…forgive them

Grant us, O Lord, if we are unable to love our enemies, at least to forgive them.
St. Barsanuphius Of Optina.

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Prayer is the breathing…

Prayer is the breathing of the soul, just as air is the natural breathing of the body. We
breathe by the Holy Ghost. You cannot say a single word of prayer with the whole heart
without the help of the Holy Ghost. When praying, you are conversing, mouth to mouth,
with the Lord; and if the mouth of your heart is open by faith and love, then it is as though you breathed into yourself, from Him, the spiritual blessings you ask for by the Holy Ghost.
St. John of Kronstadt

Catechism #3 God the Father

As one of the prayers in the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom affirms, I too believe in
God the Father, Who is “inexpressible, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever
existing,” Who transcends every created essence, Whose essence is known only to Himself, to His Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it says in the Holy Scriptures, upon Whom even the Seraphim do not dare to gaze. I believe and confess that God the Father never assumed the likeness of any material form nor was He ever incarnate.

In the theophanies of the Old Testament, as our holy Fathers bear witness, it was not God
the Father Who appeared, but rather always our Savior, the only Begotten of the Father (i.e. the Word or Logos, the Angel of the Lord, the Lord of Sabaoth, the Angel of Great Counsel, the Ancient of Days) Who revealed Himself to the Prophets and seers of the Old Covenant. Likewise, in the New Testament, God the Father never appeared but bore witness to His Son on several occasions by a voice that was heard from Heaven. It is for this reason that our Savior said, “No man hath seen God at any time; the Only-Begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him,” (John 1:18) and “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He Who is of God; He hath seen the Father” (John 6:46). Saint John Chrysostom, in his Homily on I Timothy 3:16, says, “And the days were accomplished,” as Saint Matthew says, “that she should bring forth; and she brought forth her first-born Son, Whose Father no man ever saw.” Also, in his work, The Preaching of the Apostles, Saint Irenaeus of Lyons says, “All the visions of this kind [i.e., in the Old Testament] refer to the Son of God, in His being with people and speaking to them. Certainly, it is not the Father of all, the Creator, Who is never seen by the world. . . It was not the Father Who stood in a specific place and spoke with Abraham. That was the Word of God, Who was always with mankind, foretelling what was to come and acquainting man with God” (chap. 44).

I believe that He is the cause of all things as well as the end purpose of all things. From Him all visible and invisible creatures have their beginning, and there was a time when they did not exist. The earth too had a beginning, and man was created by God’s love. He created the universe out of nothing. Only God is uncreated.

However, the creation of man and of the universe was not a necessity. Creation is the work of the free and unconditional will of the Creator. If He had so wished, He need not have created us; the absence of creation would not have been a privation for Him. The creature’s love is not a necessity for Him; God has no need to be satisfied. He transcends every need and every necessity.

God’s love cannot be compared to human love, even as His other attributes such as
paternity, justice, goodness cannot be compared to their human counterparts. God’s love is a love which constitutes a mystery unfathomable to man’s reason or intellect. God has no “emotions” which might create passion, suffering, need or necessity in Him. Nevertheless, although the nature of divine love remains incomprehensible and inexplicable to human reason, this love is real and genuine, and I confess, through faith and in agreement with the Scriptures, that God is love.

When You are being Tested…

When you are being tested by trials and temptations, you cannot avoid feeling dejected. But those who till the earth of hardship and tribulation in their hearts are afterwards filled with great joy, tears of consolation and holy thoughts.

St. John of Karpathos to the monks of India

Do Not Despond…

Do not despond in the time of violent temptations, afflictions, or sicknesses, or at
obstacles arising from the disturbance of the enemy; all this is the reproof and chastisement of the righteous Lord, Who trieth the hearts and reins, for your cleansing, arousing, and correction, for burning out the thorns of carnal passions. And therefore do not complain if you sometimes suffer greatly. Do not think of the suffering, but of the blessed consequences of this chastisement, and the health of the soul. What would you not do for the health of your body? Still more must you bear everything for the health and salvation of your soul, which has eternal life.
St. John of Kronstadt

The Savior Deigned…

The Saviour deigned to become incarnate, not only in order to save us when sins and
passions have already overcome us, when we are entangled in them, but also in order to
save us, at our prayer, when sins and passions are as yet only striving to enter into us, when they attack us. We must not slumber nor be disheartened when the passions attack us; on the contrary, this is the very time to be on the watch, to take courage and pray to Christ not to let us fall into sin. It is not the time to save a house from fire, when the fire has already spread, but rather when the flame has just appeared. It is the same with the soul. The soul is the house, and the passions the fire. “Neither give place to the Devil.”(Eph. 4:27)
St. John of Kronstadt

How Many…

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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.
St. John of Kronstadt