What is the Science of Salvation?

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

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Watch Your Vices

 Watch your vices, above all at home, where they appear freely, like moles in a safe place. Outside your own home, some of our vices are usually screened by other more decorous ones, whilst at home there is no possibility of concealing these black moles that undermine the integrity of the soul.
                                                            St. John of Kronstadt
                                                            "My Life in Christ"

Power Of Christ; Reliance On God

  We are made helpless in the struggle with adversities because we are not strengthened by the power of Christ, and rely not on God, but on human power and means.
                                                                    St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                                    "Nothing is Fearful to Him Who Relies on God"

Humility and Prayer

  O man, learn the humility of Christ and the Lord will give you to taste of the sweetness of prayer. And if you would pray cleanly, be humble and temperate, confess yourself thoroughly, prayer will feel at home with you.
                                              Staretz Silouan
                                              "Wisdom from Mount Athos"

Remaining In Prayer

     He who cannot make his will and hence his prayer coincide with God's will, will meet obstacles in his undertakings and constantly fall into the enemy's ambush. He becomes discontented or angry, unhappy, perplexed or impatient or troubled; and in such a state of mind no one can remain in prayer.
                                                          Tito Colliander
                                                          "Way of the Ascetics"

Fasting III

  As a cloud veils the light of the moon, so the vapors of the belly banish the wisdom of God from the soul.
                                                                  St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                                  "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily Six)

Repentance and Its Worth

  Since the kingdom of God is at hand and within us and will soon arrive, let us make ourselves worthy of it by works of repentance. Let us exercise force on ourselves, driving away evil prejudices and habits. For the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force (Matt. 11:12)
                                                                    St. Gregory Palamas
                                                                    "Homily 10: On the Paralyzed Man in Capernaum"

Soul and Virtue

...While it is possible to find earth which is unsuitable for cultivation, every human soul is naturally suited to virtue.
                                                       St. Gregory Palamas
                                                       "Homily 6: To Encourage Fasting"

Lying and Its Effects

     A lie is the destruction of love, and a false oath is a denial of God.
                                               St. John Climacus
                                               "The Ladder of Divine Ascent" (Step 12)

Self Denial

  The Lord demands resolute self denial of those who want to follow Him: Let him deny himself (Matt. 16:24). It could be expressed like this: Cast aside your interests and pursue only the interests of the Lord. You will be fulfilling this when you always do what is pleasing to Him. How can one do this? Mind carefully what is in you, and what is around you on the outside, and discern strictly in one or another situation, be it internal or external, how to act in the way that is most pleasing to God. Then, not pitying yourself and not inserting your own calculations, act accordingly, with complete self-denial. You say, "It's complicated to determine this." No, it's not complicated. We have been given clear and definite commandments. They express what we can do to be pleasing to the Lord. All that remains is to apply them to the given situation, and this does not present any great problem. Having common sense is enough. If you cannot figure something out, ask your spiritual father or someone else whose words you respect, and act according to his directions. But it is better to refine your discernment through reading the word of God and the writings of the Fathers, so that you will always have an arbiter with you.
                                                                                St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                                                "Thoughts for Each Day of the Year"

Faith and Love

     Faith and love are conjoined in a living and undivided unity by the presence in the heart of the living Lord Jesus Christ. By strengthening our faith, we overcome more and more the estrangement between ourselves and Christ the Lord, for firm faith draws us to Christ.
                                                                        Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
                                                                        "The Prologue from Ochrid"

Fasting II

  ...For to not eat bread and not to drink water or anything else is not yet fasting, for neither do the demons eat or drink anything at all. And yet they are evil and hateful to God. But fasting for us is, as the Church chants, "the estrangement from evil, restraint of tongue, refraining from anger, separation from lust, slanders, lies and false oaths. Abstinence from these things is a true and acceptable fast."
                                                           St. Anatoly of Optina
                                                           "A Collection of Letters to Nuns"


 ...Let there be an end to vengeance. Let offences be forgiven. Let harshness be changed to mildness, disdain to gentleness, discord into peace. Let us all make trial of being modest, let all be gentle, all be kind: so that your fasting may be pleasing to God. To Him we shall offer a true sacrifice of self denial and devotion if we keep ourselves from all iniquity.
                                                                 St. Leo, Pope of Rome
                                                                 "Lent the Season of Purification"

Humanity and Divinity

The Lord Jesus Christ is the union of all that is human and all that is divine...
                                                                      St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
                                                                      "A Discourse on Iconography"

Repentance II

When a man has repented he gives himself up to the service of God; and immediately begins this service by walking in His commandments and His will.
                                                              Lorenzo Scupoli
                                                              "Unseen Warfare"
                                                              (edited by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and
                                                                   revised by St. Theophan the Recluse)


  He who repents rightly does not imagine that it is his own effort which cancels his former sins; but through this effort he makes peace with God.
                                                            St. Mark the Ascetic
                                                            (The Philokalia)


  Ascetics are tempted so that their wealth may be increased; the weak, that they may keep themselves from what is harmful for them; those who are asleep, that they may rouse themselves; those who are far away, that they may draw near; His own, that they may be confirmed in confidence.
                                                                   Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov
                                                                   "The Arena"


 The first kind of humility is to hold my brother to be wiser than myself, and in all things to rate him higher than myself, and simply, as that holy man said, to put oneself below everyone. The second kind is to attribute to God all virtuous actions. This is the perfect humility of the saints. It is generated naturally in the soul by the performance of the commandments. It is just like a tree bearing much fruit: it is the fruit that bends the branches and lowers them down, but when there is no fruit, the branches point upwards and grow straight.
     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"

God Is My Strength

  I myself am all infirmity and misery. God is my strength. To know this is to me the highest wisdom, making me blessed.
                                               St. John of Kronstadt
                                               "My Life in Christ"

Prayer and Fasting

  After He had fasted forty days in the wilderness, hunger revealed the Lord's human nature. Therefore, O my soul, do not despair if the enemy attacks you, for it is only through prayer and fasting that he shall be defeated.
                                           Ode 9, Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

The Mind's Nature

   The mind acts in accordance with its nature when it keeps passions in subjection, contemplates the meaning of all that is and abides in God.
                                                                 St. Maximos the Confessor
                                                                 "Fourth Century on Love"
                                                                 (The Philokalia)

Sunday, March 2, 2014


 In this time of fasting and prayer, brethren, let us with all our hearts forgive anything real or imaginary we have against anyone. May we all devote ourselves to love, and let us consider one another as an incentive to love and good works, speaking in defense of one another, having good thoughts and dispositions within us before God and men. In this way our fasting will be laudable and blameless, and our requests to God while we fast will be readily received.
                                                    St. Gregory Palamas
                                                    "Homily Seven: On Fasting"

Essence of Sin

   The essence of sin consists not in the infringement of ethical standards but in falling away from the divine eternal life for which man was made and to which, by his very nature, he is called.
                                                          Archimandrite Sophrony
                                                          "The Monk of Mt. Athos"

Christianity Is...

One cannot say that Christianity is a religion. Christianity is a revelation of eternity and life.
                                                  Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
                                                  "Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives"

For the Sake of Our Own Salvation

  God does not need our fasting. He does not even need our prayer. The Perfect cannot be thought of as suffering any lack or needing anything that we, the creatures of His making, could give Him. Nor does He crave anything from us, says John Chrysostom, He allows us to bring Him offerings for the sake of our own salvation.
                                                                  Tito Colliander
                                                                  "On Obedience"
                                                                  (Way of the Ascetics)

True Humility

   ...Without humility, no other virtue is possible, for if a man does not fulfill virtue in the spirit of humility, he will inevitably fall into God-opposing pride, and will fall away from God's mercy.
                                                         St. Philaret of New York
                                                         "The Law of God"

Subjection to God

 All men are made in God's image; but to be in His likeness is granted only to those who through great love have brought their own freedom in subjection to God.
                                                                     St. Diadochos
                                                                     "On Spiritual Knowledge and Discrimination"
                                                                     (The Philokalia)

What Will Be Revealed?

 Let us then imagine to ourselves that that day has now come; and let each one consider his own conscience, and imagine himself in the presence of the Judge, and that all things are to be revealed and brought against us. For we are not alone to stand there, but we must also be revealed before all. Do you not burn with shame? Are you not in dread?
                                                                          St. John Chrysostom
                                                                          "The Judgment Day"

Love is the Greatest Virtue

 ...If you lay down foundations and build walls, but do not put on a roof, you leave it all useless. In the same way, if you acquire every virtue except love, they are all useless and senseless. Though the roof cannot be constructed without supporting walls.
     The Lord therefore grants His inheritance to those who have sealed the other virtues with loving deeds, who either ascended to love by way of a blameless life or fled to it for refuge through repentance.
                                                             St. Gregory Palamas
                                                             "Homilies: On Christ's Second Coming"

Temptations and Trials Reveal

Temptations and trials show what hides in the heart of a man.
                                                    St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
                                                    "Journey to Heaven"

Peace of Soul

  Peace of soul is acquired by a perfect surrender to the Divine Will, without which nothing happens...  He, in whose heart humility and meekness are reborn, will find true rest for his soul. He will be satisfied with everything, grateful for everything, peaceful and full of love for everybody. He will judge none and will feel no anger. His heart will be filled with divine sweetness, that is, he will feel in himself the Kingdom of God because God grants His grace only to the humble.
                                                                 Staretz Anthony of Optina

Two Gifts from God

 Two gifts God gave to men, by which they may be saved and delivered from all the passions of the old man: humility and obedience. But we do not strive after them, do not desire to abide in them, nor be guided by them. Leave off all evasions, bend your neck  to humility and obedience, and you will receive mercy.
                                                      St. Barsanuphius and St. John
                                                      "Directions in Spiritual Work"
                                                      (The Philokalia)

Finding Paradise

  If you think to find paradise on earth, even in a monastery, then you are very mistaken. Paradise, i.e. full blessedness, does not exist on earth, and cannot, because man was not created for earth, but for heaven. In order to inherit paradise in heaven one must earn it here on earth through much labor, sorrow, and effort, that is, through paying much heed to oneself, as says the Apostle: We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22), and as our Divine First Ascetic taught: The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force (Matt. 11:12).
                                    Abbess Thaisia of Leushino
                                    "Letters to a Beginner"

Attributes of the Church

   The holy Tradition is wholly of the God-man, wholly of the Apostles, wholly of the Holy Fathers, wholly of the Church, in the Church, and by the Church. The Holy Fathers are nothing other than the "guardians of the Apostolic tradition." All of them, like the Holy Apostles themselves, are but "witnesses" of a single and unique Truth, the transcendent Truth of Christ, the God-man. They preach and confess it without rest, they, the "golden mouths of the Word." The God-man, the Lord Christ is one, unique, and indivisible. So also is the Church unique and indivisible, for she is the incarnation of the Theanthropos Christ, continuing through the ages and through all eternity. Being such by her nature and in her earthly history, the Church may not be divided. It is only possible to fall away from her.
                                                          Archimandrite Justin Popovich
                                                          "The Attributes of the Church"

Path to Salvation

     In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the father, having received his penitent son who has returned to him, falls on his neck and kisses him as a sign of forgiveness; after this he orders that he be dressed and a bright, joyful feast be prepared. His parental heart was not satisfied with only forgiving - it wanted to decisively assure his son of his peace with him and express more strongly his joy at seeing him after being so sorrowfully separated from him. For his fatherly love gave his son what he had not even hoped for. What sinner could expect something grand after receiving forgiveness? But he is nevertheless invited to the Lord's Supper, where the Lord Himself gives him His Body to eat and His Blood to drink. This is the crown of compassion for the returning sinner; however, it is not an over-abundance, but an essential requirement for uniting with the Lord.
     The Christian life is life in the Lord Jesus Christ. The believer puts on Christ and lives through Him. He who falls after Baptism loses this grace; when rising up from this fall and returning to the Lord, he has become worthy of it again, and this he does through Holy Communion.He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him, says the Lord (Jn. 6:56).
                                                           St. Theophan the Recluse
                                                           "The Path to Salvation"

Priests As Spiritual Physicians

     A priest is a spiritual physician. Show your wounds to him without shame, sincerely, openly, trusting and confiding in him as his son; 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 natural love. He must give an answer to God for you.
                                                                  St. John of Kronstadt                      
                                                                  "My Life in Christ"

Christ Saves...

 ...But Christ came, setting human nature free and changing the common curse into a shared blessing. He took upon Himself our guilty nature from the most pure Virgin and united it, new and unmixed with the old seed, to His divine person. He rendered it guiltless and righteous, so that all His spiritual descendants would remain outside the ancestral curse and condemnation. How so? He shares His grace with each one of us as a person, and each receives forgiveness of his sins from Him. For He did not receive from us a human person, but assumed our human nature and renewed it by uniting it with His own person. His wish was to save us all completely and for our sake He bowed the heavens and came down. When by His deeds, words and sufferings He had pointed out all the ways of salvation. He went up to heaven again, drawing after Him those who trusted Him. His aim was to grant perfect redemption not just to the nature which He had assumed from us in inseparable union, but to teach each one of those who believed in Him. This He has done and continues to do, reconciling each of us through Himself to the Father, bringing each one back to obedience and thoroughly healing our disobedience.
                                                                       St. Gregory Palamas
                                                                       "Homily Five: On the Meeting of our Lord"


 ...Follow after humility as a lover of it. Love it, and it will glorify you. If you wish to travel to the true glory, this is the way, with the angels, and with God. And in the presence of the angels Christ will acknowledge you as His disciple; and He will give you glory if you imitated His humility Who said: Learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest to your souls {Mt. 11:29).
                                                               St. Basil the Great
                                                               "On Humility"

God is Love

 Be zealous after love: all things shall pass away, but love shall eternally remain, as God Himself, who is Love.
                                                   St. John of Kronstadt
                                                   "My Life in Christ"

Seeing, Hearing, Speaking

...It is enough for us to take care of ourselves alone, for our own salvation. Concerning the fault of our brother, seeing and hearing of it, be toward it as a blind man, deaf man, and dumb one, not seeing, not hearing, and not speaking, as one crude of mind, not understanding, not showing oneself to be wise. But to oneself be attentive, discerning, and clear-sighted. If anyone desiring to be saved, seeing and hearing any offensive word, does not make his eye blind, his ear deaf, and his tongue dumb, he cannot be without disturbance, even in quietness of soul.
                                                     St. Paisius Velichkovsky
                                                     "Field Flowers"


  The body that is mingled with sin finds rest in the works of the flesh; but the spirit of God does not find repose in its fruits. When the body is weakened by fasting and lowliness, the soul is spiritually strengthened in prayer.
                                                          St. Isaac the Syrian
                                                          "Ascetical Homilies" (Homily 38)

Faith and Contrition

     Faith and contrition make prayer and supplication for the remission of sins effective, once evil deeds have been renounced, but despair and hardness of heart make it ineffectual. Thanksgiving for the benefits received from God is made acceptable by humility and not looking down on those who lack them. It is rendered unacceptable, however, by being conceited, as if those benefits resulted from our own efforts and knowledge, and by condemning those who have not received them.
                                                                St. Gregory Palamas
                                                                "Homily Two: On the Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee"