What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Church and Its Laws

   ...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"

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fulfilling the Will of God

    He who fulfills the will of God by doing willingly what is good or by forbearing the unwanted sorrows, graciously acquires a blameless conscience.
                                                                     Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain
                                                                     "A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel"

Softening the Heart

    A little fire softens a large piece of wax. So, too, a small indignity often softens, sweetens and wipes away suddenly all the fierceness, insensibility and hardness of our heart.
                                                                   St. John Climacus
                                                                   "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 4)

The Heart - Center of Spirit

  How did our ascetics, fathers, and teachers warm the spirit of prayer inwardly, and establish themselves firmly in prayer? Their great object was to make the heart burn unceasingly towards the Lord alone. God claims the heart because within it lies the source of life. Where the heart is, there is the consciousness, attention, mind; there is the whole soul. When the heart is in God, then the whole soul is in God, and man remains in unceasing worship of Him in spirit and in truth.
                                                                  St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                                  "The Burning of the Spirit"
                                                                  (The Art of Prayer)

Love Your Neighbor

 In order to find out whether you love your neighbor in accordance with the gospel, take note of yourself when others offend you, abuse you, mock you, or do not render you the respect due to you, or which is customary, or when your subordinates err and are negligent. If you remain calm on such occasions, are not filled with a spirit of enmity, hatred, impatience; if you continue to love those persons as much as previously, then you do love your neighbor in accordance with the gospel; but if you become irritable, angry, agitated, then you do not. If ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others?
                                                                    St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                    "My Life in Christ"

Knowing God

   We may study as much as we will but we shall still not come to know the Lord unless we live according to His commandments, for the Lord is not made known through learning but by the Holy Spirit. Many philosophers and scholars have arrived at a belief in the existence of God, but they have not come to know God.
    To believe in a God is one thing, to know God, another.
                                                                 Staretz Silouan
                                                                 "Wisdom from Mount Athos"

Diligence in Prayer

    The crown of every good endeavour and the highest of achievements is diligence in prayer. Through it, God guiding us and lending a helping hand, we come to acquire the other virtues. It is in prayer that the saints experience communion in the hidden energy of God's holiness and inner union with it, and their intellect itself is brought to unutterable love into the presence of the Lord.
                                                                        St. Makarios of Egypt
                                                                        "The Philokalia"


    Truth is the foundation of everything that has been created. Let truth be also the foundation of all your works, inward and outward alike, and - above all - the foundation of your prayers. Let all your life - all your thoughts, all your desires, all your works - be founded on truth.
                                                                   St. John of Kronsatdt
                                                                   "My Life in Christ"

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Attracting Grace

   Work, exert yourself, seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Do not relax and do not despair. But at the same time remember that these efforts are no more than attempts on our part to attract grace; they are not grace itself, which we still have to go on seeking.
                                                         St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                         "The Fruits of Prayer"

Man's Salvation

    ...The truth is between two extremes. It was expressed by the 5th century ascetic, Righteous John Cassian whose explanation is called synergism (cooperating). According to this teaching, man is saved only in Christ, and God's Grace is the main acting strength in this salvation. Nevertheless, besides the action of God's Grace for salvation, the personal efforts of man himself are necessary. Man's personal efforts alone are insufficient for his salvation - but they are necessary, for without them, God's Grace will not begin to work out the matter of his salvation.
    Thus, man's salvation is worked out simultaneously through the action of God's saving Grace, and through the personal efforts of man himself. According to the profound expression of certain of the Fathers of the Church, God created man without the participation of man himself - but He does not save him without his agreement and desire, for He created him as if unfettered. Man is free to choose good or evil, salvation or ruin - and God does not impede his freedom, although He consistently summons him to salvation.
                                                                                 St. Philaret, New Confessor of New York
                                                                                 "On the Law of God"

Remembrance of Jesus the Christ

    The remembrance of Jesus' sufferings cures remembrance of wrongs, which is mightily ashamed by His forbearance.
                                                                                    St. John Climacus
                                                                                    "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 9)

Hold True to Your Faith

He invented heresies and schisms with which to overthrow the faith, to corrupt the truth, to divide unity. Those whom he cannot hold in the blindness of the old way, he circumvents and deceives by the error of a new way.


                                             St. Cyprian of Carthage
                                             "The Unity of the Church"

St. John the Baptist

   Having fulfilled his ministry as Forerunner on earth, he appeared as the Forerunner of Christ, in hell. His beheading is not only the culmination of his earthly exploit, but also the beginning of a new and glorious ministry. Among them, that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist (Matt. 11:11; Luke 7:28 ) , Christ said of him. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee (Luke 7:27) These words of the Lord Himself, testify of the spiritual greatness of John and his high purpose in the work of the salvation of the human race. He appeared as the servant and preacher of God as no other single man in the world, having begun to preach and praise Christ before his birth, and finishing it even after his death, ascending with Christ into the Kingdom of Heaven after the destruction of hell. As the greatest of the righteous, a worthy place was prepared for him in the Kingdom of his Friend, where he remains now, awaiting its revelation in all glory and the triumphant feast of the Lamb of God in the Second Coming, when He will gather His wheat into the garner, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matt. 3.12; Luke 3.17).
His beheading was his final exploit on earth, and the last step for the receiving of the greatest reward in the Kingdom of Heaven; while for all those in hell it was the rising of the morning star, before the appearance of the Son of Righteousness. Just as the nativity of St. John the Forerunner and Baptist is the beginning of the Gospel for the living, so is his beheading the beginning of the Gospel for the dead.
                                                               St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                               "Sermon on the Beheading of St. John the Baptist"


    Humility is followed by self-mastery and restraint in everything.
                                                         St. Isaac of Syria
                                                         "Directions on Spiritual Training"
                                                         (Early Fathers from the Philokalia)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Where Demons Live

    In every person who lives unrepentant in sin, there lives a demon...
                                                        St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                        "Thoughts for Each Day of the Year"

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Heart Filled with Love

    The Lord seeks a heart filled to overflowing with love for God and our neighbor; this is the throne on which He loves to sit and on which He appears in the fullness of His heavenly glory,
                                                              St. Seraphim of Sarov
                                                              "Conversation with N.A. Motovilov"

Love One Another

    If you feel rancor against someone, pray for him; and by prayer separating distress from the memory of the wrong he has done you, you will arrest the movement of passion; and by a feeling of friendliness and affection you will completely banish this passion from the soul. If another man bears malice against you, be kind and humble towards him, live in peace with him and you will free him from passion.
                                                                      St. Maximus the Confessor
                                                                      "Third Century on Love"
                                                                      (The Philokalia)

Sword of Truth

    "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I did not come to bring peace but a sword." Thus said the Lord. Read it as if He had said, "I did not come to reconcile truth and lie, wisdom and stupidity, good and evil, justice and violence, bestiality and humanity, God and mammon; but I came to bring a sword so that I may cut and separate one from another, so they do not mingle."
    What will you cut with, O Lord? With the sword of truth. Or with the sword of God's word, which is the same thing. For the truth is God's word, and God's word is the truth. Apostle Paul advises, "take ye up the spiritual sword which is the word of God." And Saint John saw in a vision "the Son of Man between seven candle stands - and from His mouth proceeded a double-edged sword." What can the sword that proceeds from the mouth be if not the word of God, the word of truth? That is the sword which Jesus Christ brought on earth. That sword is unto salvation of the word, not unto reconciling of good with evil - then, and now, and forever.
                                                                Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
                                                                "Missionary Letters"

Striving to be Saved

    God, being the eternal Truth, does not suffer in us even a moment of doubt in the truth. God, as the eternal Mercy, "will have all men to be saved, and to come into the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). And we, the children of the merciful God, also must wish with our whole hearts that all men, and even our enemies, should be saved, and must care for this.
                                                                      St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                      "My Life in Christ"

The Afflicted Way

  ...You keep wanting to arrive directly in Paradise without afflictions. No, Matushka: without afflictions, a monastic is a firebrand. But what we desire for you is eternal gladness. Do not be despondent; everything will pass. All the saints walked by this way, that is, the afflicted way. Peace to you and the blessing of the Lord!
                                                                St. Anatoly of Optina
                                                                "A Collection of Letters to Nuns"

Coming to Christ

   Let us endeavour then to come to Christ, Who cannot lie, that we may obtain the promise, and the new covenant, which the Lord had made new through His cross and death, having burst the gates of hell and sin and brought out the faithful souls, and given them the Comforter within, and brought them into His kingdom.
                                                                St. Macarius the Great
                                                                Homily 38


   Punishments are always harsh; but when accepted with humility, they bring us nearer to God.
                                                        Elder Macarius of Optina
                                                        "Russian Letters of Direction"

Awaiting Repentance

  `God, my child, is everywhere, and His eye observes everything, but He overlooks our sins because He awaits our repentance.
                                                                Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                                "Moanstic Wisdom" (66th Letter)

Reprove iniquity

    When people, whoever they may be, commit iniquity and you know it openly, take extreme care not to be silent, but everywhere reprove their iniquity in your speech, lest you be like a dumb dog that does not bark when thieves break into a house and loot it, and wolves fall upon the flock and devour it.
    Stand firm, beloved, and show your pastoral work even though you must necessarily suffer. In this work you have as your examples the prophets, apostles and luminaries of Christ who live in times of old.
                                                                      St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                                      "On the Duty of Pastors"                                                                     
                                                                      (Journey to Heaven)

Through God's Providence

    Strive to find in everything something to blame yourself for, hold fast to indifference in knowledge and believe that everything that concerns us, even the most trivial thing, happens through God's providence, and you will bear anything that comes upon you without being troubled. Believe that disgrace and contempt is a healing remedy against the arrogance of your soul, and pray earnestly for those who, as true healers, abuse you. Believe that he who hates disgrace hates humility, and he who flees from those who provoke him flees from meekness.
                                                                      Ababa Dorotheos of Gaza
                                                                      "Discourses and Sayings"
                                                                      (Of the Relations Between the President and
                                                                             His Disciples in Monasteries)

Unity in the Church

    ...He who established and made the Church did not separate men from Church, but rebuking the faithless for their discord and commanding peace to the faithful by His word, He shows that He is with two or three who pray with one mind rather than with a great many who are in disagreement, and that more can be obtained by the harmonious prayer of a few than by the discordant supplication of many.
                                                     St. Cyprian of Carthage
                                                     "The Unity of the Church"

Prayer to the Mother of God

  If, when praying to the Mother of God you do not find due reverence for Her in your heart, and feel evil and blasphemous thoughts, then say the following words of praise worthily applied to Her: "Thou, our Lady, art all light, all holiness, all mercy, all wisdom; Thou, as the Mother of the Almighty, canst do all things; Thou art ever one and the same, all perfect as the Mother of the all-perfect King of Glory!"
                                                                    St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                    "My Life in Christ"