What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Thursday, January 24, 2013


  Don't believe everything you hear. The truth is a precious thing and is not found in everyone's word. Each person speaks according to his own manner of living. Based on his way of life, fathom how true his words are.
                                                          Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                          "Monastic Wisdom" (59th Letter)

Fragrance of Love

  The fragrance of love! When we burn incense, we think of the fragrant heavenly aroma of love. The Holy Spirit, like a heavenly fire, brings the warmth of love into the human heart, and like a fresh wind, chases away the stench of sin and spreads the aroma of Christ to the world. That savor all the saints have borne within themselves. People have sensed it in living saints and in their relics. The Apostle speaks of this: "We are unto God a sweet savor of Christ," the sweet perfume of recognition of the truth and the sweetness of love (cf. 2 Cor.2:14-16).
                                                               Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                               "Kassiana: Lessons in Divine and Christian Love"

The Lord is Everything

   To the degree that we let go of our worldly cares, the Lord allows us to feel that He is with us. The Lord is peace, joy; He is father, mother, and friend to us. We have everything in Him. He is the One Who satisfies the needs of the soul.
                                                          Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
                                                          "Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives"

Cultivation of the Soul

 Whatever you sow in cultivated ground, you reap the same. If you plant fruit trees, or sow wheat, barley or some other useful crop, the earth brings them forth and they grow and are fruitful. But if the land is left untilled and unsown, it sprouts useless plants, mostly the thorns and thistles mentioned in the curse pronounced against us (Gen. 3:18). Even if a tree happens to grow, it will most probably have no fruit, be useless and full of thorns. It is the same with the soul. Whatever attitudes you instill in it, you receive the same back. If you keep company with good people, listen to spiritual teaching and follow it, putting its precepts into practice, your soul cultivates virtues and becomes useful to God, to others, and to yourself. But if you delight in bad company and do not heed spiritual teaching, or even regard it as trivial, your soul turns wild and out of control, sprouts evil passions, and yields the stings and thorns of its own and the body's death, namely, sins.
                                                                      St. Gregory Palamas
                                                                      "Homily 33: On Virtues and Their Opposite Passions"

Untilled Soil

 You will not be able to cut down the passions attacking you unless you first leave untilled the soil from which they are fed.
                                                                  Elias the Presbyter
                                                                  "The Philokalia"


    All that came to pass at Christ's baptism comes about at the baptism of each one of us.  ...By going down into the water, we die with Christ, and by coming up out of it we are united with the living Christ. The gentle Spirit of God hovers over us as a dove, inspiring us with His almighty grace. And the Father, through the love of Jesus Christ, adopts us as sons, and proclaims this adoption with His voice.
                                                                Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                                "The Theophany"

Friday, January 18, 2013

Cross of Christ

    Today the Holy Spirit, descending up on the waters when the Cross of Christ is immersed into them, descends up on all of nature. Only in man He cannot enter without his will. Let us open our hearts and souls to receive Him and with faith cry from the depths of our souls: “Great art Thou, O Lord, and marvelous are Thy works, and there is no word which sufficeth to hymn Thy wonders.”

                                                                       St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                                        "A Sermon on the Day of Theophany"

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Watch Your Dissatisfaction

    Look at us: as soon as our mood changes, we no longer speak kindly to our fellow men, but instead we answer them sharply. We only make things worse by doing this. When we are dissatisfied, the whole atmosphere between us becomes sour, and we start to offend one another. No matter what people do or say to us, we must be meek and forgive every offense.
                                                              Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
                                                              "Our Thoughts Determine our Lives"

Igniting the Fire

    It is just as shameful for lovers of the flesh and the belly to search out spiritual things as it is for a harlot to discourse on chastity. A body suffering grave illness shuns fatty foods and abhors them; and likewise, a mind occupied with worldly affairs cannot approach the inquiry into the things of God. A fire cannot be ignited in wet wood, nor can the divine fervor be kindled in the heart that loves ease.
                                                                  St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                                  Ascetical Homilies (Homily Four)

The Disturbed Heart

   St. Basil the Great says: One cannot approach the knowledge of the truth with a disturbed heart. Therefore we must try to avoid everything that disturbs our heart, that causes forgetfulness, excitement or passion, or awakens unrest. We must free ourselves as much as possible from all fuss and flutter and ado over vain things. Yes, when we serve the Lord we shall not be troubled about many things, but always keep in mind the one thing needful (Luke 10:41).
                                                                  Tito Colliander
                                                                  "Way of the Ascetics"

Your Greatest Benefactors

    Whenever you remember those who offend and persecute you, do not complain of them, but rather pray to God for them, as your greatest benefactors.
                                                                          Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
                                                                          "The Arena"


  Through repentance the filth of our foul actions is washed away. After this, we participate in the Holy Spirit, not automatically, but according to the faith, humility and inner disposition of the repentance in which our whole soul is engaged.
                                              St. Symeon the New Theologian
                                              "Practical and Theological Texts"
                                              (The Philokalia)

Birth of Truth

 Preserving the substance of both natures and uniting them in One person, lowliness is assumed by Majesty; infirmity, by Power; mortality, by Immortality. And to pay the debt of our present state, an inviolable Nature is united to our suffering one; and the true God and true man are welded into the unity of One Lord, so that, as was needed for our healing, one and the same Mediator of God and men, might, by the one, suffer death, and the Other, rise again from the dead. Rightly then, did this Birth of our salvation bring no taint of corruption to the Virginal integrity; for the birth of Truth, was the defense of virginity.
                                                                    St. Leo, Pope of Rome
                                                                    "The Mystery of the Nativity"

Draw Near To Christ

  He who, in obedience and humility, draws near to the Lord Jesus Christ will never again desire to be separated from Him.
                                                             Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                             "The Nativity"


    Because the shepherds are persons of humble state, do not esteem lightly the testimony of their faith. For the more humble the testimony appears to human wisdom, the more precious is it to the eyes of faith. For the Lord did not seek out the schools of learning, filled with the wise, but the simple people, who would not know how to twist, to colour, what they learned; for He sought not ambition, it was simplicity He looked for.
                                                                     St. Ambrose of Milan
                                                                     "The Beginning of the Church"

Divine Mercy

    He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.
                                                                 St. John Chrysostom


    An angel appeared to Joseph in his sleep, as to a man who was readily disposed to believe; to the shepherds he appears visibly...   But an angel did not go to Jerusalem, nor seek out the Scribes and Pharisees; for they were corrupted, and tormented with envy. But the shepherds were sincere of heart, observing the ancient teaching of the patriarchs and of Moses. For blamelessness is one of the paths that leads to wisdom.
                                                                    St. John Chrysostom
                                                                    "The Sunday Sermons of the Ancient Fathers"


    ...For since the Lord Jesus Christ by being born has become our flesh, we also, by being reborn, have become His Body.
                                                           St Leo the Great
                                                           "On the Lord's Nativity"

Christ Is Born!

    The wall that separated heaven and earth is destroyed; the sword that barred the way to the tree of life disappears. Unto man that had sinned comes his Creator, calling him into His embrace! By the mouths of the apostles, the Holy Spirit cries out: "In Christ, be ye reconciled to God." You that had sinned came not to God, but the Son of God, before Whom you sinned, came to you! He calls everyone to Himself; He gives forgiveness to everyone who merely thirsts for this. For without the desire of man himself, without at least his little effort, God's peace cannot settle in him. The Lord forces no one to come to Him, but calls everyone: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Come all ye who are heavy laden with sins, who are exhausted from your labors and who do not find rest! You shall find that inner peace, which you will find nothing on earth more desirable than. The soul will feel unearthly peace and joy.
                                                              St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                     CHRIST IS BORN!   
                GLORIFY HIM! 

Christ and Humility

    The Lord showed humble, filial obedience in deciding to be born as a man in the flesh. For the humiliated body of man was, to Him, a cave even more humiliating than that of Bethlehem.
                                                      Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                      "The Gospel on the Heavenly Bread in the Straw"


 Bear the sufferings and painful smarts of the operation so that you may regain your health afterwards (this is said in reference to confession). It means that at confession you must declare all your shameful deeds to your confessor, without concealment, though to do so may be painful, shameful, ignominious, and humiliating. Otherwise the wound will remain unhealed, will ache and be painful, will undermine your spiritual health, and remain as a leaven for other spiritual infirmities, or sinful habits and passions. A priest is a spiritual physician. Show him your wounds, without being ashamed, sincerely, openly, with son-like trust and confidence; for the confessor is your spiritual father, who should love you more than your own father and mother; for Christ's love is higher than any carnal, natural love. He must give an answer to God for you. Why has our life become so impure, so full of passions and sinful habits? Because a great many conceal their spiritual wounds and sores, owing to which they ache and become inflamed; and it is impossible to apply any remedy to them.
                                                   St. John of Kronstadt
                                                   "My Life in Christ"


    The child's desire to read increases as he learns to read; the further one gets into a language, the better he speaks it and the more he likes it. Enjoyment increases with proficiency. Proficiency comes with practice. Practice becomes more pleasant as proficiency increases.
    Do not suppose that it is otherwise with prayer. Do not wait for some extraordinary divine inspiration before setting to work. Man is created for prayer just as he is created to speak and to think.
                                                               Tito Colliander
                                                               "Way of the Ascetics"

God As Love

   In Jesus Christ the Son, God is revealed as love "which passeth all understanding." He, through whom the Holy Trinity has created the world, demonstrates Himself as a man of the flesh, so that the love of the Holy Trinity is manifested to mankind, a love thus far unknown to the world. How did it demonstrate itself? In a manner in which only great love is not shy, as it shows itself for the sake of the salvation of the beloved: by humiliation and kenosis,* by service, suffering, and finally by the supreme sacrifice.
                                                                             Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
                                                                             "Kassiana" (Lessons in Divine and Christian Love)

Avoid Luxury

    Guard yourself against luxury as against a plague. It greatly weakens a Christian's soul.
                                                           St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                           "Journey to Heaven"

The Holy Spirit

    By the Holy Spirit is the Lord made known. By the Holy Spirit do the Saints glorify God, and with the gifts of the Holy Spirit does the Lord give glory to the Saints, and this glory shall have no end.
    To many people the Saints seem far from us. But the Saints are far only from those who have taken themselves away from them, and are very close to those who keep Christ's commandments and possess the grace of the Holy Spirit.
                                                 Staretz Silouan
                                                 "Wisdom from Mount Athos"

Serving the Will

 He who does something good and expects a reward is serving not God but his own will.
                                                         St. Mark the Ascetic

Faith in Christ

    Seek ye first the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33). Direct all your concern toward having God reign in you, and everything worldly will lose its binding and burdensome spell over you. Then you will conduct your affairs outwardly, but inwardly your heart will be possessed by something else. But, if on account of this, the resolution arises to cut off even this outward relationship to worldly things, it will not be a loss to you. You will come closer to the goal which faith in Christ will give you.
                                                            St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                            "Thoughts for Each Day of the Year"

Eyes of the Obedient

    The Lord who makes wise the blind opens the eyes of the obedient to the virtues of their guide, and He blinds them to his defects. But the hater of good does the opposite.
                                                                                 St. John Climacus
                                                                                 "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 4)

Endure Calmly

 Look into the heavens. Reflect on the eternal reward. What seems like suffering to the impatient, turns to solace for the one who calmly endures.
                                                                          St. John Maximovitch of Chernigov
                                                                          "The Royal Way of the Cross of our Lord
                                                                                    Leading to Eternal Life"

Love Of Christ

    ...And, my child, don't say in your thoughts, "Why is this?" and, "Why is that?" The Lord's judgments are an abyss. Glory to God because he loves us all. His love is manifest in our illnesses and our sorrows. "For my strength," He said, "is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9)
    This love of Christ has also made me grieve and suffer with you. But do not fear temptation. It is a trial. God allows as much as He thinks is best, and in the end, His goodness will prevail.
                                                                        Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                                        "Monastic Wisdom" (Forty-ninth Letter)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Heavenly vs Earthly

 He who as a member of the earthly Church has reposed in grace goes over from the earthly Church into the heavenly Church; but he who has fallen away from the earthly Church will not enter into the heavenly, for the Church in this world is the way into the heavenly.
                                                               St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                               "The Church as the Body of Christ"

Sinners Call

  A true Christian is made by faith and love toward Christ. Our sins do not in the least hinder our Christianity, according to the word of the Saviour Himself. He deigned to say: not the righteous have I come to call, but sinners to salvation; there is more joy in heaven over one who repents then over ninety righteous ones. Likewise concerning the sinful woman who touched His feet, He deigned to say: to one who has love, a great debt is forgiven, but from one who has no love, even a small debt will be demanded. From these judgments a Christian should bring himself to hope and joy, and not in the least accept an inflicted despair. Here one needs the shield of faith.
                                                                 St. Herman of Alaska


  As a man who sows in the sea and expects to reap a harvest, so is he who remembers wrongs and prays.
                                                              St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                              "Ascetical Homilies"  (Homily 51)