What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Humble Yourself

Humble yourself, and you will be saved. Do not insist on your own way.
                                       St. Anatoly of Optina
                                       "A Collection of Letters to Nuns"

Approaching God

 The abbot Mathios said, "The nearer a man approaches God, the greater sinner he sees himself to be."
                                                                  The Desert Fathers


...Nothing makes one so dizzy as human reasoning, which sees everything from an earthly point of view, and does not allow illumination to come from above. Earthly reasoning is covered with mud. Therefore, we have need of streams from above, so that, when the mud has fallen away, whatever part of the reason is pure may be carried on high and may be thoroughly imbued with the lessons taught there. This takes place when we manifest both a well-disposed soul and an upright life.
                                                                      St. John Chrysostom

Turn to God

The servants of Antichrist more than anything else strive to force God out of the life of men, so that men, satisfied with their material comfort, might not feel any need to turn to God in prayer, might not remember God, but might live as though He did not exist. Therefore, the whole order of today's life in the so-called 'free' countries, where there is no open bloody persecution against faith, where everyone has the right to believe as he wishes, is an even greater danger for the soul of a Christian (than open persecution), for it chains him entirely to the earth, compelling him to forget about heaven. The whole of contemporary 'culture,' directed to purely earthly attainments and the frantic whirlpool of life bound up with it, keeps a man in a constant state of emptiness and distraction which gives no opportunity for one to go at least a little deeper into his soul, and so the spiritual life in him gradually dies out.
                                                                           Archbishop Averky
                                                                           "True Orthodoxy and the Contemporary World"


Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man (Matt. 15:11). The Lord said this not because He did not favor fasting, or because He considered it unnecessary for us. No, He himself fasted, and taught the Apostles to do so, and He established fasts in His Holy Church. Rather, He said this so that not only we would fast by eating little or only uncooked food, but we might also keep the fast in our soul, not indulging it with desires and passionate inclinations. This is the important thing. Fasting serves as a powerful means for this. The foundation of the passions is the flesh; when the flesh is emaciated, then it is as if the passions are undermined and their fortress is destroyed. Without fasting, overcoming the passions would be a miracle, similar to being in a fire and not be burned. How can he who profusely satisfies his flesh with food, sleep, and rest keep anything spiritual in his mind and in his intentions? It would be easy for him to renounce the earth, to contemplate and strive for the invisible world, as it is for an old decrepit bird to rise up from the earth.
                                                                           St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                                           "Thoughts for Each Day of the Year"


Suspicions are evil and they never allow the soul to find peace.
                                                     Abba Dorotheos of Gaza
                                                     "Practical Teaching on the Christian Life"

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit Which dwells in the Church gives each member of the Church strength to become a new creature whose life is guided by love.
                                                                Holy New Martyr Archbishop Ilarion (Troitsky)
                                                                "Christianity or The Church?"


 He who has achieved detachment has his attention fixed always on God through contemplation. For detachment from material things gives rise to the contemplation of spiritual realities...
                                            St. Peter of Damaskos
                                            "The Philokalia"

Be Merciful

 Be ye therefore Merciful. How great the reward of mercy we receive under the law of Divine adoption! Walk in the way of mercy that you may merit this divine blessing.
                                                                        St. Ambrose of Milan
                                                                        "The Character of a Just Judge"

Summoning to Salvation

 ...Man's salvation is worked out simultaneously through the action of God's saving Grace, and through the personal efforts of man himself. According to the profound expression of certain of the Fathers of the Church, God created man without the participation of man himself - but He does not save him without his agreement and desire, for He created him unfettered. Man is free to choose good or evil, salvation or ruin - and God does not impede his freedom, although He constantly summons him to salvation.

Returning to the Original State of Grace

Human beings were made in the image of God, but because of their sin the beauty of the image was destroyed and the soul dragged down by passionate desires. But God who made humanity is the true life. And so, as a consequence of humanity losing its likeness to God, it lost its harmony with life, since we cannot be outside God and still live a contented life.
     Let us return to the original state of grace from which we were exiled by sin, making ourselves in the image of God once more, so that we may be like the Creator in our freedom from desire. For if you can make your life as close to the passionless calm of the divine nature as possible, then your soul will be restored to the image of God. And if you can achieve this similarity to God, you will also have attained the image of the divine life which lasts for ever in its eternal happiness.

Look Toward Heaven

 Look to Heaven, and measure every step of your life so that it is a step towards it.
                                                          St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                          "The Spiritual Life"

Condemn No One

  ...Condemn no one. But one cannot attain to this quickly. The best thing for us to do is to reproach ourselves quickly when we do condemn someone.
                                                      St. Anatoly of Optina
                                                      "A Collection of Letters to Nuns"

Asking for Forgiveness

     There is no prayer so quickly heard as the prayer whereby a man asks to be reconciled with those who are angry with him. For when he charges himself with the offense, this prayer is immediately answered.
                                                               St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                               "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 24)

The Guardian Angel

 If you feel sweetness or compunction at some word of your prayer, dwell on it; for then our guardian angel is praying with us.
                 St. John Climacus
                 "The Ladder of Divine Ascent"  (Step 28)

A Man's Cross

When a man walks the straight path, he does not have a cross. But when he begins to step away from one side to another, then various circumstances arise that push him back unto the right path. These pushes comprise a man's cross. They vary, of course, according to what each individual needs.
                                                          Elder Ambrose of Optina

Beware of Arrogance

  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
                                                           "The Philokalia"


Patience makes men humble in prosperity, courageous in adversity, mild in the face of injuries and contempt. It teaches us how to forgive promptly those who offend us; and should we offend teaches us to plead long and earnestly for pardon. It withstands temptation, it endures persecution, it brings sufferings as well as martyrdoms to their perfect fulfillment. It is patience which makes firm the foundations of our faith. It is patience which subtly brings about the increase in our hope. It is patience which directs the mind to an awareness of what we are doing so that as we walk forward we may keep to the way of Christ. As long as we imitate the patience of our Father, this will enable us to continue to be Children of God.
                                                                             St. Cyprian of Carthage
                                                                             "On the Advantages of Patience"


From humility it is known that a man is a true disciple of Jesus, meek and humble of heart. If we wish to show evidence that we are true Christians, let us learn from Christ to be humble as He himself enjoins us, Learn of Me; for I am meek, and lowly in heart. (Mt.11:29). Let us engrave and deepen in our memory the saying of the Apostle now explained, For God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble (I Pet. 5:6).
                                                  St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                  "Journey to Heaven"

Guard Your Passions

 If an eagle gets out of a snare except for one claw which remains caught in the net, it has lost all its power to escape. Though it is outside the net, is it not half-captive by it? Can the hunter not strike it down whenever he pleases? So it is with the soul: if it has one passion set into a bad habit, the enemy at any moment he pleases strikes it down, for he has the upper hand over the soul through that passion.
                                                  St. Dorotheos of Gaza
                                                  "Discourses and Sayings"

Deny Yourself

 So let no one dream of acquiring a true Christian disposition and Christian virtue, and of working for God as he should, if he does not want to compel himself to renounce and overcome all the passionate impulses of the will of the flesh, whether great or small, which he was formerly accustomed to satisfy, willingly and fondly. The chief reason why so few people attain to full Christian perfection is exactly their reluctance, through self-pity, to force themselves to deny themselves absolutely everything.
                                                          Lorenzo Scupoli
                                                          (Edited by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and revised by
                                                                     Theophan the Recluse)
                                                          "Unseen Warfare"

Watch Your Heart

 Pray that you may be granted the grace to read the Fathers with 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 wanting and waiting. God will give you help.
     In the meanwhile carefully examine the movements of your heart, the pattern of your thoughts, the intention of all your words and actions. In your case, it may even be good to do this in writing. It may help to make more clear to you your utter poverty; it may humble your pride of mind.
                                                                   Staretz Macarius of Optina
                                                                   "Russian Letters of Direction"