What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Secret Is Within

  Persecute yourself, says St. Isaac the Syrian, and your enemy is routed as fast as you approach. Make peace with yourself, and heaven and earth make peace with you. Take pains to enter your own innermost chamber and you will see the chamber of heaven, for they are one and the same, and in entering one you behold them both. The stairway to the kingdom is within you, secret in your soul. Cast off the burden of sin and you will find within you the upward path that will make your ascent possible.
                                                                    Tito Colliander
                                                                    "Way of the Ascetics"

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rejoice and Be Glad!

    When Jesus Christ was leaving this earthly life, He bequeathed to His beloved disciples sorrows and tears as if they were a most precious gift: Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice (John 16:20). He did this not to doom His beloved ones to inconsolable suffering, but to draw even more radiantly on that dark background of suffering a picture of the immeasurable bliss waiting for them. Your sorrow shall be turned into joy (John 16:20), He said to them, your joy no man taketh from you (John 16:22). Only Christ can give such eternal happiness, a happiness which cannot be taken away. In His sermon He pronounced blessed those whom this sinful world considers to be the most wretched: blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the weeping, blessed are the meek, the hungry and thirsty for righteousness, the persecuted for the righteousness sake, etc. To all those the Saviour said: Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad (Matt. 5:12).
    How strange! To rejoice when one is unhappy, poor, helpless, persecuted, insulted, despised, hated, slandered! Before Christ, the world did not know how to rejoice over such calamities, but now everything is reversed through the power of the God-man. All things work together for good to them that love God (Rom. 8:28). For the believer, sorrow has lost its poisonous sting. Quiet hope has taken the place of the bitter despair of suffering, and suffering is not unbearably heavy any more, because it gives birth to sweet fruit. Rejoice and be glad, because sorrows are a fiery furnace in which gold is purified. Suffering is the hammer in the hand of the sculptor which makes the statue even more beautiful. Sufferings are those thorny and frightening paths which lead to sunny peaks and paradisiacal views. Rejoice and be glad! Jesus Christ Himself sanctified the road of suffering with His feet! Rejoice and be glad! For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake (Phil. 1:29). The Word of God calls suffering a favor. It is the distinction of the chosen ones of God. It is the medal of honor for the beloved of Christ.
                                                                     Archimandrite Seraphim Aleksiev
                                                                     "Suffering in the Light of Divine Revelation"

Kingdom of Heaven

  "The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matthew 11:12). If we do not daily strive to conquer the passions, which fight against us, and to gain the Kingdom of God in our heart, then the passions will tyrannically, forcibly take possession of us, will invade our soul like robbers; our attachments to earthly things will increase in proportion as our faith in heavenly blessings and love for God and our neighbor will also grow weaker and weaker; we shall enjoy rest of conscience and peace of heart more and more seldom. We must struggle in the matter of salvation of the soul, which is more precious than anything in the world; we must count everything earthly as dross, or as a phantom, a vision, and everything heavenly, above all, the Lord Himself, as truth itself, eternal, most blessed, and unchangeable.
                                                              St. John of Kronstadt
                                                              "My Life in Christ"

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Let Pride Give Way to Humility

 When pride retreats from a man, humility begins to dwell in him, and the more pride is diminished, so much more does humility grow. The one gives way to the other as its opposite. Darkness departs and light appears. Pride is darkness, but humility is light.
                                                               St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                               "Journey to Heaven"

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


    Let us have recourse to humility on all occasions; for the humble lie prone on the ground, and how can a man fall if he lies on the ground? But a man who stands on a height can easily fall...
                                                                    St. Barsanuphius and St. John
                                                                    "Directions in Spiritual Work"                 
                                                                    (The Philokalia)

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Church

    The common view of theological thought acknowledges that the Church conscience, being guided by the Holy Spirit, is the one and the same in its essence from the Apostles to the end of the (earthly pilgrimage) of the Church. The Christian teaching, the extent and comprehension of Divine Revelation, is unchanged. The doctrine of the Church does not develop and Church self-consciousness does not become any richer, deeper and wider with the passing of the centuries, than it was with the Apostles. The content of the Faith delivered by the Apostles is not subject to supplement. Although the Church is always led by the Holy Spirit, we do not see and do not expect new dogmatic revelations in the history of the Church.
                                                               Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky
                                                               "Sophianism and Trends in Russian Intellectual Theology"
                                                               (Selected Essays)

Grace and Repentance

   A small sorrow mixed with joy, tears, and consolation in the soul is from the grace of God. Throughout our life, it guides us towards repentance whenever we err. A sin drives away boldness towards God, but repentance brings it back at once. Grace does not bring despair, but it continually brings to repentance a person who has fallen.
                                                                      Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                                      "Monastic Wisdom" (Thirty-fifth Letter)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Thought, Word, and Deed

  We sin in thought, word and deed. In order to become pure images of the most Holy Trinity we must strive that we be holy in thought, word and deed.
                                                                       St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                       "My Life in Christ"

The Narrow Way

 Why is it that only the narrow way and narrow gate lead to life? Who makes the way of the chosen narrow? The world oppresses the chosen, the flesh oppresses them, the devil oppresses them; it is these that make our way to the kingdom of heaven narrow.
                                                                            St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                            "My Life in Christ"

Renewed Human Nature

  He renewed the human nature He took from us and by what He did and suffered in His person united with our nature, He revealed it as sanctified, justified and completely obedient to the Father. Among the things He did and suffered are the events we celebrate today, when He went up, or was taken up, to the ancient Temple for purification, was met by the God-bearing Simeon, and was proclaimed by Anna, who spent her whole life attending to the Temple.
                                                             St. Gregory Palamas
                                                             "Homily 5: On the Meeting of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ"

Humble Yourself

    The Holy Fathers say that, unless we humble ourselves, the Lord will not stop humbling us. He will use someone in order to humble us. Someone will provoke our anger and do it until we learn to remain calm and peaceful when provoked. When we can stay calm when someone attacks us from all sides, when we can keep our inner peace in spite of that person's rudeness, then our soul will become meek and humble and we will live this life with a full understanding of it.
                                                                        Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
                                                                        "Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives"

Intelligent Silence

    Intelligent silence is the mother of prayer...
                                                          St. John Climacus
                                                          "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 11)

The Need for Churches

   ... Churches are not needed by God whose throne is heaven and Whose footstool is the earth; it is we who need them.
                                                                     St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                                     "Time to Build"

Love Humility

  Love humility and you will never fall into the devil's snare, for, soaring on humility's swift wings you will always remain above the enemy's snares.
                                                      St. Ephraim the Syrian
                                                      "A Spiritual Psalter"

Attainment of a Restful Mind

    A man who has dedicated himself once and for all to God goes through life with a restful mind.
                                                              St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                              "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 5)


    Peace is the integrity and health of the soul; to lose peace is to lose spiritual health.
                                                              St. John of Kronstadt
                                                              "My Life in Christ"

The Church of Christ

   Not conforming the God-man Christ to the spirit of the age but rather conforming and adjusting the spirit of the age to the spirit of the eternity of Christ, to the divine humanity of Christ - this is the unique and true mission of the Church of Christ in the world, of the Apostolic and Orthodox Church.
                                                                    Fr. Justin Popovich
                                                                    "Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ"


God expects from us labor and courageous deeds; and He has promised to help those who labor. May you so labor that God may help you. He helps those who strive, not those who rest and slumber.
                                                                 St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                                 "Letter to a monk who suffered from the spirit of accidie."
                                                                 (A Treasury of Russian Spirituality)

The Sinner

   ...The sinner is like a person who is sunk in a deep slumber. Just as a person who is fast asleep will not stir and get up on his own in spite of approaching danger unless someone comes and rouses him, so will the person who is sunk in the slumber of sin not come to his senses and awaken unless divine grace comes to his aid. By the boundless mercy of God, this grace is prepared for everyone, approaches everyone in turn, and calls out clearly to each: Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light (Eph. 5:14).
                                                    St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                    "The Path to Salvation"

Patience and Humility

   God does not give, for instance, the virtue of patience without afflictions, nor the virtue of humility without humbling occasions of degradation and dishonor.
                                                       "Unseen Warfare"
                                                       Lorenzo Scupoli
                                                       (edited by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and
                                                               revised by St. Theophan the Recluse)

Our Aim to Please God

   In everything we do, as has often been said already, God looks at the aim, whether it is for Him or for some other purpose that we act. So, when we wish to do something good, let us have as our aim not to please men but to please God, so as to have our eyes fixed on Him, doing everything for Him, lest we bear the labor but lose the reward.
                                                                    St. Maximus the Confessor
                                                                    "Third Century on Love"
                                                                    (The Philokalia)


    He who fears the Lord has humility as his constant companion and, by its remindings, ascends to love and gratitude to God.
                                                                 St. Maximus the Confessor
                                                                 "First Century on Love"
                                                                 (The Philokalia)

The Soul and Power

   Whatever the soul may think fit to do of itself, whatever care and pains it may take, relying only upon its own power, and thinking to be able to effect a perfect success by itself, without the cooperation of the Spirit, it is greatly mistaken. It is of no use for the heavenly places; it is of no use for the kingdom - that soul which supposes that it can achieve purity of itself, and by itself alone, without the Spirit. Unless the man who is under the influence of passions will come to God, denying the world, and will believe with patience and hope to receive a good thing foreign to his own nature, namely the power of the Holy Spirit, and unless the Lord shall drop upon the soul from on high the life of the Godhead, such a man will never experience true life, will never recover from the drunkenness of materialism; the enlightenment of the Spirit will never shine in that benighted soul, or kindle in it a holy daytime; it will never awake out of that deepest sleep of ignorance, and so come to know God of a truth through God's power and efficacy of grace.
                                                                          St. Macarius the Great
                                                                          "Spiritual Homilies" (Homily 24)

Corruption of Death

   ...Taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death instead of all, and offered it to the Father. This He did out of sheer love for us, so that in His death all might die, and the law of death thereby be abolished because, having fulfilled in His body that for which it was appointed, it was thereafter voided of its power for men. This He did that He might turn again to in-corruption men who had turned back to corruption, and make them alive through death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of His resurrection. Thus He would make death to disappear from them as utterly straw from fire.
                                                               St. Athanasius
                                                               "On the Incarnation"

God is My Strength

    I myself am all infirmity and misery. God is my strength. To know this is to me the highest wisdom, making me blessed.
                                                                        St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                        "My Life in Christ"

The Lord Who...

   It is not our free will but 'it is the Lord who sets the captive free' (Ps. 145:7). It is not our own virtue but 'it is the Lord who lifts up those who were laid low' (Ps. 145:8). It is not application to reading but 'it is the Lord who gives light to the blind' (Ps. 145:8). It is not our cautiousness but 'it is the Lord who protects the stranger' (Ps. 145:9). It is not our endurance but 'it is the Lord who raises or gives support to the fallen' (Ps. 144:14).

                                                             St. John Cassian

Fasting and Prayer

    There are very few people who come to their senses, very few who understand life. We pray with our lips only, and we hurry through our prayers to "get it over with" as soon as possible, and then we lose peace. Fasting and prayer are a means of embellishing our soul and bringing it back to its original state. We must strive, with God's help, to attain the traits of Christ the Saviour. We know that He was meek, humble, and good, and we must try to imitate Him. However, we have no strength to do this by ourselves; therefore we must ask the Lord for help. It is impossible for the light bulb to give us light without electrical power, and it is impossible for us to live without God; as He Himself said, Without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5).
                                                                     Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
                                                                     "Our Thoughts Determine our Lives"

Creature of Earth, Beware!

Do not lift up your neck, creature of earth! For many, though holy and spiritual, were cast from Heaven.
                                                             St. John Climacus
                                                             "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Letter 23)


As rust consumes iron, so does envy wholly consume the soul it dwells in.
                                                           St. Basil the Great
                                                           "On Envy"