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