There is a sin…

There is a sin which is always ‘unto death’ (1Jn 5:16): the sin for which we do not,
repent. For this sin even a saint’s prayers will not be heard.
St. Mark the Ascetic; On Those Who Believe They are Made Righteous by Works, v 44, The Philokalia

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When you see men fall…

From St. John of Kronstadt’s “My Life in Christ”

“When you see men fall into various sins against yourself, against the Lord, against their neighbours, and against themselves, do not be angry with them— for there is much anger and malice in the world without your anger**—but pity them from all your soul and excuse them when they offend against you, saying to yourself: ” Father! forgive them,” for sin perplexes them; ” they know not what they do.””

**There is far too much anger in this world at the moment. What our Lord and St. John say are hard sayings, but we must live with them in our hearts. We must! ~Fr. P

Judge Not…

We are warned in the Scriptures not to judge. “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Mt.7:1-4) and “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged…”(1Cor. 11:31)

There are those “who lack eyes to see the rays of the Sun of righteousness, and ears to hear of God’s glory, are sunk in the darkness of total ignorance, of empty hope and vain words. Not one of them speaks justly or judges truly; for they have put their trust in vanities and their words are vacuous. They conceive envy and beget spite and malice (cf. Isa. 59:4. LXX), for their ears are obdurate and deaf. On account of this they revile the word of God’s knowledge and refuse to listen to it.” (Nikitas Stithatos, On SPiritual Knowledge, Love and the perfection of living: One Hundred Texts; The Philokalia)

“Some people are prone to the sin of condemnation due to habit, others from remembering wrongs, others from envy and hatred, but for the most part, we are prone to this sin due to conceit and haughtiness. In spite of our incorrigibility and sinfulness, it seems to us that we are better than many others. If we desire to be corrected of this sin of condemnation, we must in every way force ourselves to be humble before God and man, and implore God for help in this.” St. Ambrose of Optina

“He who seeks forgivness of his sins loves humility, but if he condemns another he seals his own wickedness.” (St. Mark the Ascetic, 200 texts on the SPiritual Law; Philokalia)

“…when we use futile or slanderous speech we condemn our soul. Now it is characteristic of an obtuse man to lay the blame for his sins on the conditions of his birth or on something else, while in fact his words and actions are evil through his own free choice.” (St. Anthony the Great; Philokalia)

“But if you are unable to bridle your temper, censure yourself whenever you lose it, and repent before God and before anyone to whom you have spoken or have acted evilly. If you repent at the inception of sin you will not commit the sin itself; but if you feel no pang in committing minor offences you will through them fall into major transgressions.” (St. Gregory Palamas, A New Testament Decalogue; Philokalia)

“Be attentive to yourself,’ says Moses (Deut. 15:9. LXX) – that is, to the whole of yourself, not to a few things that pertain to you, neglecting the rest. By what means? With the intellect assuredly, for nothing else can pay attention to the whole of yourself. Set this guard, therefore, over your soul and body, for thereby you will readily free yourself from the evil passions of body and soul. Take yourself in hand, then, be attentive to yourself, scrutinize yourself; or, rather, guard, watch over and test yourself, for in this manner you will subdue your rebellious unregenerate self to the Spirit and there will never again be ‘some secret iniquity in your heart’ (Deut. 15:9). If, says, the Preacher, the spirit that-rules over the evil demons and passions rises up against you, do not desert your place (cf, Eccles. 10:4) – that is to say, do not leave any part of your soul or body unwatched. In this way you will master the evil spirits that assail you and you will boldly present yourself to Him who examines hearts and minds (cf. Ps. 7:9); and He will not scrutinize you, for you will have already scrutinized yourself. As St Paul says, ‘If we judged ourselves we would not be judged’ (1 Cor. 11:31). (St. Gregory Palamas, In Defense of Those Who Devoutly Practice a Life of Stillness; Philokalia)

May God grant us the ability to see our own sins before the sins of others.