What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Christ's Teachings

    It is of little use to prove by human logic and words that Christ's teaching is of God. The quickest and most dependable way to prove His veracity is to do the will of God in the way that Christ expounded and to which He bore witness. Whoever does this, he also will know.
     If you weep for the sake of God, you know how God is consolation; if you are compassionate, you know the compassion of God. If you make peace, you will learn how it becomes you to be called a son of God. If you forgive men, you will know how God forgives you.
     No man can ever discover that Christ's teaching is from God but he who does the will of God. For only the doing of the will of God, the fulfilling of the commandments of God, is the key to unlock Paradise, in which God is seen. That is the key to the understanding of Holy Scripture and all the secrets of the Revelation.
     St. Basil writes" 'Purity of life is necessary in order to recognize that which is hidden in Holy Scripture.'
  
 
 
                                                                      Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                                      "Prologue from Ochrid"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mother of God

   From Apostolic times and to our days all who truly love Christ give veneration to Her Who gave birth to Him, raised Him and protected Him in the days of His youth. If God the Father chose Her, God the Holy Spirit descended upon Her, and God the Son dwelt in Her, submitted to Her in the days of His youth, was concerned for Her when hanging on the Cross - then should not everyone who confesses the Holy Trinity venerate Her?
Still in the days of Her earthly life, the friends of Christ, the Apostles, manifested a great concern and devotion for the Mother of the Lord, especially the Evangelist John the Theologian, who, fulfilling the will of Her Divine Son, took Her to himself and took care for Her as for a mother from the time when the Lord uttered to him from the Cross the words: “Behold thy mother.”
The Evangelist Luke painted a number of images of Her, some together with the Pre-eternal Child, others without Him. When, he brought them and showed them to the Most Holy Virgin, She approved them and said: “The grace of My Son shall be with them,”and repeated the hymn She had once sung in the house of Elizabeth: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and My spirit hath rejoiced in God My Saviour.”
However, the Virgin Mary during Her earthly life avoided the glory which belonged to Her as the Mother of the Lord. She preferred to live in quiet and prepare Herself for the departure into eternal life. To the last day of Her earthly life She took care to prove worthy of the Kingdom of Her Son, and before death She prayed that He might deliver Her soul from the malicious spirits that meet human souls on the way to heaven and strive to seize them so as to take them away with them to Hades. The Lord fulfilled the prayer of His Mother and in the hour of Her death Himself came from heaven with a multitude of angels to receive Her soul.
Since the Mother of God had also prayed that She might bid farewell to the Apostles, the Lord gathered for Her death all the Apostles, except Thomas, and they were brought by an invisible power on that day to Jerusalem from all the ends of the inhabited world, where they were preaching, and they were present at Her blessed translation into eternal life.
The Apostles gave Her most pure body over to burial with sacred hymns, and on the third day they opened the tomb so as once more to venerate the remains of the Mother of God together with the Apostle Thomas, who had arrived then in Jerusalem. But they did not find the body in the tomb and in perplexity they returned to their own place; and then, during their meal, the Mother of God Herself appeared to them in the air, shining with heavenly light, and informed them that Her Son had glorified Her body also, and She, resurrected, stood before His Throne. At the same time She promised to be with them always.
The Apostles greeted the Mother of God with great joy and began to venerate Her not only as the Mother of their beloved Teacher and Lord, but also as their heavenly helper, as a protector of Christians and intercessor for the whole human race before the Righteous Judge. And everywhere the Gospel of Christ was preached, His Most Pure Mother also began to be glorified.

                                                                      St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                                      "The Orthodox Veneration of the Mother of God"

Monday, August 26, 2013

Perfect Love

 Sometimes afflictions are sent to a person even though he is innocent, so that he would suffer for others, as did Christ. The Saviour Himself first suffered for the people. His Apostles also suffered for the Church and for people. Perfect love means suffering for your neighbor.
 
 
 
 
                                                          Elder Ambrose of Optina

Church Life and the Spirit of God

  According to the teaching of the Apostle, all Church life is a manifestation of God's Holy Spirit; each manifestation of love, each virtue is the action of a gift of the Spirit. Everything is produced by one and the same Spirit. According to the words of the Apostle Peter, people are but stewards of the manifold grace of God. The Spirit of God has, by Its own power, penetrated the entire body of the Church and given various spiritual gifts to each of its members, making possible a new life for mankind. It unites all into one body, unifying in such a way as to instill a kind of love in the hearts on men which, in their natural state, cannot be a principle of their lives and relationships with other people.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                          Holy New Martyr Archbishop Ilarion (Troitsky)
                                                          "Christianity or the Church"

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sincere Christians

  With sincere Christians prayer is continual, because we continually sin; gratitude is perpetual, because everyday, every moment, we receive fresh mercies from God, beside the old mercies, which are numberless. Praise is also perpetual, because we perpetually see the glory of God's works in ourselves and in the world, especially the glory of His infinite love towards us.
 
 
 
                                                     St. John of Kronstadt                    
                                                     "My Life in Christ"

Confession

   By resolving to make one's confession, the soul is thereby held from sinning as by a bridle.
 
 
 
 
                                             St. John Climacus
                                             "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 4)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Binding Your Heart to God

The soul that loves God finds rest only in God. First loose yourself from all external bonds and then you will be able to bind your heart to God, because the being bound to God is preceded by the being loosed from matter. After an infant is weaned, it is given bread to eat; and the man who wishes to progress in things divine must first be weaned from the world, like an infant from its mother's breasts. Works performed with the body precede those performed with the soul, just as in generation the creation of the body preceded the creation of the soul. The man who has not performed bodily works cannot possess the works of the soul, since the second are born of the first like the ear of corn from a naked grain of wheat; and he who does not possess the works of the soul is bereft of spiritual gifts.
 
 
 
 
                                                              St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                              "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 4)

Testing Our Strength

     The Lord dispenses everything for us in due measure and proportion, never burdening us with pain more that what we can bear, but testing the strength of our faith by difficult circumstances that do not exceed our ability to endure. He adds a measure of tears in the water of those who must show that they can keep their faith in God in the midst of trouble. And He shows His love of us in not allowing our enemies to persecute us so much that the beatings we suffer would be able to shake us from our faith in Christ. It is by confronting you with enemies who can easily be conquered that He is preparing for the victory you will win and the prize of your endurance. But the common enemy of our life is one who uses his own methods against the goodness of God and who, when he sees that you have denied any assault on your fortifications from outside, sees a means of insinuating into your midst the seeds of division and meanness.
 
 
 
                                                                      St. Basil the Great
                                                                      "Letter to the Clergy at Samosata"
                                                                      (Gateway to Paradise)

Traditions of the Church

 
 
     ...And from the immortal proclamation of St. John of Damascus there resounds the universal confession of all the holy fathers who were glorified by God: "Whatever has been transmitted to us through the Law, and the prophets, and the apostles, and the evangelists, we receive and know and esteem highly, and beyond that we ask nothing more. . . Let us be fully satisfied with it, and rest therein, removing not the ancient landmarks (Prov. 22:28), nor violating the divine Tradition." And then, the touching, fatherly admonition of the holy Damscene, directed to all Orthodox Christians: "Wherefore, brethren, let us plant ourselves upon the rock of faith and the Tradition of the Church, removing not the landmarks set by our holy fathers, nor giving room to those who are anxious to introduce novelties and to undermine the structure of God's holy ecumenical and apostolic Church. For if everyone were allowed a free hand, little by little the entire Body of the Church would be destroyed."
 
 
 
                                                                       Archimandrite Justin Popovich
                                                                       "The Attributes of the Church"

To Be Saved

  Those who desire to be saved do not pay attention to the faults of their neighbor, but always to their own and thus progress.
 
 
 
 
 
                                               Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
                                               "Practical Teaching on the Christian Life"

The Light and Its Luminescence


     That same Inscrutable Light shone and was mysteriously manifest to the Apostles and the foremost of the Prophets at that moment, when (the Lord) was praying. This shows that what brought forth this blessed sight was prayer, and that the radiance occurred and was manifest by uniting the mind with God, and that it is granted to all who, with constant exercise in efforts of virtue and prayer, strive with their mind towards God. True beauty, essentially, can be contemplated only with a purified mind. To gaze upon its luminescence assumes a sort of participation in it, as though some bright ray etches itself upon the face.
 
 
 
                                             St. Gregory Palamas
                                             "Sermon on the Transfiguration"

Providence


     To us, who firmly believe in Providence, even the most bitter adversities are but a movement of the hand of God; a movement of the hand of our Lord who is never weary of drawing man's attention his personal way into the infinite; never weary of pointing out this way.
 
 
 
 
                                                   Staretz Macarius of Optina
                                                   "Russian Letters of Direction"

The Lord That Loves Us


     The Lord loves us more dearly than we can love ourselves; but the soul in her distress supposes that the Lord is forgetful of her, that He even has no wish to look upon her, and she suffers and pines.
     But it is not so, brethren. The Lord loves us without end, and gives us the grace of the Holy Spirit, and comforts us. It is not the Lord's desire that the soul should be despondent and in doubt concerning her salvation. Believe and be sure that we continue in suffering only until we have humbled ourselves; but so soon as we humble ourselves there is an end to affliction, for the spirit of God discloses to the soul, because of her humility, that she is saved.
     Great glory be to the Lord that He loveth us so dearly, and this love is made known in the Holy Spirit.
 
 
                                                           Staretz Silouan
                                                           "Wisdom from Mount Athos"

Grace Before Temptation

   Know that grace always precedes temptations as a warning to prepare.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                       Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                       "Monastic Wisdom" (Tenth Letter)

Field of Our Heart and the Harvest


     If the husbandman wishes to have a rich harvest, he must work early and late, weed and aerate, water and spray, for cultivation is beset by many dangers that threaten the harvest. He must work without ceasing, be constantly on the watch, constantly alert, constantly prepared; but, even so, the harvest ultimately depends wholly on the elements, that is, on God.
     The garden that we have undertaken to tend and watch over is the field of our own heart; the harvest is eternal life.
 
 
 
 
                                                                  Tito Colliander
                                                                  "Way of the Ascetics"

The Divine Liturgy

 The divine liturgy is truly a heavenly service on earth, in which God himself, in a particular, immediate and most close manner is present and dwells with men, for He Himself is the invisible Celebrant of the service; He is both the offerer and the offering. There is on earth nothing higher, greater, more holy, than the liturgy; nothing more solemn, nothing more life-giving.
 
 
 
 
                                                         St. John of Kronstadt
                                                         "My Life in Christ"

Hypocrisy and Shame

 
     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.
 
 
 
 
                                                          St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                          "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily Four)

Frivolous People


     Do not be surprised when you see that those whom you love turn against you on account of your rebukes. Frivolous people are the tools of the demons, and are used especially against the demons' foes.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                    St. John Climacus
                                                    "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 26)

Prayer and Work

  ...And so let us perfect our work with prayer, giving thanks to Him Who has given our hands the power to work, and our minds the power to gather knowledge; and Who has given us the material of our work, that in the tools we use, and that on which we use our skill; praying that the work of our hands may be directed to the end of pleasing God.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                              St. Basil the Great
                                                              "Christian Labor: Work and Prayer"

Defiance of Sin

    One must do everything for the glory of God in defiance of the sin which dwells in us.
     One must do everything for the glory of God in defiance of the sin which dwells in us.
                                                     St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                     "The Path to Salvation"
                                                     St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                     "The Path to Salvation"

Meekness

     Meekness is a rock overlooking the sea of anger, which breaks all the waves that dash against it, yet remains completely unmoved.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                             St. John Climacus
                                                             "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 24)

Spirit of Submission

   ...How can we be partakers of this spirit of submission, unless that the very inconstancy of things exercises us to steadfastness of mind, so that the love that leads us to God does not grow into pride in prosperity, nor fall away in adversity? May what is pleasing to God, be pleasing also to us! Let us rejoice in their measure in every gift from God. He that has used great things well, let him use well the simple things also. Let him take equal care of scarcity as of abundance. If the fruitfulness of our own souls does not displease us, neither should we be grieved over the poverty of the fruits in the spiritual harvest. Let that which the earth fails to bring forth, rise up in the field of our own heart.
                                                                  St. Leo the Great
                                                                  "On the Fast and on Offerings"

Obedience



     Without obedience, whatever a man may do is not pleasing to God.
                                                  St. Tikhon of Zadonsk                                    
                                                  "Journey to Heaven"

Purity of Faith and Life

    In vain does one strive to learn if one does not strive for purity of faith and life. The heavenly world is revealed not to the learned but to the pure.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                  Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                                  "The Prologue from Ochrid"    

Everything Good


     Everything good is given by the Lord providentially; and he who has faith that this is so will not lose what he has been given.
 
 
 
 
                                             St. Mark the Ascetic
                                             "On the Spiritual Law"
                                             (The Philokalia)

Orthodoxy

   ...Orthodoxy is the true, undistorted, unperverted by any human sophistry or invention, genuine teaching of Christ in all its purity and fullness - the teaching of faith and piety which is life according to the Faith.
     Orthodoxy is not only the sum total of dogmas accepted as true in a purely formal manner. It is not only theory, but practice; it is not only right Faith, but a life which agrees in everything with this Faith. The true Orthodox Christian is not only he who thinks in an Orthodox manner, but who feels according to Orthodoxy and lives Orthodoxy, who strives to embody the true Orthodox teaching of Christ in his life.
 
 
 
 
                                                          Archbishop Averky
                                                          "What is Orthodoxy?"

Inner Struggle


     Those greatly err who think that prayer, fasting, struggling, and the battle with passions have only the one goal of personal salvation. Thus they conceal in themselves a spirit of egoism. No! Inner struggle with self is the treasure of the whole Church. It is a gathering of power in the Church, of riches that consist not in the number of members, not in great and rich churches, not in beautiful choirs, not even in the amount of charitable acts, but in the moral character of the believers.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                    Fr. Michael Pomazansky

Kingdom of God

  Without sorrows there is no salvation. On the other hand, the Kingdom of God awaits those who have patiently endured. And all the glory of the world is nothing in comparison.
 
 
 
 
                                                    St. Seraphim of Sarov

True Charity

  ...What must we do therefore, brethren, but bestow on our brothers the love of true charity? Let no malice remain in our hearts. May Almighty God be mindful of our love for our neighbor, that He may have mercy on our sins. Remember what we have been commanded to do: Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. We too have debtors, and we also are debtors. Let us then forgive what is owed to us, that we may be forgiven what we owe. But the mind resists this: It desires to fulfill what it hears, yet struggles against doing this.
 
 
 
 
                                                St. Gregory the Great
                                                "This is My Commandment: That you love one another"

The Bad and The Good

   ...And it should not frighten you that in the Church the bad are many and the good are few.
 
 
 
      
                                                                St. Gregory the Great

Abuse. Anger and Condemnation

   You are provoked by abuse as by something repulsive? Pretend to yourself it is something good. Otherwise you do what you complain of. Or is it that you look carefully at the evils others commit, and think nothing of your own wickedness? Is such abuse not an evil thing? Then fly from imitating it. That another began it is no excuse. Indeed to me it seems more fitting to blame you for the quarrel; in that you gave him no example in self restraint. You see an angry man behaving in an unbecoming manner do not guard against imitating him, but becoming angry and bitter you rage against him; so your anger now becomes a justification for the one who began the quarrel. And in doing this you provide an excuse for him, and condemn yourself.
 
 
 
 
                                                    St. Basil the Great
                                                    "Against the Angry"

A Humbled Soul

There are certain kinds of trees which never bear any fruit as long as their branches stay up straight, but if stones are hung on the branches to bend them down they begin to bear fruit. So it is with the soul. When it is humbled it begins to bear fruit, and the more fruit it bears the lowlier it becomes. So also the saints, the nearer they get to God, the more they see themselves as sinners.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
                                                                "Discourses and Sayings"

Which Path to Salvation?

 
     Disciple: What is the easiest way to be saved? On what path?
     Elder: If you would be simple-hearted like the Apostles, would not conceal your human shortcomings, would not pretend to be especially pious, if you would walk free from hypocrisy, then that is the path. While it is easy, not everyone can find it or understand it. This path is the shortest way to salvation and attracts the grace of God. Unpretentiousness, guilelessness, frankness of soul - this is what is pleasing to the Lord, Who is lowly of heart. Except ye become like children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of God. (Mt. 18:13).
 
 
 
                                              Elder Leonid of Optina

Living With God

     To live with God is happiness in misfortune, riches in poverty, glory in dishonor, and consolation in sorrow. Without God there cannot be true repose, peace and consolation.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                               St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                               "Journey to Heaven"

Flee Praise

     True Christians flee the praise of men.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                             Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                             "The Prologue from Ochrid"

Doing Good

 ...In nothing do we draw so close to God as in doing good to man.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                      St. Gregory the Great
                                                      "On the Love of the Poor..."

Oppressiveness

   ...If the toil is oppressive, be firm; the reward and the glory are great. If the cross is long lasting, don't abandon it; the reward will be eternal. Steadiness will sweeten the task. Daily practice helps to overcome timidity and a habit turns into a natural tendency, so that man, being constantly enclosed by the practice of patience as by hard armor, is invincible and as if invulnerable to sorrow. Those sailing on the sea for the first time are disturbed because they are unaccustomed to it and are beside themselves with fear; but those who have sailed many times and experienced many storms and bad weather, are calmer on board ship than others who are on land, and they are not afraid to stand at the very bow of the ship. And those, who in the beginning with one look at the sea were terrified, after having experienced the terrors of the heavy sea, are now without fear and are gathering ropes and setting sails during a heavy storm and calmly walking about all parts of the ship. Without doubt the same will happen to you. With daily achievement and perseverance, the oppressiveness of sorrows will become easier for you.
 
 
 
 
                                                             St. John Maximovitch of Chernigov
                                                             "The Royal Way of the Cross of Our Lord
                                                                      Leading to eternal Life"

As a Bishop...

  ...For whenever you are subject to the bishop as unto Jesus Christ, you appear to me to be living not the ordinary life of men, but after the manner of the life of Jesus Christ, who died for our sakes, that believing in His death you might escape death. It is necessary therefore that you should act, as indeed you do, in nothing without the bishop. But be subject also to the presbytery, as unto the Apostles of Jesus Christ our Hope. For if we live in Him we shall be found in Him. Those, too, who are deacons of the mysteries of Jesus Christ must in every way be pleasing unto all. For they are not deacons of meats and drinks, but are servants of the Church of God. So then they must be on their guard against blame as against fire.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                               St. Ignatius the God-Bearer
                                                               "Epistle to the Trallians"

Heaven or Earth?

  It is impossible to look to heaven with one eye and to the earth with another. Likewise, it is impossible for our soul to cling at once to earthly and to heavenly things. We must select one or the other and cling to it.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                           Staretz Zosima of Optina
                                                           "Russian Mystics"

Strengthening of One's Faith


     When your faith in the Lord, either during your life and prosperity, or in the time of sickness and at the moment of quitting this life, grows weak, grows dim from worldly vanity or through illness, and from the terrors and darkness of death, then look with the mental eyes of your heart upon the companies of our forefathers, the patriarchs, prophets, and righteous ones - St. Simeon, who took the Lord up in his arms, Job, Anna the Prophetess, and others; the Apostles, prelates, venerable Fathers, martyrs, the disinterested, the righteous, and all the saints. See how, both during their earthly life and at the time of their departure from this life, they unceasingly looked to God and died in the hope of the resurrection and of the life eternal, and strive to imitate them. These living examples, which are so numerous, are capable of strengthening the wavering faith of every Christian in the Lord and in the future life. Those Christian communions who do not venerate the saints and do not call upon them in prayer lose much in piety and in Christian hope. They deprive themselves of the great strengthening of their faith by the examples of men like unto themselves.
 
 
 
 
                                                                 St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                 "My Life in Christ"