What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Sunday, March 31, 2013


  ...Self control destroys the stains caused by self-indulgence and is the mother of dispassion.
                                                           St. Gregory Palamas


    He who repents rightly does not imagine that it is his own effort which cancels his former sins; but through this effort he makes his peace with God.
                                                                       St. Mark the Ascetic
                                                                       "On Those who Think that They are Made
                                                                                  Righteous by Works"

Doing Battle Armed with Prayer

  Someone asked a monk: 'Who taught you to pray?' He answered: 'Demons.' 'How did demons teach you?' 'This is how! They warred against me in various thoughts, and I beat them off with prayer.'
                                                              Elder Ambrose of Optina

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Living Sacrifice

  And so, Dearly Beloved, as it was commanded in the Law to offer tithes of all things, so let you offer Him a tithe of your days. Let each one mortify his own body, as far as his strength allows, and let him weaken its desires, and lower the pride of its evil lusts, so that he may become, in the words of Paul, a living sacrifice (Rom. xii. 1). A man is both living and a sacrifice when he has died to the desires of his body, though he has not departed from this life. It is the pleasure-loving body that leads us into sin; mortification leads us back to forgiveness.
                                                                         St. Gregory the Great
                                                                         (The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


 The moderation of those who worship God is not melancholy, but blameless.
                                                         St. Leo, Pope of Rome
                                                         "Lent the Season of Purification"

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


    It is required of us therefore that our life should be good in all ways, that fasting is but added to our own clear and joyful virtue, the sure means of immortality, the worthy pledge of the kingdom of heaven, and the strong and unshakable foundation of eternal life.
                                                      St. Cyril of Alexandria
                                                      "The Preparation for the Pasch"

Monday, March 25, 2013

Confess, Fast, Alms to the Poor

 And though every day a man lives may rightly be a day of repentance, yet it is in these days more becoming, more appropriate, to confess our sins, to fast, to give alms to the poor; since in these days you may wash clean the sins of the whole year. Therefore I counsel all of you, and exhort each one of you singly, to repair whatever you know within your soul is blameworthy.
                                                              St. Ambrose of Milan
                                                              "The Season of Penance"

Sunday, March 24, 2013


  In the acts of the Councils and the further course of the New Testament Church of Christ, the word "anathema" came to mean complete separation from the Church. "The Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes," "let him be anathema," "let it be anathema," means a complete tearing away from the Church. While in cases of "separation from the communion of the Church" and other epitimia or penances laid on a person, the person remained a member of the Church, even though his participation in her grace-filled life was limited. Those given up to anathema were thus, completely torn away from her until their repentance. Realizing that she is unable to do anything for their salvation, in view of their stubbornness and hardness of heart, the earthly Church lifts them up to the judgement of God. That judgement is merciful unto repentant sinners, but fearsome for the stubborn enemies of God. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God . . . for our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 10:3112:29).
                                            St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                            "The Meaning of Anathema"

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Overcoming One's Nature

 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" (29th Letter)

Humility's Strength

    When St. Antony saw all the nets of the devil spread out, he sighed and asked God, "Who can escape them?' God answered him, 'Humility escapes them' and, what is still more wonderful, added, 'They will not even touch it.' Do you see the power of this virtue? Indeed there is nothing stronger than humility, for nothing can conquer it. If some affliction befalls a humble man, he immediately blames himself for deserving it and will not reproach or blame another. Thus he endures everything that may befall untroubled, without grief, with perfect calm; and so he is angered by no one and angers none.
                                                            St. Abba Dorotheus
                                                            "Directions on Spiritual Training"
                                                            (Early Fathers of the Philokalai)

Ways to Strengthen Our Christian Hope

    The means for confirming and strengthening Christian hope in us are - prayer, especially frequent sincere prayer, the confession of our sins, the frequent reading of the Word of God, and, above all, the frequent communion of the Holy Life-giving Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ.
                                                            St. John of Kronstadt
                                                            "My Life in Christ"

Watch and Pray

  Christ was tempted, the devil was tempting Him, showing Him stones to be turned into bread; and he led Him up a mountain to see all the kingdoms of the world in a flash. Dread, my soul, the scene; watch and pray at every hour to God. (Matt. 4:3-9; 26:41)
                                                St. Andrew of Crete
                                                "The Great Canon" (Song 9)


  Suffering in God is an inherent attribute of piety; for true love is tested by adversities.
                                                                    St. Mark the Ascetic
                                                                    "Two Centuries on Spiritual Law"
                                                                    (Early Fathers of the Philokalia)

Fasting II

 As a cloud hides the light of the moon, so the vapors of a full stomach banish Divine Wisdom from the soul.
                                                           St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                           "Directions on Spiritual Training"
                                                           (Early Fathers from the Philokalia)   


    Sensual pleasure causes ungodliness as well as sin, but fasting and self-control result in the fear of God as well as virtue. Fasting must be accompanied by self-control. Why? Because eating our fill, even of humble foods, is a hindrance to the purifying mourning, godly sorrow and contrition in our souls, which bring about unswerving repentance leading to salvation. For without a contrite heart we cannot really lay hold of repentance.
                                                                        St. Gregory Palamas
                                                                        "Homily Six: To Encourage Fasting"


   Non-possessiveness is the resignation of cares, life without anxiety, an unencumbered wayfarer, alienation from sorrow, fidelity to the commandments.
                                                                        St. John Climacus
                                                                        "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 17)

Understanding God

...For the searching and right understanding of the Scriptures there is need of a good life and a pure soul, and for Christian virtue to guide the mind to grasp, as far as human nature can, the truth concerning God the Word.
                                                                    St. Athanasius
                                                                    "On the Incarnation"


 Christianity reveals the meaning of life to all peoples and for all times, and therefore only in it can one find answers to all the manifestations and questions of life. This eternal truth concerning life is kept by the Church of Christ, and men must learn from Her, must be able to understand Her Wisdom, and only on this path will mankind find repose and healing.
                                                                                  St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                                                  "Orthodoxy in Action"

Pray For Grace

    Pray that you may be granted the grace to read the Fathers with the right understanding, the grace to live up to the standards they put before you, and the grace clearly to see your own frailty. You will not long be left waiting and wanting. God will give you help.
                                                          Staretz Macarius of Optina
                                                          "Russian Letters of Direction"

Overcoming Yearnings

 Q: I want very much to correct myself, but I keep getting distracted by the yearning of the passions. What can I do to overcome them?
    A: Persist in your desire and the Almighty God will grant you according to your heart; for the beginning of the virtues and their source is one's disposition, one's desire for good in the Lord. A person cannot overcome the passions on his own. This is the work of the right hand of the Most High, the action of the power of God. On our part we have only to preserve intact the holy disposition given us by God, and, in keeping with it, offer our efforts to attain the land of passionlessness. The Most High, beyond doubt, will perfect the effort of the one who desires this. So, if you desire to rise from the tomb of the passions, then always keep your mind attentive to this; take care for this, and have unwavering action and zeal. Hope in God, Who can manifest His power in our weakness through His grace, and you will be saved.
                                                              Elder Leonid of Optina
                                                              "A Disciples Questions and Replies"

Faith and Grace

   Faith, like active prayer, is a grace. For prayer, when activated by love through the power of the Spirit, renders true faith manifest - the faith that reveals the life of Jesus. If, then, you are aware that such faith is not at work within you, that means your faith is dead and lifeless. In fact you should not even speak of yourself as one of the 'faithful' if your faith is merely theoretical and is not actualized by the practice of the commandments or by the Spirit. Thus faith must be evidenced by progress in keeping the commandments, or it must be actualized and translucent in what we do. This is confirmed by St. James when he says, 'Show me your faith through your works and I will show you the works that I do through my faith (cf. Jas. 2:18). In saying this he makes it clear that grace-inspired faith is evidenced by the keeping of the commandments, just as the commandments are actualized and made translucent by grace-inspired faith. Faith is the root of the commandments or, rather, it is the spring that feeds their growth.
                                                                            St. Gregory of Sinai
                                                                            "On Commandments and Doctrines..."
                                                                            (The Philokalia)

Show Mercy to Others

  Let us be merciful to ourselves by being merciful to others, gain compassion by showing compassion, and do good that good may be done to us. For we receive the like in return: good works, benevolence, mercy and compassion, but not merely to the same value and measure of excellence. You give out of what you possess as a man, and only as much as a man can bestow. But you receive in return a hundredfold from the inexhaustible divine treasure, together with eternal life, and benefit from as many great bounties as God can bestow, which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man" (1 Cor. 2:9).
                                                               St. Gregory Palamas
                                                               "Homily Four: On Christ's Second Coming"

Spirit of God

    Unless a tree first sheds its old leaves, it cannot grow new shoots; and until a solitary casts out from his heart the memory of his former actions, he cannot bear new fruit and sprout new shoots in Jesus Christ. Wind ripens the fruits of trees, and the Spirit of God, the fruits of the soul.
                                                                           St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                                           "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 48)

Poor In Spirit

 Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven, said the Lord Christ. You are confused by this. The confusion comes from your mixing the concepts of poverty of poorly developed people with the "poverty" that Christ praises.
    Spiritual poverty, or meekness, is the virtue of the greatest minds that the world ever had. It is a self-consciousness of one's nothingness before God's magnificence, of one's filthiness before the Creator's purity, of one's complete dependence on the Lord's infinite power.
    King David said of himself, "I am a worm and not a man". And he was not of a slow wit. He was a genius of a great mind. His son, the most wise Solomon said, "Trust in the Lord with your whole heart, but in your own reason, do not trust". This is what it means to be poor in spirit - to turn oneself over completely to God, and not trust oneself.
                                                                              Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                                              "Missionary Letters"

The Saints

 The saints were people just like ourselves. Many of them started with grievous sins but through repentance they attained the Kingdom of Heaven. And every one who comes to the Kingdom of Heaven does so through repentance which the Merciful Lord granted us by His sufferings.
    In the Kingdom of Heaven the holy Saints look upon the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ; but through the Holy Spirit they see too the sufferings of men on earth. The Lord gave them such great grace that they embrace the whole world with their love. They see and know how we languish in affliction, how our hearts have withered within us, how despondency has fettered our souls, and they never cease to intercede for us with God.
                                                                       Staretz Silouan
                                                                       "Wisdom from Mount Athos"

To Be Given Humility

    ...For everyone who prays to God, 'Lord, give me humility' ought to know what he is asking for, viz. that God send him someone to mistreat him. And when he is insulted by someone, he ought to disparage himself and despise his own opinion so that when the other man humiliates him outwardly, he too humiliates himself inwardly.
                                                                          St. Dorotheos of Gaza
                                                                          "Discourses and Sayings"
                                                                          (On Vigilance and Sobriety)

A Lighted Candle

    I am an infirm, carnal, sinful man. I am not always able to bring to my Lord a heart burning with faith and love - but at least I bring, as a carnal, material man, a material gift as a gift to heaven, a lighted candle. May the Lord look down from heaven upon this little gift of my zeal, and may He give me more in return. He alone is rich, and enriches all, whilst I am poor and needy. He dwells amid light inaccessible, whilst I am in darkness. I am of little faith; may He grant me the gift of faith. I am poor in love; may He enrich my heart with this priceless heavenly treasure. I am powerless to do good; may He give me that power.
                                                                    St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                    "My Life in Christ"

Path to Deification

 As thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one with Us...  I in them, and Thou in Me (John 17:21-23). This is the golden chain that ties us with Divinity! We have fallen away and a Mediator has arisen, Who is one with God the Father and has become one with us. Becoming one with Him we are united in Him, and through Him with God the Father. Glory to Thy boundless mercy toward us, O Tri-hypostatic God, Who was well pleased to establish for us such a bright path to deification!
                                                            St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                            "Thoughts for Each Day of the Year"

Your Saving Cross

    According to the Gospel, it should be said that undoubtedly each person is given his own saving cross. This cross has grown on the soil of our heart, and it is only through this cross that we can be saved. From this it follows that if we refuse to carry our cross of obedience for no legitimate reason, we refuse to go by the way of Christ, by the saving way, and we want to invent for ourselves another way, free of labor, for attaining the Kingdom of Heaven. But this cannot be. The Kingdom of God suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force (Cf. Matt. 11:12).
                                                                             St. Anatoly of Optina
                                                                             "A Collection of Letters to Nuns"

Rely On God

  We are made helpless in the struggle with adversities because we are not strengthened by the power of Christ, and rely not on God, but on human power and means.
                                                                  St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                                  "Nothing is Fearful to Him Who Relies on God"

Beware of Pride

  The proud, whose eyes are constantly raised heavenward while their hearts cleave to the earth, are not pleasing to God; it is the humble and meek, whose eyes are cast down earthward while their hearts are filled with heaven, who please Him.
                                                                      Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                                      "Homily: Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican"