What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Friday, October 19, 2012

Uninterrupted Prayer

    Uninterrupted prayer is born of love, but fault-finding, idle talk and self-indulgence are the death of prayer.
                                                                          Staretz Silouan of Mount Athos
                                                                          "Wisdom from Mount Athos"


    By being vigilant you discover an enemy approaching the door of your heart, for example, the temptation to think an evil thought of a fellow man. Immediately your will to resist is awakened and you thrust out the temptation, but at the very next moment you sustain a setback in the form of a self-satisfied thought: My, but I was alert! Your apparent victory became a horrible defeat. Humility was missing.
                                                                      Titi Colliander
                                                                      "Way of the Ascetics"

The Eternal Home

    Why do people leave one place and move to another? Mainly because they hope to be happier in the other place. And, from the point of view of earthly life and contentment, places can indeed be different, better or worse. He who has no hope in a better life after death seeks a sensual pasture in this life. But if you look into the hearts of people who have settled themselves in the so-called "best places" on this terrestrial sphere, you will perceive discontent , sorrow and despair. They have not found what they were looking for. They fed to satiation everywhere and, in the end, still hungry, looked into the eyes of death.
    But look at the Christian saints! They chose the least verdant places, "dry, impassable and waterless", lonely and terrible places that attracted the least attention and that no-one would wish to possess. They regarded all places on earth as equally without value, but chose these places solely in order to draw nearer in mind and spirit to their eternal home. And if one were to look into their hearts, one would perceive joy and contentment.
                                                                       Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                                       "The Prologue from Ochrid"

Bearing the Cross of Christ

    God overcomes the order of nature wherever He wills. Likewise, he who wants to bear the Cross of Christ overcomes his own nature.
                                                                     Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                                     "Monastic Wisdom" (Twenty-ninth Letter)


   We must always fear whatever produces shame in us by its recollection, and we must never trample upon and scorn our conscience.
                                                                          St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                                          "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 37)

The Narrow Way

    It is said that only a few find the narrow way that leads to life and that we must strive to enter by the narrow door. For many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able (Luke 13:24).
    The explanation is to be found precisely in our unwillingness to persecute ourselves.
                                                                    Tito Colliander
                                                                    "Way of the Ascetics"

Enmity vs Love

    The love of God is so great, so immeasurable, that beside it all human dislike, enmity and hatred become insignificant, and seem to vanish entirely. It is because God's love for us is boundless, and human enmity so insignificant that the Lord commanded us all to love our enemies, to bless them that curse us, to do good to them that use us despitefully and persecute us. We abide in the love of God; does it greatly matter if men are not well-disposed towards us? What can they do against us when God has so loved us?
                                                                                     St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                                     "My Life in Christ"

Meekness - Temper

    If it is a mark of extreme meekness, even in the presence of one's offender, to be peacefully and lovingly disposed towards him in one's heart, then it is certainly a mark of hot temper when a person continues to quarrel and rage against his offender, both by words and gestures, even when by himself.
                                                                        St. John Climacus
                                                                        "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 8)

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Truth About Lies

  No one who lies becomes united with God. The lie is alien to God.
                                                              Abba Dorotheos
                                                              "Practical Teaching on the
                                                                       Christian Life"

For God Is Near

    Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid (Mark 6:50). Here is the pillar of our hope! Whatever misfortune or sorrow there might be, remember that the Lord is near, and be inspired through courageous patience. As He then suddenly appeared before the Apostles who were in danger on the sea, so will He show His help and protection suddenly to you when you are in danger. He is everywhere and is always ready with His protection. Only stand with Him and before Him in faith, prayer, hope, and devotion to His holy will. Your spirit will be joined to the Lord, and from this comes every good thing. However, this does not mean that there will immediately be dignity, glory, and honor, and other such things. External things might remain as they are, but there will arise a courageous and placid abiding in the order of events which it pleases the Lord to arrange for a person. And this is the main  thing that everyone in danger should seek: happiness on the inside, not on the outside. Inner blessedness always exists among those who are in union with the Lord.
                                                                        St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                                        "Thoughts for Each Day of the Year"

Our Love and Our Hope

  There are many Christian souls in the world today who fulfill their service with love, and there are many others who endure hard illnesses and mockings and slanders with hope in the living God, the Father and providence. Those are the great souls who have understood their Saviour, that He is life - the life of serving and suffering, not partying and enjoyment, the narthex of Paradise, not Paradise itself, journey, not the harbor. To those great souls, the yoke really is easy, and the burden really is light, because Christ is their love and their hope.
                                                                       Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
                                                                       "Missionary Letters"

Waiting on God

   Act like a man and be strong; march in front of the people the right hand of the Most High entrusted to you. Steer your ship prudently, stand above the tempests raised by heretical winds, keep your vessel from sinking in the briny and bitter waves of perverse doctrine, and wait for the stillness which the Lord shall give when a voice is found worthy to wake Him up, that He rebuke the winds and the sea (Mt 8:26).
                                                       St. Basil the Great
                                                       "Letter to Amphilochios"
                                                       (The Fathers Speak)

Turn to God

  Even the saints of God were at times seized with diabolical despair and despondency. What therefore can we sinners expect? The enemy often wounds us by implanting in our heart wrath, shame and cruel despondency. We must turn to God continually; every moment we must be with Him, in order that we may not be beseiged with the wrath and despondency of the enemy.
                                                                       St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                       "My Life in Christ"


  Faith without works is dead and chaotic, and works without faith are empty and useless.
                                                            St. Gregory Palamas
                                                            Homily Eight: "On Faith"

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Divine Light

    After the Fall, the darkness of sin took hold of mankind, but it could not conceal the Divine Light.
                                                          St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                          "In the Beginning was the Word"

Rules for Prayer

  It is necessary to rouse the heart to pray, otherwise it will become dry. The attributes of prayer must be, love of God, sincerity and simplicity.
                                                               St. John of Kronstadt
                                                               "My Life in Christ"

Prayer from the Heart

   When you pray, keep the rule that it is better to say five words from the depth of your heart than ten thousand words with your tongue only. When you observe that your heart is cold and prays unwillingly, stop praying and warm your heart by representing vividly to yourself your own wickedness, your spiritual poverty, misery and blindness, or the great benefits which God bestows every moment upon you and all mankind, especially upon Christians; and then pray slowly and fervently.
                                                              St. John of Kronstadt
                                                              "My Life in Christ"

Power of the Cross

 The cross of Christ was mysteriously proclaimed in advance and foreshadowed from generations of old and no one was ever reconciled with God except by the power of the Cross.
                                                                              St. Gregory Palamas
                                                                              "On the Precious and Life-Giving Cross"

Strength Through Affliction

    The task of virtue is to contend against hardship and suffering. The prize for victory, given to those who stand their ground, is the soul's dispassion. In this state the soul is united with God through love, and in inward resolution it is separated from the body and the world. Those who stand their ground find that the soul's strength lies in the body's affliction.
                                                           St. Maximos the Confessor
                                                           "First Century of Various Texts"
                                                           (The Philokalia)

Live According to His Commandments

    Let us flee from all vain agitation, and from other things displeasing to God, and live according to His commandments, providing for our necessities by labor.
                                                                                St. Nilus od Sora
                                                                                "A Treasury of Russian Spirituality"

Strength in Prayer

 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
                                                               "The Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 38)

The Rod of Moses

   At one time the rod which Moses cast on the ground turned into a serpent, and it so frightened him that he fled (Exodus 4:3). But when by God's command he put his hand and took it by the tail, the serpent became a rod again, which he carried before him, separated the Red Sea and led the Israelites away from Egyptian servitude. The cross and patience are the rod; if you point them toward the earth, you cannot see them as anything but a serpent, from which you run, being afraid of poison and death. But when you take it with the right hand of true understanding, that is, when you look at the desired end of these sorrows and misfortunes, then you will joyfully see in the cross the rod of Moses, leading you out of the workings of sin and leading you into the heavenly Jerusalem. And so, look up to heaven, where the cross will lead you; look into the blessed eternity which is promised to the bearers of the cross.
                                                                          St. John Maximovitch of Chernigov
                                                                          "The Royal Way of the Cross of Our Lord
                                                                                    Leading to Eternal Life"

Finding Salvation and Perfection

    Dense clouds and fog hide the heavenly lights. One must travel extremely slowly, groping one's way. The study of the patristic books provided by Divine Providence as the moral guidance for contemporary monasticism is no trifling exercise. In order to succeed in it, self-renunciation is necessary; the abandonment of worldly cares is necessary - not to mention diversions, amusements and pleasures; it is necessary to live according to the commandments of the Gospel; necessary too is purity of mind and heart by which alone the spiritual, holy and mystical teaching of the Spirit can be discerned and understood according to the degree of one's purification. Let him who has learnt that at the present time the treasure of salvation and Christian perfection is hidden in the words uttered by the Holy Spirit or under His influence, that is, in Sacred Scripture and the writings of the Holy Fathers, rejoice spiritually that he has obtained really useful knowledge, let him hide completely from the world in a pious life, let him go and sell all that he has and buy that field (Matt. 13:44), in which is hidden salvation and perfection.
                                                                  Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
                                                                  "On the Prayer of Jesus"

Humility and Compunction

  ...God Who is great and exalted looks on nothing so lovely as on a humble and compunctionate heart,
                                                               St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                               "Journey to Heaven"

God's Providence

    ...Nothing happens apart from God's providence. In God's providence everything is absolutely right and whatever happens is for the assistance of the soul. For whatever God does with us, he does out of His love and consideration for us because it is adapted to our needs. And we ought, as the Apostle says, in all things to give thanks for His goodness to us, and never to get heated up or become weak-willed about what happens to us, but to accept calmly with lowliness of mind and hope in God whatever comes upon us...
                                                                                    Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
                                                                                    "On Enduring Temptation Calmly and Thankfully"
                                                                                    (Discourses and Sayings)