Open confession: I got this from a Facebook site, and am passing it to you. Good Stuff!
“Imagine that the world is a circle, that God is the center, and that the radii are the lives of human beings. When those who wish to come closer to God walk towards the center of the circle, they come closer to one another at the same time as to God. The closer they come to God, the closer they come to one another. And the closer they come to one another, the closer they come to God.”
“A Christian must be courteous to all. His words and deeds should breathe with the grace of the Holy Spirit, which abides in his soul, so that in this way he might glorify the name of God. He who regulates all of his speech also regulates all of his actions. He who keeps watch over the words he is about say also keeps watch over the deeds he intends to do, and he never goes out of the bounds good and benevolent conduct. The graceful speech of a Christian is characterized by delicateness and politeness. This fact, born of love, produces peace and joy. On the other hand, boorishness gives birth to hatred, enmity, affliction, competitiveness, disorder and wars.”
(St. Nektarios of Aegina, The Path to Happiness, 7)
“If a person wants to get an idea about the pyramids of Egypt, he must either trust those who have been in immediate proximity to the pyramids, or he must get next to them himself. There is no third option. In the same way a person can get an impression of God: He must either trust those who have stood and stand in immediate proximity to God, or he must take pains to come into such proximity himself.”
(St. Nicholas of Serbia, Thoughts on Good and Evil)
Just as our brains and bodies weaken and atrophy from lack of use, so too does the soul if it is not exercised through a life of prayer, devotion to God and the practice of the virtues and Commandments.
St. Mark the Ascetic agrees: “Often our knowledge becomes darkened because we fail to put things into practice. For when we have totally neglected to practice something, our memory of it will gradually disappear.”
And so let us not accept weakness, in this case. Let us not accept the darkness of an unpracticed mind and heart (nous). Let us instead prefer the Light of Life.
“The soul that loves God has its rest in God and in God alone. In all the paths that men walk in the world, they do not attain peace until they draw nigh to hope in God.”
(St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily 56, 89)
St. Mark the Ascetic said “Some people when praised for their virtue are delighted, and attribute this pleasurable feeling of self-esteem to grace. Others when reproved for their sins are pained, and they mistake this beneficial pain for the action of sin.”
Here the Saint illustrates to us how deluded we can be when it comes to our feelings and spiritual standing. I will take his last words here on the pain of being reproved one further: people will assume pain is always from the devil. We are deluded if we believe that our simple senses are a measure of our place upon the path of salvation.
Instead, when someone either praises us or reproves us, we should repeat the words our Lord gave us: “We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.” This is the path of humility, and a path where we can never be led astray.
God be with you.
From St. John of Kronstadt’s “My Life in Christ”
All possible sins and passions are ready to break into the soul, and strive to do so at every moment. But fight against them valiantly and vigilantly unto your last breath, looking upon them as dreams of your imagination, as illusions of the spirits of evil.
Be so sure of the Lord’s nearness to you that you may feel when praying to God that you touch Him not only with your thought and heart, but also with your mouth and tongue. ” The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart;” that is God.