Quotes from the Holy Fathers
Wisdom from Elder Thaddeus(+2003)
"The Lord is always waiting for us to unite ourselves with Him in love; but instead, we drift further and further away from Him. We know that there can be no life without love. This means that there is no life without God, for God is Love. But His love is not according to the understanding of the world. The love that the world gives us consists of suffering and enslavement, because the spirits of evil interfere with it. There is a little bit of love, but mostly it is just enslavement."
"We know that the Lord, while in the flesh, was kind to all people, even those who persecuted Him --- Him, the Almighty God. He showed us how to avoid evil and not oppose it. He said so Himself [cf. Matt. 5:39]. Not opposing evil means preserving one’s inner peace. Opposing evil is evil; it involves a desire to return evil for evil, on which the fallen spirits thrive. However, when they attack us and find that we do not oppose them, then our peacefulness disarms them; and they are defeated. Therefore, we must try to always pray like this: ‘Lord, help me to preserve my inner peace, teach me to be calm and peaceful and kind, just like Thine angels."
"When we talk to our fellow men and they tell us about their troubles, we will listen to them carefully if we have love for them. We will have compassion for their suffering and pain, for we are God’s creatures; we are a manifestation of the love of God. However, we often consider this a great burden; for we are oppressed by our own cares worries and weaknesses. "
"As we take more concern for our neighbors’ cares and problems, they soon become our own. And our thoughts immediately become occupied with them. If we listen to our neighbor with only half our attention, of course we will not be able to answer them or comfort them. ... We are distracted. They talk, but we do not participate in the conversation; we are immersed in our own thoughts. But if we give them our full attention, then we take up both our own burden and theirs."
"If we have a burden beyond our bearing, we must turn to the Lord immediately --- like this: ‘0 Lord, I cannot even bear my own infirmities, yet now I must bear the burden of so-and-so. I cannot cope with all this responsibility. I cannot do this myself, and - because I feel I have no desire to cope either - all this weighs even more heavily on my conscience. I wish to help my fellow man, but I don’t have the means. My neighbors think that I don’t want to help, and that is an additional burden to me."
That Secret Things Might be Revealed...
- St. John of Damascus
- From An Athonite Gerontikon
"To be Orthodox means to have the God-man Christ constantly in your soul, to live in Him, think in Him, feel in Him, act in Him. In other words, to be Orthodox means to be a Christ-bearer and a Spirit-bearer."
"All truths of Orthodoxy emerge from the one Truth and converge on one Truth, infinite and eternal. That Truth is the God-man Christ. If you experience any truth of Orthodoxy to its limit, you will inevitably discover that its kernel is the God-man Christ. In fact, all truths of Orthodoxy are nothing other than different aspects of the one Truth - the God-man Jesus Christ."
On Why God Hides Encouraging Signs From Us
Very few have flown up in a short time on the wings of faith and virtue into the spiritual heaven or have sensed in themselves the undying pledge of hope and the betrothal of future glory.... There are others who will never sense this during their whole life on earth; they will not sense it according to the dispensation of our heavenly Protector, God, who always provides what is best for us. For we, infants in our understanding of the judgments of Him that directs the world, often ask of Him such tools which in their own right and power are for our salvation, but we would put them to entirely detrimental use because of our inexperience. Therefore, the loving Father of lights hides from certain pious people the gifts which are for the salvation of some, but to others bring perdition. What would happen in God, Who knows all things, completely fulfilled our every wish? I think, but I'm not saying for certain, that everyone in the world would perish. Even though He does not reject the prayers of His chosen ones, God still does not at all times fulfill their desires. And this only in order to arrange everything in a better way, in keeping with His divine intent.... Just because you see yourself making no progress does not mean that you are not making any progress at all. Such feelings can plant sincere humility in your heart. And when you have the genuine awareness that you are deprived of spiritual fruit, then make an unfailing effort to force your striving for God.... When we have had no success in the virtues, there is no closer means for salvation than humbleness of mind. Haughtiness even when joined to the virtues is offensive to God; but a meek thought will not be forgotten before God."
- St. Counsels of St. Leonid of Optina
The Precious Pearl
- St. John of Damascus
- St. Seraphim of Sarov