He Who Loves God…

He who loves God both believes truly and performs the works of faith reverently. But he who only believes and does not love, lacks even the faith he thinks he has; for he believes merely with a certain superficiality of intellect and is not energized by the full force of love’s glory. The chief part of virtue, then, is faith energized by love.
St. Diadochos of Photiki

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When you don’t believe…

When you don’t believe in something true and sacred, your mind usually becomes dark, and your unbelieving heart constricts with fear. On the other hand, when you have sincere faith, your heart experiences joy, tranquility, expansiveness, and an increase of life within it, so that the mind also becomes bright and far seeing. It is not evident that truth triumphs over the heart’s madness? Is the heart not obviously deceitful? Yes, the suffering of the heart, as a result of unbelief in anything true and sacred, is a sign of the truth of that in which it does not believe. The heart itself dies when it calls the truth into question, attempting to destroy that which cannot be destroyed, while the increase in the life of the heart, when it sincerely believes, is also a true sign of the truth of that in which it believes, because the object in which we believe communicates life to our heart, and renews and strengthens this life. Our heart, corrupted by sin, is a worthless receptacle of life, for sin is death, not life, and the fullness of life is outside us.”

– St. John of Kronstadt

A Saint’s humility

Note the Saint’s humility in the last sentence.

He that does not believe in the God Who saves is in difficult circumstances, but is faint-hearted; he that does not wish to render glory to God, that represents Him as not vigilant, but sleeping, not all-powerful and not merciful, thinks falsely of the God of Truth, and thus sins grievously. Especially inexcusable are faint-heartedness and unbelief in the man who has already been deemed worthy of often receiving marvelous help from God the Savior.  Oh how great a sinner I am!
St. John of Kronstadt

Initially one thinks this is the typical “Hey all you sinners, stop it!” quote. While it is that, it is also St. John’s look in the mirror.

Without a Beginning

…nothing can be accomplished. If laziness or depression is keeping us from a good beginning – or even another good beginning- then we should ask God for the grace simply to start. Then, with the action of grace within us, we can reap a great harvest!

“A certain brother asked an old man, “What shall I do about my negligence?” The old man said unto him, “If thou wilt root out this small plant, which is negligence, a great forest will come into being.”

The Paradise of the Fathers, #293, Vol. II, p. 65

The Works of God

The works of God are wondrous and unfathomable for our darkened minds, but as much as possible, we see from Scripture and our personal experience that the Lord sends sicknesses, sorrows, deprivation, droughts, wars, and revolutions either as punishment for our sins; or in anticipation, so that we do not fall into sins; or sometimes to test our faith. And so, we must bow in reverence before His all-wise Providence and give thanks for His ineffable mercy towards us.

Saint Macarius of Optina