We who used to…

We who ourselves used to have pleasure in impure things now cling to chastity alone. We who dabbled in the arts of magic now consecrate ourselves to the good and unbegotten God. We who formerly treasured money and possessions more than anything else now hand over everything we have to a treasury for all and share it with everyone who needs it. We who formerly hated and murdered one another and did not even share our hearth with those of a different tribe because of their customs, now, after Christ’s appearance, live together and share the same table. Now we pray for our enemies and try to win those who hate us unjustly so that they too may live in accordance with Christ’s wonderful teachings, that they too may enter into the expectation, that they too may receive the same good things that we will receive from God, the Ruler of the universe.

St. Justin the Marty, First Apology

Advertisements

Those who choose…

Those who choose what is pleasing to God are, by virtue of the choice, admitted to immortality and fellowship with God.
St. Justin Martyr

Beware of Your Own Self..

“Beware of your own self as your bitterest enemy, and do not follow your own will, mind, taste or feeling, if you do not wish to get lost.

Therefore always be fully armed against yourself, and when your desire inclines towards something, however holy, strip it naked of everything extraneous and place it, alone, before your God, with the greatest humility, imploring Him that in this His will and not your own may be done.

Do this with a sincere and heart-felt surrender to the will of God, with no trace of self-love, knowing that you have nothing in yourself and can do nothing by yourself in your work of salvation.”

St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain; Unseen Warfare Chpt 17

Happy St. John of Kronstadt’s Day

Image result for St. John of Kronstadt

“Men throughout all their earthly life see everything but Christ, the life-giver; this is why they have no spiritual life, this is why they are given to every passion: unbelief, want of faith, covetousness, envy, hatred, ambition, the pleasures of eating and drinking. It is only at the close of their life that they seek Christ through the Holy Communion, and even this out of crying necessity and as a custom usual amongst others. O Christ, our God, our Life and Resurrection! How low have we fallen in our vanity, how blind have we become! But how would it have been with us had we always sought Thee, had we always had Thee in our hearts? The tongue cannot express the bliss which those experience who have Thee in their hearts! Unto them Thou art strengthening food, inexhaustible drink, shining raiment, the sun, “the peace which passeth all understanding,” (Phil 4:7) unutterable joy, and everything.”

“Forgive those who trespass against you, so that God may forgive your trespasses, incomparably greater than the trespasses of others against you.”

“If God does not leave a blade of grass, a flower, or a small leaf of a tree without His good providence, will He leave us?”

“Who can be more loathsome to me than myself? Truly nobody; in comparison to me all are righteous.”

“Christ is our hope, our cleansing and sanctification, our resurrection, life and repose. He alone is what we all need, and therefore, the Orthodox Church constantly pronounces these words aloud so that we may hear them during Holy Services of the Church, and be constantly renewed. For we are inclined to forget the only thing we need. With death all will be taken from us, all earthly goods, riches, beauty of body and raiment, spacious dwellings, etc., but the virtue of the soul, that incorruptible raiment, shall remain with us eternally.”

“A man becomes spiritual insofar as he lives a spiritual life. He begins to see God in all things, to see His power and might in every manifestation. Always and everywhere he sees himself abiding in God and dependent on God for all things. But insofar as a man lives a bodily life, so much he does he do bodily things; He doesn’t see God in anything, even in the the most wondrous manifestations of His Divine power. In all things he sees body, material, everywhere and always – “God is not before his eyes.” (Ps. 35:2)

“Your Lord is Love: love Him and in Him all men, as His children in Christ. Your Lord is a fire: do not let your heart be cold, but burn with faith and love. Your Lord is light: do not walk in darkness of mind, without reasoning or understanding, or without faith. Your Lord is a God of mercy and bountifulness: be a source of mercy and bountifulness to your neighbors. If you will be such, you will find salvation yourself with everlasting glory.”

“Worthless is the charity of the man who bestows it unwillingly, because material charity is not his, but God’s gift, while only the disposition of the heart belongs to the man. This is why many charities prove almost worthless, for they were bestowed unwillingly, grudgingly, without respect for the person of our neighbor. So also the hospitality of many persons proves worthless because of their hypocritical vain-glorious behavior to their guests. Let us offer our sacrifices upon the altar of love to our neighbor, with heart-felt affection: ‘for God loves a cheerful giver'”

“When you pray either aloud or to yourself for others ? for instance, for the members of your household or for strangers, even though they may not have asked you to do so ? pray for them with the same ardor and zeal as you would pray for yourself. Remember the commandment of the law: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Lev. 19:18). Observe this rule upon all occasions.”

“Do not be despondent when fighting against the incorporeal enemy, but even in the midst of your afflictions and oppression praise the Lord, Who has found you worthy to suffer for Him, by struggling against the subtlety of the serpent, and to be wounded for Him at every hour; for had you not lived piously, and endeavored to become united to God, the enemy would not have attacked and tormented you.”

Image result for St. John of Kronstadt icon

Most Men…

Most men not only bear Satan’s burden willingly in their hearts, but they become so
accustomed to it that they often do not feel it, and even imperceptibly increase it. Sometimes, however, the evil enemy increases his burden tenfold, and then they become terribly despondent and fainthearted, they murmur and blaspheme God’s name. The usual means that men of our time take to drive away their anguish are–entertainments, cards, dancing, and theatres. But such means afterwards increase still more the anguish and weariness of their hearts. If, happily, they turn to God, then the burden is removed from their heart, and they clearly see that previously the heaviest burden was lying on their heart, though frequently they did not feel it. O, how many men there are who have “forsaken [God] the Fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no [living] water”!
Men have very many such broken cisterns–nearly everybody has his own. The
broken cisterns are our hearts, our passions.
St. John of Kronstadt

To Try to Discover…

“To try to discover the meaning of the commandments through study and reading without actually living in accordance with them is like mistaking the shadow of something for its reality. It is only by participating in the truth that you can share in the meaning of truth. If you search for the meaning without participating in the truth and
without having been initiated into it, you will find only a besotted kind of wisdom (cf. 1 Cor. 1:20). You will be among those whom St Jude categorized as ‘psychic’ or worldly because they lack the Spirit (cf. Jude 19), boast as they may of their knowledge of the truth.”
St. Gregory of Sinai

To Be On the Spiritual Path…

To be on the spiritual path means seeking the Lord in your heart through fulfilling the commandments. For when you listen to John the Baptist crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight’ (Matt. 3:3), you must understand that he is referring to the commandments and their fulfillment both in the heart and in actions. It is impossible to ‘make straight’ the path of the commandments and to act rightly unless your heart too is straight and upright.
St. Gregory of Sinai, Philokalia