How Good!

How good Thou art, Lord, and how near art Thou to us –so near that we may always converse with Thee, be comforted by Thee, breathe through Thee, be enlightened by Thee, find peace in Thee, obtain spiritual breadth in Thee Lord! teach me simplicity of love for Thee and my neighbour, so that I may ever be with Thee, that I may ever find peace in Thee. Lord! grant that I may not for a single moment have fellowship with the most abominable, most evil enemy the Devil, neither by malice, nor pride, nor envy, nor avarice, nor by love of gain, nor gluttony, nor impure thoughts, nor blasphemy, nor despondency, nor falsehood, nor by anything sinful. Grant that I may ever be wholly Thine! -St. John of Kronstadt

Philokalia Wednesdays

Self-control is common to all the virtues, and therefore whoever practices self control must do so in all things.
If any part, however small, of a man’s body is removed, the whole man is disfigured; likewise, he who disregards one single virtue destroys unwittingly the whole harmonious order of self-control. It is therefore necessary to cultivate not only the bodily virtues, but also those which have the power to purify our inner man. What is the good of a man keeping the virginity of his body if he lets his soul commit adultery with the demon of disobedience? Or what is the good of a man controlling gluttony and his other bodily desires if he makes no effort to avoid vanity and self-esteem, and does not endure with patience even the slightest affliction? At the judgment what crown will he deserve, when a just reward is given only to those who have accomplished works of righteousness in a spirit of humility? -St. Diadochos of Photiki

Victory in the Battle

Sometimes we are granted an easy victory over a problem. Sometimes, however, we can see that the battle itself is the victory, so long as we keep fighting! -Fr. P

“A disciple of one holy elder was attacked by the spirit of lust, but with the help of God’s Grace he courageously confronted the nasty and dirty desires of his heart, he was diligently fasting, praying and craft working. The venerable elder saw his strong exploit and said: “If you want, my son, I will pray to God to ask Him to take this struggle away from you.” The disciple answered: “Father! Though I work hard but I see and feel inside me a good fruit: because of this fight I fast more and exercise more in vigils and prayers. But I ask you: pray to the merciful Lord to give me strength to withstand the fight and to toil legitimately.” Then the holy elder told him: “Now I know that you understood correctly, that through the patient invisible battle with the spirits the eternal salvation of your soul is happening” ” -The Spiritual Meadow

A Jeweler…

…and a person finding out how truly important riches are, or aren’t.

There lived a rich jeweler who through hard labor and successful deals collected many precious stones and pearls. He decided to use his wealth to live quietly the rest of his life, so he got on a ship with his children to move to another country.

By God’s plan some boy served the jeweler on the ship. The jeweler liked him so much for his diligence that he invited the boy to eat with him at the same table. Once the boy heard the sailors talking about throwing the jeweler into the sea and taking his treasures. The boy returned to the jeweler greatly troubled, but he was afraid to tell him what he had heard. But the jeweler saw the boy’s suppressed mood and after some persevering questions he
learned about the plot of the sailors.

Realizing that not his last days but probably his last minutes had come, the jeweler made the quickest decision. He called his children and poured out his treasures on a cloth in front of them. He pointed at them and said: “This is all I have dedicated my life to! For these jewels I worked hard and exposed myself to various dangers — both on land and sea. Now because of them I will soon lose my life taking nothing to the other world. So quickly throw all this into the sea!” The children immediately did what the father had told them and threw everything over the side of the ship. Since the sailors had nothing to rob, they left the jeweler and his children alone. -From “the Spiritual Meadow”

Philokalia Wednesdays

No one can either love truly or believe truly unless he has first brought accusation against himself. For so long as our conscience is troubled with self reproach, the intellect is no longer able to sense the perfume of heavenly blessings, but at once becomes divided and ambivalent. Because of the experience it once enjoyed it reaches out fervently towards faith, but can no longer perceive faith in the heart through love because of the pricks of an accusing conscience. But when we have purified ourselves by closer attentiveness, then with a fuller experience of God we shall attain what we desire. -St. Diadochos of Photiki

Prayer Described

All prayer, whether it be corporate or in solitude, consists of the turning of one’s mind and thoughts to God. Prayer is this: to stand before God with your mind and gaze upon Him with your understanding, and in reverence, fear, and hope converse with Him, collecting all your thoughts and laying aside all earthly cares. -St. Dimitri of Rostov; Instructions

PS: Many thanks to Fr. Zachariah Lynch and his Matushka for their wonderful translation of St. Dimitri of Rostov’s “Instructions”. You can find more wonderful things on his blog at https://inklesspen.blog/

Blessedness

My infinite Blessedness, Lord Jesus Christ, of what blessings hast Thou not made me a partaker during my temporal existence! I thank Thee, my Mercy, my Blessedness. But if earthly blessings are so numerous, so various, so sweet–then what must heavenly, spiritual blessings be: they are more truly infinite, numberless, unimaginably sweet. Do not deprive me, then, most merciful and most gracious Lord, of these Thy heavenly blessings, too, which Thou hast prepared for those who love Thee. Do not deprive others of them either! Grant that they may all know Thee, Lord, our Blessedness! For Thou art our Blessedness everywhere, upon earth, too, for every blessing is Thy work! And besides this, grant, Lord, that I may also submissively bear the afflictions of this life: they are necessary for my passionate flesh, for my old man. Lover of men! teach the rest of Thy people also to bear them submissively, and grant that they may learn the need of them. “Patient in tribulation.” “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” -St John of Kronstadt

Philokalia Wednesdays

The deep waters of faith seem turbulent when we peer into them too curiously; but when contemplated in a spirit of simplicity, they are calm. The depths of faith are like the waters of Lethe, making us forget all evil; they will not reveal themselves to the scrutiny of meddlesome reasoning. Let us therefore sail these waters with simplicity of mind, and so reach the harbor of God’s will. -St. Diadochos of Photiki

Legs

St. Ambrose of Optina once said that the most important thing that God looks at is the internal disposition of a person’s soul: “Once, Abbot Anthony was visited by a man with ailing legs who said: “Batushka, my legs are aching and I am disturbed that I cannot bow to the ground.” Fr. Anthony replied: “Well it is said in the Scripture: “Son, give me your heart,” and it doesn’t say – “legs.”

“They’re Gonna Waste It…

St. Dimitri of Rostov wrote: “If a person rides up to you on a horse and begs you, give it to him. You will not be responsible as to how he applies your alms.

We’ve all said it, haven’t we? “They’re just gonna waste it on drugs/alcohol/anything I don’t want them to.” How often have we seen a beggar who is clean and well-dressed? I know I have. “He doesn’t need it!” we tell ourselves and others. Could it be that they just came out of a shelter that gave them new clothes and a shower? Could it be that we don’t know as much as we think we do?

Or could it be that it is not our business, but the business of God?

If someone asks help, it is our duty to help them. Only God knows which moment will be the one that helps that person overcome their difficulties and start doing better in life. That moment could be the one we are involved in, or it could be the culmination of all of them. -Fr. Photi