What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pray to the Mother of God

    ...There are enough sorrows at the present time. Everyone has them, and blessed is he who in faith appeals to her - the Joy of All Who Sorrow, Mother of God, for She will certainly hear our prayer. Father John of Kronstadt once wrote in his diary: "When you start to pray to the Mother of God, firmly believe, do not doubt that you will be heard and you will!" And so it is always when a person believes and is appealing to Her. He receives from Her the beneficial help because She is the Mother of the Christian people.
                                                               St. Philaret of New York
                                                               Renewal of the Icon "Joy of All Who Sorrow" in Harbin

Guard Yourself Against Sins

 A thick rope is composed of thin strands of hemp. One thin strand cannot hold you bound nor strangle you, for you will easily, with the lightest touch, break it and free yourself. But if a thick rope binds you, you will stay bound, and it will strangle you. You cannot easily break it and free yourself of it. As a thick rope is made from thin, weak strands, so men's passions are made up of smaller initial sins. The small, initial sins a man can still break and free himself of. But sin on sin, repeated, the weave becomes thicker and thicker until it becomes a passion, which masters a man as only it can do. You can neither cut it out easily nor cast it away from you nor be divorced from it. Oh, when will men guard themselves from these first sins? Then they would not have so much difficulty in freeing themselves from the passions.
                                                            Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                            "The Prologue from Ochrid"

Knowledge and Work

      If you love knowledge, love also work, for bare knowledge puffs a man up.

                                                          St. Mark the Ascetic
                                                          “To Those Who Think to be Justified by Deeds”

To Be Tried

    Where would there be opportunities for struggling for great deeds if we were not occasioned injury by our neighbors, if they did not offend us? Where would there be opportunities for patiently bearing offenses, for meekness and humility? You see, then, that we must be tried by many and various evils in order to prove our virtue and be eventually crowned.
                                                                 St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                 "My Life in Christ"

Traits of Christians

    The Holy Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Philippians wrote that they shone as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation (Phil. 2:15). A lofty spiritual disposition and irreproachably clean, strictly, chaste life; these were the characteristic traits of the Philippian Christians, for which the Apostle Paul praised them. We live in later times; nineteen centuries separate us from those days in which the Apostle Paul wrote his epistles. But now, just as the Christians of the first centuries, we are encircled by an environment full of shamelessness and perversion. May the high and holy example of the ancient Christians teach us to be as steadfast and firm in the observance of the laws of Christian morals, and not accede to the temptations which surround us. 
                                                      St. Philaret of New York
                                                      "Modesty and Will"

Voluntary Sins / Involuntary Sufferings

    I thank God for cleansing my voluntary sins with involuntary sufferings.
                                                 St. Maximus the Confessor
                                                 (from his 'Life')

Repentance As A Foundation

 All the forms of demonic delusion to which the athlete of prayer is subject arise from the fact that repentance has not been set as the foundation of prayer, that repentance has not been made the source, the soul, the goal of prayer.
                                                        Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
                                                        "On Spiritual Deception"

According To Your Faith

 According to your faith be it unto you (Matt. 9:29), said the Lord to the two blind men, and immediately their eyes were opened. The greater the faith is, the greater is the influx of Divine power. Faith is the receiver, the mouth, and the receptacle of grace. Just as one's person's lungs are large while another person's are small, and the large take in more air, while the small take in less, so one person has a large degree of faith, and another a small degree, and one person's faith receives more gifts from the Lord, and another person's, fewer. God is everywhere, encompasses everything and contains all, and loves to dwell in human souls. However, He does not forcibly enter them, even though He is Almighty, but enters as if by invitation; for He does not want to infringe upon the power which man has over himself, or infringe upon man's right to rule his own house - a right which He has granted. Whoever opens himself through faith, God fills; but whoever closes himself through unbelief, God does not enter, though He is near. Lord! Increase our faith, for faith, too, is Thy gift. Each of us should confess: I am poor and needy (Ps. 69:6).
                                                         St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                         "Thoughts for Each Day of the Year"

All Things Needful

  The Lord does not condemn prudence concerning our family and personal needs, but rather the oppression of our soul by them, when anxieties take hold of it to such an extent that it becomes almost indifferent "to the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness". It is proper to imagine calmly the possibility, ever close at hand, of ruin, serious family needs, sickness, mutilation, and the death of those close to us, and at the same time to remember that if you did everything in your power to provide for your loved ones, then should God nevertheless see fit to subject you and your family to severe misfortune, it means that this is needful for salvation; for everything that happens to us not of own evil will is done with God's permission and. therefore, for our benefit, for the Lord neither does nor allows anything for us but good.
                                                             Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky
                                                             "A Letter to a Priest about Prayer"
                                                             (Orthodox Life  9/10, 1977)

The Spirit

    All the saints in heaven, and all true Christians on earth, are one body and one spirit; that 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 valiant, thirsting after righteousness, the spirit of compassion - heavenly, and not earthly.
                                                                  St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                  "My Life in Christ"

Unsearchable Wisdom

    When the mind reflects on the absolute infinity of God, on this unfathomable and greatly desirable deep, it is first filled with wonder; and then it is struck with amazement how God has brought into being from nothing all that is. But as there is no end to His greatness, so too is His wisdom unsearchable.
                                                                          St. Maximus the Confessor
                                                                          "Early Fathers from the Philokalia"
                                                                          (Fourth Century on Love)

Virtuous Life and Prayer

 The Fathers speak thus: "The feeling of compunction is not your own, but a gift of God; what must be yours is the labor to receive it." What kind of labor? Above all else, the labor of a virtuous life in general, and that in relation to the podvig of prayer itself in particular.
                                                            Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky
                                                            "A Letter to a Priest about Prayer"
                                                           (Orthodox Life  9/10, 1977)

Love the Truth

    But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.(Luke 8:15)
    If we really want to be saved, we are obliged to love the truth, with all our strength and concern, guarding ourselves from all falsehood, so that we are not separated from truth and from life.
                                                                            Abba Dorotheos
                                                                            "Practical Teaching on the Christian Life"

The Need to Live and Act by Faith

  The most sublime mental activity is extraordinarily simple. It needs for its acceptance childlike simplicity and faith. But we have become so complicated that it is just this simplicity which is inaccessible, incomprehensible to us. We want to be clever, we want to revive our own ego, we cannot bear self-renunciation or self-denial, we have no desire to live and act by faith. It is for this reason that we need a guide to lead us out of our complexity, out of our cuteness, out of out cunning, out of our vanity and self-confidence, into the breadth and simplicity of faith. That is why it frequently happens that in the field on mental activity the child attains phenomenal success, while the learned man loses his way and falls into the dark pit of delusion.
                                                                 Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
                                                                 "On the Prayer of Jesus"

Desire to Believe

   When a man drives evil from his heart and saves his soul from the darkness of sin, then he sees the innumerable signs that God gives to those who desire to believe - who see and believe.
                                                                  Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                                  "The Prologue from Ochrid"

Minister in Any Way Possible

Christianity fully satisfies our striving for precedence - but how? Through a method totally opposed to one used in the world. Do you want to be first? Be a servant to everyone, that is, be the last among them. This is just as essential as it is to attune your life and your disposition to the example of Christ the Lord. The Lord says: The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28). The Lord ministers, and even washes the feet of His disciples. There is no need, therefore, to be ashamed of ministering to someone. Minister in any way possible, and with whatever means you can. There are opportunities every step of the way: feed someone who is hungry, clothe someone who is naked, bring a stranger into your home, visit someone who is sick and even take care of him, and do not refuse all other help to those who ask it. Serve not only the body, but also the soul: give understanding and advice, point out a good book, console, and support. A word is a powerful means to help; through such a word one's soul extends itself and, joining another soul, gives him strength.
                                                     St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                     "Thoughts for Each Day of the Year"

Humble Yourself

   ...Purity and passionlessness are bestowed not according to our years - wisdom is the grey hair unto men (Wis. 4:9) - but according to our humility. St. John the Ladder teaches that gifts (and hence purity) are given not for labors (even less for age), but for humility. Let us humble ourselves, and the Lord will cover us, and we will become holy. But until we humble ourselves, and [thus] make God merciful, our passions will not abate, even if we break our forehead against the floor doing prostrations.
                                                                 St. Anatology of Optina
                                                                 "A Collection of Letters to Nuns"

Life's Mystery as a Book

Our whole life is a great mystery of God. All of life's circumstances, no matter how insignificant they seem, have enormous meaning. We will understand the meaning of the present life in the future age. How circumspectly we need to regard it - but we leaf through our life, like a book, page after page, not being aware of what is written in it. There is nothing accidental in life; all is done according to the will of the Creator. May the Lord vouchsafe us in this life to acquire the right to enter into eternal life.
                                                                 Elder Barsanuphius of Optina
                                                                 (from his "Life")

Let Peace Begin with You

 First be at peace with yourself, then you will be able to bring peace to others.
                                                       Elder Ambrose of Optina
                                                       (from his 'Life')

Union with Christ

    The Church is unity in Christ, the closet union with Christ of all who rightly believe in Him and love Him, and their union is through Christ.
                                                                     St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                                     "The Church as the Body of Christ"

To Become the Consort

 He who believes fears; he who fears is humble; he who is humble becomes gentle and renders inactive those impulses of incensiveness and desire which are contrary to nature. A person who is gentle keeps the commandments; he who keeps the commandments is purified; he who is purified is illumined; he who is illumined is made a consort of the divine Bridegroom and Logos in the shrine of the mysteries.
                                                                    St. Maximos the Confessor
                                                                    "First Century on Theology"
                                                                    (The Philokalia)