To Suffer for Christ’s Sake…

To suffer for Christ’s sake is patiently to endure whatever happens to us. For the envy which the innocent provoke is for their benefit, while the Lord’s schooling tests us so as to bring about our conversion, since it opens our ears when we are guilty. That is why the Lord has promised an eternal crown to those who endure in this manner (cf. Jas. 1:12). Glory to Thee, our God; glory to Thee, Holy Trinity; glory to Thee for all things.
St. Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia


God has done all things for our benefit

“God has done all things for our benefit. We are guarded and taught by the angels; we are tempted by the demons so that we may be humbled and have recourse to God, thus being saved from self-elation and delivered from negligence . . . Thus God in His unutterable goodness has arranged all things in a marvellous way for us; and if you want to understand this and to be as you should, you must struggle to acquire the virtues, to be able to accept with gratitude everything that comes, whether it is good or whether it appears to be bad, and to remain undisturbed in all things.”
St. Peter of Damascus, The Philokalia, Vol. 1

If God Sees That the Intellect…

“If God sees that the intellect (heart/nous) has entirely submitted to Him and puts its hope in Him alone. He strengthens it, saying: ‘Have no fear Jacob my son, my little Israel’ (Isa. 41:14), and: ‘Have no fear: for I have delivered you, I have called you by My name; you are Mine. If you pass through water, I shall be with you, and the rivers will not drown you. If you go through fire, you will not be burnt, and the names will not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, who saves you’ (cf. Isa. 43:1-3.).”
St. Isaiah the Solitary (Philokalia Vol. 1)

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.

Love those who hate you- and those you hate. 

“If you harbor rancor against anybody, pray for him and you will prevent the passion from being aroused; for by means of prayer you will separate your resentment from the thought of the wrong he has done you. When you have become loving and compassionate towards him, you will wipe the passion completely from your soul. If somebody regards you with rancor, be pleasant to him, be humble and agreeable in his company, and you will deliver him from his passion.” -St. Maximus the Confessor; Third Century on love, Philokalia volume II