Category Archives: Wisdom of the Church Fathers

Coincidental Wrong

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

Whatever’s wrong with people is coincidental. Don’t look down on anybody even if you see how immoral, prone to drink or blasphemous they are. The image of God is in them, somewhere, too, although, of course, they aren’t aware of it.

It’s natural for the enemy to come and besmirch that image. It’s not easy to see the image of God in those who mock you and behave like brutes towards you. You should feel even more sorry for them because their souls have been distorted, to the extent that perhaps they’re beyond correction, which will condemn them to eternal torment.

How difficult is this: Love your enemies!

~ Blessed Gabriel the New Confessor and Fool for Christ, from Georgia

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The one who knows God…

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

The one who knows God will follow the Lord’s footsteps, bearing the cross of the Saviour.
It is said, “The world is crucified to him and he to the world.”
The Lord says, “He who loses his life will save it.”
We can “lose our lives” in one of two ways. First, we can risk our lives just as the Lord did for us. Secondly, we can separate our lives from the customary things of this world.
Bearing the cross means to separate our souls from the delights and pleasures of this life.
If you do this, you will find your life again – resting in the hope of what is to come.
Dying to ourselves means being content with the necessities of life.
When we want more that these necessities it is easy to sin.

~ St. Clement of Alexandria in ‘The One Who knows God’

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THE POWER OF THE CROSS

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

The mysterious power of the Cross, however inexplicable, is true and indisputable. St John Chrysostom speaks of the custom that obtained in his time, of placing the sign of the Cross ‘on the imperial diadem and the soldiers’ accoutrements, and of making it on parts of the body: the head, the breast and the heart, both at the table of sacrifice and on lying down in bed.’ ‘If’, he says, ‘we are striving to drive out demons, we use the Cross, and it is also of aid in healing sickness.’ St Benedict made the sign of the Cross over a glass containing poison, and the glass shattered as if struck by a stone. St Julian made the sign of the Cross over a cup of poison brought to him, and drank the poison, suffering no bodily harm from it. The holy martyr Vasilissa of Nicomedia protected herself with the sign of the Cross and stood in the midst of the flames, remaining completely untouched. The holy martyrs Audon and Senis crossed themselves when ravening wild animals were let loose on them, and the beasts became docile and meek as lambs. The sign of the Cross has been the most powerful weapon against great temptations from demons, from the early ascetics down to the present day.

The most ferocious of the devil’s devisings are dispersed into nothing, like smoke, when a man signs himself with the Cross. Thus it was the good will of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself that the erstwhile sign of wickedness and shame, the cross, should, after His crucifixion on the wood of the cross, be the vehicle of all-conquering power and might.

~ St Nikolai Velimerovic, The Prologue from Ochrid

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Bearing sufferings

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

If your entire life passed smoothly and without worry, then weep for yourself.
For the Gospel and the experience of the people, with one accord assert that no one has, without great suffering and pain, left behind any great and beneficial work on earth or was glorified in the heavens.
If, however, your earthly sojourn is completely adorned with sweat and tears to attain justice and truth, rejoice and be exceedingly glad for truly great is your reward in the heavens.
Do not ever succumb to the insane thought that God has abandoned you. God knows exactly how much one can endure and, according to that, measures the sufferings and pains of everyone.
St. Nil Sorsky says: “When even men know how much weight a horse, or a donkey or a camel can carry and, according to that they are loading them according to their strength; when a potter knows how long to leave the clay in the kiln for it to be neither shattered nor over-baked, how could God not know how much temptation a soul can bear to make it ready and fitted for the Kingdom of Heaven?”
~ St Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue from Ochrid

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Writings of Saint Nectarios of Aegina on Prayer

TRUE PRAYER is undistracted, prolonged, performed with a contrite heart an alert intellect. The vehicle of prayer is everywhere humility, and prayer is a manifestation of humility. For being conscious of our own weakness, we invoke the power of GOD.

PRAYER unites one with GOD, being a divine conversation and spiritual communion with the Being that is most beautiful and highest.

PRAYER IS FORGETTING EARTHLY THINGS, AN ASCENT TO HEAVEN.
THROUGH PRAYER WE FLEE TO GOD.

PRAYER is truly a heavenly armour, and is alone can keep safe those who have dedicated themselves to God. Prayer is the common medicine for purifying ourselves from the passions, for hindering sin and curing our faults. Prayer is an inexhaustible treasure, an unruffled harbor, the foundation of serenity, the root and mother of myriad’s of blessings.

~ From the Writings of Orthodox Saints, Compiled by Father Demetrios Serfes

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Why is it, you ask, that one can pray for so many years with a prayer book . . .

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

Why is it, you ask, that one can pray for so many years with a prayer book, and still not have prayer in his heart? I think the reason is that people only spend a little time lifting themselves up to God when they complete their prayer rule, and in other times, they do not remember God. For example, they finish their morning prayers, and think that their relation to God is fulfilled by them; then the whole day passes in work, and such a person does not attend to God. Then in the evening, the thought returns to him that he must quickly stand at prayer and complete his evening rule. In this case, it happens that even if the Lord grants a person spiritual feelings at the time of the morning prayer, the bustle and business of the day drowns them out. Continue reading

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Hold on to our faith which is eternal and definite

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

…the spiritual world cannot be investigated using the same methods as the material world. Those methods are completely unsuitable for investigating the spiritual world… There are phenomena that science will never be able to explain because it does not use the appropriate methods… Continue reading

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Sermon on the Sunday before the Exaltation of the Cross (John 3: 13-17)

Today, on this Sunday before the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Lord presents the central theme of the Gospel in a few words: God saves the world from the devil and sin driven by endless love alone! Continue reading

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This Was From Me

The Spiritual Testament of St Seraphim of Vyritsa (1866-1949)

“This was from me” is a famous letter written by Saint Seraphim of Vyritsa that he sent to his spiritual child, a bishop who was in a Soviet prison at that time; this homily “This was from me” is written as a consolation and counsel to the bishop to let him know that God the Creator addresses to the soul of man. Continue reading

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The Holy Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ

“Why did the Lord take only three disciples on Tabor and not all? Because Judas was not worthy to behold the divine glory of the Teacher, Whom he will betray and the Lord did not want to leave him [Judas] alone at the foot of the mountain so that the betrayer would not, by that, justify his betrayal. Continue reading

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