What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

St. Patrick's Prayer

Salvation is of the Lord,
Salvation is from the Lord,
Salvation is in Christ!
May we always remain in Your Salvation, O Lord!
                               The Lorica of
                               St. Patrick of Ireland

Trust in God

    Total poverty for Christ's sake is a great treasure for the soul but it can be attained by man only if he has a firm, unhesitating, trust in Divine Providence. Keep this confidence without failing and God will never allow you to die of hunger or lack of anything; but if you begin to doubt, however little, or seek human help, or trust in yourself, Divine Providence will leave you. Peter, while yet in darkness, could walk upon the waves as long as he did not doubt in his heart. Divine Providence for us knows no limits. God invisibly leads us. Nothing happens except by the will of God: a day and an hour are fixed for everything. Trust in God and he will care for you, but start to worry about yourself, he will help you still but His almighty Providence will desert you.
                                                                     Staretz Parthenius of Kiev
                                                                     "Russian Mystics"

Humble Yourself

  ...At the time when humility reigns in your manner of life, your soul will submit herself to you, and along with her, all things will be submitted to you, because the peace of God is borne in your heart. But so long as you are outside it, you will be unceasingly persecuted not only by passions, but also by accidents. Truly, O Lord, if we do not humble ourselves, Thou dost not cease to humble us. Real humility is the fruit of knowledge, and true knowledge, the fruit of trials.
                                                                                 St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                                                 "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 36)

Spiritual Direction

    You seem unduly distressed about your relations' disapproval of your actions. Why this great agitation? Since in all conscience you are certain of not being responsible for their hostile attitude to you, and since you are sure you have done nothing to induce them to feel or think as they do, be at peace. Be at peace and pray for them. We cannot persuade all that our actions are right, our motives pure. Everyone has his own way of approaching life, his own ideas on most things.
    Offer up the whole of your actions as an offering to our Lord. But in discussions on faith speak with humility, and not as a schoolmistress.
                                                                            Staretz Macarius of Optina
                                                                            "Spiritual Direction"

Things That Are Eternal

    ...And so that such things may not appear difficult to any of you, I shall relate something to you concerning a person whom many of you will have known, and which I myself learned of about three years ago from trustworthy persons of the city of Centumcelli. Not so long ago there was a certain count named Theophanius in this same city, a man greatly given to works of mercy, active in every good work, and particularly zealous in hospitality. While occupied with the affairs of his command he had much to do with worldly and temporal things; more, as we shall see presently, out of duty than ambition. For as the hour of his death arrived a most dreadful storm arose so that it would not be possible to bring him to the cemetery, and his wife in great distress said to Him: 'What shall I do? How shall I bring you to the cemetery when I cannot set foot outside the house because of this storm?' He then said to her: 'Do not grieve, for as soon as I die the storm will cease.' And after he had spoken he there and then died, and there came a great calm.
    His poor hands and feet were swollen with the gout, and he had broken out into sores. But when as is customary they uncovered the body to wash it, they found the hands and feet without any trace whatever of sores. He was then brought to the cemetery and buried. And there his wife decided that on the fourth day following his burial the marble placed over his tomb would have to be changed. When the marble placed over his body had been lifted off, such a fragrance arose from the body, as though sweet odours instead of worms had multiplied from the decaying flesh. I tell you this to show you by a recent example, that there are many who wear a worldly dress, but beneath it have not a worldly soul. For they whom necessity binds to the world, so that they can in no way escape from it, should so possess the things of this world, as not at any time to surrender to them, out of weariness of spirit.
    Reflect therefore on these things, and though you may be unable to leave all things which are of this world, use outward things justly, but inwardly hasten eagerly towards the things that are eternal. Let there be nothing which holds back the desires of your soul; let not the love of any single thing entangle you in this world. If you love good, let your mind delight in the better things, that is, in heavenly things. If you fear evil, put before your mind the eternal evils, so that beholding there that which you most love, and most fear, you will cling to nothing in this life.
                                                                                            St. Gregory the Great
                                                                                            "The Supper of God and the Soul"


  Lamentation comes upon me; my heart is consumed, and I pine away for your sake, when I remember that we have such a generous Master, so full of loving-kindness to us men that in return for simple faith in Him He grants us such gifts as surpass our understanding, our hearing, our thinking, such as "the heart of man has not conceived" (1 Cor. 2:9). But we are like brute beasts and prefer nothing but the earth and the things that, through His great mercy, it produces to satisfy the needs of bodies! These are for our moderate sustenance, so that our souls may make the journey to the things that are above without hindrance, as they are likewise fed with the rational food of the Spirit according to the extent that they have been cleansed and ascend.
                                                                   St. Symeon the New Theologian
                                                                   "The Discourses"

Our Intention

   God judges our intention, but in that which is within our power He, in man-befriending wise, also requires us to act. Great is he who leaves undone nothing that is within his power; but greater is he who humbly attempts what is beyond his power.
                                                               St. John Climacus
                                                               "The Ladder of Divine Ascent"  (Step 26)


    The wealth is not a possession, it is not property, it is a loan for use.
                                                      St. John Chrysostom

Draw Nigh to God

  Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you (James 4:8). It is for us to begin. If we take one step toward the Lord, He takes ten toward us - He who saw the Prodigal Son while he was yet at a distance, and had compassion and ran and embraced him (Luke 15:20).
    Some time you must take the first uncertain steps - if you wish at all to draw near to God. Do not be anxious about your clumsy beginning; do not yield to shyness and uncertainly, and the mocking laughter of enemies, who try to persuade you that you are behaving ridiculously and that the whole thing is only a child of fantasy and meaningless. Know that there is nothing the enemy fears like prayer.
                                                                    Tito Colliander
                                                                    "Way of the Ascetics"

Reaching the Door of Love

    He who has come to know himself has obtained an understanding of the fear of the Lord; and he who has walked by the aid of this fear, has reached the door of love.
                                                                          St. John Climacus
                                                                          "Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 25)


    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)

Invite God In!

   And how is it possible that our good Shepherd, Who for three years went in search of sheep that had gone astray, calling so loudly that His throat became parched, and following ways so hard and thorny that He shed all His blood and gave up His life; how is it possible, I repeat, that now, if His sheep follow Him, turn to Him with love and call for His help with hope, He should fail to turn His eyes to the lost sheep, take it into His divine arms and, placing it among the heavenly angels, make a welcoming feast for its sake? If our God never ceases to search diligently and lovingly for the blind and deaf sinner (like the woman for the piece of silver in the Gospels), how is it possible to suppose that He would abandon him now when, like a lost sheep, he cries out calling for his Shepherd? And who will ever believe that God, Who, according to the Revelation, constantly stands at the door of a man's heart, and knocks, wishing to come in and sup with him (Rev. 3:20), and bestow His gifts upon him, who will believe that this same God should remain deaf and refuse to enter if a man opens to Him the door of his heart and invites Him in?
                                             Lorenzo Scupoli
                                             "Unseen Warfare"
                                            (edited by Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain &
                                              revised by Theophan the Recluse)

Suffering and Sin

    Look to the end of every involuntary suffering, and you will find in it removal of sins.
                                                             St. Mark the Ascetic
                                                             "Two Centuries on Spiritual Law"
                                                             (Early Fathers of the Philokalia)

Wisdom and Power of God

 This is the wisdom and power of God: to be victorious through weakness, exalted through humility, rich through poverty.
                                               St. Gregory Palamas
                                               "Homily 11: On the Precious and Life-Giving Cross"

Attention of Mind

    Be steadfast in attention of the mind, and you shall not be overburdened by temptations. Retreat from this, and suffer what befalls.
                                                                 Hesychius of Jerusalem
                                                                 "Texts on Sobriety and Prayer"
                                                                 (Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer
                                                                                   of the heart)

Touched By Grace

 A person who has been touched by grace cannot be other than peaceful, nor can he be offended by his neighbor over anything.
                                                               Starets Parfeny of Kiev Caves
                                                               "Spiritual Counsels"


   A small affliction borne for God's sake is better before God than a great work performed without tribulation; for affliction willingly borne brings to light the proof of love, but a work of leisure proceeds from a self-satisfied conscience. That is why the saints were proved by tribulations for Christ's love, and not by ease. For [good] works accomplished without toil are the righteousness of those in the world, who do righteous deeds with their possessions [but not their bodies], thus gaining nothing within themselves. But you, O struggler, taste within yourself Christ's suffering, that you may be deemed worthy of tasting His glory. The mind is not glorified with Jesus, if the body does not co-suffer for Christ.
                                                                      St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                                      "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 36)


There are three kinds of gluttony. The first impels a person to hasten to eat before the fixed and lawful hour. The second is pleased with a full stomach and with devouring any edibles whatsoever. And the third desires more refined and delicate foods. These three entail no small loss for a person unless he struggles to extricate himself from all of them with equal diligence and care. For just as breaking the fast before the canonical hour is never to be dared, so likewise filling one's stomach and the preparation of costly and choice dishes must be avoided. From these three causes different and very bad states of health of the soul are produced.

                                                  St. John Cassian
                                                  “The Conferences”

Repentance and Communion

    Christ, invisible to the bodily eye, manifests Himself on earth clearly through His Church just as the unseen human spirit manifests itself through its body. The Church is the Body of Christ both because its parts are united to Christ through His divine mysteries and because through her Christ works in the world. We partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, in the holy Mysteries, so that we ourselves may be members of Christ's Body: the Church.
    This is not accomplished instantly. Fully abiding in the Church is already victory over sin and complete purification therefrom. To some degree everything sinful estranges us from the Church and keeps us out of the Church; this is why in the prayer read at confession over every penitent we have the phrase: "reconcile, and unite unto Thy Holy Church. " Through repentance a Christian is cleansed and united closely to Christ in partaking of the Holy Mysteries, but later the grime of sin again settles upon him and estranges him from Christ and the Church, and therefore repentance and communion are again necessary. As long as the earthly life of a man endures, up to the very departure of the soul from the body, the struggle between sin and righteousness goes on within him. However high a spiritual and moral state one might achieve, a gradual, or even headlong and deep fall into the abyss of sin is always possible. Therefore, communion of the holy Body and Blood of Christ, which strengthens our contact with Him and refreshes us with the living streams of the grace of the Holy Spirit flowing through the Body of the Church, is necessary for everyone. How very important communion of the Holy Mysteries is we see from the life of St. Onuphrius the Great to whom, as well as to other hermits dwelling in the same desert, angels brought Holy Communion; and in the life of St. Mary of Egypt we read that her final wish after many years of desert life was the reception of the Holy Mysteries. The lives of St. Sabbatius of Solovki and a multitude of others tell us similar things. Not in vain did the Lord speak and say: "Amen, amen, I say unto you, except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, ye have no life in you."

                            St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco

The Two Humilities

   Physical, outward humility is easier to attain than inner humility, humility of the mind. That is a special gift. Our holy Father Symeon says that a person who has attained humility of the mind cannot be hurt by anything in the world. Whatever happens, such a person is always at peace. This is truly a Divine property.
                                                              Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
                                                              "Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives"

Illness and Thankfulness

    ...There are times when illness is better for sinners than good health, because it helps them towards salvation and blunts their inborn evil impulses. Inasmuch as it repays the debt of sins by means of suffering, it makes them able to receive healing of their souls in the first instance, then healing of their bodies. This happens most of all when the sick person, understanding that the affliction is a remedy from God, bears it courageously, falls down before God with faith and asks for forgiveness, through whatever works he can manage.
                                                                         St. Gregory Palamas
                                                                         "Homily Ten: On the Paralyzed Man in Capernaum"

Simplicity of Heart

    For what purpose does the Lord add day after day, year after year, to our existence? In order that we may gradually put away, cast aside, evil from our souls, each one his own, and acquire blessed simplicity; in order that we may become truly gentle; in order that we may learn not to have the least attachment to earthly things, but as loving and simple children may cling with all of our hearts, all of our souls, and all our thoughts, to God alone, and so to love Him, and our neighbor as ourselves. Let us therefore hasten to pray to the Lord, fervently and with tears, to grant us simplicity of heart, and let us strive by every means to cast out evil from our souls.
                                                                              St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                              "My Life in Christ"

Perseverance and Understanding

    Practice gives birth to perseverance, and perseverance culminates in understanding; but that which is accomplished with understanding is not easily eradicated.
                                                                            St. John Climacus
                                                                            "The Ladder of Divine Ascent"  (Step 7)

With the Grace and Help of God

    Our every endeavor is powerless without the grace and help of God. A man can easily become debauched and so destroy himself, but he cannot correct himself and be saved without God. He can easily live according to the flesh as a boat floats down a river, but of himself he cannot stand against the flesh and live spiritually, as a vessel cannot of itself sail against the rush of the current.
                                                                   St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                                   "Journey to Heaven"

'One Body and One Spirit'

  'One body and one spirit'  (Eph. 4:4)...  The holy Apostle exhorts the faithful to strive to be one body and one spirit. By 'one body' is understood one faith, without division, heresy or self-will, the whole Church being one Body whose Head is Christ. By 'one spirit' is understood love, the ardent love of all the faithful for Christ, from which flows love for one another. May the many become one; may many men become as one man. This is the wonder of Christian faith and Christian love. There is no power in the world that can make a stronger bond among men; neither common blood nor a common language, nor a common hearth, common parents or any sort of common material interest - none of these can come near to being such as strong bond as Christian faith and Christian love. By this power and irresistible bond are all the members of the Church united among themselves. The Church of God stands as one man, in time and in eternity - one body and one spirit. To this wonderful unity nothing can so oppose itself as pride among men. Pride warps faith, cools love, creates heresy, divides the Church and sacrifices the general good for individual convenience.
    May God preserve us from pride, my brethren, the primal infirmity of the human race. May we ever be 'one body and one spirit' in our Lord Jesus Christ.
                                                                                   Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                                                   "The Prologue from Ochrid"

Field and Harvest

    The new life you have just entered has often been likened to that of a gardener. The soil he tills he has received from God, as well as the seed and the sun's warmth and the rain and the power to grow. But the work is entrusted to him.
    If the husbandman wishes to have a rich harvest, he must work early and late, weed and aerate, water and spray, for cultivation is beset by many dangers that threaten the harvest. He must work without ceasing, be constantly on the watch, constantly alert, constantly prepared; but even so, the harvest ultimately depends wholly on the elements, that is, on God.
    The garden that we have undertaken to watch over is the field of our own heart; the harvest is eternal life.
                                                                        Tito Colliander
                                                                        "Way of the Ascetics"

How to Lose Peace

 We must expound to our brethren gently and with love. Peace is lost if we vaunt or exalt ourselves above our brethren, if we find fault, if we enlighten otherwise than gently and with love; if we eat too much, or are indolent in our prayers. All these things cause us to lose peace.
                                                          Staretz Silouan
                                                          "Wisdom from Mount Athos"

Possessor of Truth

    Our Orthodox Church does possess the Truth and is steadfast in it. We are but weak people, clergy as well as laity, we stumble, we sin, we fall: but still, being within the fold of the Church we do have the Truth by the great mercy of our Lord, and we will never agree that this is but a particle and not the whole Truth.
                                                             St. Philaret, New Confessor of New York
                                                             Sermon on Sunday of Orthodoxy, February 14/27, 1972 


    Nothing is more profitably joined to worthy and holy fasting than almsgiving, which includes many works of piety under the single name of mercy, so that in this the good will of all the faithful may be equal, though their means may not be. For nothing even can so stand in the way of the love we owe both to God and to man, that it is not free at all times to be of good will. For according to what the angels said, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will, whosoever is joined in charity to others, and has mercy on those who are in suffering, from any cause whatever, he shall be blessed, not alone with the virtue of good will, but also with the gift of peace.
                                                                         St. Leo the Great
                                                                         "The Purposes of Lent"


  So He fasts for forty days, pointing out to us the remedy for our salvation...
                                                                    St. John Chysostom
                                                                    "The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers"

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fasting and Moderation

 We must then so moderate our rightful use of food that our other desires may be subject to the same rule. For this is also a time for gentleness and patience, a time of peace and serenity, in which having put away all stains of evil doing we strive after steadfastness in what is good. Now is the time when generous Christian souls forgive offenses, pay no heed to insults, and wipe out the memory of past injuries. Now let the Christian soul exercise itself in the armor of justice, on the right hand and on the left, so that amid honor and dishonor, evil report and good, the praise of men will not make proud the virtue that is well rooted, the conscience that has peace, nor dishonor cast it down. The moderation of those who worship God is not melancholy, but blameless.
                                                                            St. Leo the Great
                                                                            "Lent the Season of Purification"