Rewards

    It is a folly to undertake a hard and difficult task just to be admired, to put great effort into keeping God's commandments with only an earthly reward in mind.
                                                                       St. Gregory the Great
                                                                       "The Way of the Fathers"

Humility and Obedience

   Two gifts God gave men, by which they may be saved and delivered from all passions of the old man: humility and obedience. But we do not strive after them, do not desire to abide in them, nor be guided by them. Leave off all evasions, bend your neck to humility and obedience, and you will receive mercy. If you practice with humility and obedience what you hear from the fathers, God will grant you blessed help not only in the work you are doing, but will make all your works successful, for He protects the path of those who fear Him and watches over their progress.
                                                                    St. Barsanuphius and St. John
                                                                    "Directions in Spiritual Work"
                                                                    (Writings from the Philokalia on
                                                                             Prayer of the Heart)

The Wise Thief's Lament

    ...Even today various divisions can spring up among us. The laws of Christ's Church are immutable; a Christian must submit to them irrespective of what others think, of how society regards these laws - whether favorably or unfavorably. Those faithful to Christ follow after Him along the path of those laws, those ordinances which the holy Church sacredly preserves. Those who desire unnecessary comforts and pleasures in this temporal world - which sooner or later will perish - these people prefer other laws, not the laws of the Church but those which allow them to live as they want, to think what they want, to place their own will above the spirit of the Church, that spirit given by the Lord God Himself; and they invite others to follow in this same path.
    It may be, brethren, that soon you will again experience a time of turmoil, and some of you will be called to take a path of denying those sacred laws and to submit to laws established by mere human authority. Beware of such a path! Beware of the path taken by the thief on the left, for by the weight of blasphemy, by the weight of reviling Christ he went to his eternal perdition. Those who revile the laws of the Church revile Christ Himself, Who is the Head of the Church, for the laws of the Church were given by the Holy Spirit through the Apostles. And the laws of local Churches are based on those same laws and canons of the Church. Let us not consider ourselves wiser than those saints and hierarchs who established the rules of the Church; let us not imagine ourselves to be great sages. Rather, let us humbly call out together with the wise thief, Remember me, O Lord, in Thy kingdom!
                                                                    St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                                    "Sermon on the Sunday of Orthodoxy"

Contrite Heart

  However great the life we lead may be, we may count it stale and spurious, if we have not acquired a contrite heart.
                                                                St. John Climacus
                                                                "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 7)

Christians and the Holy Sacrament

    What greatness it is for a Christian, and above all for a Christian priest, that he becomes one with Christ and God the Saviour through the Holy Sacrament!
                                                                                        St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                                        "My Life in Christ"

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Prayer on The Transfiguration

    Let us look with our inner eyes at this great spectacle, our nature, which dwells for all eternity with the immaterial fire of the divinity. And let us take off the coats of skins (cf. Gen. 3:21), the earthly and carnal ways of thinking, in which we were clothed because of our transgression, and stand on holy ground (cf. Exod. 3:5), each one of us hallowing our own ground by means of virtue and reaching up to God. In this way we shall have boldness when God comes in light, and as we run to Him we shall be enlightened, and, once illumined, shall live for ever to the glory of the one brightness in three Suns, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
                                                                            St. Gregory Palamas
                                                                            "On the Transfiguration of the Lord"

Strengthening of the Soul

   The body that is mingled with sin finds rest in the works of the flesh; but the Spirit of God does not find repose in its fruits. When the body is weakened by fasting and lowliness, the soul is spiritually strengthened in prayer.
                                                                 St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                                 "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 38)


    When we are immersed in sins, and our mind is occupied solely with worldly cares, we do not notice the state of our soul. We are indifferent to who we are inwardly, and we persist along a false path without being aware of it.
    But then a ray of God's Light penetrates our soul. And what filth we see in ourselves! How much untruth, how much falsehood! How hideous many of our actions prove to be, which we fancied to be so wonderful. And it becomes clear to us which is the true path.
    If we then recognize our spiritual nothingness, our sinfulness, and earnestly desire our amendment - we are near to salvation. From the depths of our soul we shall cry out to God: "Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy according to Thy mercy!" "Forgive me and save me!" "Grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother!"
                                                                              St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                                              "A Word on Repentance"

Practice of Moral Virtues

   ...Just as the earth, even when moistened by rain and warmed by the sun, yields nothing unless the farmer sows and cultivates it, so our intellect cannot keep possession of spiritual knowledge, even if this knowledge has been bestowed on it by grace, unless we practice the moral virtues, those, that is to say, of the soul.
                                                                                 St. Peter of Damascus
                                                                                 "The Philokalia"

Dormition of the Theotokos

   Who can describe in words thy divinely resplendent beauty, O Virgin Mother of God? Thoughts and words are inadequate to define thine attributes, since they surpass mind and speech. Yet it is meet to chant hymns of praise to thee, for thou art a vessel containing every grace, the fulness of all things good and beautiful, the tablet and living icon of every good and all uprightness, since thou alone hast been deemed worthy to receive the fulness of every gift of the Spirit. Thou alone didst bear in thy womb Him in Whom are found the treasuries of all these gifts and didst become a wondrous tabernacle for Him; hence thou didst depart by way of death to immortality and art translated from earth to Heaven, as is proper, so that thou mightest dwell with Him eternally in a super-celestial abode. From thence thou ever carest diligently for thine inheritance and by thine unsleeping intercessions with Him, thou showest mercy to all.
                                                            St. Gregory Palamas
                                                            "Homily on the Dormition of the Theotokos"

Tyranny of Passions

 Let others mock at you, oppose you, when you are under the influence of any passion; do not be in the least offended with those who mock at or oppose you, for they do you good; crucify your self-love and acknowledge the wrong, the error of your heart. But have the deepest pity for those who mock at words and works of faith and piety, of righteousness; for those who oppose the good which you are doing, or which you wish to instill in others. God preserve you from getting exasperated with them, for they are deserving of pity and tears. Glory to Thee, Lord, my Saviour, for having delivered me at my prayer from the tyranny of the passions!
                                                            St. John of Kronstadt
                                                            "My Life in Christ"

Daily Attentiveness

    If the saints, who had attained passionlessness, had to be vigilant over themselves so as not to fall from their state of grace - then all the more is daily attentiveness and concern over our eternal salvation necessary for us sinners.
                                                                        Elder Joseph of Optina

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saintliness and Humility

    ...When God sent the saints to help other people, they did not agree to this easily because of their humility. Thus, Moses said, "I beg you find another one capable to be sent, since I am weak in speech and slow of tongue" (Ex. 4:10 LXX). Also Jeremiah said, "I am a youth" (Jer. 1:6). To put it simply, each one of the saints obtained humility by keeping the commandments faithfully. Nobody can express what this humility is in words and how it grows within the soul, unless he learns about it through experience. No one can learn about it from words alone.
                                                                              Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
                                                                              "Practical Teaching on the Christian Life"

God - My Lord

    How could I not seek Thee? For Thou first did seek me. Thou gavest me to delight in Thy Holy Spirit, and my soul rejoices that Thou art my God and my Lord.
                                                                      Staretz Silouan
                                                                      "Wisdom from Mount Athos"

True Meaning of Humility

    Humility is to understand oneself to be nothing.
                                                                 Elder Hilarion of Sarov and Valaam
                                                                 "A Short Spiritual Ladder"

Humility and Meekness

 To be humble means to consider ourselves deserving, for our sins, of every humiliation, injury, persecution, and even blows; and to be meek means to patiently endure injustice, abuse, etc., and to pray for our enemies.
                                                          St. John of Kronstadt
                                                          "My Life in Christ"

Special Practices To Aid You

  I shall indicate to you the practice, which alone makes a man firm in the good and keeps him such from beginning to end: and this is - love God with all your soul, all your heart and all your mind, and work for Him alone. Then God will give you great strength and joy, and all godly works will become for you as sweet as honey, and all physical labors, mental occupations and vigils, generally the whole yoke of God, will be sweet and light for you. However, from His love for men the Lord at times sends them adversities, that they should not exalt themselves but continue striving; and, instead of courage, they feel heaviness and weakness; instead of joy - sadness; instead of peace and quiet they feel agitation; instead of sweetness - bitterness; and many other similar things happen to those who love God. But, by struggling and prevailing, they gradually become stronger and stronger. When they finally overcome it all, then the Holy Spirit abides with them in all things and they fear evil no more.
                                                                     St. Antony the Great
                                                                     "Directions on Life in Christ"
                                                                     "Early Fathers from the Philokalia"

Temptations and Patience

   What is the source of patience in temptations? Genuine faith in God. Temptations are therefore a means of proving the faithful. That is why after James, the Lord's brother, has exhorted us to rejoice, he adds, "The trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work" (Jas: 1:3-4).
                                                                     St. Gregory Palamas
                                                                     "Homily 32: Christ Walking on the Water and
                                                                                                About Temptations"

Benefits of Grace

    Those regenerated by grace - if they continue in it to the end of their earthly life, and follow that path indicated by Christ, the True Light - will be deemed worthy of receiving from Him a new gift: they will delight eternally in the Kingdom of the Heavenly Father through beholding the glory of His Only-begotten Son, a glory surpassing everything in the world, and they will experience ineffable joy and blessedness.
                                                          St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                          "In the Beginning was the Word"

Delicate Balance

 He who flees afflictions most certainly separates himself from the virtues also.
                                                          St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                          "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 57)

Care for the Soul

    Man, as far as his body is concerned, is like a lighted candle. A candle must be consumed; thus also the body must die. But the soul is immortal, and so our care also must be more for the soul than for the body: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mk. 8:36).
                                                       St. Seraphim of Sarov
                                                       "Spiritual Instructions"
                                                       (Little Russian Philokalia)

Acquisition of the Holy Spirit

    Prayer, fasting, vigil and all other Christian activities, however good they may be in themselves, do not constitute the aim of our Christian life, although they serve as the indispensable means of reaching this end. The true aim of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God.
                                                              St. Seraphim of Sarov
                                                              "A Wonderful Revelation to the World"
                                                              (Conversation with N.A. Motovilov)

Pursuit of Virtue

 God alone is by nature always good, always full, and always perfect; to Him nothing can ever be added or taken away. Therefore we must with unflagging zeal and care give ourselves to the pursuit of virtue, and constantly occupy ourselves in its practice, lest at any time progress may cease, and regress immediately take its place.... To cease to acquire means to lose, for the will which goes no longer forward will not be far from peril of falling back.
                                                                   St. John Cassian
                                                                   "Selected Writings"

Educating the Heart

   It is extremely dangerous to develop - to educate - only the understanding, the intellect, and to ignore the heart. We must, above all, attend to the heart, for the heart is life, but life corrupted by sin. It is necessary to purify this source of life, to kindle in it the pure flame of life, so that it may burn, and not go out; so that it may direct all the thoughts, desires, and inclinations of the man throughout his life.
                                                                       St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                       "My Life in Christ"


To enter into the Kingdom, we must first of all be humble. But how do we receive humility? How do we learn this great art? We must pray to the Lord that He send down this gift to us. In one of the evening prayers we read, O Lord, grant me humility, chastity, and obedience. Humility likens us to God Himself, Who humbled Himself and was obedient, even unto death, death on the Cross. The Lord Himself is the Teacher of humility: Learn of me: for I am meek and lowly of heart (Matt. 11:29). Humility can be acquired by means of obedience. A man who submits his will to his spiritual director conquers pride and acquires humility.
                                                              Elder Barsanuphius of Optina
                                                              "Selected Counsels"