What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Christian Virtues

 
     The meek Christian virtues are a mighty power in God's world, or they are an artery by which the power of God comes down into the world.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                      Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky
                                                      "How Each of Us Can and Ought to Serve the Church"

Attainment of the Kingdom of God

  In order not to be in perpetual bondage to your vices and to the Devil, you must set yourself an object. Have it consistently before you, and endeavor to reach it, conquering all obstacles in the name of the Lord. What is this object? The kingdom of God, the divine place of glory, prepared for believers from the creation of the world. But as this object can only be attained by certain means, it is also necessary to have such means at one's disposal. And what are these means? Faith, hope and love - especially the last.
 
 
 
 
                                                            St. John of Kronstadt
                                                            "My Life in Christ"

Love

 Love embraces and binds in one all virtues. By love alone the entire law is fulfilled and God-pleasing life takes place. Love consists in laying down one's life for one's friend and not doing to others what you yourself would not want done to yourself. For the sake of love the Son of God became man. He who remains in love remains in God: where love is, there is God also.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                       St. Paisius Velichkovsky
                                                                       "Field Flowers"

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pride and Humility

    ...A great deal of hard work and patience are needed until this old foundation of pride is dug up, and another foundation is set with Christ's humility and obedience
 
 
 
 
                                                     Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                     "Monastic Wisdom" (Third Letter)

Writings of the Saints

 ...Continual study in the writings of the saints fills the soul with incomprehensible wonder and divine gladness.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                              St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                              "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 13)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

True Knowledge

 ...For it is not mere knowledge that is good, but knowledge translated into deeds, and action in accordance with reason. 'For not the hearers of the law', says the Scripture, 'but the doers of the law shall be justified' (Rom. 2:13).
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                   St. Gregory Palamas
                                                                                   "Homily Forty-Seven"

Remembrance and Contemplation

     Nothing so moves a sinner to repentance as eternity, and nothing is so useful to every Christian as remembrance and contemplation of eternity. Eternity restrains a man from sin, calms his passions, turns him from the world and all its vanity, makes his heart contrite, gives birth to tears of repentance, incites him to prayer, and works true sighing of the heart. Contemplation and remembrance of eternity can correct even the most depraved man.
     Contemplation of eternity filled dwellers of the desert, caves, mountains and clefts of the earth. By contemplating eternity the holy martyrs willed to endure torments rather than submit to the will of ungodly kings and deny Christ.
 
 
 
 
                                                                      St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                                      "Journey to Heaven"

Forgetting Sins

  ...And if we must remember offences, let us remember only our own. And if we remember our own sins, we shall never store up the sins of others. And again, should we forget the sins of others, our thoughts will then readily turn to the remembrance of our own.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                        St. John Chrysostom
                                                                        "On Contempt of Anger"

True Humility

  When you have done something good, remember the words 'without Me you can do nothing' (John 15:5).
 
 
 
 
                                                            St. Mark the Ascetic
                                                            "The Philokalia"

Movement Back to God

   ...Following the grace-filled awakening, the first thing a man's freedom must accomplish is a movement towards itself which it completes by three acts: a) It leans in the direction of good, and chooses it. b) It removes obstacles, breaks the bonds that keep a man in sin, expelling self-pity, man-pleasing, tendency toward the sensual and earthliness, from the heart; in their place, awakening pitilessness for oneself, distaste for the sensual, giving oneself over to all manner of shame, and resettling the heart into a future age with a feeling of foreignness here. c) Finally, it becomes enthused about immediately stepping onto the good path, not relaxing a bit, but preserving oneself in some measure of constant tension.
     In this manner everything calms down the soul. The awakened one, freed from all fetters, says to itself with complete readiness: Having risen, I will go.
     From this moment begins another movement of the soul  -  to God. Having conquered itself, mastered all the expressions of its movement, returned freedom to itself, it should now bring itself forth as a sacrifice to God.
 
 
 
 
                                                                St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                                "The Path to Salvation"

Destroying Sin

  ...And so if you desire to imitate the virtues of the Apostles, there is nothing to prevent you. All that is needed is your own fervent will, and a most tender love of virtue. Let not the expectation of miracles hold you back. The devil is indeed angered when cast forth from a human body; but much more so, if he sees a soul freed from sin. For this is his greater power, the spreading of sin. Because of this Christ died, that He might break this power. This has brought death. Because of sin the whole world is upside-down. If you destroy sin you have broken the nerves of the devil, you have bruised his head, you have destroyed his power, you have defeated his army, you have wrought a sign greater than all miracles.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                St. John Chrysostom
                                                                "The Leaven of Holiness"

Seeds of Faith

    In ancient times, our forefathers sowed the seeds of wheat of faith in that field which is the Church. It would be quite unjust and improper if we, their descendants, gathered, instead of the genuine truth of wheat, the false tares of error. On the contrary, it is logically correct that the beginning and the end be in agreement, that we reap from the planting of the wheat of doctrine the harvest of the wheat of dogma. In this way, none of the characteristics of the seed is changed, although something evolved in the course of time from those first seeds and has now expanded under careful cultivation. What may be added is merely appearance, beauty, and distinction, but the proper nature of each kind remains. May it never happen that the rose garden of the Catholic spirit be turned into a field of thistles and thorns. May it never happen that in this spiritual paradise darnel and poison ivy suddenly appear from growths of cinnamon and balsam. Whatever has been planted in the husbandry of God's Church by the faith of the Fathers should, therefore, be cultivated and guarded by the zeal of their children; it should flourish and ripen; it should develop and become perfect. For it is right that those ancient dogmas of heavenly philosophy should in the course of time be thoroughly cared for, filed, and polished; but it is sinful to change them, sinful to behead them or mutilate them. They may take on more evidence, clarity, and distinctness, but it is absolutely necessary that they retain their plenitude, integrity, and basic character.
 
 
 
                                                                         St. Vincent of Lerins
                                                                         "A Commonitory"  

Moral Perfection


     Moral perfection is attained by the way of independent, intricate work on oneself, by inner warfare, deprivations, and especially self-humiliation. The Orthodox Christian who sincerely and heartily fulfills the spiritual discipline has by that very act already completed a significant part of that podvig, because our discipline is all so formed that it serves for the gradual mortification of the passions and the acquisition of blessed perfection.
 
 
 
 
                                                                  Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky
                                                                  "How Does Orthodoxy Differ From
                                                                        the Western Denominations"

Trust in God


    I said this, brethren, because I wanted to show you what great comfort and freedom from anxiety a person may have - with full safety if he does not trust in himself but casts everything concerning himself upon God and on those who, after God, can help him. Learn, therefore, brethren, to inquire and not to guide yourselves. This is good, this is humility, comfort and joy. There is no other route to salvation than this.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                        St. Dorotheos of Gaza
                                                                        "Practical Teaching on the Christian Life"

Friday, October 18, 2013

Humility

    I said this, brethren, because I wanted to show you what great comfort and freedom from anxiety a person may have - with full safety if he does not trust in himself but casts everything concerning himself upon God and on those who, after God, can help him. Learn, therefore, brethren, to inquire and not to guide yourselves. This is good, this is humility, comfort and joy. There is no other route to salvation than this.
                                                                        St. Dorotheos of Gaza
                                                                        "Practical Teaching on the Christian Life"

Mysteries and Wisdom of God

 A fish cannot live out of the water; no one can walk without feet, or see light without eyes, or speak without a tongue, or hear without ears. So without the Lord Jesus, and the working of Divine Power, no one can know the mysteries and wisdom of God, or be rich and a Christian. The wise, the warriors, the brave men, the philosophers of God, are those who are led and shepherded in the inner man by the Divine Power.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                      St. Macarius the Great
                                                                                      "Spiritual Homilies" (Homily 17)

Here Is Consolation!

  Here is consolation above all consolations! Here is consolation for those broken by tempest. Let them only remember that Christ is among them, and let them not be afraid. He is the Helmsman.
     Here is the consolation for those in pain. Let them know that Christ is there by their bed, and let them not despair. He is the Healer.
     Here is consolation for the old. Let them not lose sight of the fact that Christ goes with them through the years right to eternity and eternal youth, and let them be at peace.
     Here is consolation for those who are tormented by men. Let them not think that they are left alone, for Christ is with them in all their pain, and at their judgment, and in prison; and let them rejoice. He is the Judge.
     Here is consolation for those tormented by evil spirits. Let them remember that Christ, the Conqueror of evil spirits, is on their side, and let them be strengthened. He is the Victor.
     Here is consolation for those who seek the light of righteousness and truth. Let them believe that Christ is closer to their souls than to their eyes, and let them follow His leading. He is the Light.
     Oh, my brethren, Christ is truly always with us, as a light that is ever present to the eyes of those who look, But, to our loss, if the eyes of our soul are closed, then the light seeks in vain to encounter the pupil of our eye! Oh, what sorrow and grief is ours when we are not with Christ!
     He comes to meet us - do we go to meet Him? He desires to be with us - do we desire to be with Him? If we desire consolation, we must be with Him every day to the end of our lives.
     O Lord, our only Consoler, do not leave us! To Thee be glory and praise forever.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                          Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                                          "The Prologue from Ochrid"

Remain Firm!

   When beset by temptations, pray for courage and strength to remain firm. Remember: there is an eternity!
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                          Staretz Macarius of Optina
                                                                                          "Russian Letters of Direction"

Compunction

   Bees surround their queen among fresh meadow-flowers; and the soul that is increasingly in a state of compunction is surrounded and assisted by the angelic powers, for it is kindred to them.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                Ilias the Presbyter
                                                                "The Philokalia"

Guard Against Pride


     The proud man does not want to live according to God's will: he likes to be his own master and does not see that man has not wisdom enough to guide himself without God.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                   Staretz Silouan
                                                                                   "Wisdom from Mount Athos"

Priest As Servant of God

  A priest is the servant of God, invested with His authority and power (in the sacrament of penitence); the blessing of the priest is the power of the Cross.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                         St. John of Kronstadt
                                                                         "My Life in Christ"

Guard Against Pride in Good Works

  Let us constantly guard against admitting even the mere thought that we have attained to any good whatsoever; and let us keep on looking carefully to see whether this is one of our characteristics.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                               St. John Climacus
                                                               "The Ladder of Divine Ascent"

Holy Scripture and Guidance

  In the book of Proverbs it is written, "Where there is no guidance, they fall like leaves; salvation exists in much counsel" (Prov.11:14). Can you see here the power of the Word, brothers? Can you see that what the Holy Scripture is teaching us? It safeguards us, so that we do not trust ourselves, so that we do not consider ourselves wise, so that we do not believe that we can guide ourselves. We need assistance. After God Himself, we need our guides.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                          Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
                                                                          "Practical Teaching on the Christian Life"

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Oversee Your Soul

   The heart of a man who oversees his soul at all times is made joyous by revelations.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                    St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                    "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 15)

Panagia

  Have our Panagia, his dear, sweet Mother, as your protectress and entreat her constantly. Embrace her holy icon as if she were alive, and wet it with tears as the myrrh-bearer did to Jesus' feet. And you will derive substantial consolation as if she were beside you.
     Our Panagia hastens everywhere. She bestows her grace abundantly upon anyone who fervently cries out to her. She is a mediatress to Christ for everyone, because she was deemed worthy to give birth to the Lord and to become the Mother of God. She carries Him in Her arms and constantly entreats Him.
     Since we sinners do not have the boldness to run directly to God from the start, we cry to His Mother. She regenerates us; she intercedes, she anticipates all our afflictions. She is our protectress and helper, more honorable than all the angels, beyond compare more glorious than the Cherubim and Seraphim, second in rank only to the Holy Trinity. Oh, but she is so good, so sweet, that you want to embrace her at every moment and obtain consoling grace. The more you love, the more you are loved.
  Elder Joseph the Hesychast
                                                                   "Monastic Wisdom" (Seventy-fourth Letter)

Do Not Offend

  Be extremely careful not to offend anyone in word or deed, for it is a grave sin. When someone is offended, God, Who loves the man, is also offended, for there can be no offending man without offending God. Whoever sins against man, also sins against God.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                           Bishop Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                           "Journey to Heaven"

Born of the Holy Spirit

     ...The Son came, or rather was made man, in order to reconstitute our condition within Himself; first of all in His own holy, wonderful, and truly amazing birth and life. This is why He himself became the first one to be born of the Holy Spirit (I mean of course after the flesh) so that He could trace a path for grace to come to us.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                         St. Cyril of Alexandria
                                                         "On the Unity of Christ"

'Give Blood - Receive the Spirit'

   ...Wisdom and counsel may teach, but affliction dislodges passion and sin. And it teaches man not by words but in practice. That is precisely why the saints are great: they learned spiritual wisdom through experience and pain of heart. Give blood, it is said, and receive the Spirit.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                          St. Anatoly of Optina
                                                          "A Collection of Letters to Nuns"

Spiritual Knowledge and Humility

 Unless curbed by the fear of God that accompanies the practice of the virtues, spiritual knowledge leads to vanity; for it encourages the person puffed up by it to regard as his own what has merely been lent to him, and to use his borrowed intelligence to win praise for himself. But when his practice of the virtues increases concomitantly with his longing for God, and he does not arrogate to himself more spiritual knowledge than is needed for the task in hand, then he is made humble, reduced to himself by principles which are beyond his capacity.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                           St. Maximos the Confessor
                                                           "Third Century"
                                                           (The Philokalia)

Reproach and Humility

   When others reproach us in anything, it should not irritate us, nor make us despondent; rather it should humble us, who are morally worthless, and should make us turn to God with the fervent prayer that He may heal our sickness, and by His grace supply that which is wanting in us.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                   St. John of Kronstadt
                                                   "My Life in Christ"

Take Up Your Cross

    ...What does it mean: to take up your cross? It means the willing acceptance, at the hand of Providence, of every means of healing, bitter though it may be, that is offered. Do great catastrophes fall on you? Be obedient to God's will, as Noah was. Is sacrifice demanded of you? Give yourself into God's hands with the same faith as Abram had when he went to sacrifice his son. Is your property ruined? Do your children die suddenly? Suffer it all with patience, cleaving to God in your heart, as Job did. Do your friends forsake you, and you find yourself surrounded by enemies? Bear it all without grumbling, and with faith that God's help is at hand, as the apostles did. Are you condemned to death for Christ? Be thankful to God for such an honor, like thousands of Christian martyrs. Nothing will be sought of you that has not been done before, but you will rather follow the example of many - apostles, saints, confessors and martyrs - who have done Christ's will. We must know, furthermore, that in seeking our crucifixion, The Lord is seeking the crucifixion of the old man, the man made up of evil habits and the service of sin. For, by this crucifixion, the old, animal-like man in us is put to death, and the new man, made in God's image and immortal, is raised to life.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                  Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                                                  "The Holy Cross"

The Cross


     The disciple who wrote this said: 'For as yet the Holy Spirit was not in them, because Jesus was not yet glorified' (John 7:39). He calls the cross a glory. When he wanted to demonstrate Christ's love, of what did he speak? His signs and wonders and marvels? No, he gives prominence to the cross, with the words: 'God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that all who believe in him may not perish, but have eternal life' (John 3:16). Paul too says: 'He spared not even his own Son, but delivered him up for us all; so how will he not also in company with him give us all things?' (Rom 8:32). When he exhorts us to humility, it is from the cross that he derives his advice with the words: 'If there be any comfort in Christ, if any comfort of charity, if any communion of the Spirit, if any bowels of compassion, fulfill my joy, that you be of one mind, having the same charity, being of one accord, agreeing in sentiment. Let there be no contention or vainglory, but in humility let each esteem others as better than himself' (Phil 2:1-3). Then he commences his advice with the words 'Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal to God; but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of man, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, the death of the cross' (Phil 2:5-8).
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                        St. John Chrysostom
                                                                        "Daily Readings"    
                                                                        (He Calls the Cross a Glory)

The Crosses You Bear

     ...You are resisting God's Spirit, Who through the lips of the Holy Spirit pronounced: We faint not, which means we do not despair, although our outward man perish. And why? Because then, our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (II Cor. 4: 16-17). And so, stop grumbling and crying, "My cross is huge, my cross is heavy, I cannot endure such oppressive and continuous suffering! What you have endured, the Apostle considers to be of short duration and mild. And you have not yet taken such oppressive and numerous beatings as the Apostle endured from the Judeans; you have not spent day and night in the depth of the ocean; you have not labored more than others; you have not shed your blood. Don't you see that all these temporary sufferings are not worthy of the glory to come? All that is sorrowful is short-lived and easy; but what is remarkable is eternal and greater than any measure: the glory of heaven.
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                             St. John Maximovitch of Chernigov
                                                             "The Royal Way of the Cross of our Lord
                                                                       Leading to Eternal Life"

Humility and Peace


     No one has understanding if he is not humble, and he who lacks humility is devoid of understanding.
 
     No one is humble if he is not at peace, and he who is not at peace is not humble. And no one is at peace without rejoicing.
 
     In all the paths on which people journey in this world they will find no peace until they draw near to the hope which is in God.
 
     The heart finds no peace from toil and from stumbling-blocks until it is brought close to hope - which makes it peaceful and pours joy into it.
 
     This is what the venerable and holy lips of our Lord said, 'Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' (Matt. 11:28)
 
     Draw near, He says, to Hope in Me; desist from the many ways and you will find rest from labor and fear.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                          St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                          "Humility and Peace" (Daily Readings)