St. Seraphim on Despair

“Just as the Lord is solicitous about our salvation, so too the murder of men, the devil, strives to lead a man into despair.

A lofty and sound soul does not despair over misfortunes, of whatever sort they may be. Our life is as it were a house of temptations and trials; but we will not renounce the Lord for as long as He allows the tempter to remain with us and for as long as we must wait to be revived through patience and secure passionless!

Judas the betrayer was fainthearted and unskilled in battle, and so the enemy, seeing his despair, attacked him and forced him to hang himself, but Peter, a firm rock, when he fell into great sin, like one skilled in battle did not despair nor lose heart, but shed bitter tears from a burning heart, and the enemy, seeing these tears, his eyes scorched as by fire, fled far form him wailing in pain.

And so brothers, St. Antioch teaches, when despair attacks us let us not yield to it, but being strengthened and protected by the light of faith, with great courage let us say to the evil spirit: “What are you to us, estranged from God, a fugitive from heaven and evil servant? You dare do nothing to us. Christ, the Son of God, has authority both over us and over everything. It is against Him that we have sinned, and before Him that we will be justified. And you, destroyer, leave us. Strengthen by His venerable Cross, we trample under foot your serpent’s head” (St. Antioch, Discourse 27).

St. Seraphim of Sarov, “The Spiritual Instructions to Laymen and Monks”

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Common Sense Advice

From St. John of Kronstadt:

“Passion is burning, agitated, inconsiderate, evil, impetuous, and therefore a man under the influence of passion—for instance, in anger—says a great deal that is unconsidered, untrue, imaginary, evil, and what he would not say when calm. And thus, knowing by experience that such is the nature of passion, in the first place—do not talk yourself when you are agitated, in malice; and in the second, place—forgive those who are hot-tempered and irritated, when they pour forth abuse and reproaches, either just or unjust.”

Comfort? Struggle!

“Do not fear the conflict, and do not flee from it: where there is no struggle, there is no virtue; where there are no temptations for faithfulness and love, it is uncertain whether there is really any faithfulness and love for the Lord. Our faith, trust, and love are proved and revealed in adversities, that is, in difficult and grievous outward and inward circumstances, during sickness, sorrow, and privations.”
St. John of Kronstadt

When sick…

Continuing Quotes from St. John of Kronstadt-

“When owing to sickness, proceeding from various causes, you feel unwell and indisposed, and when in this condition your prayer is cold, heavy, filled with despondency and even despair, do not be disheartened or despairing, for the Lord knows your sick and painful condition. Struggle against your infirmity, pray as much as you have strength to, and the Lord will not despise the infirmity of your flesh and spirit.”

Woe to Us…

Continuing quotes from St. John of Kronstadt-

“How many Christians there are who say, “I believe in God,” without in reality believing! How many mouths are dumb when in the company of men it is necessary to defend the glory of God and of His saints, which is blasphemed by the children of this world! Some remain silent when it is necessary to support the conversation concerning God, or to put a stop to any disrespect or insolence. Many say, “I believe in God”; but should any misfortune or temptation arise, they grow fainthearted and despondent. Sometimes they begin to murmur. And what becomes of all their faith? This should be the very time to show submission to the will of God, and to say, “Let it be as the Lord wills.” “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Otherwise it is evident that they only believe in God in the time of happiness, and renounce Him in the time of misfortune.”

How Some Fall Away

“Sometimes in his heart a man draws near to God, sometimes he goes far from God, and therefore he experiences either peace and joy, or fear, disturbance, and oppression. The one is life, the other, spiritual death.

We draw near to God mostly in time of affliction, from which no one can save us but God, to Whom we then turn with our whole heart, and thus approach Him sincerely; whilst we go far from God in times of ease and abundance of earthly blessings, which make the old carnal man proud of himself, and–especially when he thirsts for riches, glory and distinction, and has attained all these–he loses faith from his heart and forgets God, his Judge and Recompenser, forgets the immortality of his soul, and his duty to love God with all his heart and his neighbour as himself.”

St. John of Kronstadt, “My Life in Christ”

Quotes of St. John of Kronstadt

I will be posting a number of quotes of St. John of Kronstadt for a while. He is close to my heart and his personal journal “My Life in Christ” is very, very inspirational. If you can get a copy, it would be money well spent.

“Leave all human injustices to the Lord, for God is the Judge, but as to yourself, be diligent in loving everybody with a pure heart, and remember that you yourself are a great sinner and in need of God’s mercy. But in order to deserve God’s mercy, we must forgive others in every way. So be it! So be it! The Lord is everything to all: He is the Judge as well as the generous Giver of gifts, and mercy and the cleansing from sins, and the light, the peace, the joy and the strength of the heart.”