Thursday, June 30, 2011

God, do not leave me...

“God, do not leave me. I have done nothing good in Your sight. But according to Your Goodness, let me now at least make a beginning of doing good.”

- Abba Arsenius

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, June 29, 2011

The First Principles of the Gospel

“Such, then, are the first principles of the Gospel: that there is one God, the Maker of this universe; He who was also announced by the prophets, and who by Moses set forth the dispensation of the law,— which proclaim the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and ignore any other God or Father except Him."

- Saint Iranaeus of Lyons

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Human Judgement

“Human judgment must not pass its sentence upon God. Our nature is not such that it can lift itself by its own forces to the contemplation of heavenly things. We must learn from God what we are to think of God; we have no source of knowledge but Himself. You may be as carefully trained as you will in secular philosophy; you may have lived a life of righteousness. All this will contribute to your mental satisfaction, but it will not help you to know God."

- Saint Basil the Great

Monday, June 27, 2011

Living in the Crowd of Their Own Thoughts

"There are many who live in the mountains and behave as if they were in the town; they are wasting their time. It is possible to be a solitary in one's mind while living in a crowd; and it is possible for those who are a solitaries to live in the crowd of their own thoughts."

- Amma Syncletica

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.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Old Wineskins

"The Lord was asked why His disciples did not fast. He answered that the time for them has not yet come. Then in a parable he showed that in general, the strictness of outer asceticism must be in keeping with the renewal of inner powers of the spirit. First kindle the spirit of fervour, and then take on austerities; for then there will be a new inner power capable of enduring them profitably. If you take them on without first having this fervour, because you were either impressed by the example of others, or wanted to make a show of your own asceticism, then it will bring no profit. You will sustain this austerity for a bit, and then you will weaken and drop it. And you will be worse off than before. Austerity without the inner spirit is like a patch of new linen on an old garment, or new wine in old wineskins. The patch will fall off and the rent made even worse; and the wine will burst the wineskin, and the wine will be lost, and the wineskin ruined. This, by the way, does not mean that austerity is bad, but only suggests that one must begin it in the proper order. The need for it must come from within, so that it might content the heart, and not just press from the outside like a weight."


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Remember me, O Lord

“We see the water of a river flowing uninterruptedly and passing away, and all that floats on its surface, rubbish or beams of trees, all pass by. Christian! So does our life. . . I was an infant, and that time has gone. I was an adolescent, and that too has passed. I was a young man, and that too is far behind me. The strong and mature man that I was is no more. My hair turns white, I succumb to age, but that too passes; I approach the end and will go the way of all flesh. I was born in order to die. I die that I may live. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom!"

- Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Faults of Others

“Do not pay attention to the faults of others, and do not try to compare yourself with others, knowing that you are less than every created thing.”

- Abba John

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. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hate the Sickness

"Why hate the person who has harmed you? It is not the person who has done the wrong. Hate the sickness, but do not hate the sick person."

- Amma Syncletica

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.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Acquiring Humility

"Do you know how you can tell when you have acquired humility? When you feel the Holy Spirit, and see that you have nothing good of your own—only from Him."

- Fr. Proclus (Niceu)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Final Purpose of the Soul

”First of all it must be understood that it is the duty of all Christians–especially of those whose calling dedicates them to the spiritual life–to strive always and in every way to be united with God, their creator, lover, benefactor, and their supreme good, by Whom and for Whom they were created. This is because the center and the final purpose of the soul, which God created, must be God Himself alone, and nothing else–God whom Whom the soul has received its life and its nature, and for Whom it must eternally live."

- Saint Dimitry of Rostov

Thursday, June 16, 2011

God Always Helps

"God always helps. He always comes in time, but patience is necessary. He hears us immediately when we cry out to Him, but not in accordance with our own way of thinking .… Since you do not see beyond what is apparent and do not know how God governs the world, you want your request to be fulfilled like lightning. But this is not how things are. The Lord wants patience. He wants you to show your faith. You cannot just pray like a parrot. It is necessary also to work towards whatever one prays for, and then to learn to wait. You see that what you longed for in the past has finally happened. However, you were harmed because you didn’t have the patience to wait, in which case you would have gained both the one and the other: both the temporal and the eternal …."

- Elder Joseph the Hesychast


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Secrets of the Father

“Thus God the Father, the Founder and Creator of all things, who only knows no beginning, invisible, infinite, immortal, eternal, is one God; to whose greatness, or majesty, or power, I would not say nothing can be preferred, but nothing can be compared; of whom, when He willed it, the Son, the Word, was born, who is not received in the sound of the stricken air, or in the tone of voice forced from the lungs, but is acknowledged in the substance of the power put forth by God, the mysteries of whose sacred and divine nativity neither an apostle has learnt, nor prophet has discovered, nor angel has known, nor creature has apprehended. To the Son alone they are known, who has known the secrets of the Father."

- Saint Cyprian of Carthage

Monday, June 13, 2011


"Reason is not the adversary of faith, but a corrupt heart is. Reason is only guilty here in that it submits to the heart, and begins to philosophize—not according to the foundations of truth, but according to the desires of the heart. Furthermore, powerful arguments for the truth seem worthless to the mind, and some trifling argument against the truth becomes a whole mountain. In general, confusion comes into the mental realm, blinding the mind, which does not and cannot see, no matter what you tell it."

- Saint Theophan the Recluse


Friday, June 10, 2011

Success in Prayer

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you (John 16:23) the Lord said, even confirming the point: Verily, verily, I say unto you. What a shame for us that we do not know how to make use of such a true promise! It would be alright if were only the shame this causes; but a shadow is cast also over the promise itself, as though it were too great and impossible. No, the guilt lies entirely on us, mainly because we recognize that we are not faithful servants of Christ, and our conscience does not allow us to expect mercy from the Lord. In addition it happens that if someone starts asking God about something, he does it with divided soul: he mentions that thing in his prayer once or twice as if in passing—and drops it, and then says later: “God does not hear.” No, when asking for something in particular, one must be persistent and indefatigable in prayer, like the widow who forced even the heartless judge to satisfy her petition by simply not giving him any peace. When true men of prayer ask for something in prayer, they unite with it fasting, vigil, all sorts of deprivation, and charity; furthermore they ask not for a day or two, but for months and years. For this they receive it. Imitate them, if you desire to have success in prayer."

- Saint Theophan the Recluse


Thursday, June 9, 2011

No Boasting

“Abba Xanthias said, ‘The thief was on the cross and he was justified by a single word; and Judas who was counted among the number of the Apostles lost all his labor in one single night and descended from heaven to hell. Therefore, let no one boast of his good works, for all those who trust in themselves fall.’

- from the sayings of the desert fathers

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stop Your Ears

Stop your ears, therefore, when any one speaks to you at variance with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was descended from David, and was also of Mary; who was truly begotten of God and of the Virgin, but not after the same manner. For indeed God and man are not the same. He truly assumed a body; for "the Word was made flesh," and lived upon earth without sin. For says He, "Which of you convicteth me of sin?" He did in reality both eat and drink. He was crucified and died under Pontius Pilate. He really, and not merely in appearance, was crucified, and died, in the sight of beings in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth. By those in heaven I mean such as are possessed of incorporeal natures; by those on earth, the Jews and Romans, and such persons as were present at that time when the Lord was crucified; and by those under the earth, the multitude that arose along with the Lord. For says the Scripture, "Many bodies of the saints that slept arose," their graves being opened. He descended, indeed, into Hades alone, but He arose accompanied by a multitude; and rent asunder that means of separation which had existed from the beginning of the world, and cast down its partition-wall. He also rose again in three days, the Father raising Him up; and after spending forty days with the apostles, He was received up to the Father, and "sat down at His right hand, expecting till His enemies are placed under His feet."

- Saint Ignatios of Antioch


Tuesday, June 7, 2011


"Do we forgive our neighbors their trespasses? God also forgives us in His mercy. Do we refuse to forgive? God, too, will refuse to forgive us. As we treat our neighbors, so also does God treat us. The forgiveness, then, of your sins or unforgiveness, and hence also your salvation or destruction, depend on you yourself, man. For without forgiveness of sins there is no salvation. You can see for yourself how terrible it is."

- Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk


Monday, June 6, 2011

The True God

"If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also (John 14:7). Therefore, deists do not know God, in spite of the fact that they bear His name (Deus means God; from here comes the word deist), and reason eloquently about Him. There is no true God without the Son and without the Holy Spirit. He who believes in God, but does not confess Him as the Father of the Son, does not believe in a god that is the true God, but in some personal invention. The true God gave His Son, gave power to become the sons of God (John 1:12), loves them, and hears each of their prayers, for the sake of the Son. That is why he who has the Son has the Father; and he who does not have the Son, does not have the Father. No one comes to the Father except through the Son, and receives nothing from the Father, except through the Son. Apart from the Son there is no path to the true God; and he who thinks to invent Him is deluded."

- St. Theophan the Recluse


Friday, June 3, 2011

Calm Before the Storm

"If thou considerest thyself as having peace from the assault of the affections, before thou hast entered the town of humility, do not trust this. There is some ambush prepared for thee. Expect, after this peace, great trouble from them. While passing along all the apartments of virtues, thou wilt not find rest from thy tribulations nor relief from thy persecutors, till thy course will have reached the apartment of humility."

- Saint Isaac the Syrian

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ever Condescending To Us

"Glory to Thee, Father, ever condescending to us in the Son by the Holy Ghost! Trinity in undivided unity, have mercy upon us!"

- Saint John of Kronstadt

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Repressing the Evil Wind

"When there is a hot sun and a wind blowing, the sun and the wind each have a body and nature of their own, but no one can separate between sun and wind, unless God, who alone can, should make the wind to cease from blowing. In like manner sin is mingled with the soul, though each has its own nature. It is impossible to separate between the soul and sin, unless God should stop and repress this evil wind, which dwells in the soul and in the body."

- St. Macarius the Egyptian