Saints Edifying quotes from Orthodox Saints and Elders

DRIIIVER

Sparrow
Orthodox Catechumen
“Until man has received the Comforter, he requires the Divine Scriptures to imprint the memory of good in his heart, to keep his striving for good constantly renewed by continual reading, and to preserve his soul from the subtleties of the ways of sin; for he has not yet acquired the power of the Spirit that drives away that delusion which takes soul-profiting recollections captive and makes a man cold through the distraction of his intellect.

When the power of the Spirit has penetrated the [noetic] powers of the active soul, then in place of the law of the Scriptures, the commandments of the Spirit take root in his heart, and a man is secretly taught by the Spirit and needs no help from sensory matter.

For, so long as it is from matter that the heart has its teaching, error and forgetfulness straightway follow the lesson; but when teaching comes from the Spirit, its memory is kept inviolate.”

- Saint Isaac the Syrian [700AD†]
 

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol on egotism:
The first passion… is egotism. How does it manifest itself in practice? What does it mean? The word itself gives us the answer—“egotism,” that is, everything revolving around our “ego”: “Only me, and no one else! That’s what I think, that’s what I want, that’s how I like it. I want it to be that way!” All this, which naturally stems from the egotistical attitude of man, doesn’t allow the egotistical man to love strongly, it doesn’t allow him to fall in love. It’s because he can’t overcome himself; he’s closed up in his egotism, in his individualism. The egotistical man can neither love nor humble himself. And how could he humble himself when he’s an egotist? He can’t even he acknowledge his own mistakes, because he always justifies himself in everything.

[...]

When we notice anger and irritation within ourselves, it means there’s egotism within us, and no humility. A malicious, angry, irritable, nervous man who loses his temper, whose teeth grind from a nervous disorder, hasn’t even a grain of humility. Such a man needs a spiritual doctor, and sometimes a physical one too. Humility can never settle in the midst of anger and malice. If you see anger and malice within yourself, you can immediately understand that you have egotism, pride, and a lack of humility.
 

DRIIIVER

Sparrow
Orthodox Catechumen
“Let us leave behind worldly things and raise ourselves towards the soul's true good. How long shall we continue with trivial playthings? Will we never assume a manly spirit? We are more feeble than tiny children, and unlike them we make no progress towards greater things. When they grow up, they abandon their games, readily relinquishing their attachment to the things they played with - nuts, knucklebones, balls and so on [video games, fornication, pornography]. They are attached to these and prize them so long as their understanding is immature; but when they grow up and become men, they drop such things and devote their full attention to the affairs of adult life. We, however, have remained children, enchanted by what really deserves mockery and derision.

Abandoning all effort to attain higher things and to develop an adult intelligence, we are seduced by worldly amusements, making ourselves a laughing-stock to those who judge things at their true value. It is disgraceful for a grown man to be seen sitting and drawing pictures in the dust to amuse children; and it is equally disgraceful - indeed much more so - for those whose professed aim is the enjoyment of eternal blessings to be seen groveling in the dust of worldly things, shaming their vocation by incongruous behavior.

Probably the reason why we act like this is because we never think about anything superior to the visible objects around us. We do not appreciate how much better the blessings of the spiritual world are than the tawdry attractions of this present world, which dazzle us with their specious glory and draw all our desire to them. In the absence of what is better, what is worse will take its place and be held in honor. If only we had a deeper understanding of the realities of the divine world, we would not be taken in by the attractions of this world.”

/// St. Neilos the Ascetic

[Philokalia | Volume I]
 

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
If we were diagnosed with cancer and learned that there is a preeminent oncologist at the North Pole, we would immediately make every possible effort to obtain the required funds and go to received treatment for our physical illness. We would not take into account the difficulties, trouble, expense, or anything else. We would drop everything and run. We would humble ourselves without reservation, as long as we became well.

When, however, we have the cancer of sin threatening us with death of the soul, shouldn’t we disregard everything (our job, our pay, the distance) and run toward the confession room to kneel, to reveal our wounds, to receive medicine, to become well, and thus escape from the dreadful death of the soul?

As human beings, we are unaware of the moment our Lord will come. He warned us: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (Mt. 25:13). Run, He commands. Don’t waste any time. For you do not know when the Lord will decide to take your life and lead you to the supreme and fearful courthouse, from which no person is exempt.

--Elder Ephraim in The Art Of Salvation (excellent book)
 

DRIIIVER

Sparrow
Orthodox Catechumen
Beholding the majesty of God's creation, we catch a glimpse, however vague and shadowy, of the beauty of God's eternal Kingdom, for which we were all created.

We must always remember that our home is in the heavens; we must shake off all the vain and petty passions and worries that keep us tied to the ground, to the fallen earthly world, that keep us from realizing the purpose of our creation.

How easily we forget the very reason for our existence....

The end times are already here; we see clearly the preparation of the world for the Antichrist. Christians will be faced with an unprecedented trial of their faith and love for God.

We will have to hide in the wilderness - in land like we see before us here. Of course, in the end they will find us even there.

The purpose of hiding is not just for the preservation of our earthly life, but to gain time to strengthen our souls for the final trial.

And this must begin even now. Let us therefore at least begin to struggle against the fetters of petty passions, and remember that our true home is not here, but in the heavens.


♱ Blessed Father Seraphim Rose ♱

[Excerpt from his final sermon]
 

Meloti

Pigeon
Orthodox
l wish to be patient, but before I have strengthened my heart in patience, I become irritable, impatient; I wish to be humble, but Satan’s pride has already found ample room in my heart; I wish to be gracious, meanwhile, when it is necessary to show graciousness, I show myself rough; I wish to be unmercenary and generous, but cupidity and avarice, upon the least occasion, like hungry and roaring lions, require to be fed;

Righteous John, Wonderworker of Kronstadt
 

Lawrence87

Kingfisher
Orthodox
"The greatness of the name of Jesus is beyond the comprehension of rational creatures of earth and heaven. The comprehension of it is incomprehensibly grasped by child-like simplicity and faith. In this same disinterested spirit we must approach prayer in the name of Jesus and continue in that prayer. Our perseverance and attention in prayer must be like the constant striving of an infant for its mother's breasts. Then prayer in the name of Jesus will be crowned with complete success, the invisible foes will be defeated, and the enemy and avenger will be finally crushed. The enemy is called the avenger because he tries to take from those who pray (especially at times, not incessantly) after prayer what they have obtained during prayer. In order to win a decisive victory unceasing prayer and constant vigilance are indispensable."

- Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov
 

DRIIIVER

Sparrow
Orthodox Catechumen
The Life of Man is a Time of Testing

The demons say to themselves: 'Let us rise up, and fall upon a people that lives in hope and stillness; come, let us go and speak to them with words of spiritual deceit, seducing them from the truth over to our side' (cf. Judg. 18:27; Isa. 7:6. LXX). So they sharpen the sword of temptation against us who have chosen the life of stillness, and continue their attacks up to the last moment of our life.

The more fervent our devotion and love for God, the more savage are their assaults; they urge us on to acts of sin, making war upon us in ways that we cannot endure, trying in this manner to deprive us of our faith in Christ, of prayer and every hope.

But for our part we shall not cease to trust in God 'until He has mercy upon us' (Ps. 123:2), and those that devour us are driven far away. We shall not cease to trust in God, until He commands our tempters to depart, and we are given new life through patience and steadfast dispassion.

For 'the life of man is a time of testing' (Job 7:1. LXX). God, who watches over the contest, often allows us for some definite period of time to be trampled underfoot by our enemies; but it is the mark of a courageous and noble soul not to despair in adversity.

/// St John of Karpathos
#65 | Philokalia, Vol I
 

DanielH

Ostrich
Moderator
Orthodox



Transcription of the above by Saint John of Kronstadt:
As God is Life, and diseases and maladies are a deviation from life, therefore the touch alone of the first Source of Life cures us of them. This is why the Saviour, Who is the Life of all, cured and still cures men by His touch alone. The same may be said of the change in any contagious objects - at a single sign or single word of the Creator and Founder of everything, they become harmless (air, water, plants and animals).
 

nagareboshi

Kingfisher
Orthodox
The testimony of St. Basil the Great, as transmitted by Fr. Daniel Sysoev:

Once an Arian ruler demanded in the name of the emperor that the hierarch sign a heretical confession of faith. To this Basil replied, "How can I, a creature called to become a god, worship a creature?"

Then the ruler said that he would punish the hierarch.

"This you cannot do!" he replied.

"Why not?" the heretic asked in surprise.

"You cannot take away my property, because I own only the clothes on my back and a few books. You cannot exile me, because I have no homeland on this earth, and everywhere I am a sojourner and a stranger. You cannot torture me, because I am so weak that I will die at the first blow. For me, death is deliverance, because it will unite me with God."

"No one has ever spoken so boldly to me before!" said the astonished ruler.

"Apparently you have never before had to deal with a bishop," replied Basil.
 

nagareboshi

Kingfisher
Orthodox

As we remember and celebrate Saint Seraphim today, I want to offer seven lessons from his teachings for us to carry into the New Year.
  1. Acquire inner peace and thousands around you will be saved.” This may be his most famous saying. He explains how there “is nothing better than peace in Christ, for such peace brings victory over all the evil spirits. When peace dwells in a person’s heart it enables them to contemplate the grace of the Holy Spirit from within. He who dwells in peace collects spiritual gifts as it were with a scoop, and he sheds the light of knowledge on others. All our thoughts, all our desires, all our efforts, and all our actions should make us say constantly with the Church: “O Lord, give us peace!” When a man lives in peace, God reveals mysteries to him.” As we begin the New Year, can we take the time daily to open our hearts to receive the “peace that passes all understanding,” as the Apostle Paul described it.
  1. Of course, the peace of God is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and Saint Seraphim reminds us that the ultimate goal in our life is acquisition of the Holy Spirit. All the spiritual disciples we practice through our prayers, fasting, almsgiving, and other good deeds are simply ways to open our hearts to receive the Holy Spirit. We want God living in us and His Spirit inspiring, directing and empowering us. “Everything good that we do is given to us by the Holy Spirit.” This is why our Lord Jesus, after His Resurrection from the dead, promised His followers that they would “receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will become my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the world.” Thus, we begin every day with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in us – “O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, who are present everywhere and fill all things, Treasurer of Blessings and Giver of Life, come and abide in us and save our souls O Good One.”
  2. Keep your eyes on Paradise. Saint Seraphim explains “If you only knew what joy, what sweetness awaits a righteous soul in heaven, you would decide in this mortal life to bear whatever sorrows, struggles, persecutions and slander with gratitude.” Our life on earth is but a brief journey, and it may be filled with challenges and difficulties. We must always remember Saint Paul’s words that “our citizenship is in heaven.” Of course, this doesn’t mean that we only live for the future. Christ said “The kingdom of heaven is within” and we begin tasting the delight of God’s Presence here and now. What is important, though, is to remember how transitory and brief this life on earth is. Keep your eyes on Paradise.
  3. Nourish your soul with the Word of God. Saint Seraphim would read the entire New Testament every week. EVERY WEEK! He emphasized nourishing one’s mind and heart daily on the New Testament and the Psalms. “The reading of the Word of God should be performed in solitude so that the whole mind of the reader might be plunged into the truths of Holy Scripture. The Word of God is angelic bread which nourishes our soul. From this he will receive the warmth of the Spirit which will produce in each person tears of repentance.”
  4. As we keep our eyes on paradise, seek to acquire the Holy Spirit, allow God’s peace to dwell in our hearts, and read the Word of God, we will face whatever life brings with courage, never giving in to despair. “Where God is, there is no evil. Everything coming from God is peaceful and healthy, and leads a person to see clearly see his own imperfections with humility… the devil strives to lead a person into despair. A lofty and sound soul never gives in to despair over misfortunes, no matter what sort they may be. Our life is as it were a house of temptations and trials; but during our temptations we never turn away from the Lord for we know these temptations are teaching us patience and helping us overcome our passions! Judas the betrayer was fainthearted and unskilled in spiritual battle, and so the enemy, seeing his despair, attacked him and forced him to hang himself. The Apostle Peter, a firm rock, did not despair or lose heart when he fell into great sin, but repented and turned back to God.”
  5. These spiritual disciplines will help us stay vigilant against unclean and unholy thoughts. The devil is like a lion, hiding in ambush (Psalm 10:19; I Pet 5:8). He secretly sets out nets of unclean and unholy thoughts. We must stop these as soon as we notice them, and the best means to do this is through prayer and pious reflection. ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ Repeat these words again and again. Don’t give in to despondency but with great courage say “Get behind me Satan! Who are you who have been cut off from God, a fugitive of heaven. You have no power over me because we have been made steadfast by the Holy Cross… Remember, the Lord sometimes allows people who are devoted to Him to fall into dreadful vices; and this is in order to prevent them from falling into a still greater sin – pride. Your temptation will pass and you will spend the remaining days of your life in humility. Only do not forget your sin.”
  6. Finally, treat others with kindness and not with judgement. You can never be too gentle or too kind with others. Never treat others in a harsh manner. Allow radiant joy to shine forth from you, and as you radiate joy you will kindle joy in the other. All condemnation is from the devil. Don’t even condemn those whom you catch committing an evil deed. We condemn others only because we don’t know ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a morass of filth that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we mistakenly make much of the faults of others. Instead of condemning others, pray for them and strive to maintain inner peace. Keep silent and refrain from any judgement. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of evil that the devil shoots at you.”
 

nagareboshi

Kingfisher
Orthodox
From Fr. Daniel Sysoev. Context: this happened during the iconoclast controversy.

When Saint Stephan the New was brought before the emperor Constantine Copronymus and ordered to trample an icon [of Christ], he produced a coin bearing the image of the emperor.
"What would happen to a person who spat upon and trampled upon your image?" the saint inquired.
"He would be executed!" the iconoclast replied.
"What punishment then do you merit, you who have trampled the image of Christ, the King of kings?!" Stephan cried out, and trampled the image of the ungodly ruler underfoot. At the emperor's orders the saint was dragged through the streets of Constantinople and beaten to death.
 

DRIIIVER

Sparrow
Orthodox Catechumen
On Purification of Our Hearts

Some of the brethren think that they are excluded from the Holy Spirit’s gifts of grace. Because they neglect to practice the commandments, they do not know that he who has an unadulterated faith in Christ has within him the sum total of all the divine gifts.

Since through our laziness we are far from having an active love for Him - a love which shows us the divine treasures within us - we naturally think that we are excluded from these gifts.

If, as St Paul says, Christ dwells in our hearts through faith (cf. Eph. 3:17), and all the treasures of wisdom and spiritual knowledge are hidden in Him (cf. Col. 2:3), then all the treasures of wisdom and spiritual knowledge are hidden in our hearts. They are revealed to the heart in proportion to our purification by means of the commandments.

This is the treasure hidden in the field of your heart (cf. Matt. 13:44), which you have not yet found because of your laziness. Had you found it, you would have sold everything and bought that field. But now you have abandoned that field and give all your attention to the land nearby, where there is nothing but thorns and thistles.

It is for this reason that the Savior says, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’ (Matt. 5:8) for He is hidden in the hearts of those who believe in Him. They shall see Him and the riches that are in Him when they have purified themselves through love and self-control; and the greater their purity, the more they will see.

/// St Maximos the Confessor

#69-72 | Four Hundred Texts on Love

Fourth Century | Philokalia, Vol II
 

Mentun

Pigeon
Orthodox
Do not trust your mind too much; thinking must be refined by suffering, or it will not stand the test of these cruel times.

Of course, one can always act wrong even on a clear conscience! But even that is not a fatal mistake as long as ones mind and heart remain open and one keeps first things first.

How much our American Orthodoxy needs more heart and not so much mind! I don't know any answer for it, except more prayer and basic education in Orthodox sources.

Orthodox Christians, surrounded by and already swimming in a sea of humanist-worldly philosophy and practice, must do everything possible to create their own islands, in that sea, of other-worldly, God-oriented thought and practice.

Psychological trials of dwellers in the last times will equal the physical trials of the martyrs. But in order to face these trials we must be living in a different world.

Do you have a notebook for taking down quotes from Holy Fathers in your reading? Do you always have a book of Holy Fathers that you are reading and can turn to in a moment of gloom? Start now—this is essential!

Now one cannot be a half-hearted Christian, but only entirely or not at all.

- Father Seraphim Rose, http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/frseraphimspeaks.aspx
 
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