What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Friday, July 19, 2013

Diligence in Prayer

    The crown of every good endeavor 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 through unutterable love into the presence of the Lord.
                                                                   St. Makarios of Egypt
                                                                   (The Philokalia)


     Iniquity dwells not in peace with virtue; drunkenness hates sobriety; falsehood has nothing in common with truthfulness. Pride has no regard for humility, wantonness for modesty, greed for generosity. And this division awakens such enduring conflicts that though it may outwardly seem to subside, yet never does it cease from troubling the inmost soul of the just in heart, so that it is indeed true that, all who will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecutions; and true as well that all this life is a warfare. Let each faithful soul, learning from his own experiences, arm himself with the Cross of Christ, that he may be found worthy of Christ.
                                                            St. Leo the Great
                                                            "Faith in the Divinity and Humanity of Christ"

Humility's Path to Salvation

   If anyone is weak in body and has had some grave falls, he should take the road of humility and the qualities that belong to her, for he will find no other way to salvation.
                                                   St. John Climacus
                                                   "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 26)

School of Obedience

 Speaking on a human level, Christ raised Himself to primacy in the Church, the world and human history by obedience. No-one can be a good superior who has not gone through the school of obedience. Adam lost his power and primacy over the animals and the natural elements in the hour when he showed himself disobedient to God. 'Obedience begets obedience; if a man listens to God, then God listens to him', said Abba Moses.
                                                          Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                          "The Prologue from Ochrid"

True Prayer

 True prayer is a gift of God, which is granted to him that prayeth, that is, to those who labor in it unremittingly, continually, without sloth, according to what is written: He granteth his prayer to him that prayeth. If with every virtue habit is not acquired at once, but according to the measure of one's practice in it, then even more the habit of prayer requires long-continued labor and unremitting forcing of oneself. And meanwhile, is this sad truth not surprising, that the human soul is so sluggish and is not zealous for prayer! But prayer, as everyone knows, is conversation with God, it is the lifting up of the mind and heart to God, who is the Prototype and Origin of our souls. Does it not seem natural for the soul to rush towards its Origin (Genesis 2:7; 3:22), towards its natural Prototype? How quickly we run to converse with people close to us and loved by us, how readily we reveal our concerns and needs to the powerful and strong of this world, how eagerly we show our wounds and illnesses to the physician! But in prayer, offered before the Heavenly Father who loves us, before our grace-filled Physician, the great High Priest, Who is able to have compassion on our infirmities (Heb. 4:15), before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we stand not only without sufficient reverence, without proper love and longing for Him, but often even without attention, as though by compulsion, from obligation, and not from the inclination of the heart. Isn't this strange and isn't it sad? What may be the reason for this?
     The causes of this are many. The chief, and as it were original cause is that we have immoderately sunk down to the earth, have become so busy that the soul doesn't rule over the flesh subject to her, but on the contrary the soul has been enslaved by the flesh. That slave of corruption, the much-passionate flesh, has seized the upper hand over the immortal, free soul, and has, as it were, added its corpulence to her wings, hindering her flight to the heavens!
                                                    Abbess Thaisia
                                                    "Letters to a Beginner"  ...on Giving One's Life to God

Abhorring the Cause of Sin

  A man is not freed from the pleasure of the working of sin until he truly abhors the cause of sin with his whole heart. This is the fiercest struggle, the struggle that resists a man unto blood, wherein his free will is tested as to the singleness of his love for the virtues.
                                                             St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                             "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 32)

Real Prayer

     Bear in mind that prayer alone, unaccompanied by moral improvement, is useless. St. Macarius of Egypt says of such prayer that it is unreal; that it is, as it were, a mask of the real prayer.
                                                         Staretz Macarius of Optina
                                                         "Russian Letters of Direction"

The Fall of Man

     A profound and hidden mystery is the fall of man. It is quite impossible for a person to understand it by his own powers. This is because among the consequences of the fall is mental blindness, which prevents the mind from seeing the depths and darkness of the fall. Our fallen state deceptively appears to be a state of triumph, and the land of exile seems to be an exceptional field of progress and enjoyment. Gradually God discloses the mystery to those ascetics who serve Him sincerely and with all their soul.
                                                         Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
                                                         "The Arena"

Spirit of Peace

  My joy, I beg you, acquire the Spirit of Peace. That means to bring oneself to such a state that our spirit will not be disturbed by anything. For one must go through many sorrows to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the way all righteous men were saved and inherited the Heavenly Kingdom…

                                                                  St. Seraphim of Sarov
                                                                  (from his conversation with N. A. Motovilov)


     Humility is not learned in a trice. That is why the Lord said: 'Learn lowliness in heart and meekness of me.' To learn takes time. And there are some who have grown old in the practice of spiritual endeavor, yet still have not learned humility, and they cannot understand why things are not well with them, why they do not feel peace and their souls are cast down.
                                                       Staretz Silouan
                                                       "Wisdom from Mount Athos"


     The temptations are profitable to the person that calmly endures them.
                                         Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
                                        "Practical Teaching on the Christian Life"


     Never neglect reading from the Fathers. You will benefit greatly because the saints set an example for you. You see your faults and failings as if in a mirror and correct your life. Reading is like light in darkness.
                                                     Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                     "Monastic Wisdom" (Twenty-sixth Letter)

Humble and Spiritual

     A humble and spiritually active man, when he reads the Holy Scriptures, will refer everything to himself and not to another.
                                                                    St. Mark the Ascetic
                                                                    "Two Centuries on Spiritual Law"
                                                                    (Early Fathers from the Philokalia)

Call Upon God

     When temptation overtakes the iniquitous man, he has no confidence wherewith to call upon God, nor to expect salvation from Him, since in the days of his ease he stood aloof from God's will. Before the war begins, seek after your ally; before you fall ill, seek out your physician; and before grievous things come upon you, pray, and in the time of your tribulations you will find Him, and He will hearken to you. Before you stumble, call out and make supplication; and before you make a vow, have ready what things you promise, for they are your provisions afterwards.
                                                                    St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                                    "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily Five)


   The best moments on earth are those during which we meditate upon heavenly things in general, when we recognize or defend the truth, that heavenly dweller and denizen. Only then do we truly live. Therefore, the essential interests of the soul require that we should oftener rise above the earth, upwards to heaven, where there is our true life, our true country, which shall have no end.
                                                                  St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                  "My Life in Christ"