Wherefore, the man who lives in love reaps life from God, and while yet in this world, he even now breathes the air of the resurrection; in this air the righteous will delight in the resurrection. Love is the Kingdom, whereof the Lord mystically promised His disciples to eat in His Kingdom. For when we hear Him say ‘ye shall eat and drink at the table of my Kingdom,’ what do we suppose we shall eat, if not love? Love is sufficient to nourish a man instead of food and drink.
St. Isaac the Syrian
Pray simply. Do not expect to find in your heart any remarkable gift of prayer. Consider yourself unworthy of it. Then you will find peace. Use the empty, cold dryness of your heart as food for your humility. Repeat constantly, “I am not worthy, Lord, I am not worthy!” But say it calmly, without agitation. This humble prayer will be acceptable to God.
St. Macarius of Optina
The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit.
St. Basil the Great
Love for God begins to manifest itself, and to act in us, when we begin to love our neighbor as ourselves, and not to spare ourselves or anything belonging to us for him, as he is the image of God: “For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”
St. John of Kronstadt
Our spirit should be quick to reach out toward God, not only when it is engaged in meditation; at other times, also, when it is carrying out its duties, caring for the needy, performing works of charity, giving generously in the service of others, our spirit should long for God and call Him to mind, so that these works may be seasoned with the salt of God’s love, and so to make a palatable offering to the God of the universe. Throughout the whole of our lives, we may enjoy the benefit that comes from prayer if we devote a great deal of time to it.
St. John Chrysostom
To those who are just beginning to long for holiness the path of virtue seems very rough and forbidding. It appears like this not because it really is difficult, but because our human nature from the womb is accustomed to the wide roads of sensual pleasure. But those who have traveled more than half its length find the path of virtue smooth and easy. For when a bad habit has been subjected to a good one through the energy of grace it is destroyed along with the remembrance of mindless pleasures; and thereafter the soul gladly journeys on all the ways of virtue. Thus, when the Lord first leads us into the path of salvation, He says: ‘How narrow and strait is the way leading to the kingdom and few there are who follow it’ (cf. Matt. 7:14); but to those who have firmly resolved to keep His holy commandments He says: ‘For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light’ (Matt. 11:30). At the beginning of the struggle, therefore, the holy commandments of God must be fulfilled with a certain forcefulness of will (cf. Matt. 11:12); then the Lord, seeing our intention and labor, will grant us readiness of will and gladness in obeying His purposes. For ‘it is the Lord who makes ready the will’ (Prov. 8:35. LXX), so that we always do what is right joyfully. Then shall we truly feel that ‘it is God who energizes in you both the willing and the doing of His purpose’ (Phil. 2:13).
St. Diadochos of Photiki
A man who loves the Lord with unflagging resolve once said to me: ‘Because I desired conscious knowledge of divine love, God granted me a full and active experience of such love. I felt its energy so strongly that my soul longed with an inexpressible joy and love to leave the body and go to the Lord, and to become in a sense unaware of this transient form of life.’ Once a man has experienced this love, he does not become angry however much he is insulted and harmed – for one pursuing the spiritual life still suffers such things – but he remains united in love to the soul of the man who has insulted or harmed him. His anger is kindled only against those who injure the poor or who, as the Scripture says, ‘speak iniquity against God’ (Ps. 75:5. LXX), or follow other forms of wickedness. Whoever loves God far more than himself, or rather no longer loves himself but only God, no longer vindicates his own honor; for his sole wish is that the divine righteousness, which has accorded him eternal honor, should alone be held in honor. This he no longer wishes in a half-hearted way, but with the force of an attitude established in him through his deep experience of the love of God. We should know, moreover, that a person energized by God to such love rises, at that moment, even above faith, since by reason of his great love he now senses consciously in his heart the One whom he previously honored by faith. The holy Apostle expresses this clearly when he says: ‘Now there are three things that endure: faith, hope, love; but the greatest of them is love’ (1 Cor. 13:13). For, as I have said, he who holds God in all the richness of love transcends at that moment his own faith, since he is wholly rapt in divine longing.
St. Diadochos of Photiki