Category Archives: Wisdom of the Church Fathers

St John of Damascus – On Worshiping Images

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

Possibly a contentious unbeliever will maintain that we worshiping images in our churches are convicted of praying to lifeless idols. Far be it from us to do this. Faith makes Christians, and God, who cannot deceive, works miracles. We do not rest contented with mere colouring.

With the material picture before our eyes we see the invisible God through the visible representation, and glorify Him as if present, not as a God without reality, but as a God who is the essence of being. Nor are the saints whom we glorify fictitious. They are in being, and are living with God; and their spirits being holy, the help, by the power of God, those who deserve and need their assistance.

St. John of Damascus, Treatise on Images

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On Fasting – St Seraphim of Sarov

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

Fasting, prayer, alms, and every other good Christian deed is good in itself, but the purpose of the Christian life consists not only in the fulfilment of one or another of them. The true purpose of our Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God. But fasting, prayer, alms and every good deed done for the sake of Christ is a means to the attainment of the Holy Spirit. Note that only good deeds done for the sake of Christ bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Everything else that is not done for the sake of Christ, even if it is good, does not bring us a reward in the life to come, not does it bring the grace of God in this life. This is why our Lord Jesus Christ said, “He who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” (Matt. 12:30).

St Seraphim of Sarov, Conversation on the Goal of the Christian Life

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Words of St Porphyrios

A person can become a saint anywhere…At your work, whatever it may be, you can become a saint through meekness, patience, and love.
Make a new start every day, with new resolution, enthusiasm and love, prayer and silence.

When we pray continually, God will enlighten us as to what we must do in each situation, even the most difficult.

God will speak in our heart. He will find ways.

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We ought to meditate upon higher things, and count all earthly things but dung . . .

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

If God had not been incarnate upon earth, if He had not made us godly, if He had not taught us in His Own person how to live, what to hope for and expect, if He had not pointed out to us another perfect and eternal life, if He had not suffered and died and risen from the dead – then we should still have had some reason to live, as we all now live – that is to mostly lead a carnal, earthly life.

But, now, we ought to meditate upon higher things, and count all earthly things but dung, for, everything earthly is nothing, in comparison with heavenly things.

Meanwhile, the Devil, the father of lies, in spite of the Savior’s teaching and His spirit, teaches us to attach ourselves to earthly goods, and forcibly nails our sensual heart to them.

The heart naturally seeks happiness – and the Devil gives a false direction to this tendency, and allures it by earthly happiness, that is – by riches, honors, splendor of dress, furniture, silver, equipages, gardens and various amusements.

St John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

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Wise Counsel from St Iakovos Tsalikis

“We are not sanctified by the place in which we live, but by the way we live.”

“The faithful shouldn’t tell others of things they have confessed, of details of their life or their spiritual endeavour.”

“Chase away the bad thoughts and fantasies that the devil presents. Don’t even notice them.”

“Don’t hesitate [to come to confession]. Don’t be ashamed. Whatever you may have done, even the greatest of sins, the spiritual father has power from the Lord Christ Himself and from the Apostles to forgive you with his stole.”

“I asked God in prayer for the gift of discerning men’s hearts by looking at their faces, so that I might be able to help them; and God granted it.”

~ from Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit

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On Humility & Pride

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

Draw nigh to the righteous, and through them you will draw nigh to God.
Communicate with those who possess humility, and you will learn morals from them.
A man who follows one who loves God becomes rich in the mysteries of God; but he who follows an unrighteous and proud man gets far away from God, and will be hated by his friends.
St. Isaac the Syrian, Sermon 57,8

The Lord does not show Himself to a proud soul. The proud soul, no matter how many books it reads, will never know God, since by its pride it does not give place for the grace of the Holy Spirit, while God is known only by the humble soul.
St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, III.11

………..

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Elder Cleopa

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

“Do not do anything without signing yourself with the sign of the Cross! When you depart on a journey, when you begin your work, when you go to study, when you are alone, and when you are with other people, seal yourself with the Holy Cross on your forehead, your body, your chest, your heart, your lips, your eyes, your ears. All of you should be sealed with the sign of Christ’s victory over hell. Then you will no longer be afraid of charms, evil spirits, or sorcery, because these are dissolved by the power of the Cross like wax before fire and like dust before the wind.”

+ Elder Cleopa

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