Friday, December 30, 2011

Remember Not the Sins of My Youth

"Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!"

- Psalm 25:7, ESV

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Prayer of Forgiveness

“May the Lord forgive you all your voluntary and involuntary mistakes committed against me, and with all my heart I forgive you.” 
- Father Nikon (Vorobiev)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Soul Should be Filled

"The soul should be filled with such insatiable love of God that the mind in all its strength dwells continually in God, captive only to Him."

- Saint Silouan the Athonite

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Turning to God

"But repentance is more than turning away from sin. It is turning to God, and allowing Him to renew and transform our very consciousness."
- Metropolitan Jonah 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thinking about God

"Thinking about God makes the soul carefully order all of its actions, interior and exterior, and turn them to the glory of God."

- Saint Theophan the Recluse

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Kingdom of God Begins Here on Earth, Just as Hell Does...

“The Kingdom of God begins here on earth, just as hell does - within us, that is, in the heart and soul of a man, by his way of life. Beyond the threshold of eternity both the one and the other only grow, infinitely, unto likeness to the angels or to the devils.” 
- Father Raphael of Optina

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Drinking and the Drunk Prisoner

“Drinking in itself can serve as punishment, filling as it is the soul with confusion, filling the mind with darkness, making a drunk prisoner, subjecting one to innumerable diseases, internal and external…”

- Saint Basil the Great

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Sight of a Dead Man

"Why do you trouble yourself in a house that is not your own? Let the sight of a dead man be a teacher for you concerning your departure from hence."
- Saint Isaac the Syrian

Monday, December 19, 2011

Deprived from Gace

“...for a man who has deprived himself of the grace of God, who has banished God from his soul through unbelief and bitterness, even Paradise would be hell, for he would bring hell in his soul into Paradise.” 
- Father Raphael of Optina

Friday, December 16, 2011

Do Not Be Conformed to this World...

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

- Romans 12:2, ESV

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pitying Oneself

“...he who works for the Lord, fulfilling His commandments without pitying himself, is saved; but he who pities himself, perishes.” 
- Saint Theophan the Recluse

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

You Cannot Be Too Gentle, Too Kind

"You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgement. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil."
- Saint Seraphim of Sarov

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The House of Prayer

"My house is the house of prayer. And indeed, just enter into a church, and it already calls you to prayer. Everything there is disposed and done in order to dispose one to and assist prayer. Therefore, if you want to stir up prayer in your heart, go more often to the church of God. At home you will not pray as you can in church. There are those who pray warmly at home too, but if they pray this way at home, how much higher is their prayer in Church? But when you are in church, be there not only in body, but rather in spirit. Stand where it is quieter, and beholding the Lord before you with your mind, pour out before Him your soul. Chase away daydreams, do not allow concerns, and heed only one job—the job of prayer. Lift up your heavy soul on high and break up its coarseness through contemplation of Divine things. If you have some [sin on your conscience], remove it from yourself through repentance and a promise of correction. If your conscience is not satisfied, add deeds of self-denial and love. Standing in church, prepare for how you will be outside of church for the rest of the time, prepare yourself to never step away from the Lord in thought, but always to see Him before you, so that your steps would not stray from the right path to the wrong one. Then, when you come to church it will be easier for you to be as you ought to be there. By standing appropriately in church it will be easier for you to hold your attention before the Lord when you are outside of church.… Thus your [state of] abiding in the Lord will grow higher and higher. What more could one desire?"

- Saint Theophan the Recluse


Monday, December 12, 2011

We Must Hurt

“To pray with the heart, we must hurt. Just as when we hit our hand or some other part of our body, our mind (nous) is gathered to the point we are hurting, so also for the mind to gather in the heart, the heart must hurt.”
- Elder Paisius

Friday, December 9, 2011

The State of Christians...

"The state of Christians is like merchandise, and like leaven. As merchants amass earthly gains, so Christians gather together their thoughts that were scattered about the world. As leaven turns the whole lump into leaven, so the leaven of sin permeates the whole race of Adam; but Christ puts a heavenly leaven of goodness in faithful souls..."
- Saint Macarius the Egyptian

Thursday, December 8, 2011

...the Rich in This Present Age

"As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life."

I Timothy 6:17-21, ESV

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Avoiding the Extremes

"As the Fathers say, the extremes from both sides are equally harmful (We must) go on the royal path, avoiding the extremes on both sides." 
- Saint John Cassian

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Shipwreck of Humanity

"Then, in spite of our sinfulness and inadequacy, our Faith will survive the shocks ahead of us and be a source of inspiration and salvation for those who will still be seeking Christ even amidst the shipwreck of humanity which has already begun today."
- Father Seraphim Rose

Monday, December 5, 2011

‘Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.’

"St. John Karpathisky in The Philokalia says that when in the prayer of Jesus we call upon the holy name and say, 'Have mercy on me, a sinner,' then to every such petition the voice of God answers in secret, ‘Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.’ And he goes on to say that when we say the prayer there is at that moment nothing to distinguish us from the saints, confessors, and martyrs."

Reference: French, R.M. The way of a pilgrim ; and, The pilgrim continues his way. Hope Pub House, 1991.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Riches or Learning

“We do not need riches or learning in order to know the Lord: we must simply be obedient and sober, have a humble spirit and love our fellow-men.”  
- Saint Silouan the Athonite

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Destroying All the Passions

"When the intellect rescues the soul’s senses from the desires of the flesh and imbues them with dispassion, the passions shamelessly attack the soul, trying to hold its senses fast in sin; but if the intellect then continually calls upon God in secret, He, seeing all this, will send His help and destroy all the passions at once."

- Saint Isaiah the Solitary

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Seeds of Transformation and Victory

"Our thoughts must be turned over to God, such that their effects will be positive. Yes, we need to encourage ourselves in our inner monologue, but most importantly, we need to bring God into our thinking and hearts by prayer. Then our thoughts will become seeds of transformation and victory in our lives, aiding and abetting us to fulfill God’s purposes."
- Hieromonk Calinic (Berger)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turning Towards the Son

"The sun is in the middle, and all of our planets go around it, all are drawn in toward it, and all turn some side of themselves towards it. What the sun is in the material world, God is in the spiritual world - the rational sun. Bring your thoughts to heaven, and what will you see there? Angels, who, according to the word of the Lord, ever see the face of their heavenly Father. All bodiless spirits and all saints in heaven and turned towards God, all direct their mental eyes toward Him, and do not wish to turn away from Him, because of the ineffable blessedness which flows from this vision of the face of God. But what the Angels and saints do in the heavens, we should learn to do on earth: get used to the angelic, unceasing standing before God in our hearts."
- Saint Theophan the Recluse

Monday, November 28, 2011

If Christ were to walk in this world today...

"If Christ were to walk in this world today, do you know what would happen to Him?  He would be placed in a mental institution and given psychotherapy, just as would His saints.  The world would crucify Him today just as it did two thousand years ago, for the world has not learned a thing, except more devious forms of hypocrisy.”

- Father Seraphim Rose

Lying in the Grave

"...unless a man imagines to himself that he has been lying for three years in the grave and under the earth, he will never die to himself." 
- Abba Moses

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christ...the Only Exit

“Christ is the only exit from this world; all other exits-sexual rapture, political utopia, economic independence-are but blind alleys in which rot the corpses of the many that have tried them.”

- Father Seraphim Rose

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bathing in the Shallow Pool of Human Thought

"To the superficial and the guilty it is more comfortable to bathe in the shallow pool of human thought than in the dangerous depths of Christ."

- Saint Nikolai Velimirovich

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Music and Prayer Releases One from the World

"...See how music can release one from the world?...And if music so releases one from the world, then so much more does prayer."

- Saint Barsanuphius of Optina

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Worst of All People

"If you have compassion for all creatures and love your enemies, and if, at the same time, you judge yourself the worst of all people, this shows that the great grace of the Lord is in you."
- Saint Silouan the Athonite

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Flow of Our Life

"As each river flows into its own sea, so the flow of each of our lives comes, at last, to a place according to its nature."

- Saint Theophan the Recluse

Friday, November 18, 2011

Angel's Around Us

“So if we detect an angel by the effect he is producing, let us hasten to pray since our heavenly guardian has come to join us.” 
- Saint John Climacus

Thursday, November 17, 2011


"Joy is an enticement to the soul, joy which is the outcome of hope blossoming in the heart, and meditation upon its hope is the well-being of the heart.” 

- Saint Isaac the Syrian from The Way of the Pilgrim

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hold Firmly to the Known Truth

"Try only to understand this in a real way; hold firmly to the known truth of Christ, & let the others say what the may."
- Saint Theophan the Recluse

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Guided by the Word

"Those who, guided by the Word of God, conduct warfare against sin and resist it, will eventually conquer sinfulness completely."

- Saint Ignatius (Brianchaninov)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Twofold Warfare

"A Christian man has a twofold warfare set before him, an inward and an outward, the latter, in withdrawing from earthly distractions ; the former, in the heart, against the suggestions of the spirits of wickedness..."

- Saint Macarius the Egyptian

Friday, November 11, 2011

"...repentance is more than turning away from sin. It is turning to God, and allowing Him to renew and transform our very consciousness."

- Metropolitan Jonah


Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Nature of Thoughts

"When a man has an exact knowledge about the nature of thoughts, he recognizes those which are about to enter and defile him, troubling the intellect with distractions and making it lazy. Those who recognize these evil thoughts for what they are remain undisturbed and continue in prayer to God."

- Saint Isaiah the Solitary

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Soul Filled with Holy Feelings

"In the same way that water flows out of a bowl that is overfilled, so the soul which is filled with holy feelings by prayer begins by itself to spill out its prayer to God."

- Saint Theophan the Recluse

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thoughts from God, or from the devil?

"How do we know if thoughts come to us from God, or from the devil? What should we do if thoughts of our failings and sins are presented to us? The Fathers give a simple rule: if the thought of a past failing discourages us to the point of depression, draining all our energy and zeal, tempting us to quit every struggle for virtue, or to remain complacent, it is from the devil. If, however, the sorrow such a thought brings gives us a desire to change, energy to repent, fast, pray, forgive, etc., it is from God. St Paul himself talks about these two sorrows: one which is worldly, and brings death; one which is godly, and brings zeal and energy to change (2 Cor 7:10)."

- Hieromonk Calinic (Berger)


Friday, November 4, 2011

Stability of Place

"Stability can be for us the vehicle by which we are able to confront the habits, sins, and vices that inhibit God from transforming our lives and making us whole. Constant movement allows us to hide from ourselves."

- Abbot Tryphon of Vashon Island


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Our Fallenness

"In our fallenness, turning from God to created things as ends in themselves, we lost the intuitive knowledge of God and our essential attitude of thankfulness to Him."

- Metropolitan Jonah


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When the Soul Begins to Speak

"We must strive to reach the point where our soul by itself begins speaking, so to speak, in a prayerful conversation with God and by itself ascends to Him and opens itself to Him and confesses what is in it and what it desires."

- Saint Theophan the Recluse

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Deliverance from Indwelling Sin

"Christians who desire to make progress and to grow ought to force themselves to every good thing, so as to deliver themselves from indwelling sin, and to be filled with the Holy Ghost."

- Saint Macarius the Egyptian

Monday, October 31, 2011

Severing from Evil

"When a man severs himself from evil, he gains an exact understanding of all the sins he has committed against God; for he does not see his sins unless he severs himself from them with a feeling of revulsion. Those who have reached this level pray to God with tears, and are filled with shame when they recall their evil love of the passions. Let us therefore pursue the spiritual way with all our strength, and God in His great mercy will help us. And if we have not guarded our hearts as our fathers guarded theirs, at least in obedience to God let us do all we can to keep our bodies sinless, trusting that at this time of spiritual dearth He will grant mercy to us together with His saints."

- Saint Isaiah the Solitary

Reference: Philokalia: Volume 1

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Better Lot

"The Saviour Himself all of His life did not have a place to lay His head, and He finished his life on the cross—why should his followers have a better lot?"

- Saint Theophan the Recluse

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Eternal Fight

"If a man fights with sins and passions, this demonstrates that he indeed believes in the Risen Lord; if the fights with them, he fights for life eternal."

- Saint Justin Popovic

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Our Obedience to God

"Just as our sin obscures our ability to perceive the beauty of creation and our own humanity, our obedience to God renews both and reveals their true beauty."

- Metropolitan Jonah

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Self-righteousness Unpleasant to the Lord

“Externals lead a person to a feeling of self-righteousness unpleasant to the Lord, while inner things always preserve a feeling of unworthiness before the face of the omniscient Lord.”

- Saint Theophan the Recluse

Monday, October 24, 2011

Keep Guard Over Our Heart

"The demons cunningly withdraw for a time in the hope that we will cease to guard our heart, thinking we have now attained peace; then they suddenly attack our unhappy soul and seize it like a sparrow. Gaining possession of it, they drag it down mercilessly into all kinds of sin, worse than those which we have already committed and for which we have asked forgiveness. Let us stand, therefore, with fear of God and keep guard over our heart, practicing the virtues which check the wickedness of our enemies."

- Saint Isaiah the Solitary

Reference: Philokalia: Volume 1

Friday, October 21, 2011

Being "Happy" in This Life

"Suffering is an indication of another Kingdom which we look to. If being Christian meant being “happy” in this life, we wouldn't need the Kingdom of Heaven."

- Father Seraphim Rose

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Place of the Poor

“How great is the place of the poor, since they are like God’s inner room. The inner room is the bedchamber, the room of God the Creator, may He be exalted, in which He is hidden. The poor extend their hands begging, but it is God who receives your alms.”

- Saint John Chrysostom

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Munificence and Generosity

"Possessions are a trusteeship and the rich are their trustees. They must imitate God’s munificence and generosity in sharing material things with their neighbors so that all may have food and so that the earth may be a common possession for all.”

- Saint Cyprian

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Using Wealth Poorly

“Those whom I attack are not the rich, they are those who use their wealth poorly. Wealth is one thing and desiring others’ wealth is something else. It is possible for you to have wealth and to use it for acts of love and it is possible for you to have wealth that you store up.”

- Saint John Chrysostom

Monday, October 17, 2011

Glory to the Spirit of God

"Glory to the Spirit of God, descending from the Father to give life to every creature, and filling the whole universe. Glory to Him, giving life to angels and men and to every creature. Glory to Him, our Power, our Holiness. Glory to Him, coeternal with the Father and the Son!"
- Saint John of Kronstadt

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Умилении пред лицом Божиим

“...поскольку мы во всякое мгновение грешим, то во всякое мгновение существует необходимость в трезвении, хранении ума, молитве и умилении пред лицом Божиим.”

- Архимандрит Клеопа (Илие)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Your Helper is at Hand

"Keep hell’s torments in mind; but know that your Helper is at hand. Do nothing that will grieve Him, but say to Him with tears: ‘Be merciful and deliver me, O Lord, for without Thy help I cannot escape from the hands of my enemies.’ Be attentive to your heart, and He will guard you from all evil."

- Saint Isaiah the Solitary

Reference: Philokalia: Volume 1

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Poor That Are Our Gateway to the Kingdom

“These poor are the ones who store away the good things that we look upon. They are the gatekeepers of the Kingdom. They open the gates before the merciful and shut them in the face of the cruel ones who do not do good. They are the strongest accusers and the best defenders. They do not accuse and defend with words, but the Lord sees what is done to them. Every action cries out in a loud voice before God, the searcher of hearts.”

- Metropolitan Saba (Esber)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The True Sacred History

“Read the lives of the martyrs and confessors of the twentieth century - there you will find the true sacred history of the twentieth century.”

- Schema-Archimandrite Zosima

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Losing the Fear of Suffering

"For the Holy Spirit, sweet and gracious, draws the soul to love the Lord, and in the sweetness of the Holy Spirit the soul loses her fear of suffering."

- Saint Silouan the Athonite

Monday, October 10, 2011

To Be Orthodox

”First of all, Orthodoxy is right faith in God; it is that mighty power which makes each truly believing Orthodox Christian unwavering on the righteous and pious path of his life. To be Orthodox means to know correctly with the mind, to believe correctly with the heart, and to confess correctly with the lips all that God Himself has revealed to us about Himself, about the world and man, and about the tasks and aims of our life in the teaching on the attaining of our spiritual union with Him and our eternal salvation."

- Father Victor Potapov

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Mother of Prayer

"Silence, is the mother of prayer, a return from the captivity of sin, unconscious success in virtue, a continuous ascension to heaven.”

- Saint John of the Ladder

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Christian Ascetical Life

"The Christian ascetical life, that is the life of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, the works of mercy and obedience, is the application and the appropriation of the Cross to my life."

- Metropolitan Jonah


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Contest

"Once you have begun to seek God with true devotion and with all your heart, then you cannot possibly imagine that you already conform to His will. So long as your conscience reproves you for anything that you have done contrary to nature, you are not yet free: the reproof means that you are still under trial and have not yet been acquitted. But if you find when you are praying that nothing at all accuses you of evil, then you are free and by God’s will have entered into His peace. If you see growing within yourself a good crop, no longer choked by the tares of the evil one; if you find that the demons have reluctantly withdrawn, convinced that it is no use making further attacks on your senses; if 'a cloud overshadows your tent (cf. Exod. 40:34), and 'the sun does not bum you by day, nor the moon by night' (Ps. 121:6); if you find yourself equipped to pitch your tent and keep it as God wishes - if all this has happened, then you have gained the victory with God's help, and henceforward He will Himself overshadow your tent, for it is His. So long as the contest continues, a man is full of fear and trembling, wondering whether he will win today or be defeated, whether he will win tomorrow or be defeated: the struggle and stress constrict his heart. But when he has attained dispassion, the contest comes to an end; he receives the prize of victory and has no further anxiety about the three that were divided, for now through God they have made peace with one another. These three are the soul, the body and the spirit. When they become one through the energy of the Holy Spirit, they cannot again be separated. Do not think, then, that you have died to sin, so long as you suffer violence, whether waking or sleeping, at the hands of your opponents. For while a man is still competing in the arena, he cannot be sure of victory."

- St Isaiah the Solitary

Reference: Philokalia: Volume 1

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

В минуты чистой молитвы...

“Итак, в минуты чистой молитвы, когда сердце наше омывается в слезах и вскипает в горячем плаче, после этих мгновений ты увидишь, сколько миллионов немощей кишмя кишит в уме и сердце нашем. И мы их совсем не чувствуем. Пребываем в нечувствии, во сне, рассеянности, очерствении, окаменении. Нам кажется, что мы, “слава Богу, не совершили такого-то греха”! А у нас все они есть, и мы — источник всякого греха и фабрика всякого беззакония, во всякое мгновение.”

- Архим. Клеопа (Илие)

There Would Be No Sinners...

"Watch; for ye know not, what hour your Lord doth come. If only this were remembered, there would be no sinners. But it is not remembered, although everyone knows that it is unquestionably true. Even the strictest ascetics were not strong enough to easily keep this in mind, and made efforts to fix it in their consciousness so that it would not leave—one kept a coffin in his cell, another begged his co-ascetics to ask about his coffin and grave, another kept pictures of death and judgment, another in other ways. If death does not touch a soul, the soul does not remember it. But in no way can what immediately follows death not touch a soul; a soul cannot but be concerned about this, since it is the judgment of its fate for eternal ages. Why does a soul not remember this? It deceives itself that death will come not soon, and that perhaps somehow things won’t go badly for us. How bitter! It goes without saying that a soul which abides in such thoughts is careless and self-indulgent. So, how can it think   that judgment will go favorably for it? No, one must behave like a student who is facing an exam: no matter what he does, the exam does not leave his head; such remembrance does not allow him to waste even a minute in vain, and he uses all his time to prepare for the exam. When will we acquire a mindset like this!"

- Saint Theophan the Recluse


Monday, October 3, 2011

Humble Yourself

“Humble yourself beneath the strong hand of God, and grace will be your teacher and you yourself will long to suffer for the sake of the love of the Lord.”

- Saint Silouan the Athonite

Friday, September 30, 2011

Power to Keep Silence

"If thou wishest to acquire the "power to keep silence, think not and say not within thyself that thou art doing the works of spiritual excellence, but say, '"I am not even worthy to speak.'"

- Abba Poemen


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Committing Oneself to God

"Committing oneself to God is a very high degree of moral perfection, and people do not reach it immediately the moment they understand its value. It comes on its own after labors over oneself."

- Saint Theophan the Recluse


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hold Your Peace

"If a man will only remember that which is written, 'Thou shalt be justified by thy words, and shalt be condemned by thy words' (St. Matthew xii, 37), he would know that it is right to hold his peace."

- Abba Alonis


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why Does a Person Study Religion'?

"There are many incidental reasons, but there is only one reason if a person is really in earnest: in a word, it is to come into contact with reality, to find a reality deeper than the everyday reality that so quickly changes, rots away, leaves nothing behind and offers no lasting happiness to the human soul. Every religion that is sincere tries to open up contact with this reality." 

- Father Seraphim Rose

Reference: (Hieromonk), Damascene. Father Seraphim Rose: his life and works. 2005. pp36. Print. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Study As Much As We Will

“We may study as much as we will but we shall still not come to know the Lord unless we live according to His commandments, for the Lord is not made known through learning bu the Holy Spirit.”

- Saint Silouan the Athonite

Friday, September 23, 2011

Guard Against Idleness

"Be on your guard against idleness, my beloved; intelligible death is hidden in it. Without it it is impossible that the solitary should fall into the hands of those who wish to captivate him."

- Saint Isaac the Syrian

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Soul That...Does Not Understand

“The soul that has not come to know the Holy Spirit does not understand how it is possible to love one's enemies, and will not receive this commandment; but in the Lord is pity for all men, and he who would be with the Lord must love his enemies.”

- Staretz Silouan

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Care of Small Things

“To trouble oneself with the care of small things is better than to give opportunity for sin by remissness regarding them.”

- Saint Isaac the Syrian

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Home Icons

"Only in pious homes do the icons of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Most Pure Mother, and His saints remind the thoughtful that we, Christians and members of Christ, members of His kingdom, look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come, in which we shall unite with the Lord and the saints, having cleansed ourselves of all defilement of flesh and spirit."

 - Saint John of Kronstadt


Monday, September 19, 2011

Благодатью Христовой

“Когда человек достигает самых высоких ступеней молитвы ума и когда Дух Святой сходит в сердце человека, с благодатью Христовой, только тогда он едва начинает видеть миллионы немощей, которые порабощают его через чувства и мысли.”

- Архим. Клеопа (Илие)

The Holy Fathers

"When a person begins to struggle with himself, when he tries to travel the path of the Gospels, then the Holy Fathers become something he needs, they become his family. A Holy Father becomes his closest teacher, who speaks to the soul; and the soul receives it with joy and is consoled."

- Abbot Igumen Nikon (Vorobiev)


Friday, September 16, 2011

The Responsibility We Bear

"We must always reiterate to people the responsibility that we bear for our lifetime, the only time given to us, so that we would set a lock upon our tongue and purify our hearts from evil."

- Elder Arsenie (Papacioc) 


Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Intellect

“When the intellect grows strong, it makes ready to pursue the love which quenches all bodily passions and which prevents anything contrary to nature from gaining control over the heart. Then the intellect, struggling against what is contrary to nature, separates this from what is in accordance with nature.

- St Isaiah the Solitary

Reference: The Philokalia: the complete text By Saint Nicodemus (the Hagiorite), Saint Makarios (Metropolitan of Corinth), Gerald Eustace Howell Palmer

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Every Vice...

"Every vice has an opposing virtue and in striving toward that virtue, the vice can, with the help of God (for nothing can be accomplished without prayer and grace from the Lord!), be overcome, or at least lessened to a great degree." 

- Archbishop Laurus


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Uninterrupted Prayer

“The way to secure uninterrupted prayer is for every devout man to make his life one long prayer by works acceptable to God and always done to His glory: thus a life lived according to the Law by night and day will in itself become a nightly and daily meditation in the Law."

- Saint Basil the Great

Monday, September 12, 2011

After Sin

"After sin immediately say in your heart the Psalm, 'Have mercy upon me, O God,' and say the whole Psalm in and from your heart. If it does not take effect the first time, try again : only say it the second time more heartily, more feelingly, and then salvation will speedily shine into your soul."

- Saint John of Kronstadt


Friday, September 9, 2011

The Unguarded Heart

"I entreat you not to leave your heart unguarded, so long as you are in the body. Just as a farmer cannot feel confident about the crop growing in his fields, because he does not know what will happen to it before it is stored away in his granary, so a man should not leave his heart unguarded so long as he still has breath in his nostrils. Up to his last breath he cannot know what passion will attack him; so long as he breathes, therefore, he must not leave his heart unguarded, but should at every moment pray to God for His help and mercy."  

- St Isaiah the Solitary 

Reference: The Philokalia: the complete text By Saint Nicodemus (the Hagiorite), Saint Makarios (Metropolitan of Corinth), Gerald Eustace Howell Palmer

Thursday, September 8, 2011

That Good End

"People make their choice according to faith, and through hope they are firm in their choice; while through patience they attain that good end."

- Saint Theophan the Recluse

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Examine Yourself Daily...

"Examine yourself daily in the sight of God, and discover which of the passions is in your heart. Cast it out, and so escape His judgment."

- Saint Isaiah the Solitary 

Reference: The Philokalia: the complete text By Saint Nicodemus (the Hagiorite), Saint Makarios (Metropolitan of Corinth), Gerald Eustace Howell Palmer

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Forgive...

"Before you pray, first forgive all those who have offended you. Then you may pray. Only in this way will your prayer rise up into the presence of God. If you do not forgive, it will simply remain on the earth." 

- Aphrahat the Persian

Monday, September 5, 2011


"Abba Dorotheus, a Desert Father of the sixth century, says that we can be healed of the sickness of resentment "by prayer right from the heart for the one who has annoyed us. We can pray such words as, 'O God, help my brother, and me through his prayers.'" "In this," says Abba Dorotheus, "we are interceding for our brother, which is a sure sign of sympathy and love, and we are humiliating ourselves by asking help through our brother's prayers." 

 - Hieromonk Damascene


Friday, September 2, 2011

At the Time of Prayer...

"At the time of prayer, we should expel from our heart the provocation of each evil thought, rebutting it in a spirit of devotion so that we do not prove to be speaking to God with our lips, while pondering wicked thoughts in our heart."

- Saint Isaiah the Solitary

Reference: The Philokalia: the complete text By Saint Nicodemus (the Hagiorite), Saint Makarios (Metropolitan of Corinth), Gerald Eustace Howell Palmer

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Watch; for ye know not, what hour your Lord doth come."

"Watch; for ye know not, what hour your Lord doth come. If only this were remembered, there would be no sinners. But it is not remembered, although everyone knows that it is unquestionably true. Even the strictest ascetics were not strong enough to easily keep this in mind, and made efforts to fix it in their consciousness so that it would not leave—one kept a coffin in his cell, another begged his co-ascetics to ask about his coffin and grave, another kept pictures of death and judgment, another in other ways. If death does not touch a soul, the soul does not remember it. But in no way can what immediately follows death not touch a soul; a soul cannot but be concerned about this, since it is the judgment of its fate for eternal ages. Why does a soul not remember this? It deceives itself that death will come not soon, and that perhaps somehow things won’t go badly for us. How bitter! It goes without saying that a soul which abides in such thoughts is careless and self-indulgent. So, how can it think that judgment will go favorably for it? No, one must behave like a student who is facing an exam: no matter what he does, the exam does not leave his head; such remembrance does not allow him to waste even a minute in vain, and he uses all his time to prepare for the exam. When will we acquire a mindset like this!"

- Saint Theophan the Recluse


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Inner Uncleanness

“...inner uncleanness makes what is on the outside unclean. Cleanse yourself inwardly, and then the exterior will become clean, and you will be all clean, you will be made a vessel which is fit for all good uses of a householder.”  

- Saint Theophan the Recluse


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lightness of Heart

"How good it is to conquer the passions! After the victory one feels such lightness of heart, such peace and greatness of spirit!"

- Saint John of Kronstadt

Monday, August 29, 2011

Shameful Thoughts

"If some shameful thought is sown in your heart as you are sitting in your cell, watch out. Resist the evil, so that it does not gain control over you. Make every effort to call God to mind, for He is looking at you, and whatever you are thinking in your heart is plainly visible to Him. Say to your soul: 'If you are afraid of sinners like yourself seeing your sins, how much more should you be afraid of God who notes everything?' As a result of this warning the fear of God will be revealed in your soul, and if you cleave to Him you will not be shaken by the passions; for it is written: 'They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion; he that dwells in Jerusalem shall never be shaken' (Ps. 125:1. LXX). Whatever you are doing, remember that God sees all your thoughts, and then you will never sin."

- Saint Isaiah the Solitary 

Reference: The Philokalia: the complete text By Saint Nicodemus (the Hagiorite), Saint Makarios (Metropolitan of Corinth), Gerald Eustace Howell Palmer

Friday, August 26, 2011

True Purification

"Let no one be deceived, thinking that without true purification in the only water of humility he can enter into the Kingdom from which the angels fell!"

- Elder Arsenie (Papacioc)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Believer

"The believer is he who lives, with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his being, according to the Gospel of the Risen Lord Jesus."

- St. Justin Popovic


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Showing More Will

"As souls given by God, we must show more will, in order not to immerse ourselves in these earthly cares and burden ourselves with them to such an extent."

- Elder Arsenie (Papacioc)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Orthodox Church in a Nutshell

"The Orthodox Church is evangelical, but not Protestant. It is orthodox, but not Jewish. It is catholic, but not Roman. It isn't non-denominational - it is pre-denominational. It has believed, taught, preserved, defended, and died for the Faith of the Apostles since the Day of Pentecost 2000 years ago."  

- Steve Robinson

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Deep Spiritual Void...Secularism

"Alcoholism, drug addiction, the normalization of sexual immorality, as well as consumerism, and the pursuit of material prosperity as an end in itself, all of these are symptoms of the deep spiritual void created by secularism."

- Metropolitan Jonah


Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Snares of the Enemy

"I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, ‘What can pass through from such snares?’ Then I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Humility.’"

 - Saint Anthony the Great

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Wish for Others

“...there is nothing greater or better to wish for someone than that they be made worthy in their time of the heavenly kingdom.”

- Fr. Ambrose of Optina


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Direction of the Will

It is not personality but the direction of the will that is significant in God's judgment, Fr. Ambrose would say. "You know, personalities are only significant in human judgment, and that is why they are praised or scorned. But in God's judgment, personalities, like natural tendencies, are not approved or disapproved. The Lord looks at good intentions and struggle for the good, and values opposition to the passions...."

- Elder Ambrose of Optina


Monday, August 15, 2011

A Word

“A word is also a powerful means to help; through such a word one’s soul extends itself and, joining another soul, gives him strength.”

- Saint Theophan the Relcuse

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Святитель Феофан Затворник. Мысли на каждый день года

(1 Кор. 14, 26-40; Мф. 21, 12-14. 17-20). "Дом Мой домом молитвы наречется, а вы сделали его вертепом разбойников". Всем известно, что храм требует благоговеинства, собранности мыслей, углубленного богомыслия и стояния в присутствии Божием, и однако же, кто исполняет это? В храм идут с желанием помолиться, постоять в нем немного с теплым усердием, а потом мысли начинают бродить, и в голове происходит торг еще шумнее того, который встретил Господь в храме Иерусалимском. Отчего так? Оттого что пребывание в храме - отражение всей жизни. Как живут, так и в храме себя держат. Храм влияет и несколько поддерживает духовные движения, но потом обычное течение духовного строя берет свое. Потому если хочешь, чтобы твое пребывание в храме было достойным стоянием перед лицом Господа, подготовляйся к тому жизнью обычною; ходи, сколько можешь, в молитвенном настроении. Этот труд доведет тебя до того, что и в храме все время простоишь благоговейно. Это же благоговеинство воодушевит тебя на благоговеинство и в обычной жизни. Так пойдешь все выше и выше. Помоги же Господи, начинай!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Restraining the Tongue

The following questions were asked of the elder [Elder Arsenie (Papacioc)] by Archimandrite Ioannichie (Balan; 1930 –2007)—a talented spiritual writer and poet, author of the Romanian Patericon, and co-ascetic and biographer of Elder Cleopa (Ilie).

—What can one do to restrain the tongue and acquire the gift of silence?

—This is truly a serious matter—to not be the master of your tongue. As the saints say, “The tongue leads us to great falls.” More vanity than benefit comes from loquacity, and malignant gossip brings great danger not only in this world, but also in the next. They say that most of the people in hell are those who murdered with malicious words!

Brother, you must love you brother. Isn’t this the Savior’s most important commandment? He gave this commandment as the crown of all His teachings—that the only way to salvation is love; and He ascended the unforgettable and soul-rending Golgotha!

We must always reiterate to people the responsibility that we bear for our lifetime, the only time given to us, so that we would set a lock upon our tongue and purify our hearts from evil. St. Gregory the Theologian says: “We must answer for every superfluous word, even more so for every shameful word”; how much more horribly for every murderous word! The Patericon is very useful in this regard with its chapter on “The benefit of silence.”

St. Isidore of Pelusium says, “Speaking with benefit is a blessing, but if it is reinforced by deeds, it is crowned.” “For life without words brings greater benefit, while a commanding word evokes anger. If word and life are united they comprise the personification of all philosophy.”

Treasure the Lord in your heart and let your attention abide there, and remain there before the Lord without leaving. Then you will notice every speck of dust in yourself. This is how mystical knowledge begins. It is a mirror for the mind and a lamp for the conscience. It dries up lust, extinguishes rage, humbles anger and disperses sorrow, tames insolence, scatters despondency, gives clarity to the mind, casts out sloth, truly humbles you and makes your reason undeceivable; it wounds the demons, and purifies the body. Such a person is no longer the participant in any wicked deed, but rather is alien to it. He thinks all the time, “Who shall I go to? I am a worm…” This is something different, having to do with remembrance of death and man’s eternal lot, and belongs to mystical knowledge.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Power that Lies in Spiritual Songs

"Let there not be hidden to thy knowledge the power that lies in spiritual songs, when we use it with understanding. For it turns the deliberation away from the world. It also drives distraction from the mind, though it is reputed to be useful for children [only]. The unsteady mind profits by it at once."

- Saint Isaac the Syrian

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Length of Life

“If the Lord extends one's days, then He is bestowing benefactions; if He should cut short one's days, then He bestows just the same.”

- Elder Ambrose of Optina


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fountains of Salvation

“The Master Christ made the remains of the saints to be fountains of salvation to us, pouring forth manifold blessings and abounding in oil of sweet fragrance: and let no one disbelieve this. For if water burst in the desert from the steep and solid rock at God’s will and from the jaw-bone of an ass to quench Samson’s thirst, is it incredible that fragrant oil should burst forth from the martyrs’ remains? By no means, at least to those who know the power of God and the honour which He accords His saints."

 - Saint John of Damascus

Monday, August 8, 2011

Unfathomable Ways of God

"...there is nothing better or more profitable for mankind than devotion to God's will, and the ways of God are unfathomable."

- Elder Ambrose of Optina


Friday, August 5, 2011

The Podvig Alone

"But the podvig alone of the servants of God is not enough to mortify the fallennes which nests in a nature that continually strives to regain its dominion; they need help from God."

- St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov)


Thursday, August 4, 2011

How Should We Confess?

How should we confess? "We should confess how we sinned and what sin we committed—that is all. It is good to write a confession ahead of time, not according to the books,[2] and read it yourself to the confessor. It will be understandable and less burdensome for the confessor, as well as easy and consoling for the penitent."

Elder Ambrose of Optina


[2]That is, not just according to the published guidelines on confession.—Ed.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

From the Heart

"From the heart not only bad things proceed, but also good things; yet, one should not fulfil every good thing suggested by the heart."

- Saint Theophan the Recluse

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Reading for Children

When asked what children should be given to read, Fr. Ambrose wrote: "It is my opinion that a young mind should first of all be occupied with sacred history and readings of the Lives of saints of your choice, which will unnoticeably sow the seeds of the fear of God and Christian life. You especially need to make them understand, with God's help, how important it is to keep God's commandments and what disastrous consequences follow when we break them. All of this will lead them away from the example set by our first parents, who ate the forbidden fruit and were therefore exiled from Paradise. You can put Krylov's fables away until later, for now teaching your child some prayers by heart, like the Symbol of Faith and certain Psalms, for example: He that dwelleth in the help of the Most High (Ps. 90),The Lord is my light (Ps. 26), and the like. The main thing is that the child himself be occupied, according to his strength, and directed toward fear of God. Everything good and kind comes from this, while, to the contrary, idleness and not being instilled with the fear of God are often the cause of all evil and misfortune.

"When the fear of God is not instilled, children will not bring forth the desired fruits of good morals and a well-ordered life, no matter what you occupy them with. When the fear of God is instilled, all occupations are good and profitable."

- Elder Ambrose of Optina


Monday, August 1, 2011

Avoiding Suffering

"In ignorance, many people labor more to avoid suffering in old age and terminal illness than to avoid the torments of hell in the life after old age and death."

- Saint Nikolai Velimirovich

Friday, July 29, 2011

Advice for the Married Life

Fr. Ambrose gave the following advice to a couple about to be married and begin family life: "You must always remember that our lives will only pass peacefully and happily if we do not forget ourselves or God, our Creator and Redeemer, the Giver of everything good—temporal and eternal. Not forgetting Him means trying to live according to His divine and life-giving commandments; and when we break them because of our infirmity, to sincerely repent and to set about straightway to correct our mistakes and departures from those commandments."

"If spouses always shared equally in a Christian manner the burden of their lives," the Elder wrote in another letter, "then life would be good for people even on earth. But since spouses are often slack, one or both of them, our earthly happiness is not enduring."

- Fr. Ambrose of Optina


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Expect Temptation

"This is the great work of a person: always to take the blame for one's own sins before God and expect temptation to one's last breath."

- Abba Antony

Reference: Chryssavgis, John, and Kallistos Ware. In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. World Wisdom Books, 2008. Print. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Atheism and Rebelliousness

To a mother who grieved over her son's atheism and rebelliousness, Fr. Ambrose wrote: "You wrote that you were disturbed when the beggar to whom you gave alms, asking him to pray for your son, prayed for the repose of his soul. Do not be disturbed at this. Nothing could have happened or is happening to your son because of a beggar's mistake and misunderstanding. And there is nothing greater or better to wish for someone than that they be made worthy in their time of the heavenly kingdom. If in your sorrow over your son you have sometimes thought that it would be better that he were dead than living as he does, then you should reproach yourself for it and give yourself and your son over in complete faith to the will of the all-good and all-wise God. If the Lord extends one's days, then He is bestowing benefactions; if He should cut short one's days, then He bestows just the same. In general, according to the sayings of the holy Church, the Lord in the depths of His wisdom dost provide all things out of love for mankind, and grantest unto all that which is profitable.[1] Therefore, there is nothing better or more profitable for mankind than devotion to God's will, and the ways of God are unfathomable. You know that we ourselves are in many ways guilty in that we did not know how to raise our son as we should have. Self-reproach is profitable, but you must be aware of your guilt, humble yourself and repent, and not be distressed and in despair. Neither should you be over-troubled by the thought that you exclusively are the involuntary cause of your son's present condition. This is not altogether true—every person is endowed with free will and must answer for himself before God.

"You ask if you should not write to your son in Moscow, and how you should write to him in order to touch his heart. Write briefly to him at first just to find out where he is. When you find him, you can write him in more detail. Then you can tell him that now he has learned through his own experience what atheism and rebellion leads to; that, in craving unbridled freedom he forgot that from sin, especially in defiance of one's parents, came slavery itself, which had not existed before on earth, and so on. Having prayed to God, write as the Lord puts it in your heart to do.... In general you should not be concerned now so much with enlightening him as with praying for him, so that the Lord Himself, through ways known only to Him, would enlighten him. Great is the power of a mother's prayer. Remember how Blessed Augustine's pious mother's prayers drew her son out of such a depth of evil. And as you pray for your son pray also for yourself, that the Lord would forgive you for whatever sins you may have unknowingly committed."

[1]From the Pannikhida, or Requiem service.-Ed.

- Elder Ambrose of Optina


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Serpent

"...there is a serpent by the wayside watching those who pass by:  beware lest he bite thee with unbelief.  He sees so many receiving salvation, and is seeking whom he may devour."

- Saint Cyril of Jerusalem

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sorrows and Torments

"I know that you have many sorrows and much domestic unpleasantness. But tell yourself, enlighten yourself with the remembrance that in hell it is much worse, more wearying and doleful, and there is no hope of deliverance from it. If a person endures sorrows with submission to God's will, confessing his sins, then he will, through this, be delivered from eternal torments. Therefore we had better endure troubles here, no matter how difficult they are, turning our grief over to God and praying to Him with humility that He deliver us from faintheartedness and despair, which are the worst of all sins."
- Elder Ambrose of Optina

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Storm

“This present age is a storm; and it is only through many trials and temptations that we can obtain an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.”   

- Amma Theodora

Reference: Chryssavgis, John, and Kallistos Ware. In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. World Wisdom Books, 2008. Print. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011


To another mother who grieved over her daughter's illness, the Elder wrote: "I have heard that you are grieving beyond measure, seeing your sick daughter's suffering. Truly, it is humanly impossible for a mother not to grieve when she sees her little one in such pain and suffering day and night. In spite of that, you should remember that you are a Christian who believes in the future life and the future blessed reward not only for labors, but also for voluntary and involuntary suffering. Therefore, you must not become unreasonably faint­hearted and sorrowful beyond measure, like the pagans or unbelievers who believe in neither eternal blessedness nor eternal punishment. No matter how great are the involuntary sufferings of your little child S., they cannot after all be compared to the voluntary sufferings of the martyrs; and if they do compare, then she is equal to them and will receive a blessed state in the paradisal abodes. By the way, you must not forget also about our twisted times, in which even little children's souls are damaged by what they see and hear, and therefore require cleansing, which cannot occur without suffering. The cleansing of the soul happens most often through physical suffering. Let us suppose that there was no damage to the soul. Even so, you must know that paradisal blessedness is not given to anyone who has not first suffered. Do even the tiniest infants pass into the future life without sickness or suffering? By the way, I do not write this way because I wish that the suffering child S. would die, but I write particularly for your consolation, enlightenment, and true persuasion, not to grieve unreasonably and beyond measure. No matter how much you love your daughter, you must know that our all-good God, Who uses any means for our salvation, loves her more than you do. He Himself bears witness in the Holy Scripture as to His love for every believer, saying: Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee (Is. 49:15). Therefore try to calm your sorrowing over your sick daughter, turning this sorrow over to God: Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself(Eph. 1:9). I advise you to commune your daughter following a confession. Ask the confessor to question her wisely and carefully during the confession."

- Elder Ambrose of Optina