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O strange and inconceivable thing! We did not really die, we were not really buried, we were not really crucified and raised again, but our imitation was but a figure, while our salvation is in reality. Christ was actually crucified, and actually buried, and truly rose again; and all these things have been vouchsafed to us, that we, by imitation communicating in His sufferings, might gain salvation in reality. O surpassing loving-kindness! Christ received the nails in His undefiled hands and feet, and endured anguish; while to me without suffering or toil, by the fellowship of His pain He vouchsafed salvation.
 
:St. Cyril of Jerusalem, ''On the Christian Sacraments''
 
   
 
Repentance is the renewal of baptism. Repentance is a contract with God for a second life. A penitent is a buyer of humility.    Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort. Repentance is    self-condemning reflection, and carefree self-care. Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair. A penitent is an undisgraced convict. Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins. Repentance is purification of conscience. Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions. A penitent is theinflicter of his own punishments. Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach, and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness. - ''St. John Climacus''
 
   
 
<linebreak>
 
 
Those who seek humility should bear in mind the three following
 
Those who seek humility should bear in mind the three following
 
things: that they are the worst of sinners, that they are the most
 
things: that they are the worst of sinners, that they are the most
Line 17: Line 11:
 
with the nature they have been given, while I, owing to my
 
with the nature they have been given, while I, owing to my
 
innumerable sins, am in a state contrary to nature.
 
innumerable sins, am in a state contrary to nature.
   
+
:St. [[Gregory of Sinai]], ''[[Philokalia]]'', Vol. IV.
    St. Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia, Vol. IV.
+
----
   
+
The wicked one, on the watch, carried me off as booty as I lazily slept.
    + + +
+
He led my mind into error; he plundered my spirit and snatched away
   
+
The wealth of Thy grace, this arch robber.
    He, therefore, who sets himself to act evilly and yet wishes
+
So raise me up, as I am fallen, and summon me, Saviour,
    others to be silent, is a witness against himself, for he wishes
+
Thou who dost will that all men be saved.
    himself to be loved more than the truth, which he does not wish to
+
:Kontakia of St. Romanos, A Prayer.
    be defended against himself. There is, of course, no man who so
+
----
    lives as not sometimes to sin, but he wishes truth to be loved
+
Be strong in Me; and you, too, Andrew; just as you were the first
    more than himself, who wills to be spared by no one against the
+
to find Me, you were found by me; so find the one who has
    truth. Wherefore, Peter willingly accepted the rebuke of Paul;
+
wandered;
    David willingly hearkened to the reproof of a subject. For good
+
Do not forget your first skill; from it I shall educate you for
    rulers who pay no regard to self-love, , take as a homage to their
+
this new art.
    humility the free and sincere words of subjects. But in this
+
Formerly, naked into the deep sea, now naked into life;
    regard the office of ruling must be tempered with such great art
+
Formerly, hunting with a fishing-rod, now taught to fish with the
    of moderation, that the minds of subjects, when demonstrating
+
cross;
    themselves capable of taking right views in some matters, are
+
Formerly, you used a worm as bait; now I order you to hunt with My
    given freedom of expression, but freedom that does not issue into
+
flesh.
    pride, otherwise, when liberty of speech is granted too
+
I alone know what is in the heart.
    generously, the humility of their own lives will be lost.
+
:Kontakia of St. Romanos, On the Mission of the Apostles.
   
+
----
    St. Gregory The Great, Pastoral Care
+
Beguiling and deceptive is the life of the world, fruitless its
   
+
labor, perilous its delight, poor its riches, delusive its honors,
    + + +
+
inconstant, insignificant; and woe to those who hope in its
   
+
seeming goods: because of this many die without repentance.
    The Lord of all gave to His apostles the power of the gospel, and
+
Blessed and mos blessed are those who depart from the world and
    by them we also have learned the truth, that is, the teaching of
+
its desires.
    the Son of God - as the Lord said to them, `He who hears you hears
+
:Elder Nazarius
    Me, and he who despises you despises Me, and Him Who sent Me'
+
----
    [Lk.10:16]. For we learned the plan of our salvation from no other
+
Faith and love which are gifts of the Holy Spirit are such great
    than from those through whom the gospel came to us. The first
+
and powerful means that a person who has them can easily, and with
    preached it abroad, and then later by the will of God handed it
+
joy and consolation, go the way Jesus Christ went. Besides this,
    down to us in Scriptures, to be the foundation and pillar of our
+
the Holy Spirit gives man the power to resist the delusions of the
    faith. For it is not right to say that they preached before they
+
world so that although he makes use of earthly good, yet he uses
    had come to perfect knowledge, as some dare to say, boasting that
+
them as a temporary visitor, without attaching his heart to them.
    they are the correctors of the apostles. For after our Lord had
+
But a man who has not got the Holy Spirit, despite all his
    risen from the dead, and they were clothed with the power from on
+
learning and prudence, is always more or less a slave and
    high when the Holy Spirit came upon them, they were filled with
+
worshipper of the world.
    all things and had perfect knowledge. They went out to the ends of
+
:St. [[Innocent of Irkutsk]], ''Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven''
    the earth, preaching the good things that come to us from God, and
+
----
    proclaiming peace from heaven to all men, all and each of them
+
The demons are sleepless and immaterial, death is at hand, and I
    equally being in possession of the gospel of God.
+
am weak. Lord, help me; do not let Thy creature perish, for Thou
   
+
carest for me in my misery.
    St. Irenaeus, Against the Heresies, III
+
:St. [[Peter of Damascus]]
   
+
----
    + + +
+
You cannot destroy the passions on your own, but ask God, and He
   
+
will destroy them, if this is profitable for you.
    The Lord's Day is a mystery of the knowledge of the truth that is
+
:St. [[Anatolius I of Optina|Anatoly of Optina]]
    not received by flesh and blood, and it transcends speculations.
+
----
    In this age there is no eighth day, nor is there a true Sabbath.
+
An old man was asked, 'How can I find God?' He said, 'In fasting,
    For he who said that `God rested on the seventh day,' signified
+
in watching, in labours, in devotion, and, above all, in
    the rest [of our nature] from the course of this life, since the
+
discernment. I tell you, many have injured their bodies without
    grave is also of a bodily nature and belongs to this world. Six
+
discernment and have gone away from us having achieved nothing.
    days are accomplished in the husbandry of life by means of keeping
+
Our mouths smell bad through fasting, we know the Scriptures by
    the commandments; the seventh is spent entirely in the grave; and
+
heart, we recite all the Psalms of David, but we have not that
    the eighth is the departure from it.
+
which God seeks: charity and humility.'
   
+
:''Apophthegmata Patrum''
    St. Isaac of Syria, The Ascetical Homilies.I
+
----
   
+
The hour of death will come upon us, it will come, and we shall
    + + +
+
not escape it. May the prince of this world and of the air (cf.
   
+
John 14:30; Eph. 2:2) find our misdeeds few and petty when he
    When a man walks in the fear of God he knows no fear, even if he
+
comes, so that he will not have good grounds for convicting us.
    were to be surrounded by wicked men. He has the fear of God within
+
Otherwise we shall weep in vain. 'For that servant who knew his
    him and wears the invincible armor of faith. This makes him strong
+
lord's will and did not do it as a servant, shall be beaten with
    and able to take on anything, even things which seem difficult or
+
many stripes' (cf. Luke 12:47).
    impossible to most people. Such a man is like a giant surrounded
+
:St. [[Hesychius the Priest]]
    by monkeys, or a roaring lion among dogs and foxes. He goes
+
----
    forward trusting in the Lord and the constancy of his will to
+
Behold, this is the true and the Christian humility. In this you
    strike and paralyze his foes. He wields the blazing club of the
+
will be able to achieve victory over every vice, by attributing to
    Word in wisdom.
+
God rather than to yourself the fact that you have won.
   
+
:St. [[Martin of Braga]]
    St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological
+
----
    Chapters
+
We believe that the divine presence is everywhere and that "the
   
+
eyes of the Lord are looking on the good and the evil in every
    + + +
+
place." But we should believe this especially without any doubt
   
+
when we are assisting at the Work of God. To that end let us be
    When we lay bare the hidden meaning of the history, scripture is
+
mindful always of the Prophet's words, "Serve the Lord in fear"
    seen to teach that the birth which distresses the tyrant is the
+
and again, "Sing praises wisely" and "In the sight of the Angels I
    beginning of the virtuous life. I am speaking of the kind of birth
+
will sing praise to Thee." Let us therefore consider how we ought
    in which free will serves as the midwife, delivering the child
+
to conduct ourselves in the sight of the Godhead and of His
    amid great pain. For no one causes grief to his antagonist unless
+
Angels, and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way that
    he exhibits in himself those marks which give proof of his victory
+
our mind may be in harmony with our voice.
    over the other.
+
:St. [[Benedict of Nursia|Benedict]]
   
+
----
    St. Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses.
+
Humility is the only thing we need; one can still fall having
   
+
virtues other than humility—but with humility one does not
    + + +
+
fall.
   
+
:Elder Herman of [[Mount Athos]]
    The wicked one, on the watch, carried me off as booty as I lazily slept.
+
----
    He led my mind into error; he plundered my spirit and snatched away
+
God descends to the humble as waters flow down from the hills into
    The wealth of Thy grace, this arch robber.
+
the valleys.
    So raise me up, as I am fallen, and summon me, Saviour,
+
:St. [[Tikhon of Voronezh]]
    Thou who dost will that all men be saved.
+
----
   
+
If you are praised, be silent. If you are scolded, be silent. If
    Kontakia of St. Romanos, A Prayer.
+
you incur losses, be silent. If you receive profit, be silent. If
   
+
you are satiated, be silent. If you are hungry, also be silent.
    + + +
+
And do not be afraid that there will be no fruit when all dies
   
+
down; there will be! Not everything will die down. Energy will
    The roof of any house stands upon the foundations and the rest of
+
appear; and what energy!
    the structure. The foundations themselves are laid in order to
+
:St. Feofil, the [[Fool-for-Christ]]
    carry the roof. This is both useful and necessary, for the roof
+
----
    cannot stand without the foundations and the foundations are
+
When anyone is disturbed or saddened under the pretext of a good
    absolutely useless without the roof - no help to any living
+
and soul-profiting matter, and is angered against his neighbour,
    creature. In the same way the grace of God is preserved by the
+
it is evident that this is not according to God: for everything
    practice of the commandments, and the observance of these
+
that is of God is peaceful and useful and leads a man to humility
    commandments is laid down like foundations through the gift of
+
and to judging himself.
    God. The grace of the Spirit cannot remain with us without the
+
:St. [[Barsanuphius]] the Great
    practice of the commandments, but the practice of the commandments
+
----
    is of no help or advantage to us without the grace of God.
+
What, then, are the things which are being prepared for those who
   
+
wait for Him? The Creator and Father of the ages, the All-holy
    St. Symeon the New Theologian
+
One, Himself knows their greatness and beauty. Let us then strive
   
+
to be found among the number of those that wait, that we may
    + + +
+
receive a share of the promised gifts.
   
+
:St. [[Clement of Rome]]
    I shall speak first about control of the stomach, the opposite to
+
----
    gluttony, and about how to fast and what and how much to eat. I
+
Even if an angel should indeed appear to you, do not receive him
    shall say nothing on my own account, but only what I have received
+
but humiliate yourself, saying, 'I am not worthy to see an angel,
    from the Holy Fathers. They have not given us only a single rule
+
for I am a sinner.'
    for fasting or a single standard and measure for eating, because
+
:''Apophthegmata Patrum''
    not everyone has the same strength; age, illness or delicacy of
+
----
    body create differences. But they have given us all a single goal:
+
We should zealously cultivate watchfulness, my brethren; and when,
    to avoid over-eating and the filling of our bellies... A clear
+
our mind purified in Christ Jesus, we are exalted by the vision it
    rule for self-control handed down by the Fathers is this: stop
+
confers, we should review our sins and our former life, so that
    eating while still hungry and do not continue until you are
+
shattered and humbled at the thought of them we may never lose the
    satisfied.
+
help of Jesus Christ our God in the invisible battle.
   
+
:St. Hesychius the Presbyter
    St. John Cassian
+
----
   
+
Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we were formed,
    + + +
+
who we are, and with what nature we came into the world, and how
   
+
He Who formed and created us brought us into His world from the
    In Christianity truth is not a philosophical concept nor is it a
+
darkness of a grave, and prepared his benefits for us before we
    theory, a teaching, or a system, but rather, it is the living
+
were born. Since, therefore, we have everything from Him, we ought
    theanthropic hypostasis - the historical Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
+
in everything to give Him thanks, to Whom be glory for ever and
    Before Christ men could only conjecture about the Truth since they
+
ever. Amen.
    did not possess it. With Christ as the incarnate divine Logos the
+
:St. [[Clement of Rome]]
    eternally complete divine Truth enters into the world. For this
+
----
    reason the Gospel says: "Truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17).
+
Prove your love and zeal for wisdom in actual deeds.
   
+
:St. [[Callistus Xanthopoulos]]
    St. Justin Popovich
+
----
   
+
What purposelessness, oh the deceit of life; truly in vain does
    + + +
+
each man vex himself, and truly blessed and thrice-blessed are
   
+
those who have left everything for the Lord, that they may attain
    Let us charge into the good fight with joy and love without being
+
the good things announced in the Gospels. For what profit will it
    afraid of our enemies. Though unseen themselves, they can look at
+
be for a man to enjoy the whole world, but lose his soul, to which
    the face of our soul, and if they see it altered by fear, they
+
the whole universe is not equivalent? All the splendor of man is
    take up arms against us all the more fiercely. For the cunning
+
like the blossom of grass. For the grass departs and the blossom
    creatures have observed that we are scared. So let us take up arms
+
dies, but the word of the Lord abideth for ever.
    against them courageously. No one will fight with a resolute
+
:St. Nikon, ''Repent Ye''
    fighter.
+
----
   
+
It depends on us whether we wish to be saved.
    St. John Climacus
+
:''Apophthegmata Patrum''
   
+
----
    + + +
+
When the blessed Eulogius saw an angel distributing gifts to the
   
+
monks who toiled at all-night vigils, to one he gave a gold piece
    God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts.
+
with the image of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to another a silver piece
    Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold which comes from the
+
with a cross, to another a copper piece, to another a bronze
    devil - for the devil is cold - let us call on the Lord. He will
+
piece, and to another nothing. The others who had remained in the
    come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but
+
church, left the church empty-handed. It was revealed to him that
    also for our neighbor, and the cold of him who hates the good will
+
the ones who had obtained the gifts are those who toil at vigils
    flee before the heat of His countenance.
+
and are diligent in prayers, supplications, psalms, chants, and
   
+
readings. Those who received nothing or who left the church
    St. Seraphim of Sarov
+
empty-handed are those who are heedless of their salvation, are
   
+
enslaved to vainglory and the clamors of life, and stand feebly
    + + +
+
and lazily at vigils and whisper and jest.
   
+
:St. [[Joseph of Volokolamsk]]
    In the matter of piety, poverty serves us better than wealth, and
+
----
    work better than idleness, especially since wealth becomes an
+
Chastise your soul with the thought of death, and through
    obstacle even for those who do not devote themselves to it. Yet,
+
remembrance of Jesus Christ concentrate your scattered intellect.
    when we must put aside our wrath, quench our envy, soften our
+
:St. [[Philotheus of Sinai]]
    anger, offer our prayers, and show a disposition which is
+
----
    reasonable, mild, kindly, and loving, how could poverty stand in
+
What toil we must endure, what fatigue, while we are attempting to
    our way? For we accomplish these things not by spending money but
+
climb hills and the summits of mountains! What, that we may ascend
    by making the correct choice. Almsgiving above all else requires
+
to heaven! If you consider the promised reward, what you endure is
    money, but even this shines with a brighter luster when the alms
+
less. Immortality is given to the one who perseveres; everlasting
    are given from our poverty. The widow who paid in the two mites
+
life is offered; the Lord promises His Kingdom.
    was poorer than any human, but she outdid them all.
+
:St. [[Cyprian of Carthage|Cyprian]]
   
+
----
    St. John Chrysostom
+
Christ is Risen!
   
+
O the marvel! the forbearance! the immeasurable meekness!
    + + +
+
The Untouched is felt; the Master is held by a servant,
   
+
And He reveals His wounds to one of His inner circle.
    Every day you provide your bodies with good to keep them from
+
Seeing these wounds, the whole Creation was shaken at the time.
    failing. In the same way your good works should be the daily
+
Thomas, when he was considered worthy of such gifts,
    nourishment of your hearts. Your bodies are fed with food and your
+
Lifted up a prayer to the One Who deemed him worthy,
    spirits with good works. You aren't to deny your soul, which is
+
Saying, "Bear my rashness with patience,
    going to live forever, what you grant to your body, which is going
+
Have pity on my unworthiness and lighten the burden
    to die.
+
Of my lack of faith, so that I may sing and cry,
   
+
'Thou art our Lord and God.'"
    St. Gregory the Great
+
:Kontakia of Romanos, v. 1, On Doubting Thomas
   
+
----
    + + +
+
Long ago, the wily one cast his weapon and wounded Adam and killed
   
+
him;
    I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I
+
Indeed, he completely destroyed the weak man.
    said groaning, "What can get through from such snares?" Then I
+
But now, even if he struck the bodies of the noble men,
    heard a voice saying to me, "Humility."
+
he did not destroy their spirits.
   
+
He persuaded the first-created man to fall by words,
    St. Anthony the Great
+
but not even by deeds, the noble ones.
   
+
Bewitching the former, he made promises; he made offers to the
    + + +
+
latter:
   
+
For Adam, the making of a god; for the martyrs, honor.
    "Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your
+
He offers what he does not have; he suggests bestowing things not
    Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the
+
in his authority.
    sake of your salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are
+
Therefore, saints, having shattered his scheme,
    terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers
+
You gained crowns.
    ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in
+
:Kontakia of Romanos, On the Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia I.
    laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off,
+
----
    my beloved soul, holy repentence, contrition of heart and penance
+
First of all it must be understood that it is the duty of all
    for your sins."
+
Christians—especially of those whose calling dedicates them to
   
+
the spiritual life—to strive always and in every way to be
    St. Paisius Velichkovsky
+
united with God, their creator, lover, benefactor, and their
   
+
supreme good, by Whom and for Whom they were created. This is
    + + +
+
because the center and the final purpose of the soul, which God
   
+
created, must be God Himself alone, and nothing else—God whom
    This is the mark of Christianity--however much a man toils, and
+
Whom the soul has received its life and its nature, and for Whom
    however many righteousnesses he performs, to feel that he has done
+
it must eternally live.  
    nothing, and in fasting to say, "This is not fasting," and in
+
:St. [[Dimitry of Rostov]]
    praying, "This is not prayer," and in perseverance at prayer, "I
+
----
    have shown no perseverance; I am only just beginning to practice
+
Let us go forward with the heart completely attentive and the soul
    and to take pains"; and even if he is righteous before God, he
+
fully conscious. For if attentiveness and prayer are daily joined
    should say, "I am not righteous, not I; I do not take pains, but
+
together, they become like Elias' fire-bearing chariot, raising us
    only make a beginning every day."
+
to heaven. What do I mean? A spiritual heaven, with sun, moon and
   
+
stars, is formed in the blessed heart of one who has reach a state
    St. Macarius the Great
+
of watchfulness, or who strives to attain it.
   
+
:St. [[Philotheus of Sinai]]
    + + +
+
----
   
+
My poor soul! Sigh, pray and strive to take upon you the blessed
    Be strong in Me; and you, too, Andrew; just as you were the first
+
yoke of Christ, and you will live on earth in a heavenly manner.
    to find Me, you were found by me; so find the one who has
+
Lord, grant that I may carry the light and goodly yoke, and I
    wandered;
+
shall be always at rest, peaceful, glad and joyous; and I shall
    Do not forget your first skill; from it I shall educate you for
+
taste on earth of crumbs which fall from the celestial feast, like
    this new art.
+
a dog that feeds upon the crumbs which fall from the master's
    Formerly, naked into the deep sea, now naked into life;
+
table.
    Formerly, hunting with a fishing-rod, now taught to fish with the
+
:St. [[Tikhon of Voronezh]]
    cross;
+
----
    Formerly, you used a worm as bait; now I order you to hunt with My
+
Even a pious person is not immune to spiritual sickness if he does
    flesh.
+
not have a wise guide—either a living person or a spiritual
    I alone know what is in the heart.
+
writer. This sickness is called ''prelest'', or spiritual delusion,
   
+
imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine
    Kontakia of St. Romanos, On the Mission of the Apostles.
+
and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are
   
+
sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, laymen who are
    + + +
+
zealous in external struggles (podvigi) undergo it much more
   
+
frequently. Surpassing their acquaintances in struggles of prayer
    Why do you trouble yourself in a house that is not your own? Let
+
and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions,
    the sight of a dead man be a teacher for you concerning your
+
or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In every event of their
    departure from hence.
+
lives, they see special intentional directions from God or their
   
+
guardian angel. And then they start imagining that they are God's
    St. Isaac the Syrian
+
elect, and often try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers
   
+
armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this
    + + +
+
sickness—prelest.
   
+
:Metropolitan [[Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev|Anthony Khrapovitsky]]
    Beguiling and deceptive is the life of the world, fruitless its
+
----
    labor, perilous its delight, poor its riches, delusive its honors,
+
We see the water of a river flowing uninterruptedly and passing
    inconstant, insignificant; and woe to those who hope in its
+
away, and all that floats on its surface, rubbish or beams of
    seeming goods: because of this many die without repentance.
+
trees, all pass by. Christian! So does our life. . . I was an
    Blessed and mos blessed are those who depart from the world and
+
infant, and that time has gone. I was an adolescent, and that too
    its desires.
+
has passed. I was a young man, and that too is far behind me. The
   
+
strong and mature man that I was is no more. My hair turns white,
    Elder Nazarius
+
I succumb to age, but that too passes; I approach the end and will
   
+
go the way of all flesh. I was born in order to die. I die that I
    + + +
+
may live. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom!
   
+
:St. [[Tikhon of Voronezh]]
    Faith and love which are gifts of the Holy Spirit are such great
+
----
    and powerful means that a person who has them can easily, and with
+
'Wine makes glad the heart of man' (Ps. 104:15). But you who have
    joy and consolation, go the way Jesus Christ went. Besides this,
+
professed sorrow and grief should turn away from such gladness and
    the Holy Spirit gives man the power to resist the delusions of the
+
rejoice in spiritual gifts. If you rejoice in wine, you will live
    world so that although he makes use of earthly good, yet he uses
+
with shameful thoughts and distress will overwhelm you.
    them as a temporary visitor, without attaching his heart to them.
+
:St. [[Theodore of Edessa]]
    But a man who has not got the Holy Spirit, despite all his
+
----
    learning and prudence, is always more or less a slave and
+
Acts of charity, almsgiving and all the external good works do not
    worshipper of the world.
+
suppress the arrogance of the heart; but noetic meditation, the
   
+
labor of repentance, contrition and humility—these humble the
    St. Innocent of Irkutsk, Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of
+
proud mind.
    Heaven.
+
:Elder [[Joseph (Spilaiotis)|Joseph the Hesychast]]
   
+
----
    + + +
+
They went down to Egypt and provided food when famine reigned;
   
+
they came to the obstinate sea, and taught it wisdom with a rod;
    The demons are sleepless and immaterial, death is at hand, and I
+
they went out into the hostile desert and adorned it with a
    am weak. Lord, help me; do not let Thy creature perish, for Thou
+
pillar;
    carest for me in my misery.
+
they entered the furnace, fiercely heated, and sprinkled it with
   
+
their dew;
    St. Peter of Damascus
+
into the pit where they had been thrown an angel entered and
   
+
taught its wild beasts to fast.
    + + +
+
:St. Ephrem
   
+
----
    You cannot destroy the passions on your own, but ask God, and He
+
While the [[Christ The Bridegroom (O Nymphios)|Bridegroom]] tarried, they slumbered and slept:
    will destroy them, if this is profitable for you.
+
Give ear, ye prudent, to our Lord's parable, for it is all light.
   
+
All of them slept, both the foolish and the wise --
    St. Anatoly of Optina
+
Which signifies that the good and the wicked die until the
   
+
resurrection.
    + + +
+
The same sleep comes upon the ten of them, which is as much as to
   
+
say,
    The soul that really loves God and Christ, though it may do ten
+
That death is the same for all creation without distinction.
    thousand righteousnesses, esteems itself as having wrought
+
One was the sleep of the wise and of the foolish,
    nothing, by reason of its insatiable aspiration after God. Though
+
For one is death, both of the righteous and of sinners.
    it should exhaust the body with fastings, with watchings, its
+
The good die, as the wise virgins slept;
    attitude towards the virtues is as if it had not yet even begun to
+
And the bad die, as the foolish also slept.
    labour for them.
+
Behold, all creation looketh for the coming of the [[Christ The Bridegroom (O Nymphios)|Bridegroom]],
   
+
Christ, Who cometh at the end with His angels.
    St. Macarius the Great
+
But since He hath tarried, all generations slumber and sleep
   
+
With the sleep of death, while looking for when He cometh.
    + + +
+
:''A Homily on the Ten Virgins'' by Mar Jacob, Bishop of Serugh
   
+
----
    Souls that love truth and God, that long with much hope and faith
+
Do all in your power not to fall, for the strong athlete should
    to put on Christ completely, do not need so much to be put in re
+
not fall. But if you do fall, get up again at once and continue
    membrance by others, nor do they endure, even for a while, to be
+
the contest. Even if you fall a thousand times because of the
    deprived of the heavenly desire and of passionate affection to the
+
withdrawal of God's grace, rise up again each time, and keep on
    Lord; but being wholly and entirely nailed to the cross of Christ,
+
doing this until the day of your death. For it is written, 'If a
    they perceive in themselves day by day a sense of spiritual
+
righteous man falls down seven times'—that is, repeatedly
    advance towards the spiritual Bridegroom.
+
throughout his life—'seven times shall he rise again' [Prov.
   
+
24:16].
    St. Macarius the Great
+
:[[John of Karpathos]]
   
+
----
    + + +
+
The evil one cannot comprehend the joy we receive from the
   
+
spiritual life; for this reason he is jealous of us, he envies us
    An old man was asked, 'How can I find God?' He said, 'In fasting,
+
and sets traps for us, and we become grieved and fall. We must
    in watching, in labours, in devotion, and, above all, in
+
struggle, because without struggles we do not obtain virtues.
    discernment. I tell you, many have injured their bodies without
+
:Elder [[Ieronymos of Aegina]]
    discernment and have gone away from us having achieved nothing.
+
----
    Our mouths smell bad through fasting, we know the Scriptures by
+
Self-accusation before God is something that is very necessary for
    heart, we recite all the Psalms of David, but we have not that
+
us; and humility of heart is extremely advantageous in our lives,
    which God seeks: charity and humility.'
+
above all at the time of prayer. For prayer requires great
   
+
attention and needs a proper awareness, otherwise it will turn out
    Apophthegmata Patrum
+
to be unacceptable and rejected, and `it will be turned back
   
+
empty' to our bosom.
    + + +
+
:[[Martyrius of Edessa]]
   
+
----
    The hour of death will come upon us, it will come, and we shall
+
There was a man who at a lot and was till hungry, and another who
    not escape it. May the prince of this world and of the air (cf.
+
ate little and was satisfied. The one who ate a lot and was still
    John 14:30; Eph. 2:2) find our misdeeds few and petty when he
+
hungry received a greater reward than he who ate little and was
    comes, so that he will not have good grounds for convicting us.
+
satisfied.
    Otherwise we shall weep in vain. 'For that servant who knew his
+
:''Apophthegmata Patrum''
    lord's will and did not do it as a servant, shall be beaten with
+
----
    many stripes' (cf. Luke 12:47).
+
The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the
   
+
special concern of the Church. Every other work, i.e., charity,
    St. Hesychius the Priest
+
nursing the brethren, visiting the sick, caring for prisoners,
   
+
releasing captives, and other similar things, is done by the
    + + +
+
brethren in love and offered by them to God. Similarly, poverty,
   
+
fasting, sleeping on the ground, prostrations, vigils, etc., are
    Do not seek the perfection of the law in human virtues, for it is
+
good and like a sacrifice to God, because they aim to subdue and
    not found perfect in them. Its perfection is hidden in the Cross
+
humble the body so that we may be purified and approach God and
    of Christ.
+
become friends of God—yet these things do not present us
   
+
directly to God, whereas prayer does so and unites us with Him. A
    St. Mark the Ascetic
+
person praying acts towards God like a friend—conversing,
   
+
confiding, requesting—and through this becomes one with our
    + + +
+
Maker Himself.
   
+
:St. [[Symeon of Thessalonica]]
    Do not be surprised that you fall every day; do not give up, but
+
----
    stand your ground courageously. And assuredly, the angel who
+
Have unfeigned love among yourselves, keep the tradition, and may
    guards you will honour your patience.
+
the God of peace be with you and confirm you in love.
   
+
:St. [[Paul of Obnora]]
    St. John of the Ladder
+
----
   
+
Bringing doxology to the One born of the Virgin in church hymns
    + + +
+
and spiritual songs, we must, outside the church as well,
   
+
unceasingly praise Him and give Him thanks for His ineffable
    Behold, this is the true and the Christian humility. In this you
+
lovingkindness to us sinners, who are atoned by His honourable
    will be able to achieve victory over every vice, by attributing to
+
blood and who have received through this promise life eternal,
    God rather than to yourself the fact that you have won.
+
blessed, and unceasing.
   
+
:St. [[Ambrose of Optina]]
    St. Martin of Braga
+
----
   
+
Lord God, have mercy on me a sinner: I am not worthy to stand
    + + +
+
before Thee, seeing that I have never tried to embellish my soul
   
+
for Thy presence. What that prostitute accomplished in a single
    We believe that the divine presence is everywhere and that "the
+
day in beautifying herself surpasseth everything I have ever
    eyes of the Lord are looking on the good and the evil in every
+
achieved during all the years of my life. How can I have the face
    place." But we should believe this especially without any doubt
+
to look upon Thee, my God? I do not know what words to use in the
    when we are assisting at the Work of God. To that end let us be
+
attempt to justify myself in Thy presence, Lord. What excuse have
    mindful always of the Prophet's words, "Serve the Lord in fear"
+
I before Thee, seeing that all my hidden secrets are laid open
    and again, "Sing praises wisely" and "In the sight of the Angels I
+
before Thee? No, alas for me the sinner who, as I enter the
    will sing praise to Thee." Let us therefore consider how we ought
+
threshold of Thy sacred temple and appear before Thy glorious
    to conduct ourselves in the sight of the Godhead and of His
+
altar, have failed to offer the beauty in my soul that Thou
    Angels, and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way that
+
wantest.
    our mind may be in harmony with our voice.
+
:St. Nonnus (''Life of St. Pelagia'', the former harlot)
   
+
----
    St. Benedict
+
The Holy Eucharist is the first, most important, and greatest
   
+
miracle of Christ. All the other Gospel miracles are secondary.
    + + +
+
How could we not call the greatest miracle the fact that simple
   
+
bread and wine were once transformed by the Lord into His very
    Humility is the only thing we need; one can still fall having
+
Body and His very Blood, and then have continued to be transformed
    virtues other than humility -- but with humility one does not
+
for nearly two thousand years by the prayers of priests, who are
    fall.
+
but simple human beings? And what is more, this mystery has
   
+
continued to effect a miraculous change in those people who
    Elder Herman of Mt. Athos
+
communicate of the Divine Mysteries with faith and humility.
   
+
:St. [[Ambrose of Optina]]
    + + +
+
----
   
+
Strive as well as you can to enter deeply with the heart into the
    When you are praying alone, and your spirit is dejected, and you
+
church reading and singing and to imprint these on the tablets of
    are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as
+
the heart.
    always, that God the Trinity looks upon you with eyes brighter
+
:Abbot Nazarius
    than the sun; also all the angels, your own Guardian Angel, and
+
----
    all the Saints of God. Truly they do; for they are all one in God,
+
Blessed is he who always has before his eyes that "the earth is
    and where God is, there are they also. Where the sun is, thither
+
the Lord's and the fulness thereof" (Ps. 23:1 [24:1 in the NIV]), and keeps in mind that God is powerful to arrange for His servants as is pleasing to Him.
    also are directed all its rays. Try to understand what this means.
+
:St. Barsanuphius
   
+
----
    St. John of Kronstadt
+
I pray Thee, compassionate Lord, do not allow me to be condemned
   
+
because of the unworthy and ungrateful manner in which I
    + + +
+
contemplate the great mysteries that Thou hast revealed to Thy
   
+
saints and through them to me, a sinner and Thy unworthy servant.
    God descends to the humble as waters flow down from the hills into
+
For see, Lord, Thy servant stands before Thee, idle in everything,
    the valleys.
+
speechless, as one who is dead; and I do not dare to say anything
   
+
more or to presumptuously contemplate further. But as always I
    St. Tikhon of Voronezh
+
fall down before Thee, crying from the depths of my soul. . .
   
+
:St. [[Peter of Damascus]]
    + + +
+
----
   
+
At the Last Judgment the righteous will be recognized only by
    Our holy fathers have renounced all other spiritual work and
+
their humility and their considering themselves worthless, and not
    concentrated wholly on this one doing, that is, on guarding the
+
by good deeds, even if they have done them. This is the true
    heart, convinced that, through this practice, they would easily
+
attitude.
    attain every other virtue, whereas without it not a single virtue
+
:Holy New Hieromartyr Barlaam
    can be firmly established.
+
----
   
+
The Holy Spirit often visits us; but if He does not find rest how
    St. Symeon the New Theologian
+
can He remain? He departs. Joy is in the hearts of those who are
   
+
cleansed and who are able to maintain within themselves the grace
    + + +
+
of the Holy Spirit of the All-holy Trinity. There is no greater
   
+
joy and happiness for man. I am not able to describe to you how
    If you are praised, be silent. If you are scolded, be silent. If
+
one feels then.
    you incur losses, be silent. If you receive profit, be silent. If
+
:Elder [[Ieronymos of Aegina]]
    you are satiated, be silent. If you are hungry, also be silent.
+
----
    And do not be afraid that there will be no fruit when all dies
+
Keep the body properly slim so that you reduce the burden of the
    down; there will be! Not everything will die down. Energy will
+
heart's warfare, with full benefit to yourself.
    appear; and what energy!
+
:St. [[Philotheus of Sinai]]
   
+
----
    St. Feofil, the Fool for Christ
+
I shall tell you something strange, but do not be surprised by it.
   
+
Should you fail to attain dispassion because of the
    + + +
+
predispositions dominating you, but at the time of your death be
   
+
in the depths of humility, you will be exalted above the clouds no
    When anyone is disturbed or saddened under the pretext of a good
+
less than the man who is dispassionate.
    and soul-profiting matter, and is angered against his neighbour,
+
:St. [[Theognostus]]
    it is evident that this is not according to God: for everything
+
----
    that is of God is peaceful and useful and leads a man to humility
+
One of the old men said, "It is written concerning Solomon that he
    and to judging himself.
+
loved women, but every male loveth the females, and we must
   
+
restrain and draw onwards our nature by main force to purity."
    St. Barsanuphius the Great
+
:''Paradise of the Fathers''
   
+
----
    + + +
+
My soul, seek the Only One . . . My soul, you have no part with
   
+
the earth; for you are from heaven. You are the image of God: seek
    What, then, are the things which are being prepared for those who
+
your First Image. For like strives after like. Each object finds
    wait for Him? The Creator and Father of the ages, the All-holy
+
its rest in its center and element—fish in water, fire in its
    One, Himself knows their greatness and beauty. Let us then strive
+
upward movement everything strives to its center. My soul, you are
    to be found among the number of those that wait, that we may
+
an immaterial spirit, immortal. . . In Him alone you will find
    receive a share of the promised gifts.
+
your rest.
   
+
:St. [[Tikhon of Voronezh]]
    St. Clement of Rome
+
----
   
+
The evil one cannot comprehend the joy we receive from the
    + + +
+
spiritual life; for this reason he is jealous of us, he envies us
   
+
and sets traps for us, and we become grieved and fall. We must
    Even if an angel should indeed appear to you, do not receive him
+
struggle, because without struggles we do not obtain virtues.
    but humiliate yourself, saying, 'I am not worthy to see an angel,
+
:Elder [[Ieronymos of Aegina]]
    for I am a sinner.'
+
----
   
+
Fortunate is the man who has come to have God as his helper and
    Apophthegmata Patrum
+
to have his hopes in Him alone. Let the Devil bear malice towards
   
+
him, let all men persecute him and plot against him, let all his
    + + +
+
adversaries fight against him—he never fears anyone, because his
   
+
has God as his helper. He remains always a victor, always
    We should zealously cultivate watchfulness, my brethren; and when,
+
glorified, always happy, always rich, always cheerful and joyful,
    our mind purified in Christ Jesus, we are exalted by the vision it
+
even if he happens to fall into extreme poverty and into a great
    confers, we should review our sins and our former life, so that
+
many adverse and grievous circumstances of this present life. For
    shattered and humbled at the thought of them we may never lose the
+
inasmuch as he hopes in Almighty God, he does not despair, he is
    help of Jesus Christ our God in the invisible battle.
+
not sorry, is not anxious, but expects help from Above. Fortunate,
   
+
then, is such a man and worthy to be deemed happy, just as the
    St. Hesychius the Presbyter
+
Prophet-king David regards such a man as happy, saying: "Blessed
   
+
is he whose helper is the God of Jacob, whose hoe is in the Lord
    + + +
+
his God." Such were all the Prophets, the Apostles, the Martyrs,
   
+
the Holy Ascetics and all the Saints from the beginning of time.
    Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we were formed,
+
:St. [[Nikephoros of Chios]]
    who we are, and with what nature we came into the world, and how
+
 
    He Who formed and created us brought us into His world from the
+
{{Fairuse}}
    darkness of a grave, and prepared his benefits for us before we
+
 
    were born. Since, therefore, we have everything from Him, we ought
+
[[Category:Quotes]]
    in everything to give Him thanks, to Whom be glory for ever and
+
    ever. Amen.
+
   
+
    St. Clement of Rome
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Prove your love and zeal for wisdom in actual deeds.
+
   
+
    St. Callistus Xanthopoulos
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    What purposelessness, oh the deceit of life; truly in vain does
+
    each man vex himself, and truly blessed and thrice-blessed are
+
    those who have left everything for the Lord, that they may attain
+
    the good things announced in the Gospels. For what profit will it
+
    be for a man to enjoy the whole world, but lose his soul, to which
+
    the whole universe is not equivalent? All the splendor of man is
+
    like the blossom of grass. For the grass departs and the blossom
+
    dies, but the word of the Lord abideth for ever.
+
   
+
    St. Nicon "Repent Ye"
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    It depends on us whether we wish to be saved.
+
   
+
    Apophthegmata Patrum
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    When the blessed Eulogius saw an angel distributing gifts to the
+
    monks who toiled at all-night vigils, to one he gave a gold piece
+
    with the image of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to another a silver piece
+
    with a cross, to another a copper piece, to another a bronze
+
    piece, and to another nothing. The others who had remained in the
+
    church, left the church empty-handed. It was revealed to him that
+
    the ones who had obtained the gifts are those who toil at vigils
+
    and are diligent in prayers, supplications, psalms, chants, and
+
    readings. Those who received nothing or who left the church
+
    empty-handed are those who are heedless of their salvation, are
+
    enslaved to vainglory and the clamors of life, and stand feebly
+
    and lazily at vigils and whisper and jest.
+
   
+
    St. Joseph of Volokalamsk
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Chastise your soul with the thought of death, and through
+
    remembrance of Jesus Christ concentrate your scattered intellect.
+
   
+
    St. Philotheus of Sinai
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Do we forgive our neighbors their trespasses? God also forgives us
+
    in His mercy. Do we refuse to forgive? God, too, will refuse to
+
    forgive us. As we treat our neighbors, so also does God treat us.
+
    The forgiveness, then, of your sins or unforgiveness, and hence
+
    also your salvation or destruction, depend on you yourself, man.
+
    For without forgiveness of sins there is no salvation. You can see
+
    for yourself how terrible it is.
+
   
+
    St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, Journey to Heaven.
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    What toil we must endure, what fatigue, while we are attempting to
+
    climb hills and the summits of mountains! What, that we may ascend
+
    to heaven! If you consider the promised reward, what you endure is
+
    less. Immortality is given to the one who perseveres; everlasting
+
    life is offered; the Lord promises His Kingdom.
+
   
+
    St. Cyprian
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    A man may seem to be silent, but if his heart is condemning
+
    others, he is babbling ceaselessly. But there may be another who
+
    talks from morning till night and yet he is truly silent, that is,
+
    he says nothing that is not profitable.
+
   
+
    Abba Pimen
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    The way of humility is this: self-control, prayer, and thinking
+
    yourself inferior to all creatures.
+
   
+
    Abba Tithoes
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    The body is a slave, the soul a sovereign, and therefore it is due
+
    to Divine mercy when the body is worn out by illness: for thereby
+
    the passions are weakened, and a man comes to himself; indeed,
+
    bodily illness itself is sometimes caused by the passions.
+
   
+
    St. Seraphim of Sarov, Spiritual Instructions
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Make glad, O Jerusalem, and all ye who love Sion, keep feast.
+
    Today the ancient bond of the condemnation of Adam is loosed.
+
    Paradise is opened to us: the serpent is laid low; for of old he
+
    deceived the woman in Paradise, but now he seeth a woman become
+
    the Mother of the Creator. O the depth of the riches of the wisdom
+
    and knowledge of God! The instrument of sin that brought death
+
    upon all flesh hath become the first fruits of salvation for the
+
    whole world through the Theotokos. For God the All-perfect is born
+
    a babe of her, and by His birth He doth set a seal upon her
+
    virginity. By His swaddling bands he doth loose the bands of sin,
+
    and by becoming a child He doth heal Eve's pangs in travail.
+
    Wherefore, let all creation sing and dance for joy, for Christ
+
    hath come to restore it and to save our souls.
+
   
+
    Glory of the Aposticha of the Feast
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Christ is Risen!
+
    O the marvel! the forbearance! the immeasurable meekness!
+
    The Untouched is felt; the Master is held by a servant,
+
    And He reveals His wounds to one of His inner circle.
+
    Seeing these wounds, the whole Creation was shaken at the time.
+
    Thomas, when he was considered worthy of such gifts,
+
    Lifted up a prayer to the One Who deemed him worthy,
+
    Saying, "Bear my rashness with patience,
+
    Have pity on my unworthiness and lighten the burden
+
    Of my lack of faith, so that I may sing and cry,
+
    `Thou art our Lord and God.'"
+
   
+
    Kontakia of Romanos, V. 1, On Doubting Thomas
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    There is nothing impossible unto those who believe; lively and
+
    unshaken faith can accomplish great miracles in the twinkling of
+
    an eye. Besides, even without our sincere and firm faith, miracles
+
    are accomplished, such as the miracles of the sacraments; for
+
    God's Mystery is always accomplished, even though we were
+
    incredulous or unbelieving at the time of its celebration. "Shall
+
    their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?" (Rom. 3:3).
+
    Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and
+
    mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God's wisdom, nor
+
    our infirmity God's omnipotence.
+
   
+
    St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    It was said about John the Little that one day he said to his
+
    older brother: I want to be free from care and not to work but to
+
    worship God without interruption. And he took his robe off, and
+
    went into the desert. After staying there one week, he returned to
+
    his brother. And when he knocked at the door, his brother asked
+
    without opening it: Who is it? He replied: It's John, your
+
    brother. The brother said: John has become an angel and is not
+
    among people anymore. Then he begged and said: It's me! But his
+
    brother did not open the door and left him there in distress until
+
    the next morning. And he finally opened the door and said: If you
+
    are a human being, you have to work again in order to live. Then
+
    John repented, saying: Forgive me, brother, for I was wrong.
+
   
+
    Sayings of the Desert Fathers
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Long ago, the wily one cast his weapon and wounded Adam and killed
+
    him;
+
    Indeed, he completely destroyed the weak man.
+
    But now, even if he struck the bodies of the noble men,
+
    he did not destroy their spirits.
+
    He persuaded the first-created man to fall by words,
+
    but not even by deeds, the noble ones.
+
    Bewitching the former, he made promises; he made offers to the
+
    latter:
+
    For Adam, the making of a god; for the martyrs, honor.
+
    He offers what he does not have; he suggests bestowing things not
+
    in his authority.
+
    Therefore, saints, having shattered his scheme,
+
    You gained crowns.
+
   
+
    Kontakia of Romanos, On the Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia I.
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    First of all it must be understood that it is the duty of all
+
    Christians - especially of those whose calling dedicates them to
+
    the spiritual life - to strive always and in every way to be
+
    united with God, their creator, lover, benefactor, and their
+
    supreme good, by Whom and for Whom they were created. This is
+
    because the center and the final purpose of the soul, which God
+
    created, must be God Himself alone, and nothing else - God whom
+
    Whom the soul has received its life and its nature, and for Whom
+
    it must eternally live.
+
   
+
    St. Dimitry of Rostov
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Those who have truly decided to serve the Lord God should practice
+
    the remembrance of God and uninterrupted prayer to Jesus Christ,
+
    mentally saying: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me,
+
    a sinner.
+
   
+
    St. Seraphim of Sarov
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Let us go forward with the heart completely attentive and the soul
+
    fully conscious. For if attentiveness and prayer are daily joined
+
    together, they become like Elias' fire-bearing chariot, raising us
+
    to heaven. What do I mean? A spiritual heaven, with sun, moon and
+
    stars, is formed in the blessed heart of one who has reach a state
+
    of watchfulness, or who strives to attain it.
+
   
+
    St. Philotheus of Sinai
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    My poor soul! Sigh, pray and strive to take upon you the blessed
+
    yoke of Christ, and you will live on earth in a heavenly manner.
+
    Lord, grant that I may carry the light and goodly yoke, and I
+
    shall be always at rest, peaceful, glad and joyous; and I shall
+
    taste on earth of crumbs which fall from the celestial feast, like
+
    a dog that feeds upon the crumbs which fall from the master's
+
    table.
+
   
+
    St. Tikhon of Voronezh
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    When despondency seizes us, let us not give in to it. Rather,
+
    fortified and protected by the light of faith, let us with great
+
    courage say to the spirit of evil: "What are you to us, you who
+
    are cut off from God, a fugitive for Heaven, and a slave of evil?
+
    You dare not do anything to us: Christ, the Son of God, has
+
    dominion over us and over all. Leave us, you thing of bane. We are
+
    made steadfast by the uprightness of His Cross. Serpent, we
+
    trample on your head."
+
   
+
    St. Seraphim of Sarov
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Even a pious person is not immune to spiritual sickness if he does
+
    not have a wise guide -- either a living person or a spiritual
+
    writer. This sickness is called _prelest_, or spiritual delusion,
+
    imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine
+
    and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are
+
    sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, laymen who are
+
    zealous in external struggles (podvigi) undergo it much more
+
    frequently. Surpassing their acquaintances in struggles of prayer
+
    and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions,
+
    or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In every event of their
+
    lives, they see special intentional directions from God or their
+
    guardian angel. And then they start imagining that they are God's
+
    elect, and often try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers
+
    armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this
+
    sickness -- prelest.
+
   
+
    Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Go and have pity on all, for through pity, one finds freedom of
+
    speech before God.
+
   
+
    Abba Pambo
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    We see the water of a river flowing uninterruptedly and passing
+
    away, and all that floats on its surface, rubbish or beams of
+
    trees, all pass by. Christian! So does our life. . . I was an
+
    infant, and that time has gone. I was an adolescent, and that too
+
    has passed. I was a young man, and that too is far behind me. The
+
    strong and mature man that I was is no more. My hair turns white,
+
    I succumb to age, but that too passes; I approach the end and will
+
    go the way of all flesh. I was born in order to die. I die that I
+
    may live. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom!
+
   
+
    St. Tikhon of Voronezh
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    It is better to eat meat and drink wine and not to eat the flesh
+
    of one's brethren through slander.
+
   
+
    Abba Hyperechius
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Wine makes glad the heart of man' (Ps. 104:15). But you who have
+
    professed sorrow and grief should turn away from such gladness and
+
    rejoice in spiritual gifts. If you rejoice in wine, you will live
+
    with shameful thoughts and distress will overwhelm you.
+
   
+
    St. Theodore of Edessa
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Acts of charity, almsgiving and all the external good works do not
+
    suppress the arrogance of the heart; but noetic meditation, the
+
    labor of repentance, contrition and humility -- these humble the
+
    proud mind.
+
   
+
    Elder Joseph the Hesychast
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Oh, what great happiness and bliss, what exaltation it is to
+
    address oneself to the Eternal Father. Always, without fail, value
+
    this joy which has been accorded to you by God's infinite grace
+
    and do not forget it during your prayers; God, the angels and
+
    God's holy men listen to you.
+
   
+
    St. John of Kronstadt
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    What we need is a little labor! Let us endure this labor that we
+
    may obtain mercy.
+
   
+
    St. Dorotheus of Gaza
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the
+
    stumblings of sinners by force...it is necessary to make a man
+
    better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have autority
+
    granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we
+
    know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are
+
    kept from evil, not by force, but by choice.
+
   
+
    St. John Chrysostom
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    They went down to Egypt and provided food when famine reigned;
+
    they came to the obstinate sea, and taught it wisdom with a rod;
+
    they went out into the hostile desert and adorned it with a
+
    pillar;
+
    they entered the furnace, fiercely heated, and sprinkled it with
+
    their dew;
+
    into the pit where they had been thrown an angel entered and
+
    taught its wild beasts to fast.
+
   
+
    St. Ephrem
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    While the Bridegroom tarried, they slumbered and slept:
+
    Give ear, ye prudent, to our Lord's parable, for it is all light.
+
    All of them slept, both the foolish and the wise --
+
    Which signifies that the good and the wicked die until the
+
    resurrection.
+
    The same sleep comes upon the ten of them, which is as much as to
+
    say,
+
    That death is the same for all creation without distinction.
+
    One was the sleep of the wise and of the foolish,
+
    For one is death, both of the righteous and of sinners.
+
    The good die, as the wise virgins slept;
+
    And the bad die, as the foolish also slept.
+
    Behold, all creation looketh for the coming of the Bridegroom,
+
    Christ, Who cometh at the end with His angels.
+
    But since He hath tarried, all generations slumber and sleep
+
    With the sleep of death, while looking for when He cometh.
+
   
+
    A Homily on the Ten Virgins by Mar Jacob, Bishop of Serugh
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Do all in your power not to fall, for the strong athlete should
+
    not fall. But if you do fall, get up again at once and continue
+
    the contest. Even if you fall a thousand times because of the
+
    withdrawal of God's grace, rise up again each time, and keep on
+
    doing this until the day of your death. For it is written, 'If a
+
    righteous man falls down seven times' - that is, repeatedly
+
    throughout his life - 'seven times shall he rise again' [Prov.
+
    24:16].
+
   
+
    John of Karpathos
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    No one on this earth can avoid affliction; and although the
+
    afflictions which the Lord sends are not great men imagine them
+
    beyond their strength and are crushed by them. This is because
+
    they will not humble their souls and commit themselves to the will
+
    of God. But the Lord Himself guides with His grace those who are
+
    given over to God's will, and they bear all things with fortitude
+
    for the sake of God Whom they have so loved and with Whom they are
+
    glorified for ever. It is impossible to escape tribulation in this
+
    world but the man who is giver over to the will of God bears
+
    tribulation easily, seeing it but putting his trust in the Lord,
+
    and so his tribulations pass.
+
   
+
    Archimandrite Sophrony
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    The evil one cannot comprehend the joy we receive from the
+
    spiritual life; for this reason he is jealous of us, he envies us
+
    and sets traps for us, and we become grieved and fall. We must
+
    struggle, because without struggles we do not obtain virtues.
+
   
+
    Elder Ieronymos of Aegina
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    For those who believe in Him, Christ will become all this and even
+
    more, beyond enumeration, not only in the age to come but first i
+
    this life, and then in the world to come. Thou in an obscure way
+
    here below and in a perfect manner in the Kingdom, those who
+
    believe see clearly nonetheless and receive as of now the
+
    first-fruits of everything they will have in the future life.
+
    Indeed, if they do not receive on earth everything that was
+
    promised to them, they do not have any part of foretaste of the
+
    blessings to come, their higher hope being set on the hereafter.
+
    However, it is through death and the resurrection that God in His
+
    foresight has given us the Kingdom, incorruptibility, the totality
+
    of life eternal. Given these conditions, we unquestionably become
+
    partakers of the good things to come, that is, incorruptible,
+
    immortal, sons of God, sons of the light and of the day,
+
    inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven, since we carry the Kingdom
+
    within.
+
   
+
    St. Symeon the New Theologian
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Self-accusation before God is something that is very necessary for
+
    us; and humility of heart is extremely advantageous in our lives,
+
    above all at the time of prayer. For prayer requires great
+
    attention and needs a proper awareness, otherwise it will turn out
+
    to be unacceptable and rejected, and `it will be turned back
+
    empty' to our bosom.
+
   
+
    Martyrius of Edessa
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    The enemy of our salvation especially strives to draw our heart
+
    and mind away from God when we are about to serve Him, and
+
    endeavours to adulterously attach our heart to something
+
    irrelevant. Be always, every moment, with God, especially when you
+
    pray to Him. If you are inconstant, you will fall away from life,
+
    and will cast yourself into sorrow and straitness.
+
   
+
    St. John of Kronstadt
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    There was a man who at a lot and was till hungry, and another who
+
    ate little and was satisfied. The one who ate a lot and was still
+
    hungry received a greater reward than he who ate little and was
+
    satisfied.
+
   
+
    Apophthegmata Patrum
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    For to despise the present age, not to love transitory things,
+
    unreservedly to stretch out the mind in humility to God and our
+
    neighbor, to preserve patience against offered insults and, with
+
    patience guarded, to repel the pain of malice from the heart, to
+
    give one's property to the poor, not to covet that of others, to
+
    esteem the friend in God, on God's account to love even those who
+
    are hostile, to mourn at the affliction of a neighbor, not to
+
    exult in the death of one who is an enemy, this is the new
+
    creature whom the Master of the nations seeks with watchful eye
+
    amid the other disciples, saying:"If, then, any be in Christ a new
+
    creature, the old things are passed away. Behold all things are
+
    made new" (2 Cor. 5:17).
+
   
+
    St. Gregory the Great
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    The knowledge of the Cross is concealed in the sufferings of the
+
    Cross.
+
   
+
    St. Isaac the Syrian
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the
+
    special concern of the Church. Every other work, i.e., charity,
+
    nursing the brethren, visiting the sick, caring for prisoners,
+
    releasing captives, and other similar things, is done by the
+
    brethren in love and offered by them to God. Similarly, poverty,
+
    fasting, sleeping on the ground, prostrations, vigils, etc., are
+
    good and like a sacrifice to God, because they aim to subdue and
+
    humble the body so that we may be purified and approach God and
+
    become friends of God -- yet these things do not present us
+
    directly to God, whereas prayer does so and unites us with Him. A
+
    person praying acts towards God like a friend -- conversing,
+
    confiding, requesting -- and through this becomes one with our
+
    Maker Himself.
+
   
+
    St. Symeon of Thessalonica
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    He who really keeps account of his actions considers as lost every
+
    day in which he does not mourn, whatever good he may have done in
+
    it.
+
   
+
    St. John of the Ladder
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    We truly love God and keep His commandments if we restrain
+
    ourselves from our pleasures. For he who still abandons himself to
+
    unlawful desires certainly does not love God, since he contradicts
+
    Him in his own intentions. . . Therefore, he loves God truly,
+
    whose mind is not conquered by consent to evil delight. For the
+
    more one takes pleasure in lower things, the more he is separated
+
    from heavenly love.
+
   
+
    St. Gregory the Great
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    A greedy appetite for food is terminated by satiety and the
+
    pleasure of drinking ends when our thirst is quenched. And so it
+
    is with the other things. . . But the possession of virtue, once
+
    it is solidly achieved, cannot be measured by time nor limited by
+
    satiety. Rather, to those who are its disciples it always appears
+
    as something ever new and fresh.
+
   
+
    St. Gregory of Nyssa
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Observe your thoughts, and beware of what you have in your heart
+
    and your spirit, knowing that the demons put ideas into you so as
+
    to corrupt your soul by making it think of that which is not
+
    right, in order to turn your spirit from the consideration of your
+
    sins and of God.
+
   
+
    Abba Elias
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Have unfeigned love among yourselves, keep the tradition, and may
+
    the God of peace be with you and confirm you in love.
+
   
+
    St. Paul of Obnora
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Bringing doxology to the One born of the Virgin in church hymns
+
    and spiritual songs, we must, outside the church as well,
+
    unceasingly praise Him and give Him thanks for His ineffable
+
    lovingkindness to us sinners, who are atoned by His honourable
+
    blood and who have received through this promise life eternal,
+
    blessed, and unceasing.
+
   
+
    St. Amvrosy of Optina
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    If we wear our heavenly robe, we shall not be found naked, but if
+
    we are found not wearing this garment, what shall we do, brethren?
+
    We, even we also, shall hear the voice that says, "Cast them into
+
    outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." (Matt.
+
    22:13) And, brethren, there will be great shame in store for us,
+
    if, after having worn this habit for so long, we are found in the
+
    hour of need not having put on the wedding garment. Oh what
+
    compunction will seize us! What darkness will fall upon us, in the
+
    presence of our fathers and our brethren, who will see us being
+
    tortured by the angels of punishment!
+
   
+
    Abba Dioscorus
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    When an archer desires to shoot his arrows successfully, he first
+
    takes great pains over his posture and aligns himself accurately
+
    with his mark. It should be the same for you who are about to
+
    shoot the head of the wicked devil. Let us be concerned first for
+
    the good order of sensations and then for the good posture of
+
    inner thoughts.
+
   
+
    St. John Chrysostom
+
   
+
    + + +
+
   
+
    Lord God, have mercy on me a sinner: I am not worthy to stand
+
    before Thee, seeing that I have never tried to embellish my soul
+
    for T ¾?Ä 2¿ µh
+

Latest revision as of 17:09, November 21, 2011

Those who seek humility should bear in mind the three following things: that they are the worst of sinners, that they are the most despicable of all creatures since their state is an unnatural one, and that they are even more pitiable than the demons, since they are slaves to the demons. You will also profit if you say this to yourself: how do I know what or how many other people's sins are, or whether they are greater than or equal to my own? In our ignorance you and I , my soul, are worse than all men, we are dust and ashes under their feet. How can I not regard myself as more despicable than all other creatures, for they act in accordance with the nature they have been given, while I, owing to my innumerable sins, am in a state contrary to nature.

St. Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia, Vol. IV.

The wicked one, on the watch, carried me off as booty as I lazily slept. He led my mind into error; he plundered my spirit and snatched away The wealth of Thy grace, this arch robber. So raise me up, as I am fallen, and summon me, Saviour, Thou who dost will that all men be saved.

Kontakia of St. Romanos, A Prayer.

Be strong in Me; and you, too, Andrew; just as you were the first to find Me, you were found by me; so find the one who has wandered; Do not forget your first skill; from it I shall educate you for this new art. Formerly, naked into the deep sea, now naked into life; Formerly, hunting with a fishing-rod, now taught to fish with the cross; Formerly, you used a worm as bait; now I order you to hunt with My flesh. I alone know what is in the heart.

Kontakia of St. Romanos, On the Mission of the Apostles.

Beguiling and deceptive is the life of the world, fruitless its labor, perilous its delight, poor its riches, delusive its honors, inconstant, insignificant; and woe to those who hope in its seeming goods: because of this many die without repentance. Blessed and mos blessed are those who depart from the world and its desires.

Elder Nazarius

Faith and love which are gifts of the Holy Spirit are such great and powerful means that a person who has them can easily, and with joy and consolation, go the way Jesus Christ went. Besides this, the Holy Spirit gives man the power to resist the delusions of the world so that although he makes use of earthly good, yet he uses them as a temporary visitor, without attaching his heart to them. But a man who has not got the Holy Spirit, despite all his learning and prudence, is always more or less a slave and worshipper of the world.

St. Innocent of Irkutsk, Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven

The demons are sleepless and immaterial, death is at hand, and I am weak. Lord, help me; do not let Thy creature perish, for Thou carest for me in my misery.

St. Peter of Damascus

You cannot destroy the passions on your own, but ask God, and He will destroy them, if this is profitable for you.

St. Anatoly of Optina

An old man was asked, 'How can I find God?' He said, 'In fasting, in watching, in labours, in devotion, and, above all, in discernment. I tell you, many have injured their bodies without discernment and have gone away from us having achieved nothing. Our mouths smell bad through fasting, we know the Scriptures by heart, we recite all the Psalms of David, but we have not that which God seeks: charity and humility.'

Apophthegmata Patrum

The hour of death will come upon us, it will come, and we shall not escape it. May the prince of this world and of the air (cf. John 14:30; Eph. 2:2) find our misdeeds few and petty when he comes, so that he will not have good grounds for convicting us. Otherwise we shall weep in vain. 'For that servant who knew his lord's will and did not do it as a servant, shall be beaten with many stripes' (cf. Luke 12:47).

St. Hesychius the Priest

Behold, this is the true and the Christian humility. In this you will be able to achieve victory over every vice, by attributing to God rather than to yourself the fact that you have won.

St. Martin of Braga

We believe that the divine presence is everywhere and that "the eyes of the Lord are looking on the good and the evil in every place." But we should believe this especially without any doubt when we are assisting at the Work of God. To that end let us be mindful always of the Prophet's words, "Serve the Lord in fear" and again, "Sing praises wisely" and "In the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to Thee." Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves in the sight of the Godhead and of His Angels, and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way that our mind may be in harmony with our voice.

St. Benedict

Humility is the only thing we need; one can still fall having virtues other than humility—but with humility one does not fall.

Elder Herman of Mount Athos

God descends to the humble as waters flow down from the hills into the valleys.

St. Tikhon of Voronezh

If you are praised, be silent. If you are scolded, be silent. If you incur losses, be silent. If you receive profit, be silent. If you are satiated, be silent. If you are hungry, also be silent. And do not be afraid that there will be no fruit when all dies down; there will be! Not everything will die down. Energy will appear; and what energy!

St. Feofil, the Fool-for-Christ

When anyone is disturbed or saddened under the pretext of a good and soul-profiting matter, and is angered against his neighbour, it is evident that this is not according to God: for everything that is of God is peaceful and useful and leads a man to humility and to judging himself.

St. Barsanuphius the Great

What, then, are the things which are being prepared for those who wait for Him? The Creator and Father of the ages, the All-holy One, Himself knows their greatness and beauty. Let us then strive to be found among the number of those that wait, that we may receive a share of the promised gifts.

St. Clement of Rome

Even if an angel should indeed appear to you, do not receive him but humiliate yourself, saying, 'I am not worthy to see an angel, for I am a sinner.'

Apophthegmata Patrum

We should zealously cultivate watchfulness, my brethren; and when, our mind purified in Christ Jesus, we are exalted by the vision it confers, we should review our sins and our former life, so that shattered and humbled at the thought of them we may never lose the help of Jesus Christ our God in the invisible battle.

St. Hesychius the Presbyter

Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we were formed, who we are, and with what nature we came into the world, and how He Who formed and created us brought us into His world from the darkness of a grave, and prepared his benefits for us before we were born. Since, therefore, we have everything from Him, we ought in everything to give Him thanks, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

St. Clement of Rome

Prove your love and zeal for wisdom in actual deeds.

St. Callistus Xanthopoulos

What purposelessness, oh the deceit of life; truly in vain does each man vex himself, and truly blessed and thrice-blessed are those who have left everything for the Lord, that they may attain the good things announced in the Gospels. For what profit will it be for a man to enjoy the whole world, but lose his soul, to which the whole universe is not equivalent? All the splendor of man is like the blossom of grass. For the grass departs and the blossom dies, but the word of the Lord abideth for ever.

St. Nikon, Repent Ye

It depends on us whether we wish to be saved.

Apophthegmata Patrum

When the blessed Eulogius saw an angel distributing gifts to the monks who toiled at all-night vigils, to one he gave a gold piece with the image of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to another a silver piece with a cross, to another a copper piece, to another a bronze piece, and to another nothing. The others who had remained in the church, left the church empty-handed. It was revealed to him that the ones who had obtained the gifts are those who toil at vigils and are diligent in prayers, supplications, psalms, chants, and readings. Those who received nothing or who left the church empty-handed are those who are heedless of their salvation, are enslaved to vainglory and the clamors of life, and stand feebly and lazily at vigils and whisper and jest.

St. Joseph of Volokolamsk

Chastise your soul with the thought of death, and through remembrance of Jesus Christ concentrate your scattered intellect.

St. Philotheus of Sinai

What toil we must endure, what fatigue, while we are attempting to climb hills and the summits of mountains! What, that we may ascend to heaven! If you consider the promised reward, what you endure is less. Immortality is given to the one who perseveres; everlasting life is offered; the Lord promises His Kingdom.

St. Cyprian

Christ is Risen! O the marvel! the forbearance! the immeasurable meekness! The Untouched is felt; the Master is held by a servant, And He reveals His wounds to one of His inner circle. Seeing these wounds, the whole Creation was shaken at the time. Thomas, when he was considered worthy of such gifts, Lifted up a prayer to the One Who deemed him worthy, Saying, "Bear my rashness with patience, Have pity on my unworthiness and lighten the burden Of my lack of faith, so that I may sing and cry, 'Thou art our Lord and God.'"

Kontakia of Romanos, v. 1, On Doubting Thomas

Long ago, the wily one cast his weapon and wounded Adam and killed him; Indeed, he completely destroyed the weak man. But now, even if he struck the bodies of the noble men, he did not destroy their spirits. He persuaded the first-created man to fall by words, but not even by deeds, the noble ones. Bewitching the former, he made promises; he made offers to the latter: For Adam, the making of a god; for the martyrs, honor. He offers what he does not have; he suggests bestowing things not in his authority. Therefore, saints, having shattered his scheme, You gained crowns.

Kontakia of Romanos, On the Forty Martyrs of Sebasteia I.

First of all it must be understood that it is the duty of all Christians—especially of those whose calling dedicates them to the spiritual life—to strive always and in every way to be united with God, their creator, lover, benefactor, and their supreme good, by Whom and for Whom they were created. This is because the center and the final purpose of the soul, which God created, must be God Himself alone, and nothing else—God whom Whom the soul has received its life and its nature, and for Whom it must eternally live.

St. Dimitry of Rostov

Let us go forward with the heart completely attentive and the soul fully conscious. For if attentiveness and prayer are daily joined together, they become like Elias' fire-bearing chariot, raising us to heaven. What do I mean? A spiritual heaven, with sun, moon and stars, is formed in the blessed heart of one who has reach a state of watchfulness, or who strives to attain it.

St. Philotheus of Sinai

My poor soul! Sigh, pray and strive to take upon you the blessed yoke of Christ, and you will live on earth in a heavenly manner. Lord, grant that I may carry the light and goodly yoke, and I shall be always at rest, peaceful, glad and joyous; and I shall taste on earth of crumbs which fall from the celestial feast, like a dog that feeds upon the crumbs which fall from the master's table.

St. Tikhon of Voronezh

Even a pious person is not immune to spiritual sickness if he does not have a wise guide—either a living person or a spiritual writer. This sickness is called prelest, or spiritual delusion, imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, laymen who are zealous in external struggles (podvigi) undergo it much more frequently. Surpassing their acquaintances in struggles of prayer and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions, or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In every event of their lives, they see special intentional directions from God or their guardian angel. And then they start imagining that they are God's elect, and often try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this sickness—prelest.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky

We see the water of a river flowing uninterruptedly and passing away, and all that floats on its surface, rubbish or beams of trees, all pass by. Christian! So does our life. . . I was an infant, and that time has gone. I was an adolescent, and that too has passed. I was a young man, and that too is far behind me. The strong and mature man that I was is no more. My hair turns white, I succumb to age, but that too passes; I approach the end and will go the way of all flesh. I was born in order to die. I die that I may live. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom!

St. Tikhon of Voronezh

'Wine makes glad the heart of man' (Ps. 104:15). But you who have professed sorrow and grief should turn away from such gladness and rejoice in spiritual gifts. If you rejoice in wine, you will live with shameful thoughts and distress will overwhelm you.

St. Theodore of Edessa

Acts of charity, almsgiving and all the external good works do not suppress the arrogance of the heart; but noetic meditation, the labor of repentance, contrition and humility—these humble the proud mind.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast

They went down to Egypt and provided food when famine reigned; they came to the obstinate sea, and taught it wisdom with a rod; they went out into the hostile desert and adorned it with a pillar; they entered the furnace, fiercely heated, and sprinkled it with their dew; into the pit where they had been thrown an angel entered and taught its wild beasts to fast.

St. Ephrem

While the Bridegroom tarried, they slumbered and slept: Give ear, ye prudent, to our Lord's parable, for it is all light. All of them slept, both the foolish and the wise -- Which signifies that the good and the wicked die until the resurrection. The same sleep comes upon the ten of them, which is as much as to say, That death is the same for all creation without distinction. One was the sleep of the wise and of the foolish, For one is death, both of the righteous and of sinners. The good die, as the wise virgins slept; And the bad die, as the foolish also slept. Behold, all creation looketh for the coming of the Bridegroom, Christ, Who cometh at the end with His angels. But since He hath tarried, all generations slumber and sleep With the sleep of death, while looking for when He cometh.

A Homily on the Ten Virgins by Mar Jacob, Bishop of Serugh

Do all in your power not to fall, for the strong athlete should not fall. But if you do fall, get up again at once and continue the contest. Even if you fall a thousand times because of the withdrawal of God's grace, rise up again each time, and keep on doing this until the day of your death. For it is written, 'If a righteous man falls down seven times'—that is, repeatedly throughout his life—'seven times shall he rise again' [Prov. 24:16].

John of Karpathos

The evil one cannot comprehend the joy we receive from the spiritual life; for this reason he is jealous of us, he envies us and sets traps for us, and we become grieved and fall. We must struggle, because without struggles we do not obtain virtues.

Elder Ieronymos of Aegina

Self-accusation before God is something that is very necessary for us; and humility of heart is extremely advantageous in our lives, above all at the time of prayer. For prayer requires great attention and needs a proper awareness, otherwise it will turn out to be unacceptable and rejected, and `it will be turned back empty' to our bosom.

Martyrius of Edessa

There was a man who at a lot and was till hungry, and another who ate little and was satisfied. The one who ate a lot and was still hungry received a greater reward than he who ate little and was satisfied.

Apophthegmata Patrum

The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the special concern of the Church. Every other work, i.e., charity, nursing the brethren, visiting the sick, caring for prisoners, releasing captives, and other similar things, is done by the brethren in love and offered by them to God. Similarly, poverty, fasting, sleeping on the ground, prostrations, vigils, etc., are good and like a sacrifice to God, because they aim to subdue and humble the body so that we may be purified and approach God and become friends of God—yet these things do not present us directly to God, whereas prayer does so and unites us with Him. A person praying acts towards God like a friend—conversing, confiding, requesting—and through this becomes one with our Maker Himself.

St. Symeon of Thessalonica

Have unfeigned love among yourselves, keep the tradition, and may the God of peace be with you and confirm you in love.

St. Paul of Obnora

Bringing doxology to the One born of the Virgin in church hymns and spiritual songs, we must, outside the church as well, unceasingly praise Him and give Him thanks for His ineffable lovingkindness to us sinners, who are atoned by His honourable blood and who have received through this promise life eternal, blessed, and unceasing.

St. Ambrose of Optina

Lord God, have mercy on me a sinner: I am not worthy to stand before Thee, seeing that I have never tried to embellish my soul for Thy presence. What that prostitute accomplished in a single day in beautifying herself surpasseth everything I have ever achieved during all the years of my life. How can I have the face to look upon Thee, my God? I do not know what words to use in the attempt to justify myself in Thy presence, Lord. What excuse have I before Thee, seeing that all my hidden secrets are laid open before Thee? No, alas for me the sinner who, as I enter the threshold of Thy sacred temple and appear before Thy glorious altar, have failed to offer the beauty in my soul that Thou wantest.

St. Nonnus (Life of St. Pelagia, the former harlot)

The Holy Eucharist is the first, most important, and greatest miracle of Christ. All the other Gospel miracles are secondary. How could we not call the greatest miracle the fact that simple bread and wine were once transformed by the Lord into His very Body and His very Blood, and then have continued to be transformed for nearly two thousand years by the prayers of priests, who are but simple human beings? And what is more, this mystery has continued to effect a miraculous change in those people who communicate of the Divine Mysteries with faith and humility.

St. Ambrose of Optina

Strive as well as you can to enter deeply with the heart into the church reading and singing and to imprint these on the tablets of the heart.

Abbot Nazarius

Blessed is he who always has before his eyes that "the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof" (Ps. 23:1 [24:1 in the NIV]), and keeps in mind that God is powerful to arrange for His servants as is pleasing to Him.

St. Barsanuphius

I pray Thee, compassionate Lord, do not allow me to be condemned because of the unworthy and ungrateful manner in which I contemplate the great mysteries that Thou hast revealed to Thy saints and through them to me, a sinner and Thy unworthy servant. For see, Lord, Thy servant stands before Thee, idle in everything, speechless, as one who is dead; and I do not dare to say anything more or to presumptuously contemplate further. But as always I fall down before Thee, crying from the depths of my soul. . .

St. Peter of Damascus

At the Last Judgment the righteous will be recognized only by their humility and their considering themselves worthless, and not by good deeds, even if they have done them. This is the true attitude.

Holy New Hieromartyr Barlaam

The Holy Spirit often visits us; but if He does not find rest how can He remain? He departs. Joy is in the hearts of those who are cleansed and who are able to maintain within themselves the grace of the Holy Spirit of the All-holy Trinity. There is no greater joy and happiness for man. I am not able to describe to you how one feels then.

Elder Ieronymos of Aegina

Keep the body properly slim so that you reduce the burden of the heart's warfare, with full benefit to yourself.

St. Philotheus of Sinai

I shall tell you something strange, but do not be surprised by it. Should you fail to attain dispassion because of the predispositions dominating you, but at the time of your death be in the depths of humility, you will be exalted above the clouds no less than the man who is dispassionate.

St. Theognostus

One of the old men said, "It is written concerning Solomon that he loved women, but every male loveth the females, and we must restrain and draw onwards our nature by main force to purity."

Paradise of the Fathers

My soul, seek the Only One . . . My soul, you have no part with the earth; for you are from heaven. You are the image of God: seek your First Image. For like strives after like. Each object finds its rest in its center and element—fish in water, fire in its upward movement everything strives to its center. My soul, you are an immaterial spirit, immortal. . . In Him alone you will find your rest.

St. Tikhon of Voronezh

The evil one cannot comprehend the joy we receive from the spiritual life; for this reason he is jealous of us, he envies us and sets traps for us, and we become grieved and fall. We must struggle, because without struggles we do not obtain virtues.

Elder Ieronymos of Aegina

Fortunate is the man who has come to have God as his helper and to have his hopes in Him alone. Let the Devil bear malice towards him, let all men persecute him and plot against him, let all his adversaries fight against him—he never fears anyone, because his has God as his helper. He remains always a victor, always glorified, always happy, always rich, always cheerful and joyful, even if he happens to fall into extreme poverty and into a great many adverse and grievous circumstances of this present life. For inasmuch as he hopes in Almighty God, he does not despair, he is not sorry, is not anxious, but expects help from Above. Fortunate, then, is such a man and worthy to be deemed happy, just as the Prophet-king David regards such a man as happy, saying: "Blessed is he whose helper is the God of Jacob, whose hoe is in the Lord his God." Such were all the Prophets, the Apostles, the Martyrs, the Holy Ascetics and all the Saints from the beginning of time.

St. Nikephoros of Chios


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