In the hour in which we are tempted we must be patient and pray. Temptation is a clever craftsman. He is able to make small things loom large. Temptation disquiets, saddens and creates external battles. He knows many arts. He brings man to doubt. For this reason we have many shipwrecks. When we are beset by temptations, that’s when the grace of God comes. When one undergoes temptations, he recognizes his weakness, is humbled and attracts the grace of God. Don’t let the winds of temptation affect you. They can’t do you any harm.
–Elder Amphilochios, Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit, p 56
Archive for the ‘Wisdom of the Saints’ Category
Chirst ‘overcame the world’ [cf. John 16:33]. And now there is no one and nothing that could set limits to His Sovereignty. In much suffering we free ourselves from the power of our past. Enriched by the experience of victory through repentance, we become kin to the only-begotten Son in His Lordship. Hell no longer has dominion over us–our old dread has gone.
–Elder Sophrony, We Shall See Him as He Is, p 188
After Holy Communion one day [Jesus] made me understand the significance of these words in the Canticle of Canticles: “Draw me: we will run after thee to the odour of Thy ointments.” So, Jesus, there is no need to say: In drawing me, draw also the souls I love. The simple words “Draw me” are enough! When a soul has been captivated by the intoxicating odour of Your ointments, she cannot run alone. Every soul she loves is drawn after her–a natural consequence of her being drawn to You.
As a river sweeps along it carries with it all it meets down to the depths of the sea, and so, my Jesus, the soul which plunges into the boundless ocean of Your love carries with it all its treasures. You know that my treasures are those souls which You have linked with mine. You have entrusted these treasures to me and so I dare borrow Your own words, those You used on the last evening You spent as a mortal traveller on earth. . . .
Jesus does not demand great deeds. All He wants is self-surrender and gratitude. . . .
This is all Jesus asks from us. He needs nothing from us except our love.
—St. Therese of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul
From a brief life of St. Moses the Ethiopian (emphasis added):
He was a slave, but was cast out by his master due to his evil life. He then became the leader of a murderous band of robbers in Egypt. He came to repentance and took up monastic life in the desert under St Isidore of Sketis. For many years he struggled tirelessly, through prayer, fasting and vigils, with lustful and violent thoughts; he was finally freed of them through the prayers of St Isidore. He was revered by all the brethren for his ascetical life, his wisdom, and his deep humility. Once a brother committed some sin and the monks gathered to judge him. Moses at first refused to go at all, but when they insisted, he filled an old, leaky basket with sand and carried it into the assembly on his back. When the brethren asked him what his action meant, he said “My sins run out behind me, and I do not even see them, and I have come to judge my brother.” The monk was forgiven.
If you get depressed, then cry out ‘Lord, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!’ Just like a child. The Lord will hear, and will console you.
Schemamonk John the Silent (in The Orthodox Word, no. 251, November-December 2006, p. 278 )
One who is firm in faith, if he will speak and contend with heretics or unbelievers, will never be disturbed, because he has within himself Jesus, the Source of peace and stillness. And such a one, after contending peacefully, can with love bring many heretics and unbelievers to the knowledge of our Savior Jesus Christ. Wherefore, O brother, since the judging of other subjects is above your measure, then keep to the royal path, I say, the faith of the 318 Holy Fathers [of the First Ecumenical Council] in which you were baptized: it includes within itself precisely everything for those who understand completely . . . . From now on do not be concerned over subjects which are not assigned to you, for the Lord has taken all cares away from you . . . . Pray for me, O brother, that it may not be said of me: Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? (Rom. 2:21).
–Answer 58 in Guidance Twoard Spiritual Life 2e, tr. by Father Seraphim Rose (St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood 2002)
[This citation is from my other blog, which I thought those who only visit this site would enjoy with me.]
And of these passions as the occasions are recognized by everybody as soon as they are laid open by the teaching of the elders, so before they are revealed, although we are all overcome by them, and they exist in every one, yet nobody knows of them. But we trust that we shall be able in some measure to explain them, if by your prayers that word of the Lord, which was announced by Isaiah, may apply to us also—”I will go before thee, and bring low the mighty ones of the land, I will break the gates of brass, and cut asunder the iron bars, and I will open to thee concealed treasures and hidden secrets”—so that the word of the Lord may go before us also, and first may bring low the mighty ones of our land, i.e. these same evil passions which we are desirous to overcome, and which claim for themselves dominion and a most horrible tyranny in our mortal body; and may make them yield to our investigation and explanation, and thus breaking the gates of our ignorance, and cutting asunder the bars of vices which shut us out from true knowledge, may lead to the hidden things of our secrets, and reveal to us who have been illuminated, according to the Apostle’s word, “the hidden things of darkness, and may make manifest the counsels of the hearts, that thus penetrating with pure eyes of the mind to the foul darkness of vices, we may be able to disclose them and drag them forth to light; and may succeed in explaining their occasions and natures to those who are either free from them, or are still tied and bound by them, and so passing as the prophet says, through the fire of vices which terribly inflame our minds, we may be able forthwith to pass also through the water of virtues which extinguish them unharmed, and being bedewed (as it were) with spiritual remedies may be found worthy to be brought in purity of heart to the consolations of perfection.
“One first gives himself totally to God, and then God cleanses him and gives him back to the people. When such a person believes that he is the worst of all, then one of his “Lord have mercies” said on behalf of the world is worth more than someone else’s one thousand “Lord have mercies.”
from an Athonite Gerontikon
[from Word from the Desert]