Orthodox Christian Quotes

Quotes collected by Steven Mojsovki and Keith Wilkerson.

These are a collection of quotes that are of interest to Orthodox Christians. These quotes were from two collections—one was from a (now defunct) mailing list in which Steven Mojsovki would occasionally post a quote that other members might like to see; the other source came from a huge effort by Keith Wilkerson to post a daily quote to various Orthodox usenet and discussion groups (of which this is but a small sample).

The quotes come from various sources, including Scripture, patristics, various Orthodox religious and secular writers, and some from non-Orthodox sources.

Alternatively, view the Orthodox Christian Random Quotes page.

"You are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed"

—Luke 10:41-42


You may find yourself hampered by someone who sows tares of despondency. He tries to prevent you from climbing to such heights of holiness by discouraging you with various thoughts. For instance, he will tell you that it is impossible for you to be saved and to keep every single one of God's commandments while you live in this world. When this happens you should sit down in a solitary place by yourself, collect yourself, concentrate your thoughts and give good counsel to your soul, saying: "Why, my soul, are you dejected, and why do you trouble me? Put your hope in God, for I will give thanks to Him; for my salvation lies not in my actions but in God (cf. Ps. 42:5). Who will be vindicated by actions done according to the law (cf. Gal 2:16)? No living person will be vindicated before God (cf. Ps. 143:2). Yet by virtue of my faith in God I hope that in His ineffable mercy He will give me salvation. Get behind me, Satan (cf. Matt. 16:23). I worship the Lord my God (cf. Matt. 4:10) and serve Him from my youth; for He is able to save me simply through His mercy. Go away from me. The God who created me in His image and likeness will reduce you to impotence."

—St. Symeon the New Theologian


In spite of our sinfulness, in spite of the darkness surrounding our souls, the Grace of the Holy Spirit, conferred by baptism in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, still shines in our hearts with the inextinguishable light of Christ ... and when the sinner turns to the way of repentance the light smooths away every trace of the sins committed, clothing the former sinner in the garments of incorruption, spun of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. It is this acquisition of the Holy Spirit about which I have been speaking.

—St. Seraphim of Sarov


Remember, never to fear the power of evil more than your trust in the power and love of God.

—Hermas, one of the Seventy


"As a handful of sand thrown into the ocean, so are the sins of all flesh as compared with the mind of God."

"Just as a strongly flowing fountain is not blocked up by a handful of earth, so the compassion of the Creator is not overcome by the wickedness of his creatures."

"Someone who bears a grudge while he prays is like a person who sows in the sea and expects to reap a harvest."

—St. Isaac The Syrian


"He who busies himself with the sins of others, or judges his brother on suspicion, has not yet even begun to repent or to examine himself so as to discover his own sins..."

—St. Maximos the Confessor (Third Century on Love no. 55)


"Fire and water do not mix, neither can you mix judgment of others with the desire to repent. If a man commits a sin before you at the very moment of his death, pass no judgment, because the judgment of God is hidden from men. It has happened that men have sinned greatly in the open but have done greater deeds in secret, so that those who would disparage them have been fooled, with smoke instead of sunlight in their eyes."

—St. John Climacus


"Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God's wisdom, nor our infirmity God's omnipotence."

—St. John of Kronstadt


"For virtue is a light and buoyant thing, and all who live in her way "fly like clouds" as Isaiah says, "and as doves with their young ones"; but sin is a heavy affair, as another of the prophets says, "sitting upon a talent of lead.""

—St. Gregory of Nyssa


"God, Who is by nature good and dispassionate, loves all men equally as His handiwork. But He glorifies the virtuous man because in his will he is united to God. At the same time, in His goodness he is merciful to the sinner and by chastising him in this life brings him back to the path of virtue. Similarly, a man of good and dispassionate judgment also loves all men equally. He loves the virtuous man because of his nature and the probity of his intention; and he loves the sinner, too, because of his nature and because in his compassion he pities him for foolishly stumbling in darkness."

—St. Maximos the Confessor


"Apart from love nothing whatever has existed, nor ever will. Its names and actions are many. More numerous still are its distinctive marks; divine and innumerable are its properties. Yet it is one in nature, wholly beyond utterance whether on the part of angels or men or any other creatures, even such as are unknown to us. Reason cannot comprehend it; its glory is inaccessible, its counsels unsearchable. It is eternal because it is beyond time, invisible because thought cannot comprehend it, though it may perceive it. Many are the beauties of this holy Sion not made with hands! He who has begun to see it no longer delights in sensible objects; he ceases to be attached to the glory of this world."

—St. Symeon the New Theologian


"…should we fall, we should not despair and so estrange ourselves from the Lord's love. For if He so chooses, He can deal mercifully with our weakness. Only we should not cut ourselves off from Him or feel oppressed when constrained by His commandments, nor should we lose heart when we fall short of our goal...let us always be ready to make a new start. If you fall, rise up. If you fall again, rise up again. Only do not abandon your Physician, lest you be condemned as worse than a suicide because of your despair. Wait on Him, and He will be merciful, either reforming you, or sending you trials, or through some other provision of which you are ignorant."

—From St. Peter of Damascus


"As the Holy Trinity, our God is One Being, although Three Persons, so, likewise, we ourselves must be one. As our God is indivisible, we also must be indivisible, as though we were one man, one mind, one will, one heart, one goodness, without the smallest admixture of malice - in a word, one pure love, as God is Love. "That they may be one, even as We are One" (John 17:22)."

—St. John of Kronstadt


"Always remember that at the Last Judgement we are judged for loving Him, or failing to love Him, in the least person."

—Archbishop Anastasios of Albania


"Do not be irritated either with those who sin or those who offend; do not have a passion for noticing every sin in your neighbour, and for judging him, as we are in the habit of doing. Everyone shall give an answer to God for himself. Everyone has a conscience; everyone hears God's Word, and knows God's Will either from books or from conversation with other people. Especially do not look with evil intention upon the sins of your elders, which do not regard you; "to his own master he standeth or falleth." Correct your own sins, amend your own life."

—St. John of Kronstadt


"We see the water of a river flowing uninterruptedly and passing away, and all that floats on its surface, rubbish or beams of trees, all pass by. Christian! So does our life. . .I was an infant, and that time has gone. I was an adolescent, and that too has passed. I was a young man, and that too is far behind me. The strong and mature man that I was is no more. My hair turns white, I succumb to age, but that too passes; I approach the end and will go the way of all flesh. I was born in order to die. I die that I may live. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom!"

—St. Tikhon of Voronezh


"A man who is wrathful with us is a sick man; we must apply a plaster to his heart - love; we must treat him kindly, speak to him gently, lovingly. And if there is not deeply-rooted malice against us within him, but only a temporary fit of anger, you will see how his heart, or his malice, will melt away through your kindness and love - how good will conquer evil. A Christian must always be kind, gracious, and wise in order to conquer evil by good."

—St. John of Kronstadt, "My Life in Christ".


Abba Doulas, the disciple of Abba Bessarion said, "One day when we were walking beside the sea I was thirsty and I said to Abba Bessarion, "Father, I am very thirsty." He said a prayer and said to me, "Drink some of the sea water." The water proved sweet when I drank some. I even poured some into a leather bottle for fear of being thirsty later on. Seeing this, the old man asked me why I was taking some. I said to him, "Forgive me, it is for fear of being thirsty later on." Then the old man said, "God is here, God is everywhere." "

—Abba Doulas on Abba Bessarion


The Perfect Person's Rule of Life:

The perfect person does not only try to avoid evil. Nor does he do good for fear of punishment, still less in order to qualify for the hope of a promised reward.

The perfect person does good through love.

His actions are not motivated by desire for personal benefit, so he does not have personal advantage as his aim. But as soon as he has realized the beauty of doing good, he does it with all his energies and in all that he does.

He is not interested in fame, or a good reputation, or a human or divine reward.

The rule of life for a perfect person is to be in the image and likeness of God.

—St. Clement of Alexandria


A brother asked Abba Poemen, "If I see my brother sin, is it right to say nothing about it?" The old man replied, "whenever we cover our brother's sin, God will cover ours; whenever we tell people about our brother's guilt, God will do the same about ours."

—Abba Poemen


A true Christian is made by faith and love toward Christ. Our sins do not in the least hinder our Christianity, according to the word of the Savior Himself. He deigned to say: not the righteous have I come to call, but sinners to salvation; there is more joy in heaven over one who repents than over ninety righteous ones. Likewise concerning the sinful woman who touched His feet, He deigned to say to the Pharisee Simon: to one who has love, a great debt is forgiven, but from one who has no love, even a small debt will be demanded. From these judgments a Christian should bring himself to hope and joy, and not in the least accept an inflicted despair. Here one needs the shield of faith.

—Letters of St. Herman of Alaska


God always was, and always is, and always will be. Or rather, God always Is. For Was and Will be are fragments of our time, and of changeable nature, but He is Eternal Being. And this is the Name that He gives to Himself when giving the Oracle to Moses in the Mount. For in Himself He sums up and contains all Being, having neither beginning in the past nor end in the future; like some great Sea of Being, limitless and unbounded, transcending all conception of time and nature, only adumbrated [intimated] by the mind, and that very dimly and scantily.

—St. Gregory the Theologian


Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

—St. John Chrysostom


The man who follows Christ in solitary mourning is greater than he who praises Christ amid the congregation of men.

—St. Isaac the Syrian


"The way of humility is this: self-control, prayer, and thinking yourself inferior to all creatures."

—Abba Tithoes


"My poor soul! Sigh, pray and strive to take upon you the blessed yoke of Christ, and you will live on earth in a heavenly manner. Lord, grant that I may carry the light and goodly yoke, and I shall be always at rest, peaceful, glad and joyous; and I shall taste on earth of crumbs which fall from the celestial feast, like a dog that feeds upon the crumbs which fall from the master's table."

—St. Tikhon of Voronezh


"I think that one must approach the Logos Savior, not induced by the fear of punishment and not in the expectation of some kind of a reward, but primarily for the sake of the good in itself. Such will stand on the right in the sanctuary."

—St. Clement of Alexandria


"Later when His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, Jesus did not discourse on different prayer techniques or teach them to relate to God. He merely said,

"When you pray...you should say, Father, may your name be honored - may Your Kingdom come. Give us the bread we need each day, and forgive us our failures, for we forgive everyone who fails us, and keep us clear of temptation."
(Luke 11:2-4)

—Taken from p.105 of the book In The Spirit Of Happiness.


"We come to understand that we are in a living relationship with Christ which requires us to learn the one true rule of the Master — the law of love. We learn how to apply this law to every situation. "Love God first, then love your neighbor as yourself." This Law of love moves us beyond the fear of breaking rules to imitating Christ our Lord."

—Fr. Ted Bobosh


"But I say to you," the Lord says, "love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you." Why did he command these things? So that he might free you from hatred, sadness, anger and grudges, and might grant you the greatest possession of all, perfect love, which is impossible to possess except by the one who loves all equally in imitation of God.

—St. Maximus the Confessor


[1] "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
[2] Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and
every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
[3] You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you.
[4] Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
[5] I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
[6] If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.
[7] If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
[8] By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
[9] As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.
[10] If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.
[11] These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
[12] "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

—John 15:1-12...


If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him enter rejoicing into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings, because he shall in no wise be deprived. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him also be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has worked from the first hour. And He shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter ye all into the joy of your Lord, and receive your reward, both the first and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is fully laden; feast sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away. Enjoy the feast of faith; receive all the riches of loving-kindness. Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shone forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior's death has set us free: he that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.

By descending into hell, he made hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of his flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, cried: "Hell was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions." It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.

—The Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom


"Modern interpretations of the commandment in the Torah reflect this individualistic attitude. The first commandment is that you love God with all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength, and the second is that you love your neighbor as yourself. The only way you can prove you love God is by loving your neighbor, and the only way you can love your neighbor in this world is by endless forgiveness. So, "love your neighbor as yourself." However, in certain modern editions of the Bible, I have seen this translated as, "You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself." But that's not what it says."

—Fr. Hopko (From an essay on forgiveness)


Fr. Amphilochios, the geronta or "elder" on the island of Patmos when I first stayed there, would have been in full agreement. "Do you know," he said, "that God gave us one more commandment, which is not recorded in Scripture? It is the commandment "love the trees." Whoever does not love trees, so he believed, does not love God. "When you plant a tree," he insisted, "you plant hope, you plant peace, you plant love, and you will receive God's blessing."

—Taken from an essay by Bishop Kallistos


"He has shown you, O mortal what is good; and what does the LORD require of you? but to do justice, to live kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."

—Micah 6:8


Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

—Romans 13:8-10


"Remember that the Lord is in every Christian. When your neighbour comes to you, always have great respect for him, because the Lord is in him, and often expresses His will through him. ' It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure' (Phil. 2:13). Therefore, do not grudge anything to your brother, but do unto him as unto the Lord; especially as you do not know in whom the Lord will come and visit you; be impartial to all, be kind to all, sincere and hospitable. Remember that sometimes God speaks even through unbelievers, or disposes their hearts towards us, as it happened in Egypt when the Lord gave Joseph favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. (Gen. 39:21)."

—St. John of Kronstadt


"All of us who are human beings are in the image of God. But to be in his likeness belongs only to those who by great love have attached their freedom to God."

—St. Diadochus of Photike


"However hard I try, I find it impossible to construct anything greater than these three words, 'Love one another' —only to the end, and without exceptions: then all is justified and life is illumined, whereas otherwise it is an abomination and a burden."

—Mother Maria of Paris


"He who does not envy the spiritually mature and is merciful to the wicked has attained an equal love for all."

—St. Thalassios the Libyan


"Ever let mercy outweigh all else in you. Let our compassion be a mirror where we may see in ourselves that likeness and that true image which belong to the Divine nature and Divine essence. A heart hard and unmerciful will never be pure."

—St. Isaac of Syria, Directions on Spiritual Training


"You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and they tremble." (James 2:19)

They alone know how to believe in God who love God, who are Christians not only in name but also in action and [way of] life, because without love faith is empty. With love, it is the faith of a Christian —without love, the faith of a demon.

—The Venerable Bede, "Commentary on James"


[28] Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
[29] Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
[30] For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

—Matthew 11:28-30...


[2] Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.
[3] The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst
[4] they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.
[5] Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?"
[6] This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
[7] And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."
[8] And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
[9] But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
[10] Jesus looked up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
[11] She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again."
[12] Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

—John 8:2-12


[25] And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
[26] He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?"
[27] And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."
[28] And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live."
[29] But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
[30] Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
[31] Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
[32] So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
[33] But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion,
[34] and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
[35] And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, `Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.'
[36] Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?"
[37] He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

—Luke 10:25-37...


"Ever let mercy outweigh all else in you. Let our compassion be a mirror where we may see in ourselves that likeness and that true image which belong to the Divine nature and Divine essence. A heart hard and unmerciful will never be pure."

—St. Isaac of Syria


"Cast yourself into the arms of God and be very sure that if He wants anything of you, He will lift you for the work and give you strength."

—Philip Neri


"As Christians we are here to affirm the supreme value of direct sharing, of immediate encounter —not machine to machine, but person to person, face to face."

—Bishop Kallistos [Ware] "The Mystery of the Human Person"


"To love Christ -means not to be a hireling, not to look upon a noble life as an enterprise or trade, but to be a true benefactor and to do everything only for the sake of love for God."

—St John Chrysostom


"No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. "

—1 John 4:12-19...


"Provided they live a worthy life, both those who choose to dwell in the midst of noise and hubbub and those who dwell in monasteries, mountains and caves can achieve salvation. Solely because of their faith in Him God bestows great blessings on them. Hence those who because of their laziness have failed to attain salvation will have no excuse to offer on the day of judgment. For He who promised to grant us salvation simply on account of our faith in Him is not a liar."

—St. Symeon the New Theologian


"The blessed apostle described even the higher gifts of the Holy Spirit as things that would vanish. He points to love alone as without end. 'Prophecies will end, languages cease and knowledge will fail' (I Cor. 13:8). As for love, 'love will never cease.'

"Actually, all gifts have been given for reasons of temporal use and need and they will surely pass away at the end of the present dispensation. Love, however, will never be cut off. It works in us and for us, and not simply in this life. For when the burden of physical need has been laid aside in the time to come it will endure, more effectively, more excellently, forever unfailing, clinging to God with more fire and zeal through all the length of incorruption."

—John Cassian


"There is no greater love than that a man lays down his life for his neighbor. When you hear someone complaining and you struggle with yourself and do not answer him back with complaints; when you are hurt and bear it patiently, not looking for revenge; then you are laying down your life for your neighbor."

—Abba Poemen


[28] Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?"
[29] Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."
[30] So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform?
[31] Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
[32] Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
[33] For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world."
[34] They said to him, "Lord, give us this bread always."
[35] Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst."

—John 6:28-35...


"Beauty will save the world."

—Dostoevsky


"Let us go forth in peace" is the last commandment of the Liturgy. What does it mean? It means, surely, that the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy is not an end but a beginning. Those words, "Let us go forth in peace," are not merely a comforting epilogue. They are a call to serve and bear witness. In effect, those words, "Let us go forth in peace," mean the Liturgy is over, the liturgy after the Liturgy is about to begin.

This, then, is the aim of the Liturgy: that we should return to the world with the doors of our perceptions cleansed. We should return to the world after the Liturgy, seeing Christ in every human person, especially in those who suffer. In the words of Father Alexander Schmemann, the Christian is the one who wherever he or she looks, everywhere sees Christ and rejoices in him. We are to go out, then, from the Liturgy and see Christ everywhere."

—Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia


Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, `Abba, as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?" Then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, "If you will, you can become all flame!"

—Joseph of Panephysis


"Everybody wants to change the world, but nobody thinks about changing himself."

—Dostoevsky


"There is no need at all to make long discourses; it is enough to stretch out one's hand and say, "Lord, as you will, and as you know, have mercy." And if the conflict grows fiercer say, "Lord help!" God knows very well what we need and He shows us His mercy."

—Abba Macarius


Abba Moses asked Abba Sylvanus, "Can a person lay a new foundation every day?" The old man replied, "If you work hard, you can lay a new foundation every moment."

Abba Pimen said, "To throw yourself before God, not to measure your progress, to leave behind all self-will; these are the instruments for the work of the soul."


"The desire to rule is the mother of heresies."

—St. John Chrysostom


"You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgement. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil."

—St Seraphim of Sarov


He is the image (eikon) of the invisible God, the first born of all creation.

—Col. 1:15


"One day, while St. Antony was sitting with a certain Abba, a virgin came up and said to the Elder: 'Abba, I fast six days of the week and I repeat by heart portions of the Old and New Testament daily.' To which the Elder replied: 'Does poverty mean the same to you as abundance?' 'No', she answered. 'Or dishonour the same as praise?' 'No, Abba.' 'Are your enemies the same for you as your friends?' 'No', she replied. At that the wise Elder said to her: 'Go, get to work, you have accomplished nothing.' "

—St. Peter of Damaskos


" Love every man in spite of his falling into sin. Never mind the sins, but remember that the foundation of the man is the same - the image of God."

—St. John of Kronstadt


Saint Silouan on Love

The soul cannot know peace unless she prays for her enemies. The soul that has learned of God's grace to pray, feels love and compassion for every created thing, and in particular for mankind, for whom the Lord suffered on the Cross, and His soul was heavy for every one of us.

The Lord taught me to love my enemies. Without the grace of God we cannot love our enemies. Only the Holy Spirit teaches love, and then even devils arouse our pity because they have fallen from good, and lost humility in God.

I beseech you, put this to the test. When a man affronts you or brings dishonor on your head, or takes what is yours, or persecutes the Church, pray to the Lord, saying: "O Lord, we are all Thy creatures. Have pity on Thy servants and turn their hearts to repentance," and you will be aware of grace in your soul. To begin with, constrain your heart to love enemies, and the Lord, seeing your good will, will help you in all things, and experience itself will shoe you the way. But the man who thinks with malice of his enemies has not God's love within him, and does not know God.

If you will pray for your enemies, peace will come to you; but when you can love your enemies - know that a great measure of the grace of God dwells in you, though I do not say perfect grace as yet, but sufficient for salvation. Whereas if you revile your enemies, it means there is an evil spirit living in you and bringing evil thoughts into your heart, for, in the words of the Lord, out of the heart proceed evil thoughts - or good thoughts.

The good man thinks to himself in this wise: Every one who has strayed from the truth brings destruction on himself and is therefore to be pitied. But of course the man who has not learned the love of the Holy Spirit will not pray for his enemies. The man who has learned love from the Holy Spirit sorrows all his life over those who are not saved, and sheds abundant tears for the people, and the grace of God gives him strength to love his enemies.

Understand me. It is so simple. People who do not know God, or who go against Him, are to be pitied; the heart sorrows for them and the eye weeps. Both paradise and torment are clearly visible to us: We know this through the Holy Spirit. And did not the Lord Himself say, "The kingdom of God is within you"? Thus eternal life has its beginning here in this life; and it is here that we sow the seeds of eternal torment.

Where there is pride there cannot be grace, and if we lose grace we also lose both love of God and assurance in prayer. The soul is then tormented by evil thoughts and does not understand that she must humble herself and love her enemies, for there is no other way to please God.

What shall I render unto Thee, O Lord, for that Thou hast poured such great mercy on my soul? Grant, I beg Thee, that I may see my iniquities, and ever weep before Thee, for Thou art filled with love for humble souls, and dost give them the grace of the Holy Spirit.

O merciful God, forgive me. Thou seest how my soul is drawn to Thee, her Creator. Thou hast wounded my soul with Thy love, and she thirsts for Thee, and wearies without end, and day and night, insatiable, reaches toward Thee, and has no wish to look upon this world, though I do love it, but above all I love Thee, my Creator, and my soul longs after Thee.

O my Creator, why have I, Thy little creature, grieved Thee so often? Yet Thou hast not remembered my sins.

Glory be to the Lord God that He gave us His Only-begotten Son for the sake of our salvation. Glory be to the Only-begotten Son that He deigned to be born of the Most Holy Virgin, and suffered for our salvation, and gave us His Most Pure Body and Blood to eternal life, and sent His Holy Spirit on the earth.

O Lord, grant me tears to shed for myself, and for the whole universe, that the nations may know Thee and live eternally with Thee, O Lord, vouchsafe us the gift of Thy humble Holy Spirit, that we may apprehend Thy glory.


"Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart."

—Philippians 4:6


"You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."

—Colossians 3:12


"Just as the thought of fire does not warm the body, so faith without love does not actualize the light of spiritual knowledge in the soul."

—From St. Maximos the Confessor


"In the future life the Christian is not examined if he has renounced the whole world for Christ's love, or if he has distributed his riches to the poor or if he fasted or kept vigil or prayed, or if he wept and lamented for his sins, or if he has done any other good in this life, but he is examined attentively if he has any similitude with Christ, as a son does with his father."

—Saint Symeon the New Theologian


"God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. And so, if we feel in our hearts coldness, which is from the devil, - for the devil is cold - then let us call upon the Lord, and He will come and warm our hearts with perfect love not only for Him, but for our neighbor as well. And from the presence of warmth the coldness of the hater of good will be driven away."

—St. Seraphim of Sarov


Elder: "If you would be simple-hearted like the Apostles, would not conceal your human shortcomings, would not pretend to be especially pious, if you would walk free from hypocrisy, then that is the path. While it is easy, not everyone can find it or understand it. This path is the shortest way to salvation and attracts the grace of God. Unpretentiousness, guilelessness, frankness of soul - this is what is pleasing to the Lord, Who is lowly of heart. Except ye become like children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of God (Matt. 18:13)."

—Elder Leonid of Optina


The elder Siluan on Mount Athos said "How should one differ a genuine union with God and imagined experiences of philosophic or pantheistic nature?". The criteria he gave was: "namely - loving the enemies" and "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there rules unconditionally humble love for the enemy and prayer for the world" (from the Swedish translation). And, this is really hard to learn. Everyone who has got close to the subject knows.


Saint Peter the Damascene writes: "We all receive God's blessings equally. But some of us, receiving God's fire, that is, His word, become soft like beeswax, while the others like clay become hard as stone. And if we do not want Him, He does not force any of us, but like the sun He sends His rays and illuminates the whole world, and he who wants to see Him, sees Him, whereas the one who does not want to see Him, is not forced by Him. And no one is responsible for this privation of light except the one who does not want to have it.

God created the sun and the eye. Man is free to receive the sun's light or not. The same is true here. God sends the light of knowledge like rays to all, but He also gave us faith like an eye. The one who wants to receive knowledge through faith, keeps it by his works, and so God gives him more willingness, knowledge, and power."


"Love never hates anyone, never reproves anyone, never condemns anyone, never grieves anyone, never abhors anyone, neither faithful nor infidel nor stranger nor sinner nor fornicator, nor anyone impure, but instead it is precisely sinners, and weak and negligent souls that it loves more, and feels pain for them and grieves and laments, and it feels sympathy for the wicked and sinners, more than for the good, imitating Christ Who called sinners, and ate and drank with them. For this reason, showing what real love is, He taught saying, `Become good and merciful like your Father in Heaven,' and as He rains on bad and good and makes the sun to rise on just and unjust alike, so also is the one who has real love, and has compassion, and prays for all."

— Abba Ammonas


"…we consider becoming God's friend the only thing worthy of honor and desire. This, as I have said, is the perfection of life.

For just as imprudence is younger than prudence, so is far younger than love, since fear is born in a worthless man, while love is born in a virtuous one. (Philo, Questions and Answers on Exodus 2.21)

Anyone who entertains such shameful illusions should be cast out from the company of those who share the nuptial joys to the place of weeping [Mt 22.10-13]. I issue this warning before entering upon the mystical contemplation of the Song of Songs. Through the words of the Song the soul is escorted to an incorporeal, spiritual, and pure union with God. For God, who 'wishes all to be saved and to come to the recognition of the truth' [1 Tim 2.4], shows the most perfect and blessed way of salvation here—I mean the way of love. For some there is salvation by fear: we contemplate the threat of punishment in hell and so avoid evil. Further, there are those who, because of the hope of the reward held out for a life piously lived, conduct themselves virtuously. They do not possess the good out of love but by the expectation of a recompense. On the other hand, the person who is hastening to spiritual perfection rejects fear. (Commentary on the Song of Songs J.15-16)"

—(Excerpt taken from The Life of Moses by St. Gregory of Nyssa)


God's Providence controls the universe. It is present everywhere. Providence is the sovereign Logos of God, imprinting form on the unformed materiality of the world, making and fashioning all things. Matter could not have acquired an articulated structure were it not for the directing power of the Logos Who is the Image, Intellect, Wisdom, and Providence of God.

—St. Anthony the Great (Philokalia, Vol. 1:156; Fourth Century)


"The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God."

—St. John of Damascus (Treatise; Seventh Century)


1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
2 Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.
3 I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law.
4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.
7 You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?
8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you.
9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine; and he who is troubling you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11 But if I, brethren, still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? In that case the stumbling block of the cross has been removed.
12 I wish those who unsettle you would mutilate themselves!
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another.
14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

—Galatians 5:1-14


"Every evil screams only one message: 'I am good.'"

—Fr. Alexander Schmemann - (From Celebration of Faith, Sermons Vol 1: I believe..., 1994, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY 10707-1699)


This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

—1 John 3:11 (NIV)


He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

—Proverbs 17:9 (NIV)


He who attains love cannot fall.

—Saint Macarius the Great


Fasts and vigils, the study of Scripture, renouncing possessions and everything worldly are not in themselves perfection, as we have said; theyare its tools. For perfection is not to be found in them; it is acquired through them. It is useless, therefore, to boast of our fasting, vigils, poverty, and reading of Scripture when we have not achieved the love of God and our fellow men. Whoever has achieved love has God within himself and his intellect is always with God.

—St. John Cassian


A soldier asked Abba Mius if God accepted repentance. After the old man had taught him many things he said, 'Tell me, my dear, if your cloak is torn, do you throw it away?' He replied, 'No, I mend it and use it again.' The old man said to him, 'If you are so careful about your cloak, will not God be equally careful about His creature?'

—Abba Mius


Fear of torment is the way of a slave, desire of reward in the heavenly kingdom is the way of a hireling, but God's way is that of a son, through love.

—St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain


The man who chooses to consider God an avenger, presuming that in this manner he bears witness to His justice, accuses Him of being bereft of goodness. Far be it, that vengeance could ever be found in that Fountain of love and Ocean brimming with goodness! The aim of His design is the correction of men; and if it were not that, we should be stripped of the honour of our free will, perhaps He would not even heal us by reproof.

—St. Isaac of Syria


The man who has found love eats and drinks Christ every day and hour and so is made immortal. 'Whoever eats of this bread', He says, 'which I will give him, will never taste death.' Blessed is he who consumes the bread of love, which is Jesus! He who eats of love eats Christ, the God over all, as John bears witness, saying, 'God is love.'

—St. Isaac of Syria


Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in the things concerning you. And if David calls Him just and upright, His Son revealed to us that He is good and kind. 'He is good', He says 'to the evil and to the impious.' How can you call God just when you come across the Scriptural passage on the wage given to the workers?...How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son who wasted his wealth with riotous living, how for the compunction alone which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck and gave him authority over all his wealth? Where, then, is God's justice, for while we are sinners Christ died for us!

—St. Isaac of Syria


Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.

—St. Isaac of Syria


Fasts and vigils, the study of Scripture, renouncing possessions and everything worldly are not in themselves perfection, as we have said; theyare its tools. For perfection is not to be found in them; it is acquired through them. It is useless, therefore, to boast of our fasting, vigils, poverty, and reading of Scripture when we have not achieved the love of God and our fellow men. Whoever has achieved love has God within himself and his intellect is always with God.

—St. John Cassian


The drunkard, the fornicator, the proud - he will receive God's mercy. But he who does not want to forgive, to excuse, to justify conciously, intentionally ... that person closes himself to eternal life before God, and even more so in the present life. He is turned away and not heard.

—Elder Sampson of Russia


Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

—Romans 13:8-10


Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; It is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way;
It is not irritable or resentful; It does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; But when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

—1 Cor 13:4-8


By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.

—John 13:35


But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

—Colossians 3:14


Hate stirs up strife but love covereth all offenses.

—Proverbs 10:12


No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.

—1 John 4:12-19


As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, Just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends if you do what I command you.

This I command you, to love one another.

—John 15:9-17


"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"

And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."

—Matt 22:36-40


Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart.

—Philippians 4:6


You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

—Colossians 3:12


"Just as the thought of fire does not warm the body, so faith without love does not actualize the light of spiritual knowledge in the soul."

—From St. Maximos the Confessor (First Century on Love no. 31, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 56)


One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: `Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'

The second is this: `Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

"Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.

To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

—Mark 12:28-34


Give thanks to the God, because He is good; His love is eternal.

—Psalm 106:1


God belongs to all free beings. He is the life of all, the salvation of all —faithful and unfaithful, just and unjust, pious and impious, passionate and dispassionate, monks and laymen, wise and simple, healthy and sick, young and old —just as the effusion of light, the sight of the sun, and the changes of the seasons are for all alike; 'for there is no respect of persons with God.'

—St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 1, Passage 3


For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

—Eccl. 3:1-8


One day as he was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him.

"Tell us by what authority you are doing these things," they said. "Who gave you this authority?"

He replied, "I will also ask you a question. Tell me, John's baptism —was it from heaven, or from men?"

They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Why didn't you believe him?'

But if we say, 'From men,' all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet."

So they answered, "We don't know where it was from."

Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."

—Luke 20:1-8


Renunciation teaches us not only that we not greedily seek advantages for our soul but that we not be stingy, that we always be extravagant in our love, that we achieve a spiritual nakedness, that our soul holds nothing back, that we not hold back anything sacred and valuable which we would not be ready to give up in Christ's name to those who need it. Spiritual renunciation is the way of holy foolishness, folly in Christ. It is the opposite of the wisdom of this age. It is the blessedness of those who are poor in spirit. It is the outer limit of love ... According to material laws ... if I give away a piece of bread, then I became poorer by one piece of bread ... (and by extension) if I give my love, I have become impoverished by that amount of love, and if I give up my soul then I become completely ruined and have nothing left to save ... According to the law of the spirit, every spiritual treasure given away not only returns to the giver like an unspent ruble but it grows and becomes stronger. He who gives receives back in return; he who becomes poor becomes wealthier. ... In turning away from the exclusive focus upon Christ in a genuine act of self-negation and love, one offers himself to others...then one meets Christ himself face to face in the one for whom he offers himself and in that communion he unites with Christ himself ... the mystery of union with man becomes the mystery of union with God. That which was given away returns. The love which was expended never diminishes the source of that love, because the source of love in our heart is Love itself, Christ ... Here we are speaking about a genuine emptying out, in a partial imitation of how Christ emptied himself by becoming incarnate in humanity. We must likewise empty ourselves completely, becoming, so to speak, incarnate in another human soul, offering to it the full measure of God's image which is contained in ourselves.

—(Excerpt taken from the essay: "Types of Religious Lives" by Mother Maria Skobtsova.)


"That I am a monk and you are a layman is of no importance ... rather that we are both in the light of the Holy Spirit ... Acquire peace, and thousands around you will be saved."

—St. Seraphim of Sarov


Dostoevsky, writing in The Brothers Karamazov, noted the far reaching possibilities of this transforming love, this energy which begins with a prayerful attention for all of creation.

He says, in the words of Fr. Zossima, the monastic elder,

My brother asked forgiveness of the birds: it seems senseless, yet it is right, for all is like an ocean, all flows and connects; touch it in one place and it echoes at the other end of the world.

For Fr. Zossima, this prayerful attention is also realized in the confidence of sharing one's "light" with others:

If you had shone, your light would have lighted the way for others, and the one who did wickedness would perhaps not have done so in your light. And even if you do shine, but see that people are not saved even with your light, remain steadfast, and do not doubt the power of the heavenly light; believe that if they are not saved now, they will be saved later. And if they are not saved, their sons will be saved, for your light will not die, even when you are dead. The righteous man departs, but his light remains.

—(Taken the article "Being Transfigured - Person by Person" By Fr. John Shimchick)


Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

—James 1:12-18


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 281):

"The Cause of all things, through the beauty, goodness and profusion of His intense love for everything, goes out of Himself in His providential care for the whole of creation. By means of the supraessential power of ecstasy, and spell-bound as it were by goodness, love and longing, He relinquishes His utter transcendence in order to dwell in all things while yet remaining within Himself. Hence those skilled in divine matters call Him a zealous and exemplary lover because of the intensity of His blessed longing for all things and because He rouses others to imitate His own intense desire, revealing Himself as their exemplar; for in Him what is desirable is worthy of emulation and He deserves to be imitated by the beings under His care."


From St. Pachomius (Pachomian Koinonia III; Cistercian Publications pg. 18):

"Be ever more obedient to God and He will save you."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pg. 225):

"Our Lord Christ Himself strikes down our enemies through us, or in company with us. For he who eats Christ's flesh and drinks His blood abides with Christ and He in him. Therefore, when we overcome the enemies, it is the blood of Christ which overcomes, as it is written in Revelation: 'and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb' (Rev. 12:11)."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 144):

"It is God, Who is merciful and grants everyone what he needs, Who is building him up when He gives him more than he needs; in doing so He shows the abundance of His love for men and teaches him to give thanks. When He does not grant him what he needs, He makes him compensate for the thing he needs through the working of the mind and teaches him patience."


From St. Gregory the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 48):

"For the most part people weigh well how much they give; but how much they seize they neglect to consider. They count, as it were, their wage, but refuse to consider their defaults. Let them hear therefore what is written, "He that has gathered wages has put them into a bag with holes" (Hag. 1:6)."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 40):

"Through repentance the filth of our foul actions is washed away. After this, we participate in the Holy Spirit, not automatically, but according to the faith, humility and inner disposition of the repentance in which our soul is engaged. For this reason it is good to repent each day as the act of repentance is unending."


From Blessed Theophylact (Explanation of the Holy Gospel of St. Luke; Chrysostom Press pg. 86):

"Merely to hear the word of God saves no one and is instead a condemnation. After hearing, one must do."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 164):

"As man I deliberately transgressed the divine commandments, when the devil, enticing me with the hope of divinity, dragged me down from my natural stability into the realm of sensual pleasure; and he was proud to have thus brought death into existence, for he delights in the corruption of human nature. Because of this, God became perfect man. In this way, by enticing the insatiable serpent with the bait of the flesh, He provoked him to open his mouth and swallow it. This flesh proved poison to him, destroying him utterly by the power of the Divinity within it; but to human nature it proved a remedy restoring it to its original grace by that same power of the Divinity within it."


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pgs. 411-412):

"He who shall preserve the life bestowed upon him, and give thanks to Him Who imparted it, shall receive also length of days forever and ever. But he who shall reject it, and prove himself ungrateful to his Maker, inasmuch as he has been created, and has not recognized Him Who bestowed the gift upon him, deprives himself of the privilege of continuance forever and ever. And, for this reason, the Lord declared to those who showed themselves ungrateful towards Him: 'If you have not been faithful in that which is little, who will give you that which is great?' (cf. Lk. 16:11) indicating that those who, in this brief temporal life, have shown themselves ungrateful to Him Who bestowed it, shall justly not receive from Him length of days forever and ever."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pgs. 176-177):

"When you read a worldly magazine or newspaper, it is light and agreeable reading, you easily believe in everything in it. But if you take up a religious publication or book to read, especially one relating to church matters, or sometimes when you begin reading prayers ? you feel a weight upon your heart, you are tormented by doubt and unbelief, and experience a sort of darkness and aversion. Many acknowledge this. From what does it proceed? Of course, not from the nature of the books themselves, but from the nature of the readers, from the nature of their hearts, and ?chiefly ? from the Devil, the enemy of mankind, the enemy of everything holy: 'he takes away the word out of their hearts' (Lk. 8:12). When we read worldly books, we do not touch him and he does not touch us. But as soon as we take up religious books, as soon as we begin to think of our amendment and salvation, then we go against him; we irritate and torment him, and therefore he attacks us and torments us on his side. What can we do? We must not throw aside the good work, the reading or prayers that are profitable to our souls, but we must patiently endure and in patience save our souls."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 143):

"Let us be convinced that nothing can happen to us apart from the providence of God."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 171):

"Let everyone pay attention to the reading (cf. I Tim. 4:13)! The words of the saints are words of God and not of men. Let him put them in his heart and keep them securely, since God's words are words of life and he who has them within himself and keeps them has eternal life. Were you often guests at a sumptuous banquet I doubt that any one of you would be so indifferent that he would fall asleep and only take from it for his own need, and not be anxious before departing to take with him something for the morrow that he would eagerly share with some of his friends or even with the poor. But here the words of life are offered to you, which make those who feed on them immortal! Tell me, is it right for anyone to be inattentive or to fall asleep and snore as if he were a living corpse? How great the loss! How great the insensitivity and sluggishness!"


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: Early Church Fathers; Routledge pgs. 179-180):

"The holy Paul, the priest of the divine mysteries, writes: 'Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory' (I Tim. 3:16). What then does 'manifested in the flesh' mean? It means that the Word of God the Father became flesh, not by a change or alteration of His own nature, but because having made the flesh taken from the holy Virgin His own, one and the same subject is called Son, before the Incarnation as the Word still incorporeal and after the Incarnation as the same Word now embodied. That is why we say that the same subject is simultaneously both God and man, not dividing Him conceptually into a human being with a separate individual identity and God the Word also with a separate identity, that we may exclude any idea of two Sons, but acknowledging that one and the same subject is Christ and Son and Lord."


From St. Ambrose (On the death of his brother, Satyrus - The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pgs. 165-166):

"Not without a purpose is the crowd in the Gospel moved by the widow's tears while accompanying the funeral of the young man who was to be raised again (cf. Lk. 7:12). There is no doubt that by your tears Christ is moved to mercy, seeing you weeping. Though He has not now touched the bier, yet He has received the spirit commended to Him, and if He has not called the dead by the bodily voice, yet He has by the authority of His divine power delivered my brother's soul from the pains of death and from the attacks of wicked spirits. And though he that was dead has not sat up on the bier, yet he has found rest in Christ; and if he has not spoken to us, yet he sees those things which are above us, and rejoices in that he now sees higher things than we do."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pg. 203):

"You should always say your prayers with tireless diligence, as the Apostle directs, saying: 'Continue in prayer and watch in the same' (Col. 4:2). For humble patience, tirelessness and persistence in prayer conquer the unconquerable God and incline Him to mercy."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 539):

"You, sinner, who have fallen into the depths of evil, when you represent to yourself the multitude of your sins and fall into despair and hardness of heart, remember that the heavenly Father sent His only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, into the world for your salvation from sins and from eternal condemnation for them. Turn then with faith to this Mediator before God for men, imploring Him from the depths of your soul to wash away by His all-cleansing Blood, shed for us on the cross, your iniquities too; turn zealously to repentance, confessing your sins before His priest as before Himself, that you may be justified, after which, if the minister of the sacrament of penitence finds you prepared and fit, draw near to the holy cup and you shall be cleansed of your sins: peace shall flow into your soul like a river and you shall be the son of the heavenly Father, 'who was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found' (Lk. 15:32)."


From St. Cyril of Jerusalem (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 47):

"Let this commandment be especially observed by those here present who have fathers and mothers: 'Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord' (Col. 3:20). The first virtue of godliness in Christians is to honor their parents to requite the troubles of those who gave them birth."


From St. Basil the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VIII; Eerdmans pg. 146):

"Our Savior was crucified for our sakes that by His death He might give us life and train and attract us all to endurance. To Him I press on, and to the Father and to the Holy Spirit. I strive to be found true, judging myself unworthy of this world's goods; and yet not I because of the world, but the world because of me. Think of all these things in your heart; follow them with zeal; fight, as you have been commanded, for the truth to the death: For Christ was made 'obedient' even 'to death' (Phil. 2:8)."


From St. Gregory the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 31):

"The Truth in person says, 'Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you and pray for them who persecute you and say evil of you falsely' (Lk. 6:27). It is virtue therefore before men to bear with adversaries; but it is virtue before God to love them; because the only sacrifice which God accepts is that which, before His eyes, on the altar of good work, the flame of charity kindles."


From St. Augustine (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series Vol. II; Eerdmans pg. 130):

"The Church even now is the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of heaven. Accordingly, even now His saints reign with Him, though otherwise than as they shall reign hereafter; and yet, though the tares grow in the Church along with the wheat, they do not reign with Him. For they reign with Him who do what the apostle says, 'If you are risen with Christ, mind the things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Seek those things which are above, not the things which are on the earth' (Col. 3:1-2)."


From St. Augustine (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series Vol. II; Eerdmans pg. 150):

"A Christian man is on his guard with respect to those who philosophize according to the elements of this world, not according to God, by Whom the world itself was made; for he is warned by the precept of the apostle and faithfully hears what has been said, 'Beware that no one deceive you through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the elements of the world' (Col. 2:8)."


From Bishop Epiphanius of Cyprus (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 58):

"The acquisition of Christian books is necessary for those who can use them. For the mere sight of these books renders us less inclined to sin and incites us to believe more firmly in righteousness."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 308):

"Just as the blessings promised by God are unutterably great, so their acquisition requires much hardship and toil undertaken with hope and faith. This is clear from Christ's words: 'He, who does not hate father and mother, brothers and sisters, wife and children, and even his own soul, cannot be a disciple of Mine' (Lk. 14:26). Most people are so lacking in intelligence as to want to attain the great and inconceivable blessing of the kingdom of God, and to inherit eternal life and reign with Christ forever, while living according to their own desires ? or rather, according to him who sows within them clearly noxious vanities."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily on the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin from The Homilies Vol. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 236-237):

"This sacred feast that we are keeping is the first to commemorate our recall and re-creation according to grace, for on it all things began to be made new, enduring precepts began to be brought in instead of temporary ones, the spirit instead of the letter, the truth instead of shadows. Today a new world and a mysterious paradise have been revealed, in which and from which a New Adam came into being, re-making the Old Adam and renewing the universe. He is not led astray by the deceiver, but deceives him, and bestows freedom on those enslaved to sin through his treachery. Today a paradoxical book has been made ready on earth, which in an indescribable way can hold, not the imprint of words, but the living Word Himself; not a word consisting of air, but the heavenly Word; not a word that perishes as soon as it is formed, but the Word Who snatches those who draw near Him from perdition; not a word made by the movement of a man's tongue, but the Word begotten of God the Father before all ages. Today the living Tabernacle of God not made with hands appears, the inspired human Ark of the true Bread of Life sent down from heaven for us (cf. Jn. 6:32 ff.). Today, according to the Psalms 'Truth has sprung up from the earth,' the true image of human nobility which comes from above, 'and righteousness has looked down from heaven' (Ps. 85:11 LXX). This righteousness has deposed the unrighteous ruler from his just dominion, after being wrongfully condemned by him and rightly condemning him, and having bound the strong and evil one, plundering his goods (cf. Mt. 12:29), and transformed them, rendering them receptive to divine righteousness. Thus Christ took sin's prisoners to live with Him forever, justifying them by faith in Him, but He bound the prince of sin with inescapable bonds, and delivered him to eternal fire without light. Today, as prophesied, out of the 'stem of Jesse' a rod has come forth (cf. Isa. 11:1), from which a flower has grown which knows no wilting. This rod recalls our human nature, which had withered and fallen away from the unfading garden of delight, makes it bloom again, grants it to flourish forever, brings it up to heaven, and leads it to paradise. With this rod the great Shepherd moves His human flock to eternal pastures, and supported by this rod, our nature lays aside its old age and feeble senility, and easily strides towards heaven, leaving the earth below for those who, devoid of support, are plunging downwards."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 287):

"The Logos has made men equal to the angels. Not only did He 'make peace through the blood of His Cross; between things on earth and things in heaven' (Col. 1:20), and reduce to impotence the hostile powers that fill the intermediary region between heaven and earth, thereby making the festal assembly of earthly and heavenly powers a single gathering for His distribution of divine gifts, with humankind joining joyfully with the powers on high in unanimous praise of God's glory, but also, after fulfilling the divine purpose undertaken on our behalf, when He was taken up with the body which He had assumed, He united heaven and earth in Himself."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 142):

"There is the case of a man minding his own business, sitting at peace and quiet; and when a brother comes up and says an annoying word to him, he is put out by it. And from the circumstances he thinks that he is justifiably angered, and he speaks against the one who troubled him, saying, "If he had not come and spoken to me and annoyed me I should not have been at fault." This is a delusion: this is false reasoning! It was not the one who spoke that put him in a bad mood. He only showed that it already existed in him; so that he could, if he chose, make reparation for his fault. But the man referred to above is like clean-looking winter wheat, externally good and ready to use; but when someone crushes it, its corruption is revealed. He was sitting at peace but he had this anger inside him and he did not know it. One word to him from the other and the corruption hidden inside him leapt out."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 147):

"Tell me, what can be as great 'in heaven or on earth' (cf. Ps. 73:25) than that one may become a son of God, His heir and fellow heir with Christ (cf. Rom. 8:17)? Nothing whatever! But because we prefer earthly things and things that are at hand, and do not seek the blessings that are 'laid up in heaven' (Col. 1:5) nor cleave to them with longing, we provide a sure proof to those who look at us that we are victims of the disease of unbelief, as it is written, 'How can you believe, who receive glory from men and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God' (Jn. 5:44)? Then, when we have become slaves of passion we are nailed fast to the earth and what is on it and altogether refuse to look up to heaven and to God. Being deceived by folly of soul we disobey His commandments and fall away from His adoption of us as His sons."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 84):

"God did not create us for wrath but for salvation (cf. I Thes. 5:9), so that we might enjoy His blessings; and we should therefore be thankful and grateful towards our Benefactor. But our failure to get to know His gifts has made us indolent, and indolence has made us forgetful, with the result that ignorance lords it over us."


From St. Basil the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VIII; Eerdmans pg. 116):

"Friends, godly and well-beloved, do, I implore you, beware of the shepherds of the Philistines; let them not choke your wills unawares; let them not befoul the purity of your knowledge of the faith. This is ever their object, not to teach simple souls lessons drawn from Holy Scripture, but to mar the harmony of the truth by heathen philosophy. Is not he an open Philistine who asserts that there was once a time when the Everlasting was not; that He Who is by nature and eternally a Father became a Father; that the Holy Spirit is not eternal? He bewitches our Patriarch's sheep that they may not drink 'of the well of water springing up to eternal life' (Jn. 4:14), but may rather bring upon themselves the words of the prophet, 'They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water' (Jer. 2:13); when all the while they ought to confess that the Father is God, the Son God, and the Holy Spirit God, as they have been taught by the divine words, and by those who have understood them in their highest sense."


From St. John of Karpathos (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 305):

"Isaac wanted to bless Esau and Esau was eager to receive his father's blessing; but they failed in their purpose (cf. Gen. 27). For God in His mercy blesses and anoints with the Spirit, not necessarily those we prefer, but those whom He marked out for His service before creating them. Thus we should not be upset or jealous if we see certain of our brethren, whom we regard as wretched and insignificant, making progress in holiness. You know what the Lord said: 'Make room for this man so that he can sit in a higher place' (cf. Lk. 14:9). I am full of admiration for the Judge Who gives His verdict with secret wisdom: He takes one of the humblest of our brethren and sets him above us; and though we claim priority on the basis of our asceticism and our age, God puts us last of all. For 'each must order his life according to what the Lord has granted him' (I Cor. 7:17)."


From St. Gregory the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XIII; Eerdmans pg. 27):

"It is unseemly to addict oneself to wearisomeness of affliction for those of whom it is to be believed have attained to true life by dying. We who know this, who believe it and teach it, ought not to be too much distressed for those who depart, lest what in others has a show of affection be to us rather a matter of blame. For it is, as it were, a kind of distrust to be tormented by sadness in opposition to what everyone preaches, as the Apostle says, 'But we would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you not have sorrow as those who have no hope' (I Thes. 4:12)."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 285):

"What is the will of God that St. Paul urges and invites each of us to attain (cf. I Thes. 4:3)? It is total cleansing from sin, freedom from the shameful passions and the acquisition of the highest virtue. In other words, it is the purification and sanctification of the heart that comes about through fully experienced and conscious participation in the perfect and divine Spirit."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 400):

"One and the same grace is from the Father in the Son, as the light of the sun and of the radiance is one, and as the sun's illumination is effected through the radiance; and so too when he prays for the Thessalonians, St. Paul in saying, 'Now God Himself even our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, may He direct our way to you' (I Thes. 3:11), has guarded the unity of the Father and of the Son. For he has not said, 'May they direct,' as if a double grace were given from two Sources, This and That, but 'May He direct,' to show that the Father gives it through the Son."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist Press pg. 194):

"The holy man does not differ from the sinner in the fact of not being similarly tempted, but rather to the extent that the former is not overcome by some great onslaught, whereas the latter is defeated by even a minor temptation. And the brave endurance of some just man would not be worthy of praise if his victory were unaccompanied by temptation, for it is surely true that there can be no place for victory where the clash of a contest is missing. 'Blessed indeed is the man who endures temptation because after passing the test he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him' (Jms. 1:12). According to Paul the apostle the virtue of a man is brought to perfection not amid idleness and pleasure but in infirmity. And then this saying: 'Today I have set you up into a fortified city, into a pillar of iron and a wall of bronze over all the land, over the leaders and kings of Judah, over its priests and over all the people of the earth. And they shall make war against you, and they shall not be victorious because I am with you, says the Lord, so that I may protect you' (Jer. 1:18-19)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 140):

"Even when your body does nothing, sin can be active in your mind. When your soul inwardly repulses the evil one's attack by means of prayer, attention, remembrance of death, godly sorrow and mourning the body, too, takes its share of holiness, having acquired freedom from evil actions. This is what the Lord meant by saying that someone who cleans the outside of the cup has not cleansed it inside, but clean the inside and the whole cup will be clean (cf. Mt. 23:25-26)."


From St. Pachomius (Pachomian Koinonia III; Cistercian Publications pg. 17):

"Shun the praise of men and love the one who, in the fear of the Lord, reprimands you."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 139):

"In the measure that we pay attention and take care to carry out what we hear, God will always enlighten us and make us understand His will."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 200):

"As the world attracts us with its appearance, and abundance and variety, it is not easy to turn away from it unless in the beauty of things visible the Creator rather than the creature is loved; for, when He says, 'you shall love the Lord your God from all your heart, and from all your mind, and from all your strength' (Mt. 22:37), He wishes us in nothing to loosen ourselves from the bonds of His love. And when He links the love of our neighbor also to this command, He enjoins on us the imitation of His own goodness, that we should love what He loves and do what He does."


From St. Gregory the Theologian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 269):

"All who have lived according to God still live unto God, though they have departed this life. For this reason, God is called the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, since He is the God, not of the dead, but of the living (cf. Mt. 22:32)."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 526):

"He who has been counted worthy of the heavenly calling, and by this calling has been sanctified, if he grows negligent in it, although washed becomes defiled: 'counting the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a profane thing and despising the Spirit of grace' (Heb. 10:29), he hears the words: 'Friend how came you to be here without a wedding garment?' For the banquet of the saints is spotless and pure; 'for many are called, but few chosen' (Mt. 22:12)."


From Blessed Theophylact (Explanation of the Gospel of St. Matthew; Chrysostom Press pg. 181):

"The Lord shows us that we ought not to answer those who ask a question with malicious intent (cf. Mt. 21:23-27). For He Himself did not reply to those Jews who questioned Him with cunning, although He was not at a loss for an answer."


From St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent; Paulist Press pg. 130):

"Do not be surprised if you fall every day and do not surrender. Stand your ground bravely and you may be sure that your guardian angel will respect your endurance. A fresh, warm wound is easier to heal than those that are old, neglected, and festering, and that need extensive treatment, surgery, bandaging and cauterization. Long neglect can render many of them incurable. However, all things are possible with God (cf. Mt. 19:26)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 285):

"A person who, knowing what faults he has committed, willingly and with due thankfulness endures the trials painfully inflicted on him as a consequence of these faults, is not exiled from grace or from his state of virtue; for he submits willingly and pays off his debts by accepting the trials. In this way, while remaining in a state of grace and virtue, he pays tribute not only with his enforced sufferings, which have arisen out of the impassioned side of his nature, but also with his mental assent to these sufferings, accepting them as his due on account of his former offenses. Through true worship, by which I mean a humble disposition, he offers to God the correction of his offenses."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pgs. 84-85):

"The fire of God is hidden in the time of captivity, during which sin reigns, but in the time of liberty it is brought forth. And though it is changed into the appearance of the water (in baptism), yet it preserves its nature as fire so as to consume the sacrifice. Do not wonder when you read that God the Father said: 'I am a consuming fire' (Dt. 4:24). And again: 'They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water' (Jer. 2:13). The Lord Jesus, too, like a fire inflamed the hearts of those who heard Him, and like a fount of waters cooled them. For He Himself said that He came to send fire on the earth (cf. Lk. 12:49) and to supply a draught of living waters to those who thirst (cf. Jn. 7:37-38)."


From St. Antony the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 201):

"Virtue has need at our hand of willingness alone, since it is in us and is formed from us. For when the soul has its spiritual faculty in a natural state virtue is formed. And it is in a natural state when it remains as it came into existence. And when it came into existence it was fair and exceedingly honest. For this cause Joshua, the son of Nun, in his exhortation said to the people, 'Make straight your heart to the Lord God of Israel' (Josh. 24:23), and John, 'Make your paths straight' (Mt. 3:3). For rectitude of soul consists in having its spiritual part in its natural state as created."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 138):

"The more one is united to his neighbor the more he is united to God."


From Abba Dioscorus (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 55):

"If I were allowed to see my sins, three or four men would not be enough to weep for them."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. II; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 169-170):

"If 'precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints' (Ps. 116:15), and 'the memory of the just is praised' (Prov. 10:7 LXX), how much more fitting is it for us to celebrate with highest honors the memory of the ever-virgin Mother of God, the Holy of Holies, through whom the saints receive their hallowing? That is exactly what we are doing today by commemorating her holy passing away, through which,, having been made a little lower than the angels (cf. Ps. 8:5), she rose incomparably higher than the Angels, Archangels, and all the heavenly powers above them, because of her nearness to the God of all, and the marvels written of old which were accomplished in her."


From Nikitas Stithatos (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pgs. 99-100):

"Living together in one place is safer than living alone. The sacred words of Jesus our God bear witness to the necessity of living together; for He says, 'Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am in their midst' (Mt. 18:20). Likewise Solomon speaks about the danger of living alone when he says, 'Alas for him who is alone when he falls; for he has no one to help him up' (Eccles. 4:10). And David calls those who praise God in love and concord blessed when he says, 'Blessed is the people who sing aloud together' (Ps. 89:15); and he commands life in community, saying: 'Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together' (Ps. 133:1). And among the disciples of our Lord there was but a single soul and a single heart (cf. Acts 4:32); and even God's incarnation did not take place in the wilderness, but in inhabited areas and among sinful men. Thus we have need of the concord of communal life. Isolation is treacherous and full of danger."


From St. Gregory the Theologian (Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 45):

"These three things God requires of all the baptized: right faith in the heart, truth on the tongue, temperance in the body."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 136):

"Who hated sin more than the saints? But they did not hate the sinners at the same time, nor condemn them, nor turn away from them. But they suffered with them, admonished them, comforted them. gave them remedies as sickly members, and did all they could to heal them."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist Press pg. 96):

"Who will be so presumptuous and so blind as to think that he can preserve his own without daily help from the Lord? This is how it is, especially in view of what the Lord Himself says: 'As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in Me' (Jn. 15:4). 'You can do nothing without Me' (Jn. 15:5). Since He says this, since He asserts that nobody can show forth the fruits of the Spirit unless he has been inspired by God and has worked with God, it would be foolish, indeed sacrilegious, to attribute any good actions of ours to our own effort rather than to the divine grace."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 147):

"Worthless is the charity of the man who bestows it unwillingly, because material charity is not his, but God's gift, while only the disposition of the heart belongs to the man. This is why many charities prove almost worthless, for they were bestowed unwillingly, grudgingly, without respect for the person of our neighbor. So also the hospitality of many persons proves worthless because of their hypocritical vain-glorious behavior to their guests. Let us offer our sacrifices upon the altar of love to our neighbor, with heart-felt affection: 'for God loves a cheerful giver' (II Cor. 9:7)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 281):

"The Lord said of His Church: 'I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it' (Mt. 16:18). This is said of the pastors of the Church and of all true believers, as well as of all the sacraments, all the dogmas and commandments of the Holy Orthodox Faith, and of all the offices of the sacraments; for instance, the Liturgy, Holy Orders, Matrimony, Baptism, Chrism, Holy Oil, which have been established unto all the ages, and have already been in existence unchanged during many centuries. See how firm is the Church, founded by the Lord! Remember these words of the Lord and do not waver in the slightest degree when celebrating any of the sacraments. Be firm as adamant."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist Press pg. 113):

"When we say 'hallowed be Your name' to God what we are really saying is 'Father, make us such as deserve knowledge and understanding of how holy You are, or at least let Your holiness shine forth in the spiritual lives we lead.' And this surely happens as men see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (cf. Mt. 5:16)."


From St. Pachomius (Pachomian Koinonia III; Cistercian Publications pg. 37):

"We are assailed by the temptation of the love of money. If you wish to acquire riches ? they are the bait of the fishers hook ? by greed, by trafficking, by violence, by ruse or by excessive manual work that deprives you of leisure for the service of God ? in a word by any other means ? if you have desired to pile up gold or silver, remember what the Gospel says, 'Fool! They will snatch your soul away during the night! Who will get your hoard' (cf. Lk. 12:20)? Again, 'He piles up money without knowing to whom it will go' (Ps. 39:6)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 207):

"Before the transgression, Adam shared in divine illumination and brilliance. He was clothed in the true robe of glory and was not naked, nor was he ugly in his nakedness, but was truly unspeakably better adorned than those who wear diadems embellished with much gold and precious stones. When our human nature was stripped of this divine illumination and radiance as a result of the ugly transgression, the Word of God had mercy on this nature and in His compassion took it upon Himself. On Mount Tabor He showed it clothed once more to His chosen disciples (cf. Lk. 9:28-37), proving to all what we had once been, and what those of us who believed in Him and attained to perfection in Him would be through Him in the age to come. You will find that the earnest of this perfection of those who live according to Christ is openly given here and now to God's saints. They reap, so to speak, the good of the age to come."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 87):

"Let us be satisfied simply with what sustains our present life, not with what pampers it. Let us pray to God for this, as we have been taught, so that we may keep our souls unenslaved and absolutely free from domination by any of the visible things loved for the sake of the body. Let us show that we eat for the sake of living, and not be guilty of living for the sake of eating. The first is a sign of intelligence, the second proof of its absence."


From St. Pachomius (Pachomian Koinonia III; Cistercian Publications pg. 14):

"When a thought oppresses you, do not be downhearted, but put up with it in courage, saying, 'They swarmed around me closer and closer, but I drove them back in the name of the Lord' (Ps. 118:11). Divine help will arrive at your side immediately, and you will drive them away from you, and courage will compass you round about, and the glory of God will walk with you; and 'you will be filled to your soul's desire' (Isa. 58:11)."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 136):

"If we have true love with sympathy and patient labor, we shall not go about scrutinizing our neighbor's shortcomings."


From Ilias the Presbyter (The Philokalia Vol. III; Faber and Faber pg. 37):

"Some men through acts of charity acquire spiritual wealth by means of material wealth."


From St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent; Paulist Press pg. 288):

"Holy love has a way of consuming some. This is what is meant by the one who said, 'You have ravished our hearts' (Sg. Of Sgs. 4:9). And it makes others bright and overjoyed. In this regard it has been said: 'My heart was full of trust and I was helped, and my flesh has revived' (Ps. 27:7). For when the heart is cheerful, the face beams (cf. Prov. 15:13), and a man flooded with the love of God reveals in his body, as if in a mirror, the splendor of his soul, a glory like that of Moses when he came face to face with God (cf. Ex. 34:29-35)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 345):

"What a grand creature is man ? what a wonderful creation of God, created after His own image! If even in a fallen state he is capable of accomplishing the many wonderful works which he has produced and still produces, as we constantly see, both in history and in the present time, then of what might he not be capable in a state of holiness and perfection! But that which in him is above all deserving of attention, wonder, reverence and the most heartfelt gratitude is that he may be likened to his Creator ? God; that he is predestined to immortality, to eternal bliss in God, and with God; that he will some day shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of his heavenly Father"


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pgs. 219-220):

"Just as the farmer wearies himself by merely plowing, digging and sowing the seed on the ground, but it grows and produces fruit early and late (cf. Jms. 5:7) by God's gift, so it is in reality, as you will discover, in spiritual matters. It belongs to us to engage in every activity and with much toil and weariness to sow the seeds of virtue, but by God's gift and mercy alone the rain of His loving-kindness and grace falls and causes the unfruitful soil of our hearts to bear fruit. When the grain of the word falls on our souls it receives the moisture of God's goodness; it germinates, grows, and becomes a great tree (cf. Mt. 13:31-32), that is, it attains to mature manhood, to 'the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ' (Eph. 4:13)."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pgs. 207-208):

"By dying to sin in baptism one could say mystically that he shares in the death of Christ (cf. Col. 2:12). Join me in observing how appropriately the symbols convey the sacred. To us death is not, as others imagine, a complete dissolution of being. It is, rather, the separation of two parts which had been linked together. It brings the soul into what for us is an invisible realm where it, in the loss of the body, becomes formless. And the body is hidden in earth and undergoes a change from corporeal shape and is withdrawn from its human appearance. Now because of this it is quite appropriate to hide the initiate completely in the water as an image of this death and this burial where form is dissolved. This symbolic lesson therefore sacredly leads the one who is baptized into the mystery that by his triple immersion and emersion he imitates, as far as the imitation of God is possible to men, the divine death of One Who was three days and nights in the tomb, the life-giving Jesus, in Whom, according to the mysterious and hidden tradition of Scripture, the ruler of the world found nothing. Next they put bright clothes on the initiate. His courage and his likeness to God, his firm thrust toward the One, make him indifferent to all contrary things. Order descends upon disorder within him. Form takes over from formlessness. Light shines through all his life."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 207):

"If the words of God are uttered merely as verbal expressions, and their message is not rooted in the virtuous way of life of those who utter them, they will not be heard. But if they are uttered through the practice of the commandments, their sound has such power that they dissolve the demons and dispose men eagerly to build their hearts into temples of God through making progress in works of righteousness."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pgs. 513-514):

"When a man despises the grace given him, and forthwith falls into the cares of the world, he delivers himself over to his lusts; and thus in the time of persecution he is offended (cf. Mt. 13:21), and becomes altogether unfruitful. Now the prophet points out the end of such negligence, saying, 'Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord carelessly' (Jer. 48:10). For a servant of the Lord should be diligent and careful, moreover burning like a flame, so that when, by an ardent spirit, he has destroyed all carnal sin, he may be able to draw near to God, Who, according to the expression of the saints, is called 'a consuming fire' (Heb. 12:29)."


From St. Gregory of Nyssa (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. V; Eerdmans pg. 368):

"Our mind holds in its grasp the reins of this chariot of the body; and in that capacity it will not devise, in the time of youth, when heat of temperament is abundant, ways of heightening that fever; nor will it multiply the cooling and the thinning of things when the body is already chilled by illness or by time; and in the case of all these physical qualities it will be guided by the Scripture, so as actually to realize it: 'He that gathered much had nothing over; and he who had gathered little had no lack' (Ex. 16:18 LXX). It will curtail immoderate lengths in either direction, and so will be careful to replenish where there is much lack. The inefficiency of the body from either cause will be that which it guards against; it will train the flesh, neither making it wild and ungovernable by excessive pampering, nor sickly and unstrung and nerveless for the required work by immoderate mortification. That is temperance's highest aim; it looks not to the afflicting of the body, but to the peaceful action of the soul's functions."


From St. Augustine (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Father: First Series Vol. II; Eerdmans pg. 523):

"The Lord says, 'Whoever has, to him shall be given' (Mt. 13:12). He will give, then, to those who have; that is to say, if they use freely and cheerfully what they have received, He will add to and perfect His gifts."


From St. Gregory the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 211):

"If the power of the Holy Spirit breathes upon the afflicted mind, forthwith what was done bodily for the people of Israel takes place with us spiritually. For it is written, 'But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea' (Ex. 14:29). For the waters overflow those whom the active business of this world confounds with perturbation of mind. But he who is sustained in mind by the grace of the Holy Spirit passes through the waters because in the midst of crowds of people he so proceeds along his way as not to sink the head of his mind beneath the active business of the world."


From St. John of Damascus (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers:Second Series Vol. IX; Eerdmans pg. 75):

"Death itself, which once was man's chiefest terror, has been overthrown, and now that which was once the object of hate and loathing is preferred to life. These are the achievements of Christ's presence: these are the tokens of His power. For it was not one people that He saved, as when through Moses He divided the sea and delivered Israel out of Egypt and the bondage of Pharoah (cf. Ex. 14:16); nay, rather He rescued all mankind from the corruption of death and the bitter tyranny of sin: not leading them by force to virtue, not overwhelming them with earth or burning them with fire, or ordering the sinners to be stoned, but persuading men by gentleness and long-suffering to choose virtue and vie with one another and find pleasure in the struggle to attain it."


From St. John Cassian (The Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XI; Eerdmans pg. 298):

"This should be our main effort: and this steadfast purpose of heart we should constantly aspire after: specifically, that the soul may cleave to God and to heavenly things. Whatever is alien to this, however great it may be, should be given the second place, or even treated as of no consequence, or perhaps as hurtful. We have an excellent example in the case of Martha and Mary: for when Martha was performing a service which was certainly a sacred one, since she was ministering to the Lord and His disciples, and Mary being intent only on spiritual instruction was clinging close to the feet of Jesus which she kissed and anointed with the ointment of good confession, she is shown by the Lord to have chosen the better part, and one which should not be taken away from her: for when Martha was toiling with pious care, and was cumbered about her service, seeing that of herself alone she was insufficient for such service she asked for help of her sister from the Lord, saying: 'Do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone: bid her therefore that she help me' ? certainly it was to no unworthy work, but to a praiseworthy service that she summoned her: and yet what does she hear from the Lord? 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things: but few things are needful, or only one. Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her' (Lk. 10:40-42). You see then that the Lord makes the chief good consist in divine contemplation: whence we see that all other virtues should be put in the second place, even though we admit that they are necessary, and useful, and excellent, because they are all performed for the sake of this one thing. For when the Lord says: 'You are careful and troubled about many things, but few things are needful, or only one,' He makes the chief good consist not in practical work however praiseworthy and rich in fruits it may be, but in contemplation of Him, which indeed is simple and 'but one;' declaring that 'few things' are needful for perfect bliss, that is, that contemplation which is first secured by reflecting on a few saints: from the contemplation of whom, he who has made some progress rises and attains by God's help to that which is termed 'one thing,' that is, the consideration of God alone. 'Mary' therefore 'chose the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.' And this must be most carefully considered. For when He says that Mary chose the good part, although He says nothing of Martha, and certainly does not appear to blame her, yet in praising the one, He implies that the other is inferior. Again when He says, 'which shall not be taken away from her,' He shows that from the other her portion can be taken away (for a bodily ministry cannot last forever), but teaches that this one's desire can never have an end."


From St. John Cassian (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pgs. 105-106):

"There was once a very zealous brother who was greatly troubled by the demon of unchastity. He went to a certain father and confessed his private thoughts to him; but this father, being inexperienced, became angry when he heard about them and told the brother that he was contemptible and unworthy of the monastic habit for having entertained such thoughts as these. When the brother heard this, he lost heart, left his cell and set off back to the world. Through God's providence, however, Abba Apollos, one of the most experienced of the elders, chanced to meet him and, seeing him over-wrought and very despondent, asked him why he was in this state. At first the brother did not reply because he was so depressed but, after the elder had pleaded with him, he told him what was wrong, saying: 'Because I was often troubled by evil thoughts, I went to tell them to the elder; and as he said I have no hope of salvation, I have given up and am now on my way back to the world.' When Abba Apollos heard this, he comforted and encouraged him, saying: 'Do not be surprised, my child, and do not lose hope. I too, old and grey as I am, am still much troubled by these thoughts. Do not be discouraged by this burning desire, which is healed not so much by human effort as by God's compassion. Please do this for me: go back to your cell just for today.' This the brother did; and Apollos, after leaving him, went to the cell of the elder who had caused his despair. Standing outside he implored God with tears and said: 'O Lord, who puts us to the test for our own benefit, let this elder be given the brother's battle, so that in old age he may learn through experience what he has not been taught over these many years: how to feel sympathy with those who are under attack by the demons.' As he finished his prayer, he saw a dark figure standing near the cell shooting arrows at the elder. Wounded by the arrows, the elder at once began to stumble back and forth as though drunk. Unable to withstand the attack, he finally left his cell and set off for the world by the same road that the young monk had taken. Seeing what had happened, Abba Apollos confronted him, and asked him where he was going and why he was so troubled. Although he realized that the holy man knew what was wrong with him, he was too ashamed to say anything. Abba Apollos then said to him: 'Return to your cell, and in the future recognize your own weakness. The devil has either not noticed or has despised you, and so not thought you worth fighting. Not that there has been any question of a fight: you could not stand up to his provocation even for a day! This has happened to you because, when you received a younger brother who was being attacked by our common enemy, you drove him to despair instead of preparing him for battle. You did not recall that wise precept: "Deliver them that are being led away to death; and redeem them that are appointed to be slain" (Prov. 24:11 LXX). You did not even remember the parable of our Savior, which teaches us not to break a bruised reed or quench smoking flax (cf. Mt. 12:20). None of us could endure the plots of the enemy, or allay the fiery turmoil of our nature, if God's grace did not protect our human weakness. Seeing, then, that God has had this compassion for us, let us pray to Him together and ask Him to withdraw the whip with which He has lashed you. "For He wounds but binds up; He strikes but His hands heal' (Job 5:18).' After Abba Apollos had said this and had prayed, the attack which had been launched against the elder was at once suspended. Finally, Abba Apollos advised him to ask God to give him 'the tongue of the learned' so as to know 'how to speak a word in season' (Isa. 50:4)."


From Abba Doulas (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 40):

"One day when we were walking beside the sea I was thirsty and I said to Abba Bessarion, 'Father, I am very thirsty.' He said a prayer and said to me, 'Drink some of the sea water.' The water proved sweet when I drank some. I even poured some into a leather bottle for fear of being thirsty later on. Seeing this, the old man asked me why I was taking some. I said to him, 'Forgive me, it is for fear of being thirsty later on.' Then the old man said, 'God is here. God is everywhere.'"


From St. Gregory the Theologian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 316):

"As far as we can reach, He Who Is, and God, are the special names of His Essence; and of these especially He Who Is, not only because when He spoke to Moses in the mount, and Moses asked what His Name was, this was what He called Himself, bidding him say to the people 'I Am has sent me' (Ex. 3:14), but also because we find that this Name is the more strictly appropriate."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 190):

"Christ has said that He reveals the truth to whomsoever He wishes (cf. Mt. 11:27). This means that He reveals it only if we have previously resolved to receive this knowledge from Him spiritually through the keeping of His divine commandments; because without this anyone who claims to possess knowledge is lying."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 56):

"Just as the light of the sun attracts a healthy eye, so through love knowledge of God naturally draws to itself a pure intellect."


From St. Pachomius (Pachomian Koinonia III; Cistercian Publications pg. 14):

"It is patience that reveals every grace to you, and it is through patience that the saints received all that was promised to them."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 286):

"Let us not keep the Lord's money buried and hidden in the flesh; nor let us hide our one talent in a napkin (cf. Lk. 19:20); but like good money-changers let us ever weigh it out with labor of mind and body, with an even and ready will, that the word may be near, even in your mouth and in your heart (cf. Deut. 30:14)."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 114):

"Do good when you remember, and what you forget will be revealed to you; and do not surrender your mind to blind forgetfulness."


From Amma Syncletica (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 234):

"It is written, 'Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves' (Mt. 10:16). Being like serpents means not ignoring the attacks and wiles of the devil. Like is quickly shown to like. The simplicity of the dove denotes purity of action."


From St. Pachomius (Pachomian Koinonia III; Cistercian Publications pg. 14):

"Take as an example the wisdom of Joseph and his submission. Do battle in chastity and service until you make yourself a king (cf. Gen. 41)."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 135):

"A man can know nothing about the judgments of God. He alone is the one who takes account of all and is able to judge the hearts of each one of us, as He alone is our Master. Truly it happens that a man may do a certain thing which seems to be wrong out of simplicity, and there may be something about it which makes more amends to God than your whole life; how are you going to sit in judgment and constrict your own soul? And should it happen that he has fallen away, how do you know how much and how well he fought; how much blood he sweated before he did it? Perhaps so little fault can be found in him that God can look on his action as if it were just, for God looks on his labor and all the struggle he had before he did it, and has pity on him. And do you know this, and what God has spared him for? Are you going to condemn him for this and ruin your own soul? And how do you know what tears he has shed about it before God? You may well know about the sin but do you not know about the repentance?"


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 89):

"Remember that God, during your prayers, is watching for your affirmative answer to the question which He is inwardly asking you: 'Do you believe I am able to do this?' To which question you must from the depth of your heart reply, 'Yes, Lord' (Mt. 9:28)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 193):

"The accursed one does not allow the eye of the heart to see the Lord or His saints. He darkens our heart in every way. He scatters faith, oppressing, burning and darkening us inwardly. We must look upon all such actions as illusions and falsehood, and break through this imaginary wall to the Lord, or to His Holy Mother, or His saints. As soon as you break through this wall you will be immediately saved. 'Your faith has made you whole' (Mt. 9:22)."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist Press pgs. 180-181):

"The greater miracle is to root out the tinder of luxury from one's flesh rather than to drive unclean spirits from the bodies of others. A more resplendent wonder is restraint exercised over the wild stirrings of anger by the virtue of patience, rather than the capacity to hold sway over the creatures of the air. Much more important is the exclusion of ravening gloom from one's heart than the ability to drive out the sicknesses and the bodily fevers of someone else. Lastly, it is in many ways more remarkable and more sublime virtue to be able to heal the weaknesses of one's own soul rather than the failings of another's body. The more exalted the soul is by comparison with the body, the more its salvation is to be preferred; the more valuable and excellent its substance, the graver and more deadly its ruin. This is what is said to the most blessed apostles concerning bodily cures: 'Do not rejoice because demons submit to you' (Lk. 10:20). It was the invoked name which achieved this and not the power of the apostles. Therefore they are warned not to dare to lay claim to blessedness or glory because of what is done through the power and the virtue of God, but rather to make such a claim because the deep purity of their lives and hearts has earned them the right to have their names written in heaven."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 286):

"Now, O man, imagine some precious vessel made out of all God's commandments, such as faith, the fear of God, humility, silence from idle speech, obedience unto death, the elimination of every inward will and movement of the heart, unremitting penitence and compunction, constant prayer, custody of the eyes, detachment from one's neighbor, and equal charity toward all, of absence of avarice, chastity, hope in God and perfect love toward Him, and of all other virtues that are their consequences. Each of these is as it were a leaf by itself, whether of gold, silver, bronze, or precious stone, and the rest in their order of other materials, all united into one and joined and fitted together by the Spirit. As has been said, they form the man into a useful vessel, into which the grace of God is poured like new wine (cf. Mt. 9:17)."


From Abba Ammonas (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 27):

"Abba Ammonas advanced to the point where his goodness was so great, he took no notice of wickedness. Thus, having become bishop, someone brought a young unmarried girl who was pregnant to him, saying, 'See what this unhappy wretch has done; give her a penance.' But he, having marked the young girl's womb with the sign of the cross, commanded that six pairs of fine linen sheets should be given her, saying, 'It is for fear that, when she come to give birth, she may die, she or the child, and have nothing for the burial.' But her accusers resumed, 'Why did you do that? Give her a punishment.' But he said to them, 'Look, brothers, she is near to death; what am I to do?' Then he sent her away and no old man dared accuse anyone any more."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 127):

"The grace of God comes swiftly to the soul when endurance is no longer possible."


From St. Antony the Great (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 332):

"Regard as free not those whose status makes them outwardly free, but those who are free in their character and conduct. For we should not call men truly free when they are wicked and dissolute, since they are slaves to worldly passions. Freedom and happiness of soul consist in genuine purity and detachment from transitory things."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 229):

"Avoid duplicity, that is, do not let your heart be divided between attachment to God and attachment to earthly things, 'You cannot serve God and mammon' (Mt. 6:24); cling to God alone, put your trust in Him alone; for the Devil, by inciting us to duplicity, seeks himself to gain possession of our heart, which is single and indivisible."


From Abba Apollo (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 37):

"When you see your brother, you see the Lord your God."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 96):

"Besides loving each other, we must bear with each other and pardon ? 'forgive them that trespass against us' ? in order that our heavenly Father may 'forgive us our trespasses' (Mt. 6:14). Thus, with all your soul honor and love in every man the image of God, not regarding his sins, for God alone is Holy and without sin; and see how He loves us, how much He has created and still creates for us, punishing us mercifully and forgiving us bounteously and graciously. Honor the man also, in spite of his sins, for he can always amend."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg.156):

"Cheerfulness consists in not regarding things as our own, but as entrusted to us by God for the benefit of our fellow-servants. It consists in scattering them abroad generously with joy and magnanimity, not reluctantly or under compulsion."


From St. Neilos the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 155):

"The Logos became man, so that man might become Logos. Being rich, He became poor for our sakes, so that through His poverty we might become rich (cf. II Cor. 8:9). In His great love for man He became like us, so that through every virtue we might become like Him."


From Abba Daniel (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pgs. 51-52):

"At Babylon the daughter of an important person was possessed by a devil. A monk for whom her father had a great affection came to the house. When the monk arrived, the woman possessed with the devil came and slapped him. But he only turned the other cheek, according to the Lord's command (cf. Mt. 5:39). The devil, tortured by this, cried out, 'What violence! The commandment of Jesus drives me out.' Immediately the woman was cleansed. This is how the pride of the devil is brought low, through the humility of the commandment of Christ."


From St. Gregory the Great (Forty Gospel Homilies; Cistercian Publications pg. 271):

"What, my friends, do we think love is if not fire? And what is sin if not rust? Hence it is said that 'many sins are forgiven her because she has loved much' (Lk. 7:47). This means she has completely burned away the rust of sin because she is mightily aflame with the fire of love. The more the heart of a sinner is consumed by the fire of love, the more fully is the rust of sin consumed."


From St. Gregory the Theologian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 315):

"There is One God and One Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ (cf. I Tim. 2:5). For He still pleads even now as man for my salvation; for He continues to wear the Body which He assumed, until He make me a god by the power of His Incarnation; although He is no longer known after the flesh (cf. II Cor. 5:16) ? I mean, the passions of the flesh, the same, except sin, as ours."


From St. Gregory of Nyssa (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. V; Eerdmans pg. 507):

"There have been delivered to us in the Gospel three Persons and names through Whom the generation of the birth of believers takes place, and he who is begotten by this Trinity is equally begotten of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ? for thus does the Gospel speak of the Spirit, that 'that which is born of the Spirit is spirit' (Jn. 3:6), and it is 'in Christ' (I Cor. 4:15) that Paul begets, and the Father is the 'Father of all.'"


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 477):

"'Unless your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven' (Mt. 5:20). What does 'exceed' refer to? In the first place, we must believe not only in the Father, but also in His Son now revealed; for He it is Who leads man into fellowship and unity with God. In the next place, we must not only say, but we must do; for they said and did not. And we must not only abstain from evil deeds, but even from the desires after them. Now He did not teach us these things as being opposed to the Law, but as fulfilling the law, and implanting in us the varied righteousness of the Law."


From St. John of Damascus (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IX; Eerdmans pg. 89):

"It is one and the same God Whom both the Old and New Testament proclaim, Who is praised and glorified in the Trinity: 'I am come,' says the Lord, 'not to destroy the law but to fulfill it' (Mt. 5:17). For He Himself worked out our salvation for which all Scripture and all mystery exists. And again, 'Search the Scriptures for they exist to witness of Me' (Jn. 5:39). And the Apostle says, 'God, Who many times and in diverse manners spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son' (Heb. 1:1-2). Through the Holy Spirit, therefore, the law and the prophets, the evangelists and apostles and pastors and teachers, spoke. All Scripture, then, is 'given by inspiration of God and is also assuredly profitable' (II Tim. 3:16). For through the Holy Scriptures we are trained to action that is pleasing to God, and untroubled contemplation. For in these we find both exhortations to every virtue and dissuasion from every vice."


From St. John Cassian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Father: Second Series Vol. XI; Eerdmans pg. 540):

"In proportion as the ardor of divine love brings you nearer to God, so will a larger concourse of saintly brethren flock to you. For, as the Lord says, 'A city set on a hill cannot be hid' (Mt. 5:14)."


From Abba Agathon (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 23):

"If someone were very specially dear to me, but I realized that he was leading me to do something less good, I should put him from me."


From St. Hesychios the Priest (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 179):

"When in fear, trembling and unworthiness we are yet permitted to receive the divine, undefiled Mysteries of Christ, our King and our God, we should then display even greater watchfulness, strictness and guard over our hearts, so that the divine fire, the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, may consume our sins and stains, great and small. For when that fire enters into us, it at once drives the evil spirits from our heart and remits the sins we have previously committed, leaving the intellect free from the turbulence of wicked thoughts. And if after this, standing at the entrance to our heart, we keep strict watch over the intellect, when we are again permitted to receive the Mysteries the divine body will illumine our intellect still more and make it shine like a star."


From St. Augustine (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Father: First Series Vol. II; Eerdmans pg. 238):

"Far be it from us to doubt that all number is known to Him 'Whose understanding is infinite' (Ps. 147:5). The infinity of number, though there be no numbering of infinite numbers, is yet not incomprehensible by Him Whose understanding is infinite. And thus, if everything which is comprehended is defined or made finite by the comprehension of him who knows it, then all infinity is in some ineffable way made finite to God, for it is comprehensible by His knowledge."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 114):

"Distress reminds the wise of God, but crushes those who forget Him."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 295):

"What is the human soul? It is the one same soul or the one same breath of God which God breathed into Adam, and which until now is diffused from Adam upon the entire human race. Therefore all men are as though one man, or one great tree of mankind. From this comes the most natural commandment, founded upon the unity of our nature: 'You shall love the Lord your God (your Prototype, your Father) with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. You shall love your neighbor (for who can be nearer to me than the man who is like me, of the same blood as me?) as yourself' (Mk. 12:30-31). To fulfill these two commandments is a natural necessity."


From Abba Agathon (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 23):

"A man who is angry, even if he were to raise the dead, is not acceptable to God."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 56):

"Just as the thought of fire does not warm the body, so faith without love does not actualize the light of spiritual knowledge in the soul.


From St. John of Karpathos (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 302):

"The demons try to undermine your inward resolution by buffeting your souls with an untold variety of temptations. Yet out of these many tribulations a garland is woven for you; Christ's power 'comes to its fullness in us in our weakness' (II Cor. 12:9). It is usually when our situation is most gloomy that the grace of the Spirit flowers within us. 'Light has shone in darkness for the righteous' (Ps. 112:4 LXX) ? if, that is, 'we hold fast to our confidence and the rejoicing of our hope firmly to the end' (Heb. 3:6)."


From St. Cyril of Jerusalem (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 121):

"The Holy Spirit preached concerning Christ in the Prophets; He wrought in the Apostles; He to this day seals the souls in Baptism. And the Father indeed gives to the Son; and the Son shares with the Holy Spirit. For Jesus says, 'All things are delivered to Me of My Father' (Mt. 11:27); and of the Holy Spirit He says, 'When He, the Spirit of Truth, shall come,' and the rest? 'He shall glorify Me; for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it to you' (Jn. 16:13-14). The Father through the Son, with the Holy Spirit, is the giver of all grace; the gifts of the Father are none other than those of the Son, and those of the Holy Spirit; for there is one Salvation, one Power, one Faith; One God, the Father; One Lord, His only-begotten Son; One Holy Spirit, the Comforter. And it is enough for us to know these things; but inquire not curiously into His nature or substance: for had it been written, we would have spoken of it; what is not written, let us not speculate on; it is sufficient for our salvation to know, that there is Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pgs. 83-84):

"By keeping the Commandments the soul is purified and the mind too is enlightened, and starts to function as nature intended it to. 'The command of the Lord gives light and enlightens the eyes' (Ps. 19:8)."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 113):

"Think nothing and do nothing without a purpose directed to God. For to journey without direction is wasted effort."


From Abba Agathon (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 23):

"Whenever his thoughts urged him to pass Judgment on something which he saw, Abba Agathon would say to himself, 'Agathon, it is not your business to do that.'"


From St. Theognostos (The Philokalia Vol. II; Faber and Faber pg. 368):

"Discern the wiles of the enemy with the light of grace and, throwing yourself before God with tears, confess your weakness, counting yourself nothing, even though the deceiver tries to persuade you to think otherwise. Do not even ask for spiritual gifts unless they contribute to your salvation and help you to remain humble. Seek the knowledge that does not make you conceited, but leads you to the knowledge of God. Pray to be released from the tyranny of the passions before you die, and to depart this life in a state of dispassion or ? more humbly ? of compassion for the sins of others."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 329):

"You should secretly give from what you have to those in need, so that you receive from God, Who sees in secret, a hundred times more, as well as life eternal in the age to come (cf. Mt. 6:4; Mk. 10:30)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 370):

"'With God all things are possible' (Mk. 10:27). With God the thought itself is deed. He speaks and it is. Short and clear. And all the worlds stand by the Word of God."


From St. Seraphim of Sarov (The Little Russian Philokalia Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pgs. 93-94):

"On the day of Pentecost our Lord solemnly sent down to the disciples in a tempestuous wind the Holy Spirit in the form of tongues of fire which alighted on each of them and entered within them and filled them with the fiery strength of divine grace which breathes bedewingly and acts gladdeningly in souls which partake of its power and operations (cf. Acts 2:1-4). And this same fire-infusing grace of the Holy Spirit which was given to us all, the faithful of Christ, in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, is sealed by the Sacrament of Chrismation on the chief parts of our body as appointed by the Holy Church, the eternal keeper of this grace. It is said: 'The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.' On what do we put this seal if not on vessels containing some very precious treasure?"


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 140):

"He who chooses maltreatment and dishonor for the sake of truth is walking on the apostolic path; he has taken up the cross and is bound in chains (cf. Mt. 16:24; Acts 28:20). But when he tries to concentrate his attention on the heart without accepting these two, his intellect wanders from the path and he falls into the temptations and snares of the devil."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 57):

"He who has not yet attained divine knowledge energized by love is proud of his spiritual progress. But he who has been granted such knowledge repeats with deep conviction the words uttered by the patriarch Abraham when he was granted the manifestation of God: 'I am dust and ashes' (Gen. 18:27)."


From Abba Arsenius (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications; Pg. 10):

"Strive with all your might to bring your interior activity into accord with God, and you will overcome exterior passions."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 112):

"When we are compelled by our conscience to accomplish all the commandments of God, then we shall understand that the law of the Lord is faultless (cf. Ps. 19:8 LXX). It is performed through our good actions, but cannot be perfected by men without God's mercy."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 129):

"If a man really sets his heart upon the will of God, God will enlighten a little child to tell that man what is His will. But if a man does not truly desire the will of God, even if he goes in search of a prophet, God will put into the heart of the prophet a reply like the deception in his own heart."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 107):

"If a fierce storm of tribulations fall upon us, let us not be terror stricken as if we had to overcome the disaster in our own strength, since both our Counsel and our Strength is Christ, and through Him we can do all things, without Him nothing, Who, to confirm the preachers of the Gospel and the ministers of the mysteries, says, 'Lo, I am with you always even to the consummation of the age' (Mt. 28:20). And again He says, 'these things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace. In this world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, because I have overcome the world' (Jn. 16:33). The promises, which are as plain as they can be, we ought not to let any causes of offense to weaken, lest we should seem ungrateful to God for making us His chosen vessels, since His assistance is powerful as His promises are true."


From St. John of Damascus (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IX; Eerdmans pg. 74):

"Christ sits in the body at the right hand of God the Father, but we do not hold that the right hand of the Father is actual place. For how could He that is uncircumscribed have a right hand limited by place? But we understand the right hand of the Father to be the glory and honor of the Godhead in which the Son of God, Who existed as God before the ages, and is of like essence to the Father, and in the end became flesh, has a seat in the body, His flesh sharing in the glory. For He along with His flesh is adored with one adoration by all creation."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 203):

"Peace is truly the complete and undisturbed possession of what is desired."


From St. John of Karpathos (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 323):

"We should not think it strange that Christians endure affliction and various forms of sorrow, patiently awaiting through many trials and temptations whatever their Master gives. For they have heard Him say: 'Truly I tell you, that you who are near Me shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice. Yet after a little while I will visit you through the Paraclete and drive away your despondency; I will renew you with thoughts of heavenly life and peace with sweet tears, of which you were deprived for a short time when you were being tested. I will give you the breast of My grace, as a mother feeds her baby when it cries. When your strength fails in battle I will fortify you with power from on high, and I will sweeten you in your bitterness. I will look upon you, and your hearts will rejoice at My secret visitation; your affliction will be turned to joy, and no one shall take that joy from you' (cf. Jn. 16:20-22)."


From St. Gregory the Theologian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 432):

"If our Lord ascends up to Heaven, ascend with Him. Be one of those angels who escort Him, or one of those who receive Him. Bid the gates be lifted up (cf. Ps. 24:7, 10), or be made higher, that they may receive Him, exalted after His Passion. Answer to those who are in doubt because He bears up with Him His body and the tokens of His Passion, which He had not when He came down, and who therefore inquire, 'Who is this King of Glory?' that it is the Lord strong and mighty, as in all things that He has done from time to time and does, so now in His battle and triumph for the sake of Mankind."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 327):

"If on hearing about the kingdom of heaven we are brought to tears, do not let us be content with these tears, or think that we hear well with our ears or see well with our eyes, and that we need nothing further. For there are other ears, other eyes, other tears, just as there is another mind and another soul. I am referring to the divine and heavenly Spirit, that hears and weeps, prays and knows, and that carries out God's will. When the Lord promised the great gift of the Spirit to the apostles, He said: 'I still have much to tell you, but its burden is more than you can bear now. When, however, He Who is the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth' (Jn. 16:12-13). He, therefore, will pray, and He will weep. For, as St. Paul says, 'we do not know what to pray for as we should; but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with cries that cannot be uttered' (Rom. 8:26)."


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pgs. 444-445):

"The Lord promised to send the Comforter (Jn. 16:7), Who should join us to God. For as a compacted lump of dough cannot be formed of dry wheat without fluid matter, nor can a loaf possess unity, so, in like manner, neither could we, being many, be made one in Christ Jesus without the water from heaven. And as dry earth does not bring forth unless it receive moisture, in like manner we also, being originally a dry tree, could never have brought forth fruit unto life without the voluntary rain from above. For our bodies have received unity among themselves by means of that laver which leads to incorruption; but our souls, by means of the Spirit. Wherefore both are necessary, since both contribute towards the life of God."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 188):

"Unbelievers, those who believe with difficulty, or believe in part, are those who do not show their faith through works. Apart from works the demons also believe (cf. Jms. 2:19) and confess Christ to be God and Master. 'We know Who You are' (Mk. 1:24), they say, 'You are the Son of God' (Mt. 8:29), and elsewhere, 'These men are the servants of the Most High God' (Acts 16:17). Yet such faith will not benefit the demons, nor even humans. This faith is of no use, for it is dead."


From St. Ignatius of Antioch (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 56):

"Being come together in the same place, let there be one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, in love and in joy undefiled. There is one Jesus Christ, than Whom nothing is more excellent. Therefore all should run together as into one temple of God, as to one altar, as to one Jesus Christ, who came forth from the Father, and is with and has gone to one."


From St. Cyril of Jerusalem (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 76):

"Have that faith in God which comes from your own self, that you may also receive from Him that faith which works things above man. But in learning the Faith and in professing it, acquire and keep that only which is now delivered to you by the Church."


From Abba Poeman (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 184):

"'Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends' (Jn. 15:13). In truth if someone hears an evil saying, that is, one which harms him, and in his turn, he wants to repeat it, he must fight in order not to say it. Or if someone is taken advantage of and he bears it, without retaliation at all, then he is giving his life for his neighbor."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 270):

"If you love God genuinely and you also persevere in His love (cf. Jn. 15:9-10), you will never be dominated by any passion, nor will you be reduced to subjection by any necessity of the body. For since the body cannot be moved to anything apart from the soul, so the soul that is united to God by love cannot be led astray to the pleasures and cravings of the body, nor indeed to any other desires of anything visible or invisible, whether desire or passion. For by the sweet love of God the impulse of its heart or, rather, the whole inclination of its will is bound. When once it has been bound to its Maker, how can it be inflamed by the body or in any way fulfill its own desires? In no way!"


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pg. 89):

"The Lord said: 'Without Me you can do nothing' (Jn. 15:5). So for the duration of our life, every day and at every moment, we must keep unchanged in our heart the feeling, conviction and disposition, that on no occasion can we allow ourselves to think of relying on ourselves and trusting ourselves."


St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pg. 135):

"Sin has reigned over us and the inventor and father of sin has lorded it over all who dwell under the sky, provoking the transgression of the divine laws. But in Christ we see human nature, enjoying freedom of access to God."


Abba Arsenius (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 9):

"O God, do not leave me. I have done nothing good in Your sight, but according to Your goodness, let me now make a beginning of good."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 311):

"In afflictions and sufferings, endurance and faith, are concealed the promised glory and the recovery of celestial blessings."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 98):

"You will be able to check envy if you rejoice with the man whom you envy whenever he rejoices, and grieve whenever he grieves."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 156):

"No one who lies is linked to God. God is the truth. He says, 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life' (Jn. 14:6). See how we sort ourselves out and what position we take up through lying ? clearly on the side of the evil one. If, therefore, we want to be saved, we must with all our hearts love the Truth and guard ourselves from every kind of falsehood so that we may not be separated from truth and from life."


From St. Ignatius of Antioch (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 89):

"Let no man's place, or dignity, or riches, puff him up; and let no man's low condition or poverty abase him. For the chief points are faith towards God, hope towards Christ, the enjoyment of those good things for which we look, and love towards God and our neighbor."


From St. Basil the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VIII; Eerdmans pg. 14):

"When our Lord says, 'I have not spoken of Myself' (Jn. 12:49), and again, 'As the Father said to Me, so I speak' (Jn. 12:50), and 'The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's Who sent Me' (Jn. 14:24), and in another place, 'As the Father commanded Me, even so I do' (Jn. 14:31), it is not because He lacks deliberate purpose or power of initiative, nor yet because He has to wait for the preconcerted key-note, that He employs language of this kind. His object is to make it plain that His own will is connected in indissoluble union with the Father."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 231):

"'My sheep hear My voice' (Jn. 10:14). This is just another way of saying, 'They obey my words and keep My commandments.' Obeying the commandments the saints draw near to God; the more they draw near to God, the better they know Him."


From Abba Agathon (Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercians Publications pg. 22):

"I think there is no greater labor than that of prayer to God. For every time a man wants to pray, his enemies, the demons, want to prevent him, for they know that it is only by turning him from prayer that they can hinder his journey. Whatever good work a man undertakes, if he perseveres in it, he will attain rest. But prayer is warfare to the last breath."


From St. Seraphim of Sarov (The Little Russian Philokalia Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pgs. 94-95):

"The people who, in spite of the bonds of sin which fetter them and hinder them (by constraint and by inciting them to new sins), come to Him, our Savior, with perfect repentance for tormenting Him, who despise all the strength of the fetters of sin and force themselves to break their bonds ? such people at last actually appear before the face of God made whiter than snow by His grace. Such people were once seen by the holy seer of mysteries, John the Theologian, 'clothed in white robes,' that is, in robes of justification, and 'palms in their hands,' as a sign of victory, and they were singing to God a wonderful song: Alleluia. And no one could imitate the beauty of their song. Of them an angel of God said: 'These are they who have come out of great tribulation and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb' (Rev 7:9-14). They were washed with their sufferings and made white in the Communion of the immaculate and life-giving Mysteries of the Body and Blood of the most pure spotless Lamb ? Christ ? Who was slain before all ages by His own will for the salvation of the world."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 183):

"We leave our tasks unfinished because of our negligence or debility, for we do not carry out the work of God diligently and do not regard it as our main task; on the contrary, we disdain it as a kind of incidental chore. Because of this we fail to prosper, or indeed often regress, like those others who 'turned back' and no longer followed Jesus (cf. Jn. 6:66). And yet what Jesus said was nothing harsh, as they thought, for he was speaking to them about doctrine. None the less, where a resolute disposition and desire are lacking, even easy things appear difficult ? though the reverse is true as well."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 131):

"By accepting a suspicion against the neighbor, by saying, 'What does it matter if I put in a word about my suspicion? What does it matter if I find out what my brother is saying or what a guest is doing?' the mind begins to forget about its own sins and to talk idly about his neighbor, speaking evil against him, despising him, and from this he falls into the very thing he condemns. Because we become careless about our own faults and do not lament our own death, we lose the power to correct ourselves and we are always at work on our neighbor."


From Abba Arsenius (Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 18):

"I have often repented of having spoken, but never of having been silent."


From St. Hesychios the Priest (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 169):

"The devil, with all his powers, 'walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour' (I Pt. 5:8). So you must never relax your attentiveness of heart, your watchfulness, your power of rebuttal or your prayer to Jesus Christ our God. You will not find a greater help than Jesus in all your life, for He alone, as God, knows the deceitful ways of the demons, their subtlety and their guile."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 150):

"He who asks to receive his daily bread does not automatically receive it in its fullness as it is in itself: he receives it according to his own capacity as recipient. The Bread of Life (cf. Jn. 6:35) gives Himself in His love to all who ask, but not in the same way to all; for He gives Himself more fully to those who have performed great acts of righteousness, and in smaller measure to those who have not achieved so much. He gives Himself to each person according to that person's spiritual ability to receive Him."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 125):

"The devil loves and always rejoices over the ungoverned; those who are not subject to one who has power, under God, to help them and to give them a hand."


From St. Gregory the Great (Forty Gospel Homilies; Cistercian Publications pg. 7):

"Peter was told, 'When you are old, you will stretch out your hands and another will bind you and lead you where you do not wish to go' (Jn. 21:18). Peter could not have suffered for Christ had he been utterly unwilling. By the power of the Spirit he loved the martyrdom which by the weakness of the flesh he did not will. While he feared the sufferings in his body, in his spirit he exulted over the glory. So it came about that he willed the torment of martyrdom even as he was unwilling."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pg. 264):

"We do not confine our definition of Jesus to the human domain. For he is not simply a man, nor would he be transcendent if he were only a man. Out of his very great love of humanity, he became quite truly human, both superhuman and among humans; and, though himself beyond being, he took upon himself the being of humans. Yet he is not less overflowing with transcendence. He is the ever-transcendent, and superabundantly so. He takes on being, and is Himself a being beyond being. Superior Himself to the human condition He does the work of a man. A proof of this is that a virgin supernaturally bore Him (cf. Mt. 1:18-25) and that flowing water, bearing the weight of His corporeal feet, did not yield, but, rather, held Him up with supernatural power (cf. Jn. 6:16-21)."


From St. Gregory the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 3):

"Our Lord Who, transcending the knowledge and understanding even of supernal spirits, reigns in heaven from eternity ? on earth fled from receiving a kingdom. For it is written, 'When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into the mountain Himself alone' (Jn. 6:15). For who could so blamelessly have had principality over men as He Who would in fact have reigned over those whom He Himself had created? But, because He had come in the flesh to this end, that He might not only redeem us by His passion but also teach us by His conversation, offering Himself as an example to His followers, He would not be made king; but He went of His own accord to the gibbet of the cross. He fled from the offered glory of pre-eminence, but desired the pain of an ignominious death; that so His members might learn to fly from the favors of the world, to be afraid of no terrors, to love adversity for the truth's sake."


From St. Antony the Great (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 3):

"Our life and our death is with our neighbor. If we gain our brother, we have gained God, but if we scandalize our brother, we have sinned against Christ."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 330):

"The angels are not absent when the saints perform their acts of courage, but keep them company."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pg. 128):

"The Lord wishes the disciples to be kept in a state of unity by maintaining a likemindedness and an identity of will, being mingled together as it were in soul and spirit and in the law of peace and love for one another. He wishes them to be bound together tightly with an unbreakable bond of love, that they may advance to such a degree of unity that their freely chosen association might even become an image of the natural unity that is conceived to exist between the Father and the Son. That is to say, he wishes them to enjoy a unity which is inseparable and indestructible, which may not be enticed away into a dissimilarity of wills by anything at all that exists in the world or any pursuit of pleasure, but rather preserves the power of love in the unity of devotion and holiness, which is what actually happened. For as we read in Acts, 'the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul' (Acts 4:32), that is, in the unity of the Spirit."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 178):

"When the Apostles, being full of the Holy Spirit, suffered the threats and cruelty of Christ's enemies, they said to God with one consent, 'For truly in this city against Your holy Servant Jesus, Whom You have anointed, Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together to do what Your hand and Your counsel ordained to come to pass' (Acts 4:27-28). Did then the wickedness of Christ's persecutors spring from God's plan, and was that unsurpassable crime prepared and set in motion by the hand of God? Clearly we must not think this of the highest Justice: that which was foreknown in respect of the Jews' malice is far different, indeed quite contrary to what was ordained in respect of Christ's Passion. Their desire to slay Him did not proceed from the same source as His to die: nor were their atrocious crimes and the Redeemer's endurance the offspring of One Spirit. The Lord did not incite but did permit those madmen's evil hands: nor in His foreknowledge of what must be accomplished did He compel its accomplishment, even though it was in order to accomplish it that He had taken flesh."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pg. 234):

"Strive to increase from day to day your faith in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist, and never cease to wonder at the miraculous mystery of it, reflecting on how God manifests Himself to you in the guise of bread and wine, and becomes essentially present in you, to make you more holy, righteous and blessed. For blessed are they who do not see, yet believe; according to the words of the Savior (cf. Jn. 20:29). Try to set alight in yourself a warm desire for this sacrament and to make progress every day both in your fervent readiness to do only God's will, and in spiritual wisdom, making it the queen and ruler over all your actions of the spirit, the soul and the body. Every time you take communion, while partaking of this bloodless sacrifice, offer yourself as a sacrifice to God, that is, profess your complete readiness to endure every affliction, every sorrow and every wrong you may meet in the course of your life, for the sake of the love of God, Who sacrificed Himself for us."


From St. John Cassian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XI; Eerdmans pgs. 443-444):

"True spiritual knowledge has sometimes flourished most grandly in some who were without eloquence and almost illiterate. And this is very clearly shown by the case of the Apostles and many holy men, who did not spread themselves out with an empty show of leaves, but were bowed down by the weight of the true fruits of spiritual knowledge: of whom it is written in Acts: 'But when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were ignorant and unlearned men, they were astonished' (Acts 4:13)."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pgs. 185-186):

"It is not enough to know the Son of God in the Father's nature only, unless we acknowledge Him in what is ours without withdrawal of what is His own. For that self-emptying, which He underwent for man's restoration, was the dispensation of compassion, not the loss of power. For, though by the eternal purpose of God there was 'no other name under heaven given to men whereby they must be saved' (Acts 4:12), the Invisible made His substance visible, the Intemporal temporal, the Impassable passable: not that power might sink into weakness, but that weakness might pass into indestructible power."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 112):

"Our future reward is made manifest through the impulses of the heart. A merciful heart will receive mercy, while a merciless heart will receive the opposite."


From St. Antony the Great (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publication pg. 2):

"This is the great work of a man: always to take the blame for his own sins before God and to expect temptation to his last breath."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 124):

"The evil one hates caution. Not only can he not bear the sound of it, he hates even the very echo of it; the mere mention of caution. For example, if a man proposes to do something, he enquires whether it is profitable before he forms an opinion on whether or not it is the enemy who suggests it, on whether he keeps to what he hears or not (that is what the devil utterly hates); he asks someone else and listens to what those who have to share his life have to say about it. The very sound, the mere echo of such discourse the devil hates and flees away from. And why do I say this? Because the devil knows that his malice is brought to light through this enquiry and discussion about the advantage of doing a thing, and there is nothing he hates and fears so much as to be known, because then he finds himself unable to lay snares as he wishes."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 88):

"Let us flee from the deceit of life and its supposed happiness and run to Christ alone, who is the Savior of souls. Him let us endeavor to find Who is present everywhere, and when we have found Him let us hold Him fast and fall at His feet (cf. Mt. 28:9) and embrace them in the fervor of our souls."


From St. Gregory the Theologian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 432):

"Keep the Feast of the Resurrection. Be a Peter or a John; hasten to the Sepulchre, running together, running against one another, vying in the noble race (cf. Jn. 20:3-4). And even if you be beaten in speed, win the victory of zeal; not looking into the tomb, but going in."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 168):

"No virtues are worthier or more excellent than merciful loving-kindness and unblemished chastity, let us more especially equip ourselves with these weapons, so that, raised from the earth, as it were on the two wings of active charity and shining purity, we may win a place in heaven. And whoever, aided by God's grace, is filled with this desire and glories not in himself, but in the Lord, over his progress, pays due honor to the Easter mystery. His threshold the angel of destruction does not cross, for it is marked with the Lamb's blood and the sign of the cross (cf. Ex. 12:23). He fears not the plagues of Egypt, and leaves his foes overwhelmed by the same waters by which he himself was saved. And so, dearly-beloved, with minds and bodies purified let us embrace the wondrous mystery of our salvation, and, cleansed from all 'the leaven of our old wickedness, let us keep' (I Cor. 5:8) the Lord's Passover with due observance: so that, the Holy Spirit guiding us, we may be 'separated' by no temptations 'from the love of Christ' (Rom. 7:35), Who bringing peace by His blood to all things, has returned to the loftiness of the Father's glory, and yet not forsaken the lowliness of those who serve Him to Whom is the honor and the glory forever and ever. Amen."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 156):

"You should continually keep in mind the great humiliation which the Lord took upon Himself in His ineffable love for us: how the divine Logos dwelt in a womb; how He took human nature upon Himself; His birth from a woman; His gradual bodily growth; the shame He suffered, the insults the vilification, ridicule and abuse; how He was scourged and spat upon, derided and mocked; the scarlet robe, the crown of thorns; His condemnation by those in power; the outcry of the unruly Jews, men of His own race, against Him: 'Away with him, away with him, crucify him' (Jn. 19:15); the cross, the nails, the lance, the drink of vinegar and gall; the scorn of the Gentiles; the derision of the passers-by who said: 'If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross and we will believe you' (cf. Mt. 27:39-42); and the rest of the sufferings which He patiently accepted for us: crucifixion; death; the three-day burial; the descent into hell. Then keep in mind all that has come from these sufferings. See to what a height of glory the Lord's human nature was raised up by God's justice through these sufferings and humiliations."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 519):

"To those who keep the feast in purity, the Passover is heavenly food; but to those who observe it profanely and contemptuously, it is a danger and reproach. For it is written, 'Whoever shall eat and drink unworthily, is guilty of the death of our Lord' (I Cor. 11:27). Wherefore, let us not merely proceed to perform the festal rites, but let us be prepared to draw near to the divine Lamb, and to touch heavenly food. Let us cleanse our hands, let us purify the body. Let us keep our whole mind from guile; not giving up ourselves to excess, and to lusts, but occupying ourselves entirely with our Lord, and with divine doctrines; so that, being altogether pure, we may be able to partake of the Word (cf. II Pet. 1:4)."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 123)

"When the devil looks at a man who sincerely desires not to sin, he is not so unintelligent as to suggest to him (as he would to a hardened sinner) that he go and commit fornication or go and steal. He knows we do not want that and he does not set out to tell us something we do not want to hear; but he finds out that little bit of self-will or self-righteousness and through that, with the appearance of well doing, he will do us harm."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 150):

"People who trust solely in the apparent righteousness of the outward way of their life are like the foolish virgins (cf. Mt. 25:1-12), who did indeed preserve their outward virginity, yet in spite of this were not admitted to the marriage-feast; they also had some oil in their vessels, that is, they possessed some virtues and external achievements and some gifts of grace, so that their lamps remained alight for a certain time. But because of negligence, ignorance and laziness they were not provident, and did not pay careful attention to the hidden swarm of passions energized within them by the evil spirits."


From St. Antony the Great (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 2):

"Whoever you may be, always have God before your eyes; whatever you do, do it according to the testimony of the holy Scriptures; in whatever place you live, do not easily leave it. Keep these three precepts and you will be saved."


From St. John Cassian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XI' Eerdmans pg. 315):

"Learn from your own experience to sympathize with those in trouble, and never to terrify with destructive despair those who are in danger, nor harden them with severe speeches, but rather restore them with gentle and kindly consolations, and as the wise Solomon says, 'Spare not to deliver those who are led forth to death, and to redeem those who are to be slain' (Prov. 24:11), and after the example of our Savior, break not the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax (cf. Mt. 12:20), and ask of the Lord that grace, by means of which you yourself may faithfully learn both in deed and power to sing: 'the Lord has given me a learned tongue that I should know how to uphold by word him that is weary' (Isa. 50:4): for no one could bear the devices of the enemy, or extinguish or repress those carnal fires which burn with a sort of natural flame, unless God's grace assisted our weakness, or protected and supported it."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 168):

"The commemoration of Christ's saving Passion is at hand, and the new, great spiritual Passover, which is the reward for dispassion and the prelude of the world to come. Lazarus proclaims it in advance by coming back from the depths of Hades and rising from the dead on the fourth day just by voice and command of God, Who has power over life and death (cf. Jn. 11:1-45)."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pgs. 114-115):

"If one of you sees, sometime, something unedifying and so much as goes on to pass it on and put it into the heart of another brother, in doing so you not only harm yourself but you harm your brother by putting one more little bit of knavery into his heart. Even if that brother has his mind set on prayer or some other noble activity, and the first arrives and furnishes him with something to prate about, he not only impedes what he ought to be doing, but brings a temptation on him. There is nothing graver or more deadly than this doing harm, not only to himself but also to his neighbor."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 56):

"When you are insulted by someone or humiliated, guard against angry thoughts, lest they arouse a feeling of irritation, and so cut you off from love and place you in the realm of hatred. You should know that you have been greatly benefited when you have suffered deeply because of some insult or indignity; for by means of the indignity self-esteem has been driven out of you."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg.114):

"Self-indulgence takes many forms. A man may be self-indulgent in speech, in touch, in sight. From self-indulgence a man comes to idle speech and worldly talk, to buffoonery and cracking indecent jokes. There is self-indulgence in touching without necessity, making mocking signs with the hands, pushing for a place, snatching up something for oneself, approaching someone else shamelessly. All these things come from not having the fear of God in the soul and from these a man comes little by little to perfect contempt."


From St. Antony the Great (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers; Cistercian Publications pg. 2):

"When Abba Anthony thought about the depths of the judgments of God, he asked, 'Lord, how is it that some die when they are young, while others drag on to extreme old age? Why are there those who are poor and those who are rich? Why do wicked men prosper and why are the just in need?' He heard a voice answering him, 'Antony, keep your attention on yourself; these things are according to the judgment of God, and it is not to your advantage to know anything about them.'" St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pgs. 112-113):

"When a man is worthy to turn away from evil and is keen to rest with God and to do good, battles with the enemy come swiftly upon him. Henceforth he has to compete, to labor, to be ground down; not only does he fear to turn back toward evil but hopes for the reward of good. As he is being attacked, fighting with weapons and with his fists, he does good, but with much trouble and exhaustion. But when assistance from God is generated in him and afterwards he begins to take on a certain stability in his pursuit of what is good, then he is in sight of rest, then he steps forward towards peace, then he knows from experience the struggle of war and the joy and happiness of peace; and for the rest he ardently desires it and is keen to run in pursuit of it. And finally he obtains it, so that he possesses it and builds it into himself. And what is more fortunate than the soul of one who is worthy to attain to this measure? Such a man attains the measure of a son."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies: Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 162-163):

"'Behold, you shall conceive', the blessed Gabriel said, 'and bring forth a son' (Lk. 1:31). Continuing as you are now with your virginity inviolate, you shall conceive a child and bear the Son of the Highest. Isaiah foresaw this many years before and prophesied, 'Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son' (Isa. 7:14), and, 'I went unto the prophetess' (Isa. 8:3). In what way did the Prophet go to the Prophetess? In the same way the Archangel now came to her. What the Archangel now saw, the Prophet foresaw and foretold. That the Virgin was a prophetess with the gift of prophecy, is proved to all by her hymn to God in the Gospel (Lk. 1:46-55)."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pgs. 109-110):

"St. John in one of his epistles says, 'Perfect love drives out fear' (I Jn. 4:18). What does the holy man signify to us by this? What sort of love and fear is he talking about? The psalmist says, 'Fear the Lord all you who love Him' (Ps. 34:9), and we find many similar sayings in Holy Scripture. If, therefore, the saints who so love Him feared Him, how can he say, 'Love casts out fear'? St. John wishes to show us that there are two kinds of fear: One preliminary, the other perfect; the one found in beginners ? as someone called it 'of the devout'; the other in those perfected in holiness, of those having arrived at true love. One forms a desire of God through fear of condemnation; this is the starting point. His starting point is not 'what is good' but the fear of torments. Another forms desire for God because he loves God Himself, loves Him and knows what is acceptable to God. Such a man is goodness itself, knowing what it is to be with God. See! This is the man who has true love, which St. John calls perfect love, and that love leads a man on to perfect fear. Such a man fears and keeps to God's will, not for fear of punishment, not to avoid condemnation, but because he has tasted the sweetness of being with God; he fears he may fall away from it; he fears to be turned away from it. This is perfect fear which is generated from perfect love and throws out preliminary fear."


From St. Cyril of Jerusalem (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 33):

"Of God we speak not all we ought (for that is known only to Him), but so much as the capacity of human nature has received, and so much as our weakness can bear. For we explain not what God is but candidly confess that we have not exact knowledge concerning Him. For in what concerns God to confess our ignorance is the best knowledge. Therefore 'magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His Name together' (Ps. 34:3), - all of us in common, for one alone is powerless; nay rather, even if we be all united together, we shall yet not do it as we ought. Even if all the Church throughout the world, both that which now is, and that which shall be, should meet together, they would not be able to worthily sing the praises of their Shepherd."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 106):

"A man needs to satisfy his conscience towards God by not despising God's precepts, even those concerning things which are not seen by men or those things for which one is not accountable to men. For example, did he neglect his prayers? If an evil thought came into his heart, was he vigilant and did he keep control of himself or did he entertain it? He sees his neighbor saying or doing something; does he suspect it is evil and condemn him? To put it simply, all the hidden things that happen inside us, things which no one sees except God and our conscience, we need to take account of. This is what I mean by our conscience towards God."


From St. Ignatius of Antioch (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 62):

"The Lord does nothing without the Father, for He says, 'I can do nothing of Myself' (Jn. 5:30), so do you, neither presbyter, nor deacon, nor layman, do anything without the bishop. Nor let anything appear commendable to you which is contrary to his judgment. For every such thing is sinful, and opposed to the will of God. Do come into the same place for prayer. Let there be one common supplication, one mind, one hope, with faith unblameable in Christ Jesus, than which nothing is more excellent. All of you, as one man, run together into the temple of God, to one altar, to one Jesus Christ, the High Priest of the unbegotten God."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 105):

"The prophet bewails Ephraim and says, 'Ephraim prevails against his adversary and treads down judgment' (Hos. 10:11). The adversary here is 'conscience.' Here the Gospel says, 'Come to an agreement with your adversary while you are on the way with him, lest he deliver you to the judge and the judge to the warders and they put you in chains. Truly, I say to you, you shall not leave the place until you have paid the last farthing' (Mt. 5:25-26). Why does he call conscience the adversary? It is called the adversary because it always opposes our evil desires and tells what we ought to do and we do not, or what we ought not to do and we do; and it accuses us, and so conscience is called our adversary, and our Lord admonishes, 'Come to an agreement with your adversary while you are on the way;' for the 'way' as St. Basil says, is this world."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 111):

"To brood on evil makes the heart brazen; but to destroy evil through self-restraint and hope breaks the heart. This breaking of the heart makes it gentle and deeply penitent. However, there is a breaking of the heart which is violent and harmful, shattering it completely."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 104):

"When God created man, He breathed into him something divine, as it were a hot and bright spark added to reason, which lit up the mind and showed him the difference between right and wrong. This is called the conscience, which is the law of his nature. This is compared to the well which Jacob dug and which the Philistines filled up (cf. Gen. 26:15). That is, to this law of conscience adhered the patriarchs and all the holy men of old before the written law, and they were pleasing to God. But when this law was buried and trodden underfoot by men through the onset of sin, we needed a written law, we needed the holy prophets, we needed the instruction of our master, Jesus Christ, to reveal it and raise it up and bring to life through the observance of the Commandments that buried spark. It is in our power either to bury it again or, if we obey it, to allow it to shine and illuminate us."


From St. John of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 338):

"Gluttony should be destroyed by self-control; unchastity by desire for God and longing for the blessings held in store; avarice by compassion for the poor; anger by goodwill and love for all men; worldly dejection by spiritual joy; listlessness by patience, perseverance and offering thanks to God; self-esteem by doing good in secret and by praying constantly with a contrite heart; and pride by not judging or despising anyone in the manner of the boastful Pharisee (cf. Lk. 18:11-12), and by considering oneself the least of all men."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 204):

"'Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied' (Mt. 5:6). It is nothing bodily, nothing earthly, that this hunger, this thirst seeks for: but it desires to be satiated with the good food of righteousness, and wants to be admitted to all the deepest mysteries, and be filled with the Lord Himself. Happy the mind that craves this food and is eager for such drink: which it certainly would not seek for if it had never tasted of its sweetness. But hearing the Prophet's spirit saying to him: 'taste and see that the Lord is sweet' (Ps. 34:8); it has received some portion of sweetness from on high, and blazed out into love of the purest pleasure, so that spurning all things temporal, it is seized with the utmost eagerness for eating and drinking righteousness, and grasps the truth of that first commandment which says: 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your strength' (Mk. 12:30): since to love God is nothing else but to love righteousness."


From St. Diadochos of Photiki (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 260):

"Only the Holy Spirit can purify the intellect, for unless a greater power comes and overthrows the despoiler, what he has taken captive will never be set free (cf. Lk. 11:21-22). In every way, therefore, and especially through peace of soul, we must make ourselves a dwelling-place for the Holy Spirit."


From St. Cyril of Jerusalem (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 26):

"The God of the two Testaments is One, Who in the Old Testament foretold the Christ Who appeared in the New; Who by the Law and the Prophets led us to Christ's school. 'For before faith came, we were kept in ward under the Law,' and, 'the law has been our tutor to bring us to Christ' (Gal. 3:24). And if you ever hear any of the heretics speaking evil of the Law or the Prophets, answer in the sound of the Savior's voice, saying, Jesus 'came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it' (Mt. 5:17)."


From St. Basil the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VIII; Eerdmans pg. 297):

"Scripture continually assigns 'seven' as the number of the remission of sins. 'How often,' it is asked, 'shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Till seven times?' Then comes the Lord's answer, 'I say not to you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven' (Mt. 18:21-22). Our Lord did not vary the number, but multiplied the seven, and so fixed the limit of the forgiveness. After seven years the Hebrew used to be freed from slavery (cf. Dt. 5:12). Seven weeks of years used in old times to make the famous Jubilee (cf. Lev. 25:10), in which the land rested, debts were remitted, slaves were set free, and, as it were, a new life began over again, the old life from age to age being in a sense completed at the number seven."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 55):

"He who has realized love for God in his heart is tireless in his pursuit of the Lord his God, and bears every hardship, reproach and insult nobly, never thinking the least evil of anyone."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 114):

"Just as a thought is made manifest through actions and words, so is our future reward through the impulses of the heart. Thus a merciful heart will receive mercy, while a merciless heart will receive the opposite."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 95):

"In the mercy of God, the little thing done with humility will enable us to be found in the same place as the saints who have labored much and been true servants of God."


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 515):

"God planted the vineyard of the human race when at the first He formed Adam and chose the fathers; then He let it out to husbandmen when He established the Mosaic dispensation. He hedged it round about, that is, He gave particular instructions with regard to their worship. He built a tower, that is, He chose Jerusalem, He dug a winepress, that is, He prepared a receptacle of the prophetic Spirit. And thus did He send the prophets prior to the transmigration to Babylon, and after that event others again in greater number than the former, to seek the fruits of righteousness. But last of all He sent to those unbelievers His own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Whom the wicked husbandmen cast out of the vineyard when they had slain Him. Wherefore the Lord God did give it up to other husbandmen, who render the fruits in their season, - the beautiful elect tower being raised everywhere. For the illustrious Church is now everywhere, and everywhere is the winepress dug because those who do receive the Spirit are everywhere (cf. Mt. 21:33-46)."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pgs. 250-251):

"Begin and end the examination of your deeds with a diligent prayer, asking the Lord to give you eyes to see the innermost depths of your heart, for 'the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?' (Jer. 17:9). No one but God, Who is 'greater than our heart, and knows all things' (I Jn. 3:20). 'For You, even You only, know the hearts of all the children of men' (I Kgs. 8:39). There are wrong feelings deeply hidden in the heart; at times they slip into a man's actions, at times they are not even noticed and pollute them with the stench of sin. So pray with David the Prophet: 'Cleanse me from secret faults' (Ps. 19:12)."


From St. Theognostos (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pgs. 373-374):

"Having received from God a propitiation for your offenses, glorify Him who is long-suffering and forgiving, and make every effort to avoid deliberate sin. For though your sins may be forgiven daily until your death, it would be foolish of you to sin glibly with full knowledge of what you are doing. None the less, if you drive off despair with hopefulness and supplicate boldly and insistently, your many sins will be forgiven you. Then, in the age to be, as a debtor you too will love the God who is beyond all goodness and yet has compassion for you."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pgs. 88-89):

"A man takes a walk and sees something. His thoughts say to him, 'Go over there and investigate,' and he says to his thoughts, 'No! I won't,' and he cuts off his desire. Again he finds someone gossiping, and his thoughts say to him, 'You go and have a word with them,' and he cuts off his desire, and does not speak. Or again his thoughts say to him, 'Go up and ask the cook what's cooking?' and he does not go, but cuts off his desire. Then he sees something else, and his thoughts say to him, 'Go down and ask, who brought it?' and he does not ask. A man denying himself in this way comes little by little to form a habit of it, so that from denying himself in little things, he begins to deny himself in great without the least trouble. Finally he comes not to have any of these extraneous desires, but whatever happens to him he is satisfied with it, as if it were the very thing he wanted. And so, not desiring to satisfy his own desires, he finds himself always doing what he wants to. For not having his own special fancies, he fancies every single thing that happens to him. Thus he is found to be without special attachments, and from this state of tranquility he comes to the state of holy indifference."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 60):

"Keep in mind God's precept that states, 'Judge not, and you will not be judged' (Lk. 6:37), and in no way meddle in the lives of others."


From St. Seraphim of Sarov (The Little Russian Philokalia: Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pg. 42):

"Can one, seeing the sun with one's sensuous eyes, not rejoice? But how much more joyful it is when the mind sees with its inner eye the Sun of justice, Christ! Then in truth one rejoices with angelic joy; of this the Apostle too said: 'Our conversation is in heaven' (Phil. 3:20)."


From St. Hesychios the Priest (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 167):

"We should of our own free choice gladly cut off our whole will through obedience. In this way, with God's help, we shall become to some degree tractable and free from self-will. It is good to acquire this art, for then our bile will not be aroused and we shall not excite our incensive power unnaturally and uncontrollably, and so be deprived of communion with God in our unseen warfare. If we do not voluntarily cut off our self-will, it will become enraged with those who try to compel us to cut it off; and then our incensive power will become abusively aggressive and so destroy that knowledge of the warfare which we have gained only after great effort. The incensive power by nature is prone to be destructive. If it is turned against demonic thoughts it destroys them; but if it is roused against people it then destroys the good thoughts that are in us. In other words, the incensive power, although God-given as a weapon or a bow against evil, can be turned the other way and used to destroy good thoughts as well, for it destroys whatever it is directed against."


From St. Basil the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VIII; Eerdmans pg. 144):

"'If the righteous turns away and commits iniquity, I will not remember the righteousness which he did before; in his sin he shall die' (Ezek. 18:24). Learn, then, brother, that it is not he who begins well who is perfect. It is he who ends well who is approved in God's sight. Give then no sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids that you may be delivered 'as a roe from the net and a bird from the snare' (Prov. 6:5 LXX). For, behold, you are passing through the midst of snares; you are treading on the top of a high wall whence a fall is perilous to the faller; wherefore do not immediately attempt extreme discipline; above all things beware of confidence in yourself, lest you fall from a height of discipline through want of training."


From St. John Cassian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pgs. 283-284):

"When we say that human efforts cannot of themselves secure perfection without the aid of God, we thus insist that God's mercy and grace are bestowed only upon those who labor and exert themselves, and are granted to them who will and run, according to that which is sung in the person of God in the eighty-ninth Psalm: 'I have laid help upon one that is mighty, and have exalted one chosen out of My people' (Ps. 89:20). For we say, in accordance with our Savior's words, that it is given to them that ask, and opened to them that knock, and found by them that seek (cf. Mt. 7:7); but that the asking, the seeking, the knocking on our part are insufficient unless the mercy of God gives what we ask, and opens when we knock, and enables us to find when we seek. For He is at hand to bestow all these things, if only the opportunity is given to Him by our good will."


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pgs. 449-450):

"As God patiently suffered Jonah to be swallowed by the whale, not that he should be swallowed up and perish altogether, but that, having been cast out again, he might be the more subject to God, and might glorify Him the more Who had conferred upon him such an unhoped for deliverance, and might bring the Ninevites to a lasting repentance, so that they should be converted to the Lord, Who would deliver them from death, having been struck with awe by that portent which had been wrought in Jonah's case, as the Scripture says of them, "And they returned each from his evil way, and the unrighteousness which was in their hands, saying, Who knows if God will repent, and turn away His anger from us, and we shall not perish?" (Jon. 3:8-9) ? so also, from the beginning did God permit man to be swallowed up by the great whale, who was the author of transgression, not that he should perish altogether when so engulfed; but, arranging and preparing the plan of salvation, which was accomplished by the Word, through the sign of Jonah, for those who held the same opinion as Jonah regarding the Lord, and who confessed, and said, 'I am a servant of the Lord, and I worship the Lord God of heaven, Who has made the sea and the dry land' (Jon. 1:9)."


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pgs. 83-84):

"By the keeping of the Commandments the soul is purified and the mind too is enlightened, and they start functioning as was intended. 'The command of the Lord gives light and enlightens the eyes' (Ps. 19:8)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 546):

"When you pray either aloud or to yourself for others ? for instance, for the members of your household or for strangers, even though they may not have asked you to do so ? pray for them with the same ardor and zeal as you would pray for yourself. Remember the commandment of the law: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' (Lev. 19:18). Observe this rule upon all occasions."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 226):

"Every genuine confession humbles the soul. When it takes the form of thanksgiving, it teaches the soul that it has been delivered by the grace of God."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 461):

"If you offer fasting with humility and with mercy, your bones, as Isaiah said, shall be fat, and you shall be like a well-watered garden (cf. Isa. 58:11). So, then, your soul shall grow fat and its virtues also by the spiritual richness of fasting, and your fruits shall be multiplied by the fertility of your mind, so that there may be in you the inebriation of soberness, like that cup of which the Prophet says: 'Your cup which inebriates, how excellent it is' (Ps. 23:5 LXX)!"


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 508):

"Behold my brothers, how much a fast can do, and in what manner the law commands us to fast. It is required that not only with the body should we fast, but with the soul. Now the soul is humbled when it does not follow wicked opinions, but feeds on becoming virtues. For virtues and vices are the food of the soul and it can eat either of these two meats, and incline to either of the two, according to its own will. If it is bent toward virtue, it will be nourished by virtues, by righteousness, by temperance, by meekness and by fortitude. Such was the case with our Lord, Who said, 'My food is to do the will of My Father Who is in heaven' (Jn. 4:34). But if it is not thus with the soul, and it inclines downwards, it is then nourished by nothing but sin."


St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 81):

"Listen to what the Lord Himself tells us: 'Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you shall find rest for your souls' (Mt. 11:29). There you have it in a nutshell: He has taught us the root and cause of all evils and also the remedy for it, leading to all good. He shows us that pretensions to superiority cast us down and that it is impossible to obtain mercy except by the contrary, that is to say, by humility. Self-elevation begets contempt and disobedience begets perdition whereas humility begets obedience and the saving of souls. And I call that real humility which is not humble in word and outward appearance but is deeply planted in the heart; for this is what He meant when He said that 'I am meek and humble of heart.'"


From St. Dorotheos of Gaza (Discourses and Sayings; Cistercian Publications pg. 80):

"Sin is one thing but instinctive reaction or passion is another. These are our reactions: pride, anger, sexual indulgence, hate, greed, and so on. The corresponding sins are the gratification of these passions: when a man acts and brings into corporeal reality those works which were suggested to him by his desires. It is impossible to exist without desires arising, but not to give way to them is by no means impossible."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 61):

"When the intellect begins to advance in its love for God, the demon of blasphemy starts to tempt it, suggesting thoughts such as no man but only the devil, their father, could invent. He does this out of envy, so that the man of God, in his despair at thinking such thoughts, no longer dares to soar up to God in his accustomed prayer. But the demon does not further his own ends by this means. On the contrary, he makes us more steadfast. For through his attacks and our retaliation we grow more experienced and genuine in our love for God. May his sword enter his own heart and may his bows be broken (cf. Ps. 37:15)."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pgs. 164-165):

"The man who practices Christ's commandments will no longer be alarmed by any of the devil's tricks. On the contrary, he will do whatever accords with God's will joyfully and without hindrance, strengthened by faith and assisted by God in Whom he has believed. As the Lord Himself has said, 'All things are possible for the person who believes' (Mk. 9:23). For it is not he who fights the enemy, but God, Who watches over him on account of his faith."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pgs. 96-97):

"'Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy' (Mt. 5:7). The merciful person is he who gives to others what he has himself received from God, whether it be money, or food, or strength, a helpful word, a prayer, or anything else that he has through which he can express his compassion for those in need. At the same time he considers himself a debtor, since he has received more than he is asked to give. By Christ's grace, both in the present and in the world to come, before the whole of creation he is called merciful, just as God is called merciful (cf. Lk. 6:36)."


From Nikitas Stithatos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 162):

"What brings us to perfection? An ingrained faith in God, the 'faith that makes real the things for which we hope' (Heb. 11:1), the faith whereby Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain and was commended as righteous (cf. Heb 11:4). It is such faith that fills those assiduous in the search for truth with great aspiration for the exalted gifts of God, and leads them to the spiritual knowledge of created beings; and it pours into their hearts the inexhaustible treasures of the Spirit."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 56):

"Just as the thought of fire does not warm the body, so faith without love does not actualize the light of spiritual knowledge in the soul."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 114):

"Think nothing and do nothing without a purpose directed to God. For to journey without direction is wasted effort."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg, 374):

"When a blind man gradually recovers his sight and notices the appearance of a man and bit by bit ascertains what he is (cf. Mk. 8:24-25), it is not the features that undergo transformation or take a new shape. Rather, as the vision of that man's eyes becomes clearer, he sees his features. It is as though they wholly imprint themselves on his vision and penetrate through it, impressing and engraving themselves, as on a tablet, on the mind and memory of the soul. Even so You Yourself, O Lord, became visible to me when You, by the clear light of the Holy Spirit, had entirely cleansed my mind."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 320):

"Being bountiful and full of love, God awaits with great patience the repentance of every sinner, and He celebrates the return of the sinner with celestial rejoicing. But when someone sees this generosity and patience, and how God awaits repentance and so does not punish sins one by one, he may neglect the commandment and make such generosity an excuse for indifference, adding sin to sin, offence to offence, laziness to laziness. In this way he will reach the furthest limits of sin, and fall into such transgression that he is not able to recover himself. On the contrary, sinking into the lowest depths and finally committing himself to the devil, he destroys himself. That is what happened in the time of Noah: people had surrendered so unrestrainedly to the impulses of evil, piling up such a load of sin on themselves and showing not the least sign of repentance, that the whole earth became corrupt (cf. Gen 6:5)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 56):

"You should know that you have been greatly benefited when you have suffered deeply because of some insult or indignity; for by means of the indignity self-esteem has been driven out of you."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. II; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press; pgs. 5-6):

"Since illnesses are cured by their opposite remedies, as we had been put to death by the wicked counsel of the evil one, we were made alive again by the good counsel of the good Lord. The deadly counselor had at his disposal pleasure, glory and comfort, which enchanted mankind and dragged it down. So the Counselor of true life Himself led the way along the strait and narrow way which leads to life above and guided us in it. 'Strive,' He says, 'to enter in at the strait gate' (Lk. 13:24), and 'strait and narrow is the way that leads to life, for wide and broad is the way that leads to destruction' (cf. Mt. 7:13-14). Elsewhere He warns more clearly against that path, saying, 'Woe to you who are rich! Woe to you who are full! Woe to you when all men shall speak well of you' (cf. Lk. 6:24-26), thus declaring wretched all lovers of glory, pleasure and money."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 113):

"Censure from men afflicts the heart; but if patiently accepted it generates purity."


From St. Ephraim the Syrian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XIII; Eerdmans pg. 309):

"That Power Which may not be handled came down and clothed itself in members that may be touched; that the needy may draw near to Him, that in touching His human nature they may discern His Godhead. For that dumb man whom the Lord healed with the fingers of the body, discerned that He had approached his ears and touched his tongue (Mk. 7:32-37); nay, with his fingers that may be touched, he touched Godhead, that may not be touched; when it was loosing the string of his tongue, and opening the clogged doors of his ears. For the Architect of the body and Artificer of the flesh came to him, and with His gentle voice pierced without pain his thickened ears. And his mouth which was closed up, that it could not give birth to a word, gave birth to praise to Him Who made its barrenness fruitful in the birth of words. He, then, Who gave to Adam that he should speak at once without teaching, Himself gave to the dumb that they should speak easily, tongues that are learned with difficulty."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 55):

"God, Who is by nature good and dispassionate, loves all men equally as His handiwork. But He glorifies the virtuous man because in his will he is united to God. At the same time, in His goodness He is merciful to the sinner and by chastening him in this life brings him back to the path of virtue. Similarly, a man of good and dispassionate judgment also loves all men equally."


From St. Gregory the Theologian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 348):

"The Creator-Word, determining to produce a single living being out of both the visible and the invisible creations, fashions Man; and taking a body from already existing matter, and placing in it a Breath taken from Himself (cf. Gen 2:7) which the Word knew to be an intelligent soul and the image of God, as a sort of second world. He placed him, great in littleness on the earth; a new Angel, a mingled worshipper, fully initiated into the visible creation, but only partially into the intellectual; King of all upon earth, but subject to the King above; earthly and heavenly; temporal and yet immortal; visible and yet intellectual; halfway between greatness and lowliness; in one person combining flesh and spirit; spirit, because of the favor bestowed on him; flesh, because of the height to which he had been raised; the one that he might continue to live and praise his Benefactor, the other that he might suffer, and by suffering be put in remembrance, and corrected if he became proud of his greatness. A living creature trained here, and then moved elsewhere; and, to complete the mystery, deified by its inclination to God."


From St. Basil the Great (as quoted in The Lament of Eve by Joanna Manley; Monastery Books pg. 1):

"'Let Us make man according to Our image and likeness' (Gen. 1:26). From this, begin to know yourself. These words had not yet been applied to any of the creations. Light appeared, and the commandment was simple. God said, 'Let there be light.' The firmament came into being and there was no deliberation concerning its coming to be. The luminaries came to be without any previous deliberation regarding them. The sea and the boundless ocean: a command and they were brought into being. The wild beasts: one word and they came to be. At this point, man does not yet exist, and there is deliberation regarding man. God did not say as He did for others, 'Let there be man!' Note the dignity befitting you. He has not initiated your origin by a command, but there has been counsel in God to determine how to introduce into life this living being worthy of honor. 'Let us make man,' the wise One deliberates, the artisan ponders. Do you not fall short of His art, and does not He, with care offer to His masterpiece its intended achievement: perfection and exactitude?"


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 337):

"It often happens that Satan will insidiously commune with you in your heart and say: 'Think of the evil you have done; your soul is full of lawlessness, you are weighed down by many grievous sins.' Do not let him deceive you when he does this and do not be led to despair on the pretext that you are being humble. You should answer: "I have God's assurance, for He says: "I desire, not the sinner's death, but that he should return through repentance and live" (Ezek. 33:11).' What was the purpose of His descent to earth except to save sinners, to bring light to those in darkness and life to the dead?"


From St. John Cassian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XI; Eerdmans pg. 430):

"However much human weakness may strive, it cannot come up to the future reward, nor by its efforts so take off from Divine grace that it should not remain a free gift. And therefore St. Paul bears witness that he had obtained the grade of the Apostolate by the grace of God, saying: 'By the grace of God I am what I am.' Yet also that he had responded to Divine grace, where he says: 'And His Grace in me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: and yet not I, but the Grace of God with me' (I Cor. 15:10). For when he says: 'I labored,' he shows the effort of his own will; when he says: 'yet not I, but the Grace of God,' he points out the value of Divine protection; when he says: 'with me,' he affirms that it co-operates with him when he was not idle or careless, but working and making effort."


From John of Scythopolis (as quoted in Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximos the Confessor; Ignatius Press pg. 59):

"Through the higher orders, which stand nearer God, the lower orders participate in the divine gifts of grace, like overflowing basins of a fountain: the basin closest to the source fill first with what is poured into them, then they overflow and pour out their contents into the lower basins, in proportion to the number of vessels and to their size, whether small or large"


From St. Seraphim of Sarov (The Little Russian Philokalia: Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pgs. 25-26):

"True hope seeks the Kingdom of God alone and is convinced that everything earthly that is necessary for the transitory life will unfailingly be given. The heart cannot have peace until it acquires this hope. It gives peace to the heart and brings joy into it. Concerning this hope St. Luke says of Symeon: 'And it was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ' (Lk. 2:26). And he did not kill this hope, but awaited the desired Savior of the world and, joyfully taking Him into his arms, said: 'Lord now let your servant depart in peace;' that is, into the Kingdom which he desired, for his hope had been obtained: The Lord Jesus Christ."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Writings; Paulist Press pgs. 287-288): "The King Himself will come, it says, and 'have them sit at table and will serve them' (Lk. 12:37). What this indicates is a certain common and harmonious sharing by the saints in the good things of God, an 'assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven and the spirits of just men made perfect' (Heb. 12:23) and filled up by everything good. We must think of the leading to table as the rest from numerous labors, as a life without toil, as a commerce with God in light and in the land of the living, as a fullness of sacred joy, as the unstinted supply of everything blessed and good by means of which one is replete with happiness. It is Jesus Himself Who gladdens them and leads them to table, Who serves them, Who grants them everlasting rest, Who bestows and pours out on them the fullness in beauty."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 91):

"'Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord' (Heb. 12:14), Why did he say 'strive'? Because it is not possible for us to become holy and to be saints in an hour! We must therefore progress from modest beginnings toward holiness and purity. Even were we to spend a thousand years in this life we should never perfectly attain it. Rather we must always struggle for it every day, as if mere beginners."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 427):

"Bear any illness bravely, and do not merely not become despondent, but on the contrary, rejoice, if you can, in your illness. You would ask me what there is for you to rejoice at when you are racked all over with pain? Rejoice that the Lord has sent you this temporary chastisement in order to cleanse your soul from sins. 'For whom the Lord loves He chastens' (Heb. 12:6). Rejoice in the fact that now you are not gratifying those passions which you would have gratified had you been in good health; rejoice that you are bearing the cross of sickness, and that therefore you are treading the narrow and sorrowful way leading to the kingdom of heaven. Maladies in our eyes only appear painful, unpleasant and terrible. It is seldom that any one of us during the time of sickness represents to himself the profit which his illness brings to his soul; but in God's all wise and most merciful Providence, not a single malady remains without some profit to our soul. Sicknesses in the hands of Providence are the same as bitter medicines for our soul, curing its passions, its bad habits and inclinations. Not a single malady sent to us shall return void. Therefore, we must keep in view the utility of sicknesses, in order that we may bear them more easily and more calmly."


From St. Gregory of Nyssa (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. V; Eerdmans Pg. 412):

"Abraham and the patriarchs, while they had the desire to see the promised good things, and ceased not to seek the heavenly country are yet even now in the condition of hoping for that grace, 'God having provided some better thing for us that they without us should not be made perfect' (Heb. 11:40). If they, then, bear the delay who by faith only and by hope saw the good things 'afar off' and 'embraced them' (Heb. 11:11), placing their certainty of the enjoyment of the things for which they hoped in the fact that they 'judged Him faithful Who has promised' (Heb. 11:11), what ought most of us to do, who have not, it may be, a hold upon the better hope from the character of our lives?"


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 79):

"We must by every means humble our hearts and subdue our proud intellect, lest we should be like the contemporaries of the prophets, who looked on them only as sweet-voiced singers, and nothing more; they did not wish to fulfill their commands, they even despised, persecuted, beat and killed them; lest we should be like those, by whom 'no prophet is accepted in his own country' (Lk. 4:24)."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 116):

"One commandment is higher than another; consequently one level of faith is more firmly founded than another. There is faith 'that comes by hearing' (Rom. 10:17) and there is faith that 'is the substance of things hoped for' (Heb. 11:1)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 55):

"If you make provision for the desires of the flesh and bear a grudge against your neighbor on account of something transitory, you worship the creature instead of the Creator."


From Blessed Theophylact (Explanation of the Gospel of St. Mark; Chrysostom Press pgs. 39-40):

" 'Take heed,' the Lord says, 'what you hear' (Mk. 4:24), let nothing of what I have said slip away from you. For 'with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you;' that is, whatever degree of attention you give Me, by that same degree will you receive benefit. For if a listener pays the utmost attention, God will give to him in return great benefit. But if he is lax, the degree of benefit will likewise be less. He who has eagerness and zeal will receive benefit. But from him who does not have eagerness and zeal, even what he thinks he has will be taken away. Even the small spark of zeal which he used to have is extinguished by laziness, just as it is kindled by attention."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 347):

"The unbelieving person 'when affliction or persecution arises is offended' (Mk. 4:17). For not being confirmed in the faith, and having his regard towards temporal things, he cannot resist the difficulties which arise from afflictions."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 54):

"The person who loves God cannot help loving every man as himself, even though he is grieved by the passions of those who are not yet purified. But when they amend their lives, his delight is indescribable and knows no bounds."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 112):

"At the times when you remember God, increase your prayers, so that when you forget Him, the Lord may remind you."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 133):

"When your soul is pricked by compunction and gradually changed, it becomes a fountain flowing with rivers of tears and compunction. If any one of you ever happens to communicate with tears, whether you weep before the Liturgy or in the course of the Divine Liturgy, or at the very time that you receive the Divine Gifts, and does not desire to do this for the rest of his days and nights, it will avail him nothing to have wept merely once. It is not this alone that at once purifies us and makes us worthy; it is daily compunction that does not cease until death."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 20):

"Illumination by the Spirit is the endless end of every virtue."


From St. Philotheos of Sinai (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 29):

"If evil thoughts have not been uprooted from the heart, they are bound to manifest themselves in evil actions."


From St, Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 53):

"If everything that exists was made by God and for God, and God is superior to the things made by Him, he who abandons what is superior and devotes Himself to what is inferior shows that he values things made by God more than God Himself."


From St. Augustine (The Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers: First Series Vol. II; Eerdmans pg. 269):

"Emotions and affections, when they are exercised in a becoming way, follow the guidance of right reason; who will dare to say that they are diseases or vicious passions? Even the Lord Himself, when He condescended to lead a human life in the form of a slave, had no sin whatever, and yet exercised these emotions where He judged they should be exercised. For as there was in Him a true human body and a true human soul, so also was there true human emotion. When, therefore, we read in the Gospel that the hard-heartedness of the Jews moved Him to sorrowful indignation (cf. Mk. 3:5), that when about to raise Lazarus He even shed tears (cf. Jn. 11:35), that He earnestly desired to eat the Passover with His disciples (cf. Lk. 22:15), that as His passion drew near His soul was sorrowful (cf. Mt. 26:38), these emotions are certainly not falsely ascribed to Him. But as He became man when it pleased Him, so, in the grace of His definite purpose, when it pleased Him He experienced those emotions in His human soul."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 330):

"The Word, being the Image of the Father and immortal, took the form of the servant, and as man underwent for us death in His flesh, that thereby He might offer Himself for us through death to the Father; therefore also, as man, He is said because of us and for us to be highly exalted, that as by His death we all died in Christ, so again in Christ Himself we might be highly exalted, being raised from the dead, and ascending into heaven, 'where the forerunner Jesus is for us now entered, not into the figure of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us' (Heb. 6:20; 9:24)."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 111):

"Do not attempt to explain something difficult with contentiousness, but with patience, prayer and unwavering hope."


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 427):

"That wine at the wedding feast (cf. Jn. 2:1-11), which was produced by God in a vineyard and which was first consumed, was good. None of those who drank of it found fault with it; and the Lord partook of it also. But that wine was better which the Word made from water, on the moment, and simply for the use of those who had been called to the marriage. For although the Lord had the power to supply wine to those feasting independently of any created substance, He did not adopt this course; but, making water wine, He gave drink to those who had been invited to the marriage; showing that the God Who established the waters was He who in these last times bestowed upon mankind by His Son the favor of drink: the Incomprehensible acting thus by means of the comprehensible, and the Invisible by the visible."


From Ilias the Presbyter (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 56):

"Apt silence bridles anger; moderation in food bridles mindless desire; and the single-phrased Jesus Prayer bridles unruly thought."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 187):

"He who has received a gift from God, and is ungrateful for it, is already on the way to losing it."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pg. 100):

"The Son gives what belongs properly to Him alone and exists by nature within Him as a right, setting it out in common, as if making the matter an image of the loving kindness inherent within and of His love for the world. There was no other way for us who have borne the image of the man of dust to escape corruption, unless the beauty of the image of the Man of Heaven is imprinted on us through our having been called to sonship (cf. I Cor. 15:49). For having become partakers of Him through the Spirit (cf. Heb. 3:14; 6:4), we were sealed into likeness to Him and mount up to the archetypal form of the image, in accordance with which divine Scripture says we were also made (cf. Gen. 1:27). For scarcely do we thus recover the ancient beauty of our nature, and are conformed to that divine nature, than we become superior to the evils that arose from the Fall."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series; Eerdmans pg. 577):

"How can it be other than right to worship the Body of the Lord, all-holy and all-reverend as it is, announced as it was by the archangel Gabriel, formed by the Holy Spirit, and made the Vesture of the Word? It was at any rate a bodily hand that the Word stretched out to raise her that was sick of a fever (Mk. 1:31): a human voice that He uttered to raise Lazarus from the dead (Jn. 11:43); and, once again, stretching out His hands upon the Cross, He overthrew the prince of the power of the air, that now works (Eph. 2:2) in the sons of disobedience, and made the way clear for us into the heavens."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 255):

"Christ, the Son of God, the Most Holy God, 'is not ashamed to call us sinners brethren' (Heb. 2:11); therefore do not at least be ashamed to call brothers and sisters poor, obscure, simple people, whether they be your relatives according to the flesh or not, do not be proud in your intercourse with them, do not despise them, for we are all actually brothers in Christ ? we were all born of water and the Spirit in the baptismal font and became children of God; we are all called Christians, we are all nourished with the Body and Blood of the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the sacraments of the Church are celebrated over all of us, we all pray the Lord's prayer, equally calling God our Father."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pgs. 254-255):

"Every sin is a war against God. But - O infinite gift of God's love to men! - When we had fallen so low by having sinned against the Creator, when we had fallen from life into death, by turning away from God, our Life; when we had corrupted ourselves by sins, and when everlasting death threatened us ? God sent upon earth the Redeemer of the World, His own Only-begotten Son, in flesh like ours, to suffer for our offenses and thus cleanse us from sins, through repentance and faith in Him, and bring us again to His Father, from Whom we had fallen away. Let us value this, God's greatest benefit to us, and let us not 'neglect so great a salvation' (Heb. 2:3)! Let us constantly remember our sinful corruption, and the means of grace offered by the Church for our regeneration."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 148):

"Led into Bethlehem by the guidance of the star, the wise men "rejoiced with very great joy," as the evangelist has told us: "and entering the house, found the child with Mary, His mother; and falling down they worshipped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh" (Mt. 2:10-11). What wondrous faith of perfect knowledge, which was taught them not by earthly wisdom, but by the instruction of the Holy Spirit! Whence came it that these men, who had left their country without having seen Jesus, and had not noticed anything in His looks to enforce such systematic adoration, observed this method in offering their gifts? Unless it were that besides the appearance of the star, which attracted their bodily eyes, the more refulgent rays of truth taught their hearts that before they started on their toilsome road, they must understand that He was signified to Whom was owed in gold royal honor, in incense Divine adoration, in myrrh the acknowledgement of mortality. Such a belief and understanding no doubt, as far as the enlightenment of their faith went, might have been sufficient in themselves and have prevented their using their bodily eyes in inquiring into that which they had beheld with their mind's fullest gaze. But their sagacious diligence, persevering till they found the child, did good service for future peoples and for the men of our own time."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 188-189):

"Christ came for baptism partly out of obedience towards the One Who sent John. As He Himself said, 'Thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness' (Mt. 3:15). Other reasons were to make Himself known, to make a beginning of guiding us towards salvation, and to confirm to His followers, Who were baptized in accordance with His teaching and commandments, that the Holy Spirit is given in baptism, and that through the Holy Spirit baptism is made a cleansing remedy for the stains sunk deeply into us, because of having been born and living in the passions. Although Christ had no need of cleansing even as man, since He was born of a pure Virgin and lived completely without sin, He was purified for our sake, just as it was for our sake that He deigned to be born."


From St. John Cassian (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 86):

"The Gospel teaches us to cut off the roots of our sins and not merely their fruits. When we have dug the root of anger out of our heart, we will no longer act with hatred or envy. 'Whoever hates his brother is a murderer' (I Jn. 3:15), for he kills him with the hatred in his mind. The blood of a man who has been slain by the sword can be seen by men, but blood shed by the hatred in the mind is seen by God, Who rewards each man with punishment or a crown not only for his acts but for his thoughts and intentions as well."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Christ; SVS Press pgs. 103-104):

"If, as St. John says, 'he who is born of God does not sin, because his seed dwells in God, and he cannot sin' (I Jn. 3:9), and yet he who is born of water and Spirit is himself born of God (cf. I Jn. 3:5-6), then how are we who are born of God through baptism still able to sin? The manner of birth from God within us is two-fold: the one bestows the grace of adoption, which is entirely present in potency in those who are born of God; the other introduces, wholly by active exertion, that grace which deliberately reorients the entire free choice of the one being born of God toward the God Who gives birth. The first bears the grace, present in potency, through faith alone; but the second, beyond faith, also engenders in the knower the sublimely divine likeness of the One known, that likeness being effected precisely through knowledge. Therefore the first manner of birth is observed in some because their will, not yet fully detached from its propensity to the flesh, has yet to be wholly endowed with the Spirit by participation in the divine mysteries that are made known through active endeavor. The inclination to sin does not disappear as long as they will it. For the Spirit does not give birth to an unwilling will, but converts the willing toward deification."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pgs. 83-84):

"'The Spirit of God,' says Isaiah, 'will rest on Him' (Isa. 11:12). For in the beginning it was given to the first-fruits of our race, that is, to Adam. But he became careless about observing the commandment given to him, neglected what he had been instructed to do and sank into sin, with the result that the Spirit found nowhere to rest among men. For 'all have turned aside, together they have gone wrong; no one does good, not even one' (Rom. 3:12). Then the only-begotten Word of God became man, even though He did not cease being God. Since He was not consumed by sin even though He became as we are, the Holy Spirit rested once again on human nature, first on Him as the second first-fruits of our race, that it might also rest on us and remain henceforth dwelling in believers. It is thus that the divine John says that he saw the Spirit descend from heaven and remain on Christ (cf. Jn. 1:32)."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 240):

"Approval and gratitude are due not to the man who receives gifts but to Him Who bestows them. Yet by grace he who receives a gift may deserve approval because by his own choice he accepted what he did not have or, rather, because he is grateful to his Benefactor. And if he is not grateful, not only does he forfeit all approval, but he is self-condemned for his ingratitude as well."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pgs. 242-243):

"We cannot use our intelligence to think about God at the same time as we experience Him, or have an intellection of Him while we are perceiving Him directly. By 'think about God' I mean speculate about Him on the basis of an analogy between Him and created beings. By 'perceiving Him directly' I mean experiencing divine or supranatural realities through participation. By 'an intellection of Him' I mean the simple and unitary knowledge of God which is derived from created beings. What we have said is confirmed by the fact that, in general, our experience of a thing puts a stop to our thinking about it, and our direct perception of it supersedes our intellection of it. By 'experience' I mean spiritual knowledge actualized on a level that transcends all thought; and by 'direct perception' I mean a supra-intellective participation in what is known. Perhaps this is what St. Paul mystically teaches when he says, 'As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for speaking in tongues, this will cease; as for knowledge, it too will vanish' (I Cor 13:8); for he is clearly referring here to the knowledge gained by the intelligence through thought and intellection."


From St. Ephraim the Syrian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XIII; Eerdmans pg. 228):

"Glory to Him Who could never be measured by us! Our heart is too small for Him; yea our mind is too feeble. He makes foolish our littleness by the riches of His Wisdom. Glory to Him, Who lowered Himself, and asked (Lk. 2:46); that He might hear and learn that which He knew; that He might by His questions reveal the treasure of His helpful graces!"


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 116):

"We must hate avarice, self-esteem and sensual pleasure, as mothers of the vices and stepmothers of the virtues. Because of them we are commanded not to love 'the world' and 'the things that are in the world' (I Jn. 2:15); not so that we should hate God's creation through lack of discernment, but so that we should eliminate the occasions for these three passions."


From St. Augustine (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series Vol. II; Eerdmans pg. 270):

"He who thinks he lives without sin puts aside not sin, but pardon."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 396):

"Your treasure is wisdom, your treasure is chastity and righteousness, your treasure is a good understanding, such as was that treasure from which the Magi, when they worshipped the Lord brought forth gold, frankincense and myrrh (cf. Mt. 2:11); setting forth by gold the power of a king, venerating God by the frankincense, and by myrrh acknowledging the resurrection of the body. You too have this treasure if you look into yourself: 'For we have this treasure in earthen vessels' (II Cor. 4:7). You have gold which you can give, for God does not exact of you the precious gift of shining metal, but that gold which at the day of judgment the fire shall be unable to consume. Nor does He require precious gifts, but the good odor of faith, which the altars of your heart send forth and the disposition of a religious mind exhales."


From St. Augustine (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series Vol. II; Eerdmans pg. 195: "The flesh does not by its own virtue purify, but is purified by virtue of the Word by which it was assumed, when 'the Word became flesh and dwelt among us' (Jn. 1:14)."


From St. Gregory the Theologian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series; Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 345):

"Again the darkness is past; again Light is made; again Egypt is punished with darkness; again Israel is enlightened by a pillar (cf. Ex. 14:20). The people that sat in the darkness of ignorance, let it see the Great Light of full knowledge (cf. Isa. 9:6). Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new (cf. I Cor. 5:17). The letter gives way; the Spirit comes to the front. The shadows flee away; the Truth comes in upon them. Melchisedec is concluded (cf. Heb. 7:3). He that was without Mother becomes without Father (without Mother of His former state, without Father of His second). The laws of nature are upset; the world above must be filled. Christ commands it, let us not set ourselves against Him. O clap your hands together all you people (cf. Ps. 47:1), because to us a Child is born, and a Son given to us, Whose Government is upon His shoulder (for with it the Cross is raised up), and His Name is called The Angel of the Great Counsel of the Father (cf. Isa. 9:6)."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 277):

"What shall I say of John, of whom his holy mother testifies that, while he yet lay in her womb, he perceived in spirit the presence of his Lord, and leaped for joy, as we remember it to be written, his mother saying: 'For lo, as soon as the voice of the salutation entered my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy' (Lk. 1:44). Was he, then, who prophesied, in existence or not? Surely he was ? surely he was in being who worshipped his Maker; he was in being who spoke in his mother's womb. And so Elizabeth was filled with the spirit of her son, and Mary sanctified by the Spirit of hers, for thus you may find it recorded, that 'the babe leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit' (Lk. 1:41). Consider the proper force of each word. Elizabeth was indeed the first to hear the voice of Mary, but John was first to feel His Lord's gracious Presence. Sweet is the harmony of prophecy with prophecy, of woman with woman, of babe with babe. The women speak words of grace, the babes move hiddenly, and as their mothers approach one another, so do they engage in mysterious converse of love; and in a two-fold miracle, though in diverse degrees of honor, the mothers prophesy in the spirit of their little ones. Who, I ask, was it that performed this miracle? Was it not the Son of God, Who made the unborn to be?"


From St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent; Paulist Press pg. 203):

"It is not the self-critical who reveals his humility (for does not everyone have somehow to put up with himself?). Rather it is the man who continues to love the person who has criticized him."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 110):

"When reading the Holy Scriptures, he who is humble and engaged in spiritual work will apply everything to himself and not to someone else."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pgs. 134-135):

"There is another necessary reason as far as those on earth are concerned why the Word of God took flesh or became man. If He had not been born like us according to the flesh, if He had not partaken of the same elements as we do, He would not have delivered human nature from the fault we incurred in Adam, nor would He have warded off the decay from our bodies, nor would He have brought to an end the power of the curse which we say came upon the first woman. For it was said to her, 'in pain you shall bring forth children' (Gen. 3:16). But human nature, which fell sick through the disobedience of Adam, now became glorious in Christ through His utter obedience. For it is written that as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous (cf. Rom. 5:19). In Adam it suffered the penalty: 'You are earth and to earth you shall return' (Gen. 3:19). In Christ it was enriched by being able to overcome the snares of death and, as it were, exult in triumph over decay, repeating the prophetic text, 'O death, where is your victory? O Hades, where is your sting' (Hos. 13:14 LXX; I Cor. 15:55)? It came under a curse, as I have said, but this too was abolished in Christ. And indeed it has been said somewhere to the Holy Virgin, when Elizabeth prophesied in the Spirit, 'Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb' (Lk. 1:42). Sin has reigned over us and the inventor and father of sin has lorded it over all who dwell under the sky, provoking the transgression of the divine laws. But in Christ we see human nature, as if experiencing a new beginning of the human race, enjoying freedom of access to God. For He said clearly, 'the ruler of this world is coming and he has no power over Me' (Jn. 14:30)."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pgs. 124-125):

"Now no longer are we led to believe by signs and types, but being confirmed by the gospel story we worship that which we believe to have been done; the prophetic lore assisting our knowledge, so that we have no manner of doubt about that which we know to have been predicted by such sure oracles. For hence it is that the Lord says to Abraham: 'In your seed shall all nations be blessed' (Gen. 22:18): hence David, in the spirit of prophecy, sings, saying: 'The Lord swore truth to David, and He shall not frustrate it: of the fruit of your loins will I set upon your seat' (Ps. 31:14); hence the Lord again says through Isaiah: 'Behold a virgin shall conceive in her womb, and shall bear a Son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel, which is interpreted, God with us' (Isa. 7:14), and again, 'a rod shall come forth from the root of Jesse, and a flower shall arise from his root' (Isa. 11:1). In which rod, no doubt the blessed Virgin Mary is predicted, who sprang from the stock of Jesse and David, and fecundated by the Holy Spirit, brought forth a new flower of human flesh, becoming a virgin-mother."


From Blessed Theophylact (Explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke; Chrysostom Press pg. 10):

"Righteous women, and the wives of righteous men, were often childless. You, O reader, should learn from this that the law did not command that one bear many offspring, but rather that one bear much spiritual fruit. Both Zacharias and Elizabeth (cf. Lk. 1:7) were advanced, in body and also in spirit. They had matured and progressed in soul, making ascent in their hearts, keeping their lives in the day, not in the night, as those who walk honestly in the light."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 172):

"David's Lord was made David's Son, and from the fruit of the promised branch sprang One without fault, the two-fold nature coming together in one Person, that by one and the same conception and birth might spring our Lord Jesus Christ, in Whom was present both true Godhead for the performance of mighty works and true Manhood for the endurance of sufferings."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 193):

"Firmly believe that the Lord is at all times everything to you. During prayer He is the power and the fulfillment in the Holy Spirit of each of your words. During pious conversation He is your living water, the ardent flow of your words at all times ? He is everything to you. Be free from care in the presence of your Lord. He has enclosed you with Himself upon all sides. He penetrates you wholly and knows all your thoughts, all your needs and inclinations, and if you live in Him with faith and love, then no evil shall befall you. 'The Lord is at hand; be careful for nothing' (Phil. 4:6)."


From St. Cyril of Jerusalem (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 74):

"Very great was the wound of man's nature; 'from the feet to the head there was no soundness in it;' none could apply 'mollifying ointment, neither oil, nor bandages' (Isa. 1:6). Then bewailing and wearying themselves, the Prophets said, 'Who shall give salvation out of Zion" (Ps. 14:7)? And again, "Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, and upon the Son of man Whom You made strong for Yourself: thus we will not leave You' (Ps. 80:17-18). And another of the Prophets entreated saying, 'Bow the heavens, O Lord, and come down' (Ps. 144:5). The wounds of man's nature pass our healing. 'They killed Your Prophets and tore down Your altars' (I Kgs. 19:10). The evil is irretrievable by us and needs God to retrieve it. The Lord heard the prayer of the Prophets. The Father disregarded not the perishing of our race; He sent forth His Son, the Lord from heaven, as healer."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Maximos the Confessor: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pgs. 91-92):

"Fight the good fight until you reach the end, clinging fast to those qualities that will assure your passage to love's goal. I mean: love of humankind, brotherly and sisterly love, hospitality, love of the poor, compassion, mercy, humility, meekness, gentleness, patience, freedom from anger, long-suffering, perseverance, kindness, forbearance, goodwill and peace towards all. Out of these and through these the grace of love is fashioned, which leads one to God who deifies the human being that He Himself fashioned. Through Isaiah the Lord has told us: 'I am the Lord your God, Who leads you in the way of righteousness, in which you should go, and you have heard My commandments.' Therefore, 'your peace has become like a river and your righteousness like the waves of the sea' (Isa. 48:17-18)."


From St. Gregory the Theologian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII pg. 368):

"Do not delay in coming to grace, but hasten, lest the robber outstrip you, lest the adulterer pass you by, lest the insatiate be satisfied before you, lest the murderer seize the blessing first, or the publican or the fornicator, or any of these violent ones who take the Kingdom of heaven by force (cf. Mt. 11:12). For it suffers violence willingly, and is tyrannized over through goodness."


From St. Seraphim of Sarov (The Little Russian Philokalia Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pgs. 102-103):

"It is up to us to add labors to labors in order to 'go from strength to strength' (Ps. 83:7), and to come 'to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ' (Eph. 4:13), so that the words of the Lord may be fulfilled in us: 'But they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall grow wings like eagles; and they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint' (Isa. 40:31). Only then will our present joy (which now visits us little and briefly) appear in all its fullness; and no one will take it from us, for we shall be filled to overflowing with inexplicable heavenly delights."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 98):

"We know that prayer in and of itself cannot save us, but carrying it out before God can. For when the Lord's eyes are upon us He sanctifies us, as the sun warms everything upon which it shines."


From St. Hesychios the Priest (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 183):

"Each hour of every day we should note and weigh our actions and in the evening we should do what we can to free ourselves from the burden of them by means of repentance ? if, that is, we wish, with Christ's help, to overcome wickedness."


From St. Gregory the Theologian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Father: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 354):

"We were made for good works (cf. Phil. 1:11) to the glory and praise of our Maker, and to imitate God as far as might be."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 444):

"'Hail, you who are highly favored, the Lord is with you' (Lk. 1:28)! Thus does the holy Church invoke the most holy Virgin, the Mother of God. But the Lord is also with every pious soul that believes in Him. The Lord's abiding with the Virgin Mary before she conceived the Savior is not a particularity proper to the most pure Virgin alone. The Lord is with every believing soul: 'The Lord is with you.' These words may be said to everyone who keeps the Lord's commandments."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ; SVS Press pg. 70):

"The 'mystery hidden from the ages' (Col. 1:26) and from the nations is now revealed through the true and perfect incarnation of the Son of God. For he united our nature to Himself in a single person, without division and without confusion, and joined us to Himself as a kind of first fruits. This holy flesh with its intellectual and rational soul came from us and is ours. He deemed us worthy to be one and the same with Himself according to His humanity. For we were predestined before the ages (cf. Eph. 1:11-12) to be in Him as members of His body. He adapted us to Himself and knitted us together in the Spirit as a soul to a body and brought us to the measure of spiritual maturity derived from His fullness. For this we were created; this was God's good purpose for us before the ages."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pg. 85):

"We should feel with our whole heart that we have no one to rely on except God, and that from Him, and Him alone can we expect every kind of good, every manner of help, and victory. Since we are nothing, we can expect nothing of ourselves, except stumblings and falls, which make us relinquish all hope of ourselves. On the other hand, we are certain always to be granted victory by God, if we arm our heart with a living trust in Him and an unshakable certainty that we will receive His help."


From St. John Cassian (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pgs. 96-97):

"God is not only to be known in His blessed and incomprehensible being, for this is something which is reserved for His saints in the age to come. He is also known from the grandeur and beauty of His creatures, from His providence which governs the world day by day, from His righteousness and from wonders which He shows to His saints in each generation."


From St. John of Damascus (On the Divine Images; SVS Press pg. 47):

"The Lord called His disciples blessed, for He said, "Blessed are your eyes for they see." The apostles saw Christ in the flesh; they witnessed His sufferings and His miracles, and heard His words. We too desire to see, and to hear, and so be filled with gladness. They saw Him face to face, since He was physically present. Since He is no longer physically present, we hear His words read from books, and by hearing, our souls are sanctified and filled with blessings, and so we worship, honoring the books from which we hear His words. So also, through the painting of images, we are able to contemplate the likeness of His bodily form, His miracles and His passion, and thus we are sanctified, blessed and filled with joy. Reverently we honor and worship His bodily form, and by contemplating His bodily form, we form a notion, as far as is possible for us, of the glory of His divinity. Since we are fashioned of both soul and body, and our souls are not naked spirits, but are covered, as it were with a fleshly veil, it is impossible for us to think without using physical images."


From St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent; Paulist Press pg. 291):

"Ascend, my brothers, ascend eagerly. Let your hearts' resolve be to climb. Listen to the voice of the one who says: 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of our God' (Isa. 2:3), Who makes our feet to be like the feet of the deer, 'Who sets us on the high places, that we may be triumphant on His road' (Hab. 3:19)."


From St. Philotheos of Sinai (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 24):

"Godliness is perfection that is never complete."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 318):

"It is necessary for a Christian to fast, in order to clear his mind, to rouse and develop his feelings, and to stimulate his will to useful activity. These three human capabilities we darken and stifle above all by 'surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life' (Lk. 21:34)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Triads; Paulist Press pg. 72):

"When we become incorruptible and immortal and attain to the blessed state of conformity with Christ, we will be ever with the Lord, gaining fulfillment in the purest contemplations of His visible theophany which will illuminate us with its most brilliant rays, just as it illuminated the disciples at the time of the most divine Transfiguration. This is the light of God, as St. John has said in his Revelation (Rev. 22:5), and such is the opinion of all the saints."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 537):

"'They straightway left their nets and followed Him' (Mt. 4:20). The Apostles did not grudge leaving their nets for the Lord's sake, although they were perhaps their only property, and precious to them because they lived by them; and we, likewise, for the Lord's sake, ought to leave everything that hinders our following Him ? that is, all the many and various nets in which the enemy entangles us in life."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 158):

"Since 'the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force' (Mt. 11:12), and it is impossible for the faithful to enter it by any other way, unless they come through the narrow gate of trials and tribulations, the divine oracle rightly commands us, saying: 'Strive to enter by the narrow door' (Lk. 13:24). Again He says, 'By your endurance you will gain your souls' (Lk. 21:19), and, 'Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of heaven' (Acts 14:22)."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 133):

"Through contemplation one comes to understand the changeable nature of visible created things: how they derive from the earth and return again to the earth. All human affairs, all that does not exist after death, are vanity. Riches vanish. Glory leaves us. When death comes, all such things disappear."


From Blessed Theophylact (Explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke; Chrysostom Press pg. 269):

"When the Lord renders to each his due reward, He does not consider the amount given but the amount left."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pgs. 119-120)

"It is time to celebrate God for being 'Omnipotent' (Rev. 1:8). The name is given because as the omnipotent foundation of everything He preserves and embraces all the world. He founds it. He makes it secure. He holds it together. He binds the whole universe totally to Himself. He generates everything from out of Himself as from some omnipotent root and He returns all things back to Himself as from some omnipotent storehouse. Being their omnipotent foundation, He holds them all together. He keeps them thus in a transcendent bond and He does not permit them either to fall away from Him or to be destroyed by being moved from their perfect home. The Divinity is described as omnipotent because He has power over all, and is in total control of the world. He is so called too because He is the goal of all yearning and because He lays a happy yoke on all who wish it, the sweet toil of that holy, omnipotent and indestructible yearning for His goodness."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 177):

"The perfect man will certainly become the equal of the angels, as the Lord affirms; but he will do so in the resurrection of the dead, and not in this present world. Even then the perfect will not be angels, but 'equal to the angels' (Lk. 20:36). This means that men cannot forsake their own nature, though like angels they can become changeless through grace and released from all necessity, free in everything they do, possessing ceaseless joy, love of God, and all that 'the eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard' (I Cor. 2:9)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 111-112):

"What can I say to those people who, in the Church, neither stand in silence, nor join in the singing, but instead meet one another and mix our reasonable worship of God with worldly chatter? They do not listen themselves to the divinely inspired words, and prevent others who want to listen from doing so. 'How long do you halt between two opinions?' as Elijah the Tishbite would say (I Kgs. 18:21). You want simultaneously to come together for prayer and for worldly, ill-timed words. Of course you succeed in neither purpose, because you destroy the one with the other, or rather, they destroy each other. How long before you stop talking idly in this place? You make this house of prayer into a place of business or impassioned speech (cf. Lk. 19:46). In this house the words of eternal life are both spoken and heard, on the one hand by us, as we beseech God for eternal life with unashamed hope, and on the other hand by God, as He gives eternal life to those who ask with their whole heart and mind. But He will not give it to those who do not even apply their whole tongue, as it were, to asking."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 90):

"The Trinity, praised, reverenced and adored, is one and indivisible and without degrees. It is united without confusion, just as the One God is also distinguished without separation. For the fact of those venerable living creatures (Isa. 6; Rev. 4:8) offering their praises three times, saying 'Holy, Holy, Holy,' proves that the Three Persons are perfect, just as in saying 'Lord,' they declare the One Essence."


From St. Gregory the Theologian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 355):

"When one has looked upon Jesus, though he be of little stature like Zacchaeus of old (cf. Lk. 19:3), and climb up on the top of the sycamore tree by mortifying his members which are upon the earth (cf. Col. 3:5), and having risen above the body of humiliation, then he shall receive the Word, and it shall be said to him, This day has salvation come to this house (cf. Lk. 19:9). Then let him lay hold on the salvation, and bring forth fruit more perfectly, scattering and pouring forth rightly that which as a publican he wrongly gathered."


From Ignatius Brianchaninov (On the Prayer of Jesus; New Seeds pgs. 11-12):

"Only the poor in spirit who cling constantly to the Lord by prayer on account of the constant sense of poverty and need are capable of discovering within themselves the greatness of the name of Jesus. 'Let not the humble man be put to confusion' and disappointment in his prayer, but let him offer it to God whole, not torn by distraction. 'The poor and needy shall praise Your name' (Ps. 73:21). 'Blessed is the man whose trust is in the name of the Lord, and who has not had regard to vanities and lying follies' (Ps. 39:5). He will not pay attention during his prayer to the seductive action of vain cares and passions which attempt to defile and spoil his prayer."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 310):

"We ask for what reason our Lord was unwilling to state the time of His coming (cf. Mk. 13:31-32). If we ask it, we shall not find it is owing to ignorance, but to wisdom. For it was not to our advantage to know; in order that we being ignorant of the actual moments of judgment to come, might ever be as it were on guard, and set on the watch-tower of virtue, and so avoid the habits of sin; lest the day of the Lord should come upon us in the midst of our wickedness."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 174):

"Prayer is spiritual breathing; when we pray we breathe in the Holy Spirit; "praying in the Holy Spirit" (Jd. 1:20). Thus, all church prayers are the breathing of the Holy Spirit; as it were spiritual air and also light, spiritual fire, spiritual food and spiritual raiment."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pgs. 203-204)

"Humble patience, tirelessness and persistence in prayer conquer the unconquerable God and incline Him to mercy. According to the Lord's parable, the importunity of the widow inclined a wicked and unjust judge to grant her petition (cf. Lk. 18:1 ff.). The Lord gave this parable for a special purpose ? to teach us not to faint, but to pray patiently. If an unjust judge was persuaded to grant the petition of the widow, how can God fail to incline His ear to our prayers, if we persist in imploring Him since He is the essence of lovingkindness?"


From Ignatius Brianchaninov (On the Jesus Prayer; New Seeds pgs. 3-4):

"'Truly, truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in My Name, He will give it to you. Till now you have asked nothing in My Name; ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full' (Jn. 16:23). What a wonderful gift! It is a guarantee of unending, infinite blessings! It came from the lips of the unlimited God, clothed in limited humanity and called by the human name of Savior. The name by its exterior form is limited, but it represents an unlimited object, God, from Whom it borrows infinite, divine value or worth, the power and properties of God."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pg. 220):

"The goodness of the Deity has endless love for humanity and never ceases from benignly pouring out on us His providential gifts (cf. Tit. 3:4). He took upon Himself in a most authentic way all the characteristics of our nature, except sin. He became one with us in our lowliness, losing nothing of His own real condition, suffering no change or loss. He allowed us, as those of equal birth, to enter into communion with Him and to acquire a share of His own true beauty. Thus, as our hidden tradition teaches, He made it possible for us to escape from the domain of the rebellious, and He did this not through overwhelming force, but, as scripture mysteriously tells us, by an act of judgment and also in all righteousness (Isa. 42:1-4). Beneficently He wrought a complete change in our nature. He filled our shadowed and unshaped minds with a kindly, divine light and adorned them with a loveliness suitable to their divinized state. He saved our nature from almost complete wreckage and delivered the dwelling place of our soul from the most accursed passion and from destructive defilement. Finally, He showed us a supramundane uplifting and an inspired way of life in shaping ourselves to Him as fully as lay in our power."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 117):

"We may guard ourselves from the defilement of the flesh, and abstain from envy and excessive anger and from theft. We may conquer homosexuality, pederasty, unnatural vice, and all licentiousness. But if we are slaves to gluttony or excess of wine (cf. Tit. 2:3) or sleep, to sluggishness or slothfulness, to contradiction, disobedience, and complaining, and serve them like slaves subject to the whip, what will our abstinence from the other evil deeds avail for our benefit?"


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pgs. 505-506):

"'If he trespass against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to you, saying, I repent; you shall forgive him' (Lk. 17:4). As the Searcher of hearts, the Lord knows that men are liable to very frequent trespass, and that, having fallen, they often rise up again; therefore He has given us the commandment to frequently forgive trespasses, and He Himself is the first to fulfill His holy word. As soon as you say from your whole heart, 'I repent,' you will be immediately forgiven."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ; SVS Press pgs. 70-71):

"Renewal did not come about through the normal course of things, it was only realized when a wholly new way of being human appeared. God had made us like Himself, and allowed us to participate in the very things that are most characteristic of His goodness. Before the ages He had intended that man's end was to live in Him, and to reach this blessed end He bestowed on us the good gift of our natural powers. But by misusing our natural powers we willingly rejected the way God had provided and we became estranged from God. For this reason another way was introduced, more marvelous and more befitting of God than the first, and as different from the former as what is above nature is different from what is according to nature. And this, as we all believe, is the mystery of the mystical sojourn of God with men. 'For if,' says the divine apostle, 'the first covenant had been blameless, there would have been no occasion for a second' (Heb. 8:7). It is clear to all that the mystery accomplished in Christ 'at the end of the age' (Heb. 9:26) shows indisputably that the sin of our forefather Adam at the beginning of the age has run its course."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pgs. 530-531):

"The enemy draws near to us in afflictions, and trials, and labors, using every endeavor to ruin us. But the man who is in Christ, combating those things that are contrary, and opposing wrath by long-suffering, contumely by meekness, and vice by virtue, obtains the victory, and exclaims, 'I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me' (Phil. 4:13); and, 'In all these things we are conquerors through Christ Who loved us' (Rom. 8:37)."


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 540):

" 'Our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus, Who shall transfigure the body of our humiliation conformable to the body of His glory, even as He is able according to the working of His own power' (Phil. 3:29). What, then, is this 'body of humiliation' which the Lord shall transfigure, so as to be conformed to 'the body of His glory?' Plainly it is this body composed of flesh, which is indeed humbled when it falls into the earth. Now its transformation takes place thus, that while it is mortal and corruptible, it becomes immortal and incorruptible, not after its own proper substance, but after the mighty working of the Lord, Who is able to invest the mortal with immortality, and the corruptible with incorruption."


From St. Basil the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VIII; Eerdmans pg. 34):

"It is not he who begins well who is perfect. It is he who ends well who is approved in God's sight."


From St. Gregory the Theologian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 229):

"May you be children of God, pure and unblameable, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (cf. Phil. 1:15): and may you never be entangled in the snares of the wicked that go round about, or bound with the chains of your sins. May the Word in you never be smothered with the cares of this life and so make you unfruitful: but may you walk in the King's Highway, turning aside neither to the right hand nor to the left, but led by the Spirit through the narrow gate."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 176):

"We should in all things be renewed in the image of our Lord Jesus Christ Who, remaining 'in the form of God' (Phil. 2:6-7), deigned to 'take the form' of sinful flesh? For all our weaknesses, which come from sin, He took on Him without sharing in sin, so that He felt the sensation of hunger and thirst and sleep and fatigue, and grief and weeping, and suffered the fiercest pangs up to the extremity of death, because no one could be loosed from the snares of death, unless He in Whom alone all men's nature was guileless allowed Himself to be slain by the hands of wicked men. And hence our Savior the Son of God provided for all that believe in Him both a mystery and an example, that they might apprehend the one by being born again, and follow the other by imitation."


From St. Gregory the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans Pg. 45):

"Do not require a return for benefits bestowed. Hear what is written, 'When you make a dinner or a supper, do not call your friends, nor your brethren, neither your kinsmen, nor your rich neighbors, lest they also invite you later in recompense. But when you make a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and you shall be blessed; for they cannot give recompense' (Lk. 14:12 ff.)."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 2):

"We must follow the ways of the Lord, and take heed to our own ways, lest they lead us into sin. One can take heed if one is not hasty in speaking. The law says: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God' (Dt. 6:4). It said not: 'Speak,' but 'Hear.' Eve fell because she said to the man what she had not heard from the Lord her God. The first word from God says to you: Hear!"


From St. Basil the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VIII; Eerdmans pg. 212):

"... if, to me, "to live is Christ" (Phil. 1:21), truly my words ought to be about Christ, my every thought and deed ought to depend upon His commandments, and my soul to be fashioned after His."


From St. Diadochos of Photiki (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 261):

"The perceptive faculty of the intellect consists in the power to discriminate accurately between the tastes of different realities. Our physical sense of taste, when we are healthy, leads us to distinguish unfailingly between good food and bad, so that we want what is good; similarly, our intellect, when it begins to act vigorously and with complete detachment, is capable of perceiving the wealth of God's grace and is never led astray by any illusion of grace which comes from the devil. Just as the body, when it tastes the delectable foods of this earth, knows by experience exactly what each thing is, so the intellect, when it has triumphed over the thoughts of the flesh, knows for certain when it is tasting the grace of the Holy Spirit; for it is written: 'Taste and see that the Lord is good' (Ps. 34:8). The intellect keeps fresh the memory of this taste through the energy of love, and so unerringly chooses what is best. As St. Paul says: 'This is my prayer, that your love may grow more and more in knowledge and in all perception, so that you choose what is best' (Phil. 1:9-10)."


From St. Ephraim the Syrian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XIII; Eerdmans pg. 236):

"With You, Lord, I will flee, that I may gain in You Life in every place. The prison with You is no prison, for in You man goes up into Heaven: the grave with You is no grave, for You are the Resurrection (cf. Jn. 11:25)!"


From St. Seraphim of Sarov (The Little Russian Philokalia Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pgs. 94-95):

"The people who, in spite of the bonds of sin which fetter them and hinder them (by constraint and by inciting them to new sins), come to our Savior with perfect repentance for tormenting Him, who despise all the strength of the fetters of sin and force themselves to break their bonds ? such people at last actually appear before the face of God made whiter than snow by grace. Such people were once seen by the holy seer of mysteries, John the Theologian, 'clothed in white robes' (that is robes of justification) and 'palms in their hands' (as signs of victory), and they were singing to God a wonderful song: Alleluia. And no one could imitate the beauty of their song. Of them an angel of God said: 'These are they who have come out of great tribulation and have washed their robes, and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb' (Rev. 7:9-14). They were washed with their sufferings and made white in the Communion of the immaculate and life-giving Mysteries of the Body and Blood of the most pure spotless Lamb ? Christ ? Who was slain before all ages by His own will for the salvation of the world?"


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pgs. 412-413):

"How do we receive the highest mystery of Divine love to us ? the mystery of the Christian faith? With our mind, heart and life; with our free will? Are all the three powers of our souls penetrated by holy faith, as were the souls of the saints? The kingdom of heaven 'is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened' (Lk. 13:21). The three measures are the three powers of the soul."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pg. 240):

"Total surrender to the will of God actually is sacrificing oneself as a burnt offering to God. The proof of this state is dying to oneself, - to one's own opinions, wishes and feelings or tastes, in order to live by Divine intellect, in conformity with the Divine will and in partaking of God. In the forefront of this endeavor is our Lord and Savior. He surrendered the whole of Himself to God the Father, and us in Himself, 'For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones' (Eph. 5:30). So let us hasten in His footsteps?"


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 285):

"We receive salvation by grace and as a divine gift of the Spirit. But to attain the full measure of virtue we need also to possess faith and love, and to struggle to exercise our free will with integrity."


From St. Seraphim of Sarov (Little Russian Philokalia: Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pg. 102):

"...it is up to us to add labors to labors in order to "go from strength to strength" (Ps. 83:7), and to come "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13)?"


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ; SVS Press pgs. 100-101):

"... the divine Logos, when He became man, said, 'My Father is working even now, and I am working' (Jn. 5:17). The Father approves this work, the Son properly carries it out, and the Holy Spirit essentially completes both the Father's approval of it all and the Son's execution of it, in order that the God in Trinity might be 'through all and in all things' (Eph. 4:6), contemplated as the whole reality proportionately in each individual creature as it is deemed worthy by grace, and in the universe altogether, just as the soul naturally indwells both the whole of the body and each individual part without diminishing itself."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 269):

"The Lord came to send fire upon the earth (cf. Lk. 12:49), and through participation in this fire He makes divine not just the human substance which He assumed for our sake, but every person who is found worthy of communion with Him."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pg. 107):

"The Word dwells as if in all in the one temple taken for us and from us, that containing us all in Himself 'He might reconcile us all in one body to the Father' (Eph. 2:16,18)."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pgs. 287-288):

"...the King Himself will come and 'have them sit at table and will serve them' (Lk. 12:37). What this indicates is a certain common and harmonious sharing by the saints in the good things of God, an 'assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven and the spirits of the just men made perfect' (Heb. 12:23) and filled up by everything good. We must think of the leading to the table as the rest from numerous labors, as a life without toil, as commerce with God in light and in the land of the living, as a fullness of sacred joy, as the unstinted supply of everything blessed and good by means of which one is replete with happiness. It is Jesus Himself who gladdens them and leads them to table, who serves them, who grants them everlasting rest, who bestows and pours out on them fullness in beauty."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 188):

"... how many of us become irritated and lose their temper when they are deprived, not of their last coin, but only of some small part of by no means their last property! How much agitation, anger, bile, bitter reproaches, murmuring, sometimes even curses! Righteous God! Can this dross called money, or this food and drink produce such storms in our Christian souls, in us who know the words of our sweetest Savior? 'Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body what you shall put on. Behold the birds of the air, they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you' (Mt. 6:25, 26, 33). Or: 'A man's life does not consist in the abundance of the things which he possesses' (Lk. 12:15)."


From Blessed Theophylact (The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Mark; Chrysostom Press pg. 92):

"... the mark of a great soul is to endure all things and to serve everyone. The example of this is near at hand: for the Son of Man Himself did not come to be served but to serve, and, what is even greater, He came to give His life as a ransom for many. For what could be greater and more marvelous than a man who not only serves, but who even dies for the sake of the one he serves? Yet the Lord's serving and His humble lowering of Himself to be with us has become the exaltation and the glory of Him and all creation. For before He became man, He was known only to the angels, but after His incarnation and crucifixion, His glory is even greater and He reigns over all the earth."


From St. Cyril of Jerusalem (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 102):

"... charging the Ephesians, St. Paul speaks thus, 'According to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand' (Eph. 1:19-20)? It was not after His coming in the flesh that He obtained the dignity of this seat; no, for even before all ages, the Only-begotten Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, ever possesses the throne on the right hand of the Father. Now may He Himself, the God of all, who is Father of the Christ, and our Lord Jesus Christ, Who came down, and ascended, and sits together with the Father, watch over your souls; keep unshaken and unchanged your hope in Him Who rose again; raise you together with Him from your dead sins to His heavenly gift?"


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 125):

"Whereas love for God is the source and starting point of every virtue, love for the world is the cause of all evil. For that reason these two loves are at enmity with each other and destroy each other. As the Lord's brother declares: 'Friendship of the world is enmity to God. Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God' (Jms. 4:4). And John, whom Christ loved, says, 'If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, is not of the Father' (cf. I Jn. 2:15-16). Let us take heed, brethren, lest by loving evil desires and being arrogant to one another, we fall away from our heavenly Father's love. For these two evils include every passion which separates us from God."


From St. Hippolytus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. V; Eerdmans pg. 18):

"... with this purpose did the God of all things become man, that is, in order that by suffering in the flesh, which is susceptible of suffering, He might redeem our whole race, which was sold to death; and that by working wondrous things by His divinity, which is unsusceptible of suffering, through the medium of the flesh He might restore it to that incorruptible and blessed life from which it fell away by yielding to the devil; and that He might establish the holy orders of intelligent existences in the heavens in immutability by the mystery of His incarnation, the doing of which is the recapitulation of all things in Himself. He remained therefore, also, after His incarnation, according to nature, God infinite, and more, having the activity proper and suitable to Himself, - an activity growing out of His divinity essentially, and manifested through His perfectly holy flesh by wondrous acts economically, to the intent that He might be believed in as God, while working out of Himself by the flesh, which by nature is weak, the salvation of the universe."


From St. Gregory the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XIII; Eerdmans pg. 63):

"... why do the words of men on earth agitate you, who have fixed your heart on heaven?? Paul, a leader of good men, says, 'Let every man prove his own work, and so shall he have glory in himself, and not in another' (Gal. 6:4). For, if we are rejoiced by praises and broken down by detractions, we have set our glory not in ourselves, but in the mouth of others."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 88):

"Do not desert a friend in time of need, nor forsake him nor fail him, for friendship is the support of life. Let us then bear our burdens as the Apostle has taught (cf. Gal. 6:2): for he spoke to those whom the charity of the same one body had embraced together. If friends in prosperity help friends, why do they not also in times of adversity offer their support? Let us aid by giving counsel, let us offer our best endeavors, let us sympathize with them with all our heart."


From St. John Cassian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XI; Eerdmans pg. 545):

"... consider the nature of those things which Christ gives back to us in this world for our scorn of worldly advantages, more particularly according to the Gospel of Mark who says: 'There is no man who has left house or brethren or sisters or mother or children or lands for My sake and the gospel's sake, who shall not receive a hundred times as much now in this time: houses and brethren and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the world to come eternal life' (Mk. 10:29-30). For he who for the sake of Christ's name disregards the love of a single father or mother or child, and gives himself over to the purest love of all who serve Christ, will receive a hundred times the amount of brethren and kinsfolk; since instead of but one he will begin to have so many fathers and brethren bound to him by a still more fervent and admirable affection. He will also be enriched with an increased possession of lands, who has given up a single house for the love of Christ, and possesses countless homes in monasteries as his own, to whatever part of the world he may retire, as to his own house. For how can he fail to receive a hundred-fold, who gives up the faithless and compulsory service of ten or twenty slaves and relies on the spontaneous attendance of so many noble and free born men?"


From St. Clement of Alexandria (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. II; Eerdmans pg. 86):

"Are you able to make a right use of wealth? It is subservient to righteousness. Do you make a wrong use of it? It is, on the other hand, a minister of wrong. For its nature is to be subservient, not to rule. That then which of itself has neither good nor evil, being blameless, ought not to be blamed; but that which has power of using it well or ill, by reason of its possessing voluntary choice. And this is the mind and judgment of man, which has freedom in itself and self-determination in the treatment of what is assigned to it. So let no man destroy wealth, rather than the passions of the soul, which are incompatible with the better use of wealth. So that, becoming virtuous and good, he may be able to make good use of these riches. The renunciation, then, and selling of all possessions, is to be understood as spoken of the passions of the soul."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 70):

"For him who is perfect in love and has reached the summit of dispassion there is no difference between his own or another's, or between Christians and unbelievers, or between slave and free, or between male and female. But because he has risen above the tyranny of the passions and has fixed his attention on the single nature of man, he looks on all in the same way and shows the same disposition to all. For in him there is neither Greek nor Jew, male nor female, bond not free, but Christ who 'is all, and in all' (Col. 3:11; cf. Gal. 3:28)."


From St. Gregory of Nyssa (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. V; Eerdmans pg. 121):

"Our Lord came in the form of a servant to accomplish the mystery of redemption by the Cross, Who has emptied Himself, Who humbled Himself by assuming the likeness and fashion of a man, being found as man in man's lowly nature ? then, I say, it was that He became obedient, even He Who 'took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses' (cf. Mt. 8:17), healing the disobedience of men by His own obedience, that by His stripes He might heal our wound, and by His death do away with the common death of all men, - then it was that for our sakes He was made obedient, even as He became 'sin' (II Cor. 5:21) and a 'curse' (Gal. 3:13) by reason of the dispensation on our behalf, not being so by nature, but becoming so in His love for man."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 125):

"... the kingdom of heaven is not a reward for works, but a gift of grace prepared by the Master for His faithful servants. A bond-servant does not demand his freedom as a reward; but he gives satisfaction as one who is in debt, and he receives freedom as a gift."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 207):

"... the same saint may say one thing about a certain matter today, and another tomorrow; and yet there is no contradiction, provided the hearer has knowledge and experience of the matter under discussion. Again, one saint may say one thing and another something different about the same passage of the Holy Scriptures, since divine grace often gives varying interpretations suited to the particular person or moment in question. The only thing required is that everything said or done should be said or done in accordance with God's intention, and that it should be attested by the words of Scripture. For should anyone preach anything contrary to God's intention or contrary to the nature of things, then even if he is an angel St. Paul's words, 'Let him be accursed' (Gal. 1:8), will apply to him."


From Evagrios the Solitary (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 32):

"Remember how the Lord rebukes Martha when He says: 'You are anxious and troubled about many things: one thing alone is needful' (Lk. 10:41-42) ? to hear the divine word; after that, one should be content with anything that comes to hand."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 209):

"The Lord says: 'blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied' (Mt. 5:6). It is nothing bodily, nothing earthly, that this hunger, this thirst seeks for: but it desires to be satiated with the good food of righteousness, and wants to be admitted to all the deepest mysteries, and be filled with the Lord Himself. Happy the mind that craves this food and is eager for such drink: which it certainly would not seek if it had never tasted of its sweetness. But hearing the Prophet's spirit saying to him: 'taste and see that the Lord is sweet' (Ps. 34:8); it has received some portion of sweetness from on high, and blazed out into love of the purest pleasure, so that spurning all things temporal, it is seized with the utmost eagerness for eating and drinking righteousness, and grasps the truth of that first commandment which says: 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your strength' (Lk. 10:27): since to love God is nothing else than to love righteousness."


From St. Augustine (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series Vol. II; Eerdmans pg. 496):

"... at the beginning of the human race the woman was made of a rib taken from the side of the man while he slept; for it seemed fit that even then Christ and His Church should be foreshadowed in this event. For that sleep of the man was the death of Christ, whose side, as He hung lifeless upon the Cross, was pierced with a spear, and there flowed from it blood and water, and these we know to be the sacraments by which the Church is built up."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 31):

"... we often meet our favorite thoughts in others, and it seems to us as though they had been taken away from us, as though they had been new ones and formed our own exclusive property. Presumptuous thoughts! What? Is there not only one God, the Lord of all intellects? Is not His Spirit in all who seek for truth? Have we not one sole Enlightener, 'who lights every man that comes into the world' (Jn. 1:9). Glory to the one God, Glory to Him Who loves all and bountifully bestows upon all His spiritual and bodily gifts! Glory to Him who is no respecter of persons and Who reveals the mysteries of His love, omnipotence and wisdom unto babes (cf. Lk. 10:21)!"


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 414):

"... faithfully and strenuously you should resist the heretics in defense of the only true and life-giving faith, which the Church has received from the apostles and imparted to her sons. For the Lord of all gave to His apostles the power of the Gospel, through whom also we have known the truth, that is, the doctrine of the Son of God: to whom also did the Lord declare: 'He who hears you, hears Me; and he who despises you, despises Me, and Him who sent Me' (Lk. 10:16)."


From St. Clement of Rome (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 12):

"Job says, 'You shall raise up this flesh of mine, which has suffered all these things' (cf. Job 19:26-27). Having then this hope, let our souls be bound to God who is faithful in His promises, and just in His judgments. He who has commanded us not to lie, shall much more Himself not lie?"


From St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent; Paulist Press pg. 214):

"The light of dawn comes before the sun, and meekness is the precursor of all humility. So let us listen to the order in which Christ our Light places these virtues. He says: 'Learn from Me, because I am meek and humble of heart' (Mt. 11:29). Therefore before gazing at the sun of humility we must let the light of meekness flow over us. If we do, we will then be able to look steadily at the sun? Meekness is a mind consistent amid honor or dishonor. Meekness prays quietly and sincerely for a neighbor however troublesome he may be. Meekness is a rock looking out over the sea of anger which breaks the waves which come crashing on it and stays entirely unmoved. Meekness is a bulwark of patience, the door, indeed the mother of love, and the foundation of discernment. For it is said: 'The Lord will teach His ways to the meek' (Ps. 24:9). And it is meekness that earns pardon for our sins, gives confidence to our prayers and makes a place for the Holy Spirit."


From St. John Cassian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XI; Eerdmans pg. 354):

"... when death has been brought upon a saint, we ought not to think that an evil has happened to him but a thing indifferent; which is an evil to a wicked man, while to the good it is rest and freedom from evils. 'For death is rest to a man whose way is hidden' (Job 3:23 LXX). And so a good man does not suffer any loss from it."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 23):

"When you see your body wasted away through sickness, do not murmur against God, but say: 'The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord' (Job 1:21). You are accustomed to look upon your body as upon your own inalienable property, but that is quite wrong, because your body is God's edifice."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 157):

"Just as gold tarnished in depth (cf. Jms. 5:3) cannot be properly purified and restored to its proper brightness unless it is cast in the fire and thoroughly hammered with mallets, so when the soul has been tarnished with the rust of sin and become thoroughly useless it cannot be cleansed and recover its original beauty unless it meets many trials and enter into the furnace of tribulations."


From Blessed Theophylact (Explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke; Chrysostom Press pg. 94):

"... if you have diligence and zeal, you will be given greater grace from God. But he who has neither diligence nor zeal, by his negligence will extinguish and lose even that grace which he seems to have from God."


From St. John of Damascus (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IX; Eerdmans pg. 45):

"Our Lord humbled without humiliation His lofty station which yet could not be humbled, and condescends to His servants, with a condescension ineffable and incomprehensible. God being perfect becomes perfect man, and brings to perfection the newest of all new things (cf. Eccles 1:10), the only new thing under the sun, through which the boundless might of God is manifested. For what greater thing is there than that God should become man?"


From St. Basil the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series; Eerdmans pg. 50):

"I reckon silence more profitable than speech, for? in the words of the Preacher, 'The words of wise men are heard in quiet' (Eccles. 9:17)."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pg. 141):

"... do not listen to vain and empty talk, in which the majority of world-loving people spend their time, and do not take pleasure in it. For the law says: 'You shall not raise false reports' (Ex. 23:1). Solomon says: 'Remove far from me vanity and lies' (Prov. 30:8). The Lord said: 'But I say to you, every idle word that men shall speak they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment' (Mt. 12:36)."


From St. John Cassian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XI; Eerdmans pg. 419):

"... a Christian is quite certain to fall into the same sins which he condemns in another with merciless and inhuman severity, for 'a stern king will fall into misfortunes,' and 'one who stops his ears so as not to hear the weak, shall himself cry, and there shall be none to hear him' (Prov. 13:17; 21:13)."


From St. Gregory the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 33):

"... simplicity of conduct is an assurance of great security? Hear what is affirmed by the witness of Scripture, 'His communing is with the simple' (Prov. 3:32). For God's communing is His revealing of secrets to human minds by the illumination of His presence."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 288):

"'He among you who wants to be first and pre-eminent, let him be the last of all and the servant and slave of all' (cf. Mk. 9:35), not inviting any glory, honor or praise from the brethren for his service and conduct. He serves the brethren with complete goodwill, with love and simplicity, not with outward show and with an eye to gaining popularity, but regarding himself as a debtor in everything."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 240):

"Let none of you have a soul which is barren and without fruit. Let nobody be unloving or unreceptive to the spiritual seed. May each of you eagerly accept the celestial seed, the word of salvation (cf. Lk. 8:11), and by your own efforts bring it to perfection as a heavenly work and fruit pleasing to God. Let no one make a beginning of a good work which brings no fruit to perfection (cf. Lk. 8:14), nor declare his faith in Christ only with His tongue."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pgs. 188-189):

"The Word of God the Father is impassible and immortal. For the divine and ineffable nature transcends suffering and it is this which endows all things with life and is superior to corruption and anything that normally causes us grief. Yet even though the Word of God the Father is these things in His essential being, He made His own the flesh that is receptive of death, that by means of that which is accustomed to suffering He might take these sufferings to Himself on our behalf and for our sake and deliver all of us from both corruption and death, having as God endowed His own body with life and become 'the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep' (I Cor. 15:20) and the firstborn from the dead."


From St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent; Paulist Press pg. 129):

"Everything is possible for the believer. I have watched impure souls mad for physical love but turning what they know of such love into a reason for penance and transferring that same capacity for love to the Lord. I have watched them master fear so as to drive themselves unsparingly toward the love of God. That is why, when talking of that chaste harlot, the Lord does not say, 'because she feared,' but rather, 'because she loved much' she was able to drive out love with love (Lk. 7:47)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 112):

"Many have said much about love, but you will find love itself only if you seek it among the disciples of Christ. For only they have true Love as love's teacher. 'Though I have the gift of prophecy', says St. Paul, 'and know all mysteries and all knowledge? and have no love, it profits me nothing' (I Cor. 13:2-3). He who possesses love possesses God Himself, for 'God is love' (I Jn. 4:8). To Him be glory throughout the ages. Amen."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pgs. 115-116):

"... as our Lord approached a city called Nain, 'a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother' (Lk. 7:12)? He 'touched the bier' and said, 'Young man, I say to you, arise' (Lk. 7:14). He does not simply leave it to the word to effect the raising of the dead, but in order to show that His own body was life-giving? He touches the corpse, and by this act puts life into him who had already decayed. And if by the touch alone of His holy flesh He gives life to that which has decayed, how shall we not profit more richly from the life-giving Eucharist when we taste it? For it will certainly transform those who partake of it and endow them with its own proper good, that is, immortality."


From St. John Chrysostom (as quoted by St. Gregory Palamas, The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 395):

"A man does not possess all the gifts, lest he think that grace is nature."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 128):

"... if we are ashamed to imitate our Lord's sufferings, which He endured for us, and to suffer as He suffered, it is obvious that we shall not become partakers with Him in His glory. If that is true of us we shall be believers in word only, not in deed. When deeds are absent, our faith is dead."


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 528):

"... vain in every respect are they who despise the entire dispensation of God, and disallow the salvation of the flesh, and treat with contempt its regeneration, maintaining that it is not capable of incorruption. But if this flesh indeed does not attain salvation, then neither did the Lord redeem us with His Blood, nor is the Cup of the Eucharist the communion of His Blood, nor the Bread which we break the communion of His Body (cf. I Cor. 10:16). For blood can only come from veins and flesh, and whatsoever else makes up the substance of man, such as the Word of God was actually made. By His own Blood He redeemed us? And as we are members of Him, we are also nourished by means of the creation? He has acknowledged the Cup (which is a part of creation) as His own Blood, from which He bedews our blood; and the Bread (also a part of creation) He has established as His own Body, from which He gives increase to our bodies."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pg. 177):

"... do not allot any definite time for the acquisition of the virtues, neither days, nor weeks, months nor years, saying to yourself: "I shall work, and then rest, and then, having rested, I will start the same work again." No, no rest is allowed here. Prepare yourself for continual labor, struggle and effort, allowing no thought of alleviation, in imitation of St. Paul, who says of himself: 'I therefore so run, - I follow after, if that I may apprehend, - I press toward the mark' (I Cor. 9:26; Phil. 3:12, 14). To stop for rest on the path of virtue means not to gain new strength, but to dissipate the strength one has acquired and to become weakened; and this is the same as turning back, or as destroying what was so laboriously built. By "stopping" I mean - imagining that the virtue is already gained in its perfection, and so paying no attention to its deficiencies and neglecting chances of good actions. Be not like that, but be always watchful and zealous."


From St. Ignatius of Antioch (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 53):

"... you... are stones of the temple of the Father, prepared for the Father's building, and drawn up on high by the instrument of Jesus Christ, which is the Cross (cf. Jn. 12:32), making use of the Holy Spirit as a rope, while your faith was the means by which you ascended, and your love the way which led up to God. You, therefore, as well as all your fellow-travelers, are God-bearers, temple-bearers, Christ-bearers, bearers of holiness, adorned in all respects with the commandments of Jesus Christ."


From Evagrios the Solitary (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 63):

"The Holy Spirit, out of compassion for our weakness, comes to us even when we are impure. And if He finds our intellect truly praying to Him, He enters it and puts to flight the whole array of thoughts and ideas circling within it, and He arouses it to a longing for spiritual prayer."


From St. Polycarp (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 34):

"... let the young men be blameless in all things, being especially careful to preserve purity, and keeping themselves in control, as with a bridle, from every kind of evil. For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since 'every lust wars against the spirit' (I Pet. 2:11); and 'neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God' (I Cor. 6:9-10), nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming. Wherefore, it is needful to abstain from all these things, being subject to the presbyters and deacons, as unto God and Christ. The young women also must walk in a blameless and pure conscience."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 60):

"He has as yet no perfect love, whose disposition towards men depends on what they are like, loving one and despising another for this or that, or sometimes loving, sometimes hating one and the same man. Blessed is the man who can love all men equally."


From Blessed Theophylact (Gospel of St. Mark; Chrysostom Press pgs. 62-63):

"Our Lord heals one that is deaf, who has an impediment of speech (cf. Mk. 7:31-37)? He spat, and touched the man's tongue, showing that every part of His holy flesh was divine and holy, so that even His spittle loosed the bonds of the tongue. Although spittle seems worthless, with the Lord all things are marvelous and divine."


From St. Hesychios the Priest (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 196):

"If every virtue comes into being through soul and body, and soul and body are the creation of God, how shall we not be utterly mad if we boast of accidental adornments of soul or body, and puff ourselves up, supported by our vanity as by a flimsy staff? It was with reference to this that the Apostle said: 'For what do you have which you did not receive' (I Cor. 4:7)? Did you create yourself? And if you received from God both soul and body, from which and in which and through which every virtue comes into being, 'why do you boast as if you did not receive' (I Cor. 4:7)? For it is the Lord Who has given you these things."


From St. John of Damascus (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IX; Eerdmans pg. 85):

"... since the enemy of our salvation was keeping a watchful eye on virgins, according to the prophecy of Isaiah, who said, 'Behold a virgin shall conceive and bare a Son and shall call His name Emmanuel, which is, being interpreted, "God with us" (Mt. 1:23),' in order that 'He who takes the wise in their craftiness' (I Cor. 3:19) may deceive him who always glories in his wisdom, the maiden is given in marriage to Joseph by the priests? but the marriage was both the protection of the virgin and the delusion of him who was keeping a watchful eye on virgins. But when the fullness of time was come, the messenger of the Lord was sent to her, with the good news of our Lord's conception. And thus she conceived the Son of God, the hypostatic power of the Father, 'not of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man' (Jn. 1:13), that is to say, by connection and seed, but by the good pleasure of the Father and co-operation of the Holy Spirit. She ministered to the Creator in that He was created, to the Fashioner in that He was fashioned, and to the Son of God in that He was made flesh and because man from her pure and immaculate flesh and blood, satisfying the debt of the first mother."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pg. 94):

"... you must hasten to oppose pernicious pride of mind, before it penetrates into the marrow of your bones. Resist it, curb the quickness of your mind and humbly subject your opinion to the opinions of others. Be a fool for the love of God, if you wish to be wiser than Solomon: 'If any man among you seem to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise' (I Cor. 3:18)."


From St. John of Damascus (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IX; Eerdmans pg. 73):

"... the Word appropriates to Himself the attributes of humanity: for all that pertains to His holy flesh is His: and He imparts to the flesh His own attributes by way of communication in virtue of the interpenetration of the parts one with another, and the oneness according to subsistence, and inasmuch as He Who lived and acted both as God and as man, taking to Himself either form and holding intercourse with the other form, was one and the same. Hence it is that the Lord of Glory is said to have been crucified (cf. I Cor. 2:8), although His divine nature never endured the Cross, and that the Son of Man is allowed to have been in heaven before the Passion, as the Lord Himself said (cf. Jn. 3:13)."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 261):

"Spiritual knowledge is like a house built in the midst of secular and pagan knowledge, in which there is laid up, like a solid and well-secured chest, the knowledge of the inspired Scriptures and the inestimable riches they contain. Those who enter into the house will never at all be able to see those treasures unless this chest is opened for them. But it does not belong to human wisdom (cf. I Cor. 2:13) ever to be able to open it, so that the riches of the Spirit deposited in it remain unknown to all who are worldly."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 247):

"Let us put away from us our spiritual short-sightedness, and let us cease concentrating all our attention upon temporal, earthly things; let us foresee with our mental vision the future, everlasting life, and rise in our hearts to our heavenly country. Indeed, it is incredible short-sightedness for the immortal soul only to look upon the present, visible things, generally relating to the senses, and flattering our carnal nature, and not contemplate the life of the world to come ? the blessings which 'eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man,' but which the Most Merciful and Most Wise 'God has prepared for those who love Him' (I Cor. 2:9). Of what do we not deprive ourselves through this voluntary short-sightedness?!"


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 159):

"Take up the weapons of righteousness: mindfulness of God, for this is the cause of all blessings; the light of spiritual knowledge, through which the soul awakens from its slumber and drives out of itself the darkness of ignorance; and true ardor, which makes the soul eager for salvation. Through mindfulness of God, you will always reflect on 'what is true, modest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, whatever is holy and deserving of praise' (Phil. 4:8); and in this way you will banish from yourself the pernicious evil of forgetfulness. Through the light of spiritual knowledge you will expel the destructive darkness of ignorance; and through your true ardor for all that is good you will drive out the godless laziness that enables evil to root itself in the soul."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ; SVS Press pg. 58):

"In... mystery the truth of piety towards God is given to human beings, which transcends any natural order and capacity. The divine Paul, the great Apostle, who is both an initiate himself and initiates others in the divine and secretly known wisdom, calls this mystery the foolishness of God and His weakness, because, I think, of its transcendent wisdom and power; the great and divinely-minded Gregory calls it play, because of its transcendent prudence. For Paul says, "The foolishness of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (I Cor. 1:25); while Gregory says, 'The high Word plays in every kind of form, mixing, as He wills, with His world here and there.' Each, by privation of what with us are most powerful attributes, points to what the divine possesses, and by negations of what is ours makes affirmation of the divine. For with us foolishness, weakness and play are privations, of wisdom, power and prudence, respectively, but when they are attributed to God they clearly mean excess of wisdom, power and prudence."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 235):

"It is pointless for someone to say that he has faith in God if he does not have the works which go with faith. What benefit were their lamps to the foolish virgins who had no oil (Mt. 25:1-13), namely, deeds of love and compassion?"


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 105):

"... the Lord often said to His disciples, 'Watch and pray; for you do not know at what hour your Lord is coming' (Mt. 24:42)? For the demons? are immaterial and sleepless, concerned only to fight against us and to destroy our souls through word, act and thought. We lack a similar persistence, and concern ourselves now with our comfort and with ephemeral opinion, now with worldly matters, now with a thousand and one other things. We are not in the least interested in examining our life, so that our intellect may develop the habit of so doing and may give attention to itself unremittingly."


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 485):

"... if anyone shall endeavor to offer a sacrifice merely to outward appearance, unexceptionally, in due order, and according to appointment, while in his soul he does not assign to his neighbor that fellowship with him which is right and proper, nor is under fear of God;- he who thus cherishes secret sin does not deceive God by that sacrifice which is offered correctly as to outward appearance; nor will such an oblation profit him anything, but only the giving up of that evil which has been conceived within him, so that sin may not the more, by means of the hypocritical action, render him the destroyer of himself. Wherefore did the Lord declare: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you are like whitewashed sepulchres. For it appears beautiful outside, but within it is full of dead men's bones, and all uncleanness; even so you also appear righteous to men, but within you are full of wickedness and hypocrisy" (Mt. 23:27-28). For while they were thought to offer correctly so far as outward appearance went, they had in themselves jealousy like Cain's; therefore they slew the Just One..."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses' Paulist Press pg. 312):

"... men... who say that there is no one in our times and in our midst who is able to keep the Gospel commandments and become like the holy Fathers? To them the Master rightly says with a loud voice, 'Woe to you scribes and Pharisees (Mt. 23:13)! Woe to you, blind guides of the blind (Mt. 23:16), because you do not enter into the kingdom, and you hinder those who wish to enter' (Mt. 23:13)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 121):

"When what has been created in time according to the temporal order has reached maturity, it ceases from natural growth. But when what has been brought about by the knowledge of God through the practice of the virtues has reached maturity, it starts to grow anew. For the end of one stage constitutes the starting point of the next."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pg. 188):

"We celebrate the holy and life-giving and bloodless sacrifice in the churches, not in the belief that the offering is the body of an ordinary man like ourselves, and similarly with the precious blood, but instead accepting that it has become the very own body and blood of the Word who endows all things with life. The Savior Himself testifies to this when He says: 'The flesh is of no avail; it is the spirit that gives life' (Jn. 6:63). Because it became the Word's own flesh it is therefore regarded as life-giving and actually is so."


From St. Gregory the Theologian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pgs. 432-433):

"Do you conceive of your Lord as less because? He shows that humiliation is the best road to exaltation (cf. Mt. 23:12); because He humbles Himself for the sake of the soul that is bent down to the ground, that He may even exalt within Himself that which is bent double under a weight of sin?... If so, you must blame the physician for stooping over suffering and putting up with evil smells in order to give health to the sick?"


From St. Gregory of Nyssa (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. V; Eerdmans pg. 354):

"It is impossible that one who has turned to the world and feels its anxieties, and engages his heart in the wish to please men, can fulfill that first and great commandment of the Master, 'You shall love God with all your heart and with all your strength' (Mt. 22:37)."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist Press pg. 98):

"... there is clearly expressed for us? what it is we must attribute either to free will or to the decision and daily assistance of the Lord. We are characterized by whether we respond zealously or lackadaisically to the kindly dispensations of God. This perspective is plainly expressed in the healing of the two blind men. Jesus was passing by, a fact made possible by God's provident grace. And the achievement of their own faith and belief was to cry out 'Lord, son of David, have mercy on us' (Mt. 20:31). The restored sight of their eyes is the gift of divine mercy."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 237):

"... I pray... that you may discern your affairs in a manner pleasing to God and may so act and endeavor that you may find Christ, as He even now cooperates with you, and in time to come will bestow on you abundantly the enjoyment of the illumination that comes from Him. Do not follow the wolf instead of the shepherd (cf. Mt. 7:15), nor enter into a flock that is diseased (cf. Ezek. 34:4). Do not be alone by yourself?"


From St. Justin Martyr (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 169):

"... it is better to believe even what is impossible to our own nature and to men, than to be unbelieving like the rest of the world, we have learned; for we know that our Master Jesus Christ said, that 'what is impossible with men is possible with God' (Mt. 19:26)?"


From St. Gregory of Nyssa (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. V; Eerdmans pg. 409):

"... where Solomon says that 'Wisdom has built herself a house' (Prov. 9:1), he refers darkly in these words to the preparation of the flesh of the Lord: for the true Wisdom did not dwell in another's building, but built for Itself that dwelling-place from the body of the Virgin."


From St. John of Damascus (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IX; Eerdmans pg. 83):

"The bread and the wine are not merely figures of the body and blood of Christ (God forbid!) but the deified body of the Lord itself: for the Lord has said, 'This is My body,' not, this is a figure of My body: and 'My blood,' not a figure of My blood. And on a previous occasion He had said to the Jews, 'Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. For My flesh is food indeed and My blood is drink indeed.' And again, 'He who eats My flesh shall live' (Jn. 6:51-55). Wherefore with all fear and a pure conscience and certain faith let us draw near and it will be assuredly to us as we believe, doubting nothing. Let us pay homage to it in all purity both of soul and body: for it is twofold. Let us draw near to it with an ardent desire, and with our hands held in the form of a cross let us receive the body of the Crucified One: and let us apply our eyes and lips and brows and partake of the divine coal, in order that the fire of the longing, that is in us, with the additional heat derived from the coal may utterly consume our sins and illumine our hearts, and that we may be inflamed and deified by the participation in the divine fire."


From St. Gregory of Sinai (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 236):

"Once our conscience is active, what some call righteous indignation and others natural wrath is roused in three ways ? against the demons, against our nature and against our own soul; for such indignation or wrath impels us to sharpen our conscience like a keen-bladed sword against our enemies. If this righteous indignation triumphs and subjects sin and our own unregenerate self to the soul, then it is transmuted into the loftiest courage and leads us to God. But if the soul enslaves itself to sin and our unregenerate self, then this righteous indignation turns against it and torments it mercilessly, for it has enslaved itself to its enemies by its own free will. Thus enslaved, the soul commits terrible crimes, for its state of virtue is lost and it has alienated itself from God."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 317):

"'For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them' (Mt. 18:20). I reverence even two or three praying together, for in accordance with the Lord's promise He Himself is in the midst of them."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 160):

"Mary properly bore the name of Virgin, and possessed to the full all the attributes of purity. She was a virgin in both body and soul, and kept all the powers of her soul and her bodily senses far above any defilement. This she did authoritatively, steadfastly, decisively and altogether inviolably at all times, as a closed gate preserves the treasure within, and a sealed book keeps hidden from sight what is written inside. The Scriptures say of her, 'This is the sealed book' (cf. Rev. 5:1-6:1; Dan. 12:4) and 'this gate shall be shut, and no man shall enter by it' (Ezek. 44:2)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 279):

"If... we choose death rather than true life, God does not take away the power that He gave us. And not only does He not take it away, but He reminds us of it again and again. From the dawn till the dusk of life? For, indeed, no one can come to Christ, as He Himself said in the Gospels, unless the Father draws him (cf. Jn. 6:44)."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 292):

"Tremble with awe, O men! The insults God suffered for the sake of our salvation you too must endure! God is slapped on the face by the basest of slaves (Jn. 18:22). He gives you an example of victory, yet do you refuse to undergo this at the hands of a man of like passions as yourself? You are ashamed of becoming an imitator of God (Eph. 5:1), how then will you reign with Him and share in His glory in the kingdom of heaven if you do not endure that man?"


From St. Basil the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VIII pg. 280):

"... the more have been your trials, look for a more perfect reward from your just Judge. Do not take your present troubles ill. Do not lose hope. Yet a little while and your Helper will come to you and will not tarry (cf. Hab. 2:3)."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist Press pg. 94):

"The prophet Jeremiah, speaking in the place of God, tells us that from above there comes the very fear of God by which we may cling to Him. 'I shall give them one heart and one way so that they may fear Me during all their days, so that all will be well for them and for their sons after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them and I shall not cease to do good things for them and, as a gift, I shall put fear of Me in their hearts so that they may never go away from Me' (Jer. 32:39-40)? Quite obviously all this teaches us that the first good stirring of the will in us comes under the Lord's inspiration. He brings us along the road to salvation either Himself or by way of the exhortation of some man or through necessity. And our virtues are perfected also as a gift from Him. Our task is, laxly or zealously, to play a role which corresponds to His grace and our reward or our punishment will depend on whether we strove or neglected to be at one, attentive and obedient, with the kindly dispensation of His providence toward us."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 199):

"Happy indeed is that soul and truly to be admired which in its love of doing good fears not the failing of the means, and has no distrust that God will give him money still to spend, from Whom he had what he spent in the past. But because few possess this greatness of heart, and yet it is truly a pious thing for each one not to forsake the care of his own, we, without prejudice to the more perfect sort, lay down for you this general rule and exhort you to perform God's bidding according to the measure of your ability. For cheerfulness becomes the benevolent man, who should so manage his liberality that while the poor rejoice over the help supplied, home needs may not suffer. 'And He who ministers seed to the sower, shall provide bread to be eaten and multiply your seed and increase the fruits of your righteousness' (II Cor. 9:10)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 12):

"Our requests are necessary expressly to strengthen our faith, through which alone we can be saved. 'By grace are we saved through faith' (Eph. 2:8). 'O woman, great is your faith' (Mt. 15:28). For this reason the Lord made the woman pray earnestly, in order to awaken her faith and to strengthen it."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 71):

"Our holy fathers hearkened to the Lord's words, 'Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, unchastity, thefts, perjuries, blasphemies; these are the things that defile a man' (Mt. 15:19-20); and they also hearkened to Him when He enjoins us to cleanse the inside of the cup so that the outside may also be clean (cf. Mt. 23:26). Hence they abandoned all other forms of spiritual labor and concentrated wholly on this one task of guarding the heart, convinced that through this practice they would also possess every other virtue, whereas without it no virtue could be firmly established. Some of the fathers have called this practice stillness of the heart, others attentiveness, others the guarding of the heart, others watchfulness and rebuttal, and others again the investigation of the thoughts and the guarding of the intellect. But all of them alike worked the earth of their own heart, and in this way they were fed on the divine manna (cf. Ex. 16:15)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 288):

"The Logos restores human nature to itself. First, He became man and kept His will dispassionate and free from rebellion against nature, so that it did not waver in the slightest from its own natural movement even with regard to those who crucified Him; on the contrary, it chose death for their sake instead of life, thereby demonstrating the voluntary character of His passion, rooted as it is in His love for humankind. Second, having nailed to the Cross the record of our sins, He abolished the enmity which led nature to wage an implacable war against itself ? making peace and reconciling us through Himself to the Father and to one another: our will is no longer opposed to the principle of nature, but we adhere to it without deviating in either will or nature."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 138):

"The Light of the Lord's Transfiguration does not come into being or cease to be, nor is it circumscribed or perceptible to the senses, even though for a short time on the narrow mountain top it was seen by human eyes. Rather, at that moment the initiated disciples of the Lord 'passed', as we have been taught, 'from flesh to spirit' by the transformation of their senses, which the Spirit wrought in them, and so they saw that ineffable light, when and as much as the Holy Spirit's power granted them to do so."


From St. Antony the Great (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 329):

"The truly intelligent man pursues one sole objective: to obey and conform to the God of all. With this single aim in view, he disciplines his soul, and whatever he may encounter in the course of his life, he gives thanks to God for the compass and depth of His providential ordering of all things. For it is absurd to be grateful to doctors who give us bitter and unpleasant medicines to cure our bodies, and yet to be ungrateful to God for what appears to us to be harsh, not grasping that all we encounter is for our benefit and in accordance with His providence. For knowledge of God and faith in Him is the salvation and perfection of the soul."


From St. Gregory of Sinai (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 216):

"To try to discover the meaning of the commandments through study and reading without actually living in accordance with them is like mistaking the shadow of something for its reality. It is only by participating in the truth that you can share in the meaning of the truth. If you search for the meaning without participating in the truth and without being initiated into it, you will find only a besotted kind of wisdom (cf. I Cor. 1:20). You will be among those whom St. Jude categorized as worldly because they lack the Spirit (cf. Jd. vs. 19), boast as they may of their knowledge of the truth."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pg. 92):

"Our God Himself knows the way of His own works, and what He has fashioned is not to be curiously inquired into. It belongs to someone like ourselves to honor what transcends the human mind with an unquestioning faith. You should also know that the prophet Jeremiah was sent to the house of the potter to watch him at work. When the pot turned out badly and the potter refashioned the clay into a new vessel, God said to him: 'Can I not do with you as this potter has done, O house of Israel? Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand' (Jer. 18:6). That we are transformed spiritually and brought to a holy and utterly good life is explained by Paul when he says: 'And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit' (II Cor. 3:18). Through Him we are also reborn, for we no longer contain a corruptible seed but that which is sown by the word of the living God Who endures forever."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pgs. 339-340):

"The devout soul, even if it practices all the virtues, ascribes everything to God and nothing to itself. God, on the other hand, when He sees its sound and healthy understanding and knowledge, attributes everything to the soul, and rewards it as though it had achieved everything through its own efforts. He does this in spite of the fact that, if He were to bring us to judgment, no true righteousness would be found in us. For material possessions and everything that man regards as valuable and through which he is able to do good, the earth and whatever is in it, all belong to God. Man's body and soul, and even his very being, are his only by grace. What, then, is left to him that he can call his own, by virtue of which he can pride himself or vindicate himself? Yet when the soul recognizes - what is indeed the truth - that all its good actions for God's sake, together with all its understanding and knowledge, are to be ascribed to God alone and that everything should be attributed to Him, then God accepts this as the greatest gift that man can make, as the offering that is most precious in His eyes."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pgs. 219-220):

"Just as the farmer wearies himself by merely plowing, digging and sowing the seed on the ground, but it grows and produces fruit early and late (cf. Jms. 5:7) by God's gift, so it is in reality, as you will discover, in spiritual matters. It belongs to us to engage in every activity and with much toil and weariness to sow the seeds of virtue, but by God's gift and mercy alone the rain of His loving-kindness and grace falls and causes the unfruitful soil of our hearts to bear fruit. When the grain of the word falls on our souls it receives the moisture of God's goodness; it germinates, grows, and becomes a great tree (cf. Mt. 13:31-32), that is, it attains to mature manhood, to 'the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ' (Eph. 4:13)."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pg. 118):

"... anyone who receives the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and drinks His precious blood, as He Himself says, comes to be one with Him, mixed and mingled with Him, as it were, through partaking of Him, so that he comes to be in Christ, as Christ in turn is in him. This is rather similar to what Christ taught us in the Gospel according to Matthew, where He says, 'The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened' (Mt. 13:33)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ; SVS Press pg. 101):

"... the divine Logos, when He became man, said, 'My Father is working even now, and I am working' (Jn. 5:17). The Father approves this work, the Son properly carries it out, and the Holy Spirit essentially completes both the Father's approval of it all and the Son's execution of it, in order that the God in Trinity might be 'through all and in all things' (Eph. 4:6), contemplated as the whole reality proportionately in each individual creature as it is deemed worthy by grace, and in the universe altogether, just as the soul naturally indwells both the whole of the body and each individual part without diminishing itself."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 131):

"... we must most carefully look after the field of our heart, lest the tares of evil, slothfulness, luxuriousness, self-indulgence, unbelief, avarice, envy, hatred, and others, should grow within it; we must daily weed the field of our heart ? at least, at morning and evening prayers, and refresh it by salutary sighs, as by healthful winds, and water it with abundant tears, as by early and late rain. Besides this, we must by every means implant in the field of our heart the seeds of the virtues, faith, hope in God, and love for God and our neighbor, fertilize it with prayer, patience, good works, and not for a single hour remain in complete idleness and inactivity, for in times of idleness and inactivity the enemy zealously sows his tares. 'While men slept, the enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way' (Mt. 13:25)."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 40):

"Through repentance the filth of our foul actions is washed away. After this, we participate in the Holy Spirit, not automatically, but according to the faith, humility and inner disposition of the repentance in which our whole soul is engaged? For this reason it is good to repent each day... "


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 223):

"Our life is incomplex: because our life is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the most incomplex eternal Being, having no beginning. 'God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son' (I Jn. 5:11). Why, then, do we seek life in men, in enjoyments, in money, in honors, in dress, etc.? There is no life for the heart in these things, but only affliction, confinement, and spiritual death. Why do we forsake the Fountain of living waters ? the Lord, and hew out 'cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water' (Jer. 2:13)? Why do we toss about and trouble about trifles? Why are we so greedy after enjoyments, money, honors, dress and various other things? All these are dead, perishable, transitory."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 277):

"...I will prove... that men have existed before they were born? Jacob, who while yet hidden in the secret chamber of his mother's womb supplanted his brother? Jeremiah likewise existed before his birth to whom the message comes: 'Before I formed you in your mother's womb, I knew you; and before you came forth from the belly, I sanctified you, and appointed you for a prophet among the nations' (Jer. 1:5). What testimony can we have stronger than the case of this great prophet, who was sanctified before he was born, and known before he was shaped? What, again, shall I say of John, of whom his holy mother testifies that, while he yet lay in her womb, he perceived in spirit the presence of his Lord, and leaped for joy, as we remember it to be written, his mother saying: 'For lo, as soon as the voice of the salutation entered my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy' (Lk. 1:44)."


From Lorenzo Scupoli quoting St. Gregory the Theologian (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pg. 154)

"The unclean spirit, banished by baptism, and not caring to be homeless, seeks rest, walking here and there; finding no home, he returns to the house from whence he came out, for he is shameless. If he finds that Christ is held by the attention and the love of the baptized man, and is established and dwelling in the place from whence he had been cast out, that is in the heart, he fails to enter and again turns away. But if he finds his former place empty, occupied by no one, through absence of attention towards God and memory of Him, he enters hastily, with greater malice than before. And the last state of that man is worse than the first."


From St. John of Damascus (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IX; Eerdmans pg. 68):

"We confess, then, that the Lord Jesus Christ assumed all the natural and innocent passions of man. For He assumed the whole man and all man's attributes save sin. For sin is not natural, nor is it implanted in us by the Creator, but arises voluntarily in our mode of life as the result of a further implantation by the devil, though it cannot prevail over us by force. For the natural and innocent passions are those which are not in our power, but which have entered into the life of man owing to the condemnation by reason of the transgression; such as hunger, thirst, weariness, labor, the tears, the corruption, the shrinking from death, the fear, the agony with the bloody sweat, the succor at the hands of angels because of the weakness of the nature, and other such like passions which belong by nature to every man. All, then, He assumed that He might sanctify all. He was tried and overcame in order that He might prepare victory for us and give to nature power to overcome its antagonist, in order that nature which was overcome of old might overcome its former conqueror by the very weapon wherewith it had itself been overcome."


From St. Thalassios (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 324):

"Christ, Master of all, free us from all destructive passions and the thoughts born of them. For Your sake we came into being, so that we might delight in the paradise which You have planted and in which You have placed us. We brought our present disgrace upon ourselves, preferring destruction to the delights of blessedness. We have paid for this, for we have exchanged eternal life for death. O Master, as once You have looked on us, look on us now; as You became man, save all of us. For You came to save us who were lost. Do not exclude us from the company of those who are being saved. Raise up our souls and save our bodies, cleansing us from all impurity. Break the fetters of the passions that constrain us, as once You have broken the ranks of the impure demons. Free us from their tyranny, so that we may worship You alone, the eternal light, having risen from the dead and dancing with the angels in the blessed, eternal and indissoluble dance. Amen."


From St. Philotheos of Sinai (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 26):

"Let us humble ourselves in soul and body, in thought and will, in words and ideas, in our outer bearing and our inner state. For unless we strive to do this we will turn our advocate, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and God, against us. For the Lord 'ranges Himself against the proud, but gives grace to the humble' (Jms. 4:6); and: 'He who humbles himself will be exalted' (Mt. 23:12); and: 'Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart' (Mt. 11:29). So we must be careful."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 79):

"When of old Satan deceived the first man Adam, thinking that through him he should have all men subject to him, he exulted with great boldness and said, 'My hand has found as a nest the riches of the people; and as one gathers eggs that are left, I have gathered all the earth; and there is none that shall escape me or speak against me' (Is. 10:14 LXX). But when the Lord came upon the earth and the enemy made trial of His human Economy, being unable to deceive the flesh which He had taken upon Him, from that time forth he, who promised himself the occupation of the whole world, is for His sake mocked even by children: that proud one is mocked as a sparrow (cf. Job 41:5). For now the infant child lays his hand upon the hole of the asp and laughs at him that deceived Eve (cf. Is 11:8; II Cor. 11:3); and all that rightly believe in the Lord tread under foot him that said, 'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will be like the Most High' (Is. 14:14). Thus he suffers and is dishonored; and although he still ventures with shameless confidence to disguise himself, yet now, wretched spirit, he is detected the rather by them that bear the Sign on their foreheads (cf. Ezek. 9:4 LXX); yea, more, he is rejected of them, and is humbled, and put to shame. For even if, now that he is a creeping serpent, he shall transform himself into an angel of light, yet his deception will not profit him; for we have been taught that 'though an angel from heaven preach to us any other gospel than that we have received, he is anathema' (Gal. 1:8-9)."


From St. Theognostos (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 375):

"Let no one deceive you, brother: without holiness, as the apostle says, no one can see God (cf. Heb. 12:14). For the Lord, who is more than holy and beyond all purity, will not appear to an impure person. Just as he who loves father or mother, daughter or son (cf. Mt. 10:37) more than the Lord is unworthy of Him, so is he who loves anything transient and material. Even more unworthy is the person who chooses foul and fetid sin in preference to love for the Lord; for God rejects whoever does not repudiate all filthiness: 'Corruption does not inherit incorruption' (I Cor. 15:50)."


From St. Cyril of Jerusalem (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series; Eerdmans pg.114):

"As you have entered upon a good and most glorious path, run with reverence the race of godliness. For the Only-begotten Son of God is present here most ready to redeem you, saying, 'Come to Me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest' (Mt. 11:28). You that are clothed with the rough garment of your offenses, who are 'held with the cords of your own sins', hear the voice of the Prophet saying, 'Wash, you, make you clean, put away your iniquities from before My eyes' (Is. 1:16): that the choir of Angels may chant over you, 'Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered' (Ps. 32:1)."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 267):

"... the Apostle Paul says that we are sealed in the Spirit (cf. Eph. 1:13); since we have in the Son the image of the Father, and in the Spirit the seal of the Son. Let us, then, sealed by this Trinity, take more diligent heed, lest either levity of character or the deceit of any unfaithfulness unseal the pledge which we have received in our hearts."


From Evagrios the Solitary (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 41):

"... we should not worry about clothes or food? Such anxiety is a mark of? unbelievers, who reject the providence of the Lord and deny the Creator. An attitude of this kind is entirely wrong for Christians who believe that even? sparrows? are under the care of the holy angels (cf. Mt. 10:29). The demons, however? suggest worries of this kind? The divine word can bear no fruit, being choked out by our cares. Let us, then, renounce these cares, and throw them down before the Lord, being content with what we have at the moment?"


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pg. 199):

"... the all-wise Moses initiated us into true spiritual knowledge and the holy prophets, apostles and evangelists who came after him did not deviate from his teaching. The same single theological approach may be seen in all of them and one will not find them at odds with each other in any matter whatsoever. Truly inspired by God, they derive what they say from the one Holy Spirit. Our Lord Jesus Christ does not allow us to entertain any doubt on this point, for He says most clearly in their presence: 'It is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you' (Mt. 10:20). Since we possess an authentic doctrine concerning God that has come down to us from above through holy Fathers, we exult in it?"


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 519):

"Those who pray without ceasing (cf. I Thess. 5:17) are waiting entirely on the Lord, and say, 'Let us follow on to know the Lord: we shall find Him ready as the morning; and He will come to us as the early and the latter rain for the earth' (Hos. 6:3). For not only does He satisfy them in the morning; neither does He give them only as much to drink as they ask; but He gives them abundantly according to the multitude of His loving-kindness, vouchsafing to them at all times the grace of the Spirit."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist Press pg. 170):

"To attain spiritual knowledge there is no other route except the following, which has been so aptly described by one of the prophets: 'Sow integrity for yourselves, reap a harvest of the hope of life, light up within you the light of knowledge' (Hos. 10:12). First, then, we must sow integrity for ourselves, that is, we must propagate real perfection in us with the works of justice. Second, we must reap the hope of life. In other words, the fruits of spiritual virtue must be gathered by way of the expulsion of the sins of the flesh and in this way it will be possible for us to turn on the light of knowledge within us."


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pgs. 519-520):

"... not merely in works, but also in faith, has God preserved the will of man free and under his own control, saying, 'According to your faith let it be to you' (Mt. 9:29); thus showing that there is a faith specially belonging to man, since he has an opinion specially his own. And again, 'All things are possible to him who believes' (Mk. 9:23); and, 'Go your way; and as you have believed, so be it done to you' (Mt. 8:13). Now all such expressions demonstrate that man is in his own power with respect to faith. And for this reason, 'he who believes in Him has eternal life; while he who believes not the Son has not eternal life, but the wrath of God shall remain upon him' (Jn. 3:36)."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 334):

"The likeness of Your Church, O Lord, is that woman who went behind and touched the hem of Your garment, saying within herself: 'If I do but touch His garment I shall be whole' (Mt. 9:21). So the Church confesses her wounds, but desires to be healed."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pgs. 79-80):

"Man stands at the crossroads between righteousness and sin, and chooses whichever path he wishes. But after that the path he has chosen to follow, and the guides assigned to it, whether angels and saints or demons and sinners, will lead him to the end of it, even if he has no wish to go there. The good guides lead him toward God and the kingdom of heaven, the evil guides toward the devil and age long punishment. But nothing and no one is to blame for his destruction except his own free will. For God is the God of salvation, bestowing on us, along with being and well-being, the knowledge and strength that we cannot have without the grace of God. Not even the devil can destroy a man, compelling him to choose wrongly, or reducing him to impotence or enforced ignorance, or anything else: he can only suggest evil to him."


From St. Gregory of Sinai (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 220):

"If our human nature is not kept pure or else restored to its original purity by the Holy Spirit, it cannot become one body and one spirit in Christ, either in this life or in the harmonious order of the life to come. For the all-embracing and unifying power of the Spirit does not complete the new garment of grace by sewing on to it a patch taken from the old garment of the passions (cf. Mt. 9:16)."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 329):

"... alas for the soul that is unaware of its wounds and that in its endless sinfulness and obduracy does not think it has anything evil within it: the good doctor will not visit it or heal it, since it does not seek Him out or have any concern for its wounds, because it thinks it is well and in good health. As the Lord said: 'It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick' (Mt. 9:12)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 81):

"... hear the Lord saying to each of us, as to the paralyzed man, 'Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house' (Mt. 9:6). Strengthened by the grace and power of Holy Baptism within us, we become vigorous and active in virtue, and bring into subjection our mental and physical capabilities and those material things which ought to be subservient to them, but which formerly overpowered us. We then go wherever pleases God and ourselves and, as far as we can, move to our real home, the eternal heavenly mansions. Those who see us ordering our lives in this godly way, marvel and glorify God, Who has given such power and authority to those who believe in Him (cf. Mt. 9:8), that they have their citizenship in heaven while still living on earth."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 184):

"Unbelievers, those who believe with difficulty, or believe in part, are those who do not show their faith through works. Apart from works the demons also believe (Jms. 2:19) and confess Christ to be God and Master. 'We know who you are' (Mk. 1:24), they say, 'You are the Son of God' (Mt. 8:29), and elsewhere, 'These men are servants of the Most High God' (Acts 16:17). Yet such faith will not benefit the demons, nor even humans. This faith is of no use, for it is dead?"


From St. Philotheos of Sinai (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 26):

"Be extremely strict in guarding your intellect. When you perceive an evil thought, rebut it and immediately call upon Christ to defend you; and while you are still speaking, Jesus in His gentle love will say: "Behold, I am by your side ready to help you." When the whole detachment of the enemy has been put out of action through prayer, again turn your attention to your intellect. There you will see a succession of waves worse than before, with the soul swimming among them. But again, awakened by His disciple, Jesus as God will rebuke the winds of evil (cf. Mt. 8:23-27). Having found respite for an hour perhaps, or for a moment, glorify Him who has saved you, and meditate on death."


From St. John of Damascus (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IX; Eerdmans pg. 93):

"... even when Amos says that 'God creates evil things,' and that 'there is no evil in a city that the Lord has not done' (Amos 3:6), he does not mean by the words that the Lord is the cause of evil, but the word 'evil' is used in two ways, with two meanings. For sometimes it means what is evil by nature, and this is the opposite of virtue and the will of God: and sometimes it means that which is evil and oppressive to our sensation, that is to say, afflictions and calamities. Now these are seemingly evil because they are painful, but in reality are good. For to those who understand they become ambassadors of conversion and salvation. The Scripture says that of these God is the Author."


Blessed Theophylact (The Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Mark; Chrysostom Press pg. 46):

"Power goes out from Christ, not traveling from one location to another, but rather imparted to others while remaining in Christ undiminished. It is the same with teachings, which remain with those who teach, and yet are imparted to those who learn."


From St. Gregory the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 11):

"Now to go up against the enemy is to go with free voice against the powers of this world for the defense of the flock; and to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord is out of love of justice to resist bad men when they contend against us. For, for a shepherd to have feared to say what is right, what else is it but to have turned his back in keeping silence? But surely, if he puts himself in front for the flock, he opposes a wall against the enemy for the house of Israel. Hence again to the sinful people it is said, 'Your prophets have seen false and foolish things for you: neither did they discover your iniquity, to provoke you to repentance' (Lam. 2:14)."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pg. 146):

"Do you understand how although Christ was seen as a man like us He utters the words of God? For it is something exceptional and beyond the powers of creation that belongs to Him alone who is by nature and in reality God to be able to achieve by the spoken word that which is in accordance with His will, and to make those who have been justified by faith partakers of the Holy Spirit. In this matter one may see that we are referring to Christ. For He said to the leper: 'I will; be clean' (Mt. 8:3)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 68):

"... we commemorate each of the saints with hymns and appropriate songs of praise, how much more should we celebrate the memory of Peter and Paul, the supreme Leaders of the pre-eminent company of the Apostles? They are the fathers and guides of all Christians: Apostles, martyrs, holy ascetics, priests, hierarchs, pastors and teachers. As chief shepherds and master builders of our common godliness and virtue, they tend and teach us all, like lights in the world, holding forth the word of life."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pg. 261):

"Guard yourself from thoughts, which appear holy and inflame an unreasonable zeal for themselves, of which the Lord speaks allegorically: 'Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits' (Mt. 7:15-16). Their fruit is the languishing and breaking of the spirit. Know that everything which draws you away from humility and from inner peace and quiet, however beautiful it may seem, is nothing but false prophets who, under the cover of sheep's clothing, that is, of a hypocritical zeal to do good to their neighbors without discrimination, are in truth ravening wolves who steal you of your humility, peace and quiet, so necessary to every man who desires steady progress in spiritual life."


From St. Isaiah the Solitary (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 26):

"Be attentive to your heart and watch your enemies, for they are cunning in their malice. In your heart be persuaded of this: it is impossible for a man to achieve good through evil means. That is why our Savior told us to be watchful, saying: 'Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there are that find it' (Mt. 7:14)."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pg. 121):

"Never allow yourself boldly to judge your neighbor; judge and condemn no one? rather have compassion and pity for him. Do not be indignant with him or laugh at him, but let his example be a lesson in humility to you; realizing that you too are extremely weak and as easily moved to sin as dust on the road, say to yourself: 'He fell today, but tomorrow I shall fall.' Know that, if you are quick to blame and despise others, God will mete out a painful punishment to you by letting you fall into the same sin for which you blame others. 'Judge not, that you be not judged' (Mt. 7:1); you will be condemned to the same punishment, in order to learn from it the perniciousness of your pride and, thus humbled, to seek a cure?"


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 297):

"People who think it is impossible to attain through the Spirit the 'new creation' of the pure heart (cf. II Cor. 5:17) are rightly and explicitly likened by the apostle to those who, because of their unbelief, were found unworthy of entering the promised land and whose bodies on that account 'were left lying in the desert' (Heb. 3:17)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 207):

"John the Forerunner and Baptist did not merely, in the words of the Scripture, choose the good before knowing evil (cf. Isa. 7:16 LXX), but while still unborn, before knowing the world, he surpassed it. Then once he was born he delighted and amazed everyone by reason of the miraculous events surrounding him, because it says, 'The hand of the Lord was with him' (Lk. 1:66), working wonders again as it had in earlier time? Once this divine child, this living instrument of grace from his mother's womb, had been conceived, he was moved by grace to rejoice in the Holy Spirit. In the same way, after being born, he grew and waxed strong in the Spirit."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series; Eerdmans pg. 208):

"St. Antony used to say that it behooved a man to give all his time to his soul rather than his body, yet to grant a short space to the body through its necessities; but all the more earnestly to give up the whole remainder to the soul and seek its profit, that it might not be dragged down by the pleasures of the body, but, on the contrary, the body might be in subjection to the soul. For this is that which was spoken by the Savior: 'Be not anxious for your life what you shall eat, nor for your body what you shall put on. And do you seek not what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, and be not of a doubtful mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after. But your Father knows that you have need of all these things. Howbeit seek you first His Kingdom, and all these things shall be added to you' (Mt. 6:31; Lk. 12:29)."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 516):

" 'The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice' (Ps. 97:1). For when death reigned, 'sitting down by the rivers of Babylon, we wept' (Ps. 137:1), and mourned, because we felt the bitterness of captivity; but now that death and the kingdom of the devil is abolished, everything is entirely filled with joy and gladness."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 43):

"Blessed, plainly, is that life which is not valued at the estimation of outsiders, but is known, as judge of itself, by its own inner feelings. It needs no popular opinions as its reward in any way; nor has it any fear of punishments. Thus the less it strives for glory, the more it rises above it. For to those who seek for glory, that reward in the shape of present things is but a shadow of future ones, and is a hindrance to eternal life, as it is written in the Scriptures: 'Truly I say to you, they have received their reward' "


From St. Cyril of Jerusalem (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 11):

"You see that it is good to make confession? Ahab? the King of Samaria, became a most wicked idolator, an outrageous man, the murderer of the Prophets (cf. I Kgs. 18:4), a stranger to godliness, a coveter of other men's fields and vineyards. Yet when by Jezebel's means he had slain Naboth, and the Prophet Elijah came and merely threatened him, he rent his garments and put on sackcloth. And what said the merciful God to Elijah? 'Have you seen how Ahab is pricked in the heart before Me?' (I Kgs. 21:29) as if almost He would persuade the fiery zeal of the Prophet to condescend to the penitent. For He says, 'I will not bring evil in his days'. And though after this forgiveness he was sure not to depart from his wickedness, nevertheless the forgiving God forgave him, not as being ignorant of the future, but as granting a forgiveness corresponding to the present season of repentance. For it is the part of a righteous judge to give sentence according to each case that has occurred."


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Vol. I; Eerdmans pg. 477):

" 'And if anyone,' our Lord says, 'shall compel you to go a mile, go with him two' (Mt. 5:41); so that you may not follow him as a slave, but may as a free man go before him, showing yourself in all things kindly disposed and useful to your neighbor, not regarding their evil intentions, but performing your kind services, likening your self to the Father."


From Abba Philemon (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 351):

"When you are in church, and are going to partake of the divine mysteries of Christ, do not go out until you have attained complete peace. Stand in one place, and do not leave it until the dismissal. Think that you are standing in heaven, and that in the company of the holy angels you are meeting God and receiving Him in your heart. Prepare yourself with great awe and trembling, lest you mingle with the holy powers unworthily."


From the Blessed Theophylact (Explanation of the Gospel of St. Matthew; Chrysostom Press pg. 54):

"... no one is disbelieved more than he who is eager to swear that he speaks the truth."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 66):

"Have you not heard that God is Judge 'of the thoughts and intentions of the heart' (Heb. 4:2)? What does our Lord say? 'He who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart' (Mt. 5:28). Do you see how he who looks at someone's face with lust is judged as an adulterer? Know then for sure, O man, that he who is ruled by lust of money is judged covetous, even though he possesses nothing at all. He who lusts after many costly dishes is a glutton, even though he on account of poverty feeds on nothing but bread and water. He is a whoremonger who attaches himself to his imaginations and so is defiled, even though he has never seen the face of anyone. So too he who says in his heart, 'This has been badly done, and has not turned out right,' and 'Why has this and that happened?' 'Why did that not happen?' - let him not deceive himself. He is a slanderer and will be judged as one who condemns, even though he utters not a word with his tongue and no one hears his voice."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 329):

"... Christ said, 'Whoever shall say to his brother "You fool" shall be guilty enough to go to the hell of fire' (Mt. 5:22). If, then, you can eradicate this evil, calling down upon your soul the benediction of gentleness, then glorify Christ, the teacher and ministrant of every virtue, without whom, as we have been taught, we can do nothing good. But if you are unable to bridle your temper, censure yourself whenever you lose it, and repent before God and before anyone to whom you have spoken or have acted evilly. If you repent at the inception of sin you will not commit the sin itself; but if you feel no pang in committing minor offenses you will through them fall into major transgressions."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 446):

"God is resplendently reflected in the souls of His chosen ones, and these pure souls, these images of God, like the transparent glass, shine forth like gold in the sun, like diamonds of the purest water, but they shine for God and the angels, not revealing their brightness to men, although at times, by God's ordering, they do shine even for them, by the light of their faith, their virtues, when necessary, similar to a candle put on a candlestick in a room, and lighting the room with all those who are in it. (cf. Mt. 5:15)."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pgs. 202-203):

"Let us acquire a contrite heart, a soul humbled in mind, and a heart that by means of tears and repentance is pure from every stain and defilement of sin. So shall we too be found worthy in due time quickly to rise to such heights that even hear and now we may see and enjoy the ineffable blessings of the divine light, if not perfectly, at least in part, and to the extent to which we are able. So shall we both unite ourselves to God, and God will be united to us. To those who come near us we shall become 'light' and 'salt' (cf. Mt. 5:13-14) to their great benefit in Christ Jesus our Lord."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 170):

"If God suffers in the flesh when He is made man, should we not rejoice when we suffer, for we have God to share our sufferings? This shared suffering confers the kingdom on us. For he spoke truly who said, 'If we suffer with Him, then we shall also be glorified with Him' (Rom. 8:17)."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 230):

"O man, do you believe that Christ is God? If you believe, fear, and keep His commandments? there is no other God but He (cf. Dt. 4:35). To Him no one is equal, nor can become equal (cf. Is. 40:18). He is Ruler of all things, the Judge of all, the King of all, the Maker of light and the Lord of life. He is the Light that is ineffable, inaccessible (cf. I Tim. 6:16), and He is the Only One. By His appearing He causes all His enemies to vanish before His face (cf. Ps. 68:2 f.), as well as those who do not perform His commandments, just as the sun when it rises drives away the darkness of night."


From St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent; Paulist Press pg. 149):

"You wish, or rather, have decided, to remove a splinter from someone? Very well, but do not go after it with a stick instead of a lancet for you will only drive it deeper. Rough speech and harsh gestures are the stick, while even-tempered instruction and patient reprimand are the lancet. 'Reprove, rebuke, exhort,' says the Apostle (II Tim. 4:2), not 'batter'."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 482):

"The misfortunes of Christians arise from their not having Christian hope. A man feels the oppression of sin in his heart the weariness and anguish of sin: if he has not Christian hope in his heart, what does he do? He has recourse to artificial means to drive away the oppression and weariness, to culpable distractions, and not to Christ, Whose 'yoke is easy' for our heart and Whose 'burden is light' (Mt. 11:30), not to prayer, not to repentance for his sins, not to the Word of God, which 'is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, comfort' (II Tim. 3:16; Rom. 15:4). So it happens in most cases. Hence the necessity for worldly people to have theatres and a multitude of other amusements. Some have recourse to suicide. The experience of obtaining that which we pray for greatly strengthens Christian hope in our heart. And he who is attentive to himself will easily observe this experience."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pgs. 207-208):

"By dying to sin in baptism one could say mystically that he shares in the death of Christ Himself (cf. II Tim. 2:11). Join me in observing how appropriately the symbols convey the sacred. To us death is not, as others imagine, a complete dissolution of being. It is, rather, the separation of two parts which had been linked together. It brings the soul into what for us is an invisible realm where it, in the loss of the body, becomes formless. And the body is hidden in earth and undergoes a change from its corporeal shape and is withdrawn from its human appearance. Now because of this it is quite appropriate to hide the initiate completely in the water as an image of this death and this burial where form is dissolved. This symbolic lesson therefore sacredly leads the one who is baptized into the mystery that by his triple immersion he imitates, as far as the imitation of God is possible to men, the divine death of One Who was three days and nights in the tomb, the life-giving Jesus, in Whom, according to the mysterious and hidden tradition of Scripture, the ruler of this world found nothing. Next they put bright clothes on the initiate. His courage and his likeness to God, his firm trust toward the One, make him indifferent to contrary things. Order descends upon disorder within him. Form takes over from formlessness. Light shines through all his life."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 206):

"There are times when I, without willing it, mount to the height of contemplation; with my will I am drawn down from it because of the limitations of human nature and find safety in abasement. I know many things that are unknown to most men, yet I am more ignorant than all others. I rejoice because Christ, 'whom I have believed' (II Tim. 1:12), has bestowed on me an eternal and unshakable kingdom, yet I constantly weep as one who is unworthy of that which is above, and I cease not."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 194):

"... those who sit in the darkness of passions and whose minds are blinded by ignorance, or, rather, those who have not acquired the 'mind of Christ' (I Cor. 2:16), think that he who has the mind of Christ is foolish, and that he who has it not is sensible. Of these the prophet David rightly states, 'The ignorant and foolish perish together' (Ps. 49:11). Therefore such men twist the whole of Scripture according to their own desires (cf. II Pet. 3:3, 16) and corrupt themselves in their own passions. But it is not divine Scripture that suffers from this, but those who disfigure it!"


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pg. 105):

"... we who are deemed worthy to participate in Christ through faith are made "partakers of the divine nature" (II Pet. 1:4) and are said to be born of God. We are therefore called gods, not simply by grace because we are winging our way towards the glory that transcends us, but because we already have God dwelling and abiding within us?"


From St. Seraphim of Sarov (Little Russian Philokalia Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pg. 46):

"When a man receives something Divine, in his heart he rejoices; but when he receives something diabolic, he is disturbed. The Christian heart, when it has received something Divine, does not demand anything else in order to convince it that this is precisely from the Lord; but by that very effect it is convinced that this is heavenly, for it senses within itself spiritual fruits: love, joy, peace, and the rest (cf. Gal. 5:22)."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 140):

"He who chooses maltreatment and dishonor for the sake of truth is walking on the apostolic path; he has taken up the cross and is bound in chains (cf. Mt. 16:24; Acts 28:20). But when he tries to concentrate his attention on the heart without accepting these two, his intellect wanders from the path and he falls into the temptations and snares of the devil."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 161):

"The person who cannot endure for Christ's sake a physical death? should at least be willing to endure death spiritually. Then he will be a martyr? in that he does not submit to the demons that assail him, or to their purposes, but conquers them, as did the holy martyrs and the holy fathers. The first were bodily martyrs, the latter spiritual martyrs. By forcing oneself slightly, one defeats the enemy; through slight negligence one is filled with darkness and destroyed."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 341):

"... to those on whom the grace of the divine Spirit has descended, coming to dwell in the deepest levels of their intellect, Christ is as the soul. As St. Paul says: 'He who cleaves to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him' (I Cor. 6:17). And as the Lord Himself says: 'As I and You are one, so may they be one in Us' (cf. Jn. 17:21). What blessing and goodness has human nature received, abased as it was by the power of evil!"


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 333):

"Christ, Who supplies the Holy Spirit, nevertheless is? said to be anointed, that? being said as man to be anointed with the Spirit, He might provide for us men, not only exaltation and resurrection, but the indwelling and intimacy of the Spirit. And signifying this the Lord Himself has said by His own mouth? 'I have sent them into the world, and for their sakes do I sanctify Myself, that they may be sanctified in the truth' (Jn. 17:18-19). In saying this He has shown that He is not the sanctified, but the Sanctifier; for He is not sanctified by others, but Himself sanctifies Himself, that we may be sanctified in the truth."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 46):

"Let us consider how we should glorify God. We cannot glorify Him in any way other than that in which He was glorified by the Son; for in the same way as the Son glorified the Father, the Son in turn was glorified by the Father. Let us, then, diligently use these same means to glorify Him who allows us to call Him 'our Father in heaven', so that we may be glorified by Him with the glory that the Son possesses with the father prior to the world (cf. Jn. 17:5). These means are the cross, or death to the whole world, the afflictions, the trials and the other sufferings undergone by Christ. If we endure them with great patience, we imitate Christ's sufferings; and through them we glorify our Father and God, as His sons by grace and coheirs of Christ."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Triads; Paulist Press pg. 88):

"... the saints are the instruments of the Holy Spirit, having received the same energy as He has. As certain proof of what I say, one might cite the charisms of healing, the working of miracles, foreknowledge, the irrefutable wisdom which the Lord called 'the Spirit of your Father' (Mt. 10:20), and also the sanctifying bestowal of the Spirit which those sanctified with these gifts receive from and through them. Thus God said to Moses, 'I shall take the spirit which is on you and put it on them' (Num. 11:17); similarly, 'when Paul laid his hands' on the twelve Ephesians, 'the Holy Spirit came upon them', and at once 'they spoke in tongues and prophesied' (Acts 19:6)."


From Blessed Theophylact (The Explanation of The Holy Gospel According to St. Mark; Chrysostom Press pg. 144):

"The apostles preached everywhere, 'the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following' (Mk. 16:17). See that we must do our part first, and then follows God's collaboration with us. When we have acted and made a beginning, then the Lord works with us. The Lord cannot work with us if, by our own inaction, we give Him no way to do so. Consider this as well: after the word comes works, and the word is confirmed by works, just as it was with the apostles then, when the works and the signs which followed confirmed the word. May it be also, O Christ the Word, that our words which we speak concerning virtue are confirmed by our labors and deeds. As ones perfected, may we stand by Your side so that You might work with us in all our deeds and words. For unto You is due the glory of our words and deeds. Amen."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 107):

"Dispassion and humility lead to spiritual knowledge. Without them no one will see the Lord."


From St. Seraphim of Sarov (Little Russian Philokalia Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pg. 102):

"When the Spirit of God comes down to man and overshadows him with the fullness of His inspiration, then the human soul overflows with joy, for the Spirit of God fills with joy whatever He touches. This is that joy of which the Lord speaks in His Gospel: 'A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. In the world you will be sorrowful, but when I see you again, your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you' (Jn. 16:21-22). Yet however comforting may be this joy which you now feel in your heart, it is nothing in comparison with that joy of which the Lord Himself by the mouth of His Apostle spoke: 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for them that love Him' (I Cor. 2:9). Foretastes of that joy are given to us now, and if they fill our souls with such sweetness, well-being and happiness, what shall we say of that joy which has been prepared in heaven for those who weep here on earth?"


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg.75):

"As the word of the man reveals what is in his mind and heart (reveals the mind ? unseen, dominating, creating), and as the breath proceeds from the man through the word, revealing the mind or the thought, so, somewhat similarly, the Word of God reveals to us the Father ? that great all-creating Mind ? and, through the Word, the Holy Spirit, the life-giving Spirit, Who is the power of the Highest, eternally proceeds from the Father and is revealed to men. 'The power of the Highest shall overshadow you' (Lk. 1:35). Now the words of the Savior are comprehensible: 'No man knows the Son but the Father; neither knows any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him' (Mt. 11:27). That is, only the Son reveals the Father to men, as our word reveals our thought hidden in the soul. Such is the closeness of the union between the Father and the Son! And every Person has His particular dominion and His own, so to say, work. And, therefore, the Lord said to His disciples: 'If I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart I will send Him to you' (Jn. 16:7). Glory to You, Son of God, Who has revealed to us the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity ? the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! Your Word is truth; we live by all and each separate word of Yours. They are our sweetness, peace, and life; especially the words concerning the Comforter."


From St. Justin, Martyr (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 270):

"God, wishing men and angels to follow His will, resolved to create them free to do righteousness; possessing reason, that they may know by whom they are created, and through whom they, not existing formerly, do now exist; and with a law that they should be judged by Him, if they do anything contrary to right reason: and of ourselves we, men and angels, shall be convicted of having acted sinfully, unless we repent beforehand. But if the word of God foretells that some angels and men shall be certainly punished, it did so because it foreknew that they would be unchangeably wicked, but not because God had created them so. So that if they repent, all who wish for it can obtain mercy from God: and the Scripture foretells that they shall be blessed, saying, 'Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes not sin' (Ps. 32:2); that is, having repented of his sins, that he may receive remission of them from God."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist press pg. 169):

"True knowledge is found only among those genuinely worshiping God."


From Nikitas Stithatos (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 140):

"Since God, as sovereign King of all, is primordial Intellect, He possesses within Himself His Logos and His Spirit, coessential and coeternal with Him. He is never without the Logos and the Spirit because the divine nature is one and indivisible; nor is He to be confused with Them, for the three hypostases in God are distinct and unconfusable. Hence in naturally begetting the Logos from His essence, the Father is not severed from Him, since He is Himself indivisible. The coeternal Logos, not severed from His Begetter possesses the Spirit, who proceeds eternally from the Father (cf. Jn. 15:26) and shares with the Logos the same unoriginate nature. For the nature of both Logos and Spirit is one and undivided, even though by virtue of the distinction of hypostases the one God is divided into persons and is glorified as the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yet the persons, since They constitute one nature and one God, are never separated from the coeternal essence and nature."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pgs, 319-320):

"Great is Your love, O Lord: You have wholly spent Yourself out of love for me. I gaze upon the cross and marvel at Your love to me and to the world, for the cross is the evident token of Your love to us. 'Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends' (Jn. 15:13). Your life-giving Mysteries, Lord, serve as a perpetual glorious proof of Your love for us sinners; for this Your Divine Body was broken for me, for us all, and this Blood was poured out for me, for us all. Lord, I glorify the wonders accomplished by Your Holy Mysteries upon Your believers, to whom I have ministered Them; I glorify the innumerable cures of which I was witness; I glorify Their all-saving action in myself. I glorify Your mercy to me, revealed to me in Them and through Them, and Your life-giving power, acting in Them. Lord, in return for Your great love, grant that I may love You with all my heart, and my neighbor as myself, grant that I may also love my enemies, and not only those who love me."


From St. Ignatius of Antioch (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 51):

"Take heed often to come together to give thanks to God and show forth His praise. For when you assemble frequently in the same place, the powers of Satan are destroyed, and the destruction at which he aims is prevented by the unity of your faith. Nothing is more precious than peace, by which all war, in heaven and earth, is brought to an end."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 263):

"The law of grace directly teaches those who are led by it to imitate God Himself. For? despite the fact that because of sin we were His enemies, God loved us so much more than Himself that, although He is beyond every being, He entered without changing into our being, supra-essentially took on human nature, became man and, wishing to reveal Himself as a man among men, did not refuse to make His own the penalty we pay. And as in His providence He became man, so He deified us by grace, in this way teaching us not only to cleave to one another naturally and to love others spiritually as ourselves, but also, like God, to be more concerned for others than for ourselves, and as proof of our love for each other readily to choose, as virtue enjoins, to die for others. For, as Scripture tells us, there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for a friend (cf. Jn. 15:13)."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 129):

"... the Apostle Peter declared that the Church was built by the Holy Spirit. For you read that he said: 'God, Who knows the hearts of men, bore witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as was given to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith' (Acts 15:8-9). In which is to be considered, that as Christ is the Cornerstone, Who joined together both peoples into one, so, too, the Holy Spirit made no distinction between the hearts of each people, but united them."


From St. Clement (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pgs. 8-9):

"... we shall incur no slight injury, but rather great danger, if we rashly yield ourselves to the inclinations of men who aim at exciting strife and tumults, so as to draw us away from what is good? Let us cleave, therefore, to those who cultivate peace with godliness?"


From St. John of Damascus (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IX; Eerdmans pgs. 8-9):

"... if we say that the Father is the origin of the Son and greater than the Son, we do not suggest any precedence in time or superiority in nature of the Father over the Son (cf. Jn. 14:28)? or superiority in any other respect save causation. And we mean by this, that the Son is begotten of the Father and not the Father of the Son, and that the Father naturally is the cause of the Son."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 373):

"... we can see both that love for God is begotten from the virtues and that virtues are born of love. For this reason the Lord said at one point in the Gospels, 'He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me' (Jn. 14:21), and at another point, 'He who loves Me will keep My commandments' (cf. Jn. 14:23)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pgs. 84-85):

" 'God is greater than our heart and knows all things' (I Jn. 3:20). Through our spiritual vision we see and know the smallest movements of the heart, all our thoughts, desires and intentions in general, almost everything that is in our soul. But God is greater than our heart. He is within us and around us and everywhere, in every place, as the Single, All-seeing, Spiritual Eye, of which our own spiritual vision is but a small specimen, and, therefore, He knows all that is in us a thousand times better and more clearly than we ourselves; at the same time He knows everything that is in every man, in every angel, and in all the heavenly powers, in every animate and inanimate creature; sees as upon the palm of His hand all that is within us and every creature, being inherent in each one of them, and maintaining each one of them in its existence and functions, as the All-Provident Creator."


From St. Cyril of Jerusalem (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 69):

" 'He who has seen the Son has seen the Father' (Jn. 14:9): for in all things the Son is like Him Who begat Him; begotten Life of Life, and Light of Light, Power of Power, God of God; and the characteristics of the Godhead are unchangeable in the Son; and he who is counted worthy to behold Godhead in the Son, attains to the fruition of the Father. This is not my word, but that of the Only-begotten: 'Have I been so long a time with you, and have you not known Me Philip? He who has seen Me, has seen the Father' (Jn. 14:9)."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist Press pg. 151):

"I do not wish to be understood as saying that the thought of everlasting punishment or of a most blessed reward has no value. They are indeed valuable because those given over to them are introduced to the first stages of blessedness. In love, however, there is a greater faith, and the joy of it is forever. Taking hold of them it will lead them from servile fear and from the hope of reward to the love of God and to be adopted as sons. It will, so to speak, make of the perfect those who are still more perfect. 'There are many mansions in my Father's house' (Jn. 14:2), says the Lord. All the stars can be seen in the sky, and still there is a great difference between the brilliance of the sun, of the moon, of Venus, and of the other stars. And so it is that the blessed apostle makes out that love is not only higher than fear and hope, but higher than all the charisms, however great and however marvelous these may be in human reckoning."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 92-93):

"... brethren, we continually offer you words of encouragement, to stir all of you up to add good actions to your unswerving, honest thoughts, because this is what brings what is right to good effect. 'A good understanding', says David, 'have all they that do it' (Ps. 111:10). And 'His righteousness is unto the children's children; to such as keep His covenant, and to those that remember His commandments to do them' (Ps. 103:17-18). Paul says, 'For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified' (Rom. 2:13). And the Lord of both David and Paul says, 'If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them' (Jn. 13:17)."


From St. Cyril of Jerusalem (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 137):

"The grace of the Holy Spirit was shed by God abundantly in Antioch. There were there prophets and teachers of whom Agabus was one (cf. Acts 11:28). And 'as they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." And after hands had been laid on them, they were sent forth by the Holy Spirit' (Acts 13:2-4). Now it is manifest, that the Spirit which speaks and sends, is a living Spirit, subsisting as a Person, and operating? the Holy Spirit, who in unison with the Father and Son has established the New Covenant in the Church Catholic?"


From St. Basil the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VIII; Eerdmans pg. 106):

"To Whom does our God say, 'in our image' (Gen. 1:26), to whom if it is not to Him who is 'the brightness of His glory and the express image of His Person' (Heb. 1:3), 'the image of the invisible God' (Col. 1:15)? It is then to His living image, to Him Who has said 'I and My Father are one' (Jn. 10:30), 'He who has seen Me has seen the Father' (Jn. 14:9), that God says, 'Let us make man in our image'."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 130):

"The Lord called Himself and is the 'good Shepherd' (Jn. 10:11). If you believe in His guidance, then you will understand by your heart that as a zealous shepherd when feeding his flock does not allow the sheep to disperse, but gathers them together, so also the Lord pastures our souls, not allowing them to wander in falsehood and sins, but gathering them on the path of virtue, and not allowing the mental wolf to steal and scatter them."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 205):

"... how great the blessedness of seeing God, what mind can conceive, what tongue declare? And yet this shall ensue when man's nature is transformed, so that no longer 'in a mirror,' nor 'in a riddle,' but 'face to face' (I Cor. 13:12) it sees God 'as He is' (I Jn. 3:2), which no man could see; and through unspeakable joy of eternal contemplation obtains that 'which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man' (Is. 44:4; I Cor. 2:9). Rightly is this blessedness promised to purity of heart (cf. Mt. 5:8). For the brightness of the true light will not be able to be seen by the unclean sight: and that which will be happiness to minds that are bright and clean, will be a punishment to those that are stained. Therefore, let the mists of earth's vanities be shunned and your inward eyes purged from all the filth of wickedness, that the sight may be free to feed on this great manifestation of God."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 297):

"Life of the soul is union with God, as life of the body is union with the soul. As the soul was separated from God and died in consequence of the violation of the commandment, so by obedience to the commandment it is again united to God and is quickened. This is why the Lord says in the Gospels, 'The words I speak to you are spirit and life' (Jn. 6:63)."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pg. 225):

"I want to indicate to you a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare, namely, the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist. This sacrament is the highest among sacraments, and is the most powerful and effective of all spiritual weapons? This sacrament is Christ's blood itself, and His flesh itself, in which Christ is Himself present as God? When we partake of the Eucharist? our Lord Christ Himself strikes down our enemies through us, or in company with us. For he who eats Christ's flesh and drinks His blood abides with Christ, and He in him, as He said: 'He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in Me, and I in him' (Jn. 6:56). Therefore, when we overcome the enemies, it is the blood of Christ which overcomes, as it is written in Revelation: 'and they overcame him' (the slanderous devil) 'by the blood of the Lamb' (Rev. 12:11)? He is calling you to His divine supper in His unceasing and unchanging love for you. At times He even forces you to approach it by fearful admonitions, reminding you of His words? 'except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you' (Jn. 6:53); and just as He does not shut to you the door of His mercy, so He does not turn His face away from you, even though, in your sins, you are a leper, weak, blind, poor, a slave to all passions and vices."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 348):

"... the light that illumined St. Paul on the road to Damaskos (cf. Acts 9:3), the light through which he was raised to the third heaven where he heard unutterable mysteries (cf. II Cor. 12:4), was not merely the enlightenment of conceptual images or of spiritual knowledge. It was the effulgence of the power of the Holy Spirit shining in our Lord's own person? Such was its brilliance that corporeal eyes were not able to bear it and were blinded; and through it all spiritual knowledge is revealed and God is truly known by the worthy and loving soul."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 84):

"We have to make strenuous efforts when we first try to return from where we fell. For we resent abandoning our own desires, and we think that we can carry out both God's wishes and our own ? which is impossible. Our Lord Himself said, 'I have come to do, not My own will, but the will of the Father who sent Me' (cf. Jn. 6:38)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Maximos the Confessor: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pg. 126):

"If... Adam had trusted in God and been nourished from the tree of life (Gn. 2:9)? he would not have set aside the immortality that had been granted. For such immortality is eternally preserved by participation in life, since all life is genuine and preserved by appropriate food. The food of that blessed life is 'the bread that came down from heaven and gives life to the world' (Jn. 6:33), just as the inerrant Word Himself declares about Himself in the Gospels."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Triads; Paulist Press pgs. 51-52):

"... just as the divinity of the Word of God incarnate is common to soul and body, since the Lord has deified the flesh through the mediation of the soul to make it also accomplish the works of God; so similarly, in spiritual man, the grace of the Spirit, transmitted to the body, through the soul, grants to the body also the experience of things divine, and allows it the same blessed experiences as the soul undergoes? Indeed, it inspires its own sanctification and inalienable divinization, as the miracle-working relics of the saints clearly demonstrate. What of Stephen, the first martyr, whose face, even while he was yet living, shone like the face of an angel (Acts 6:15)? Did not his body also experience divine things? Is not such an experience and the activity allied to it common to soul and body?"


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Anti-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. 12; Eerdmans pg. 367):

"...after the resurrection of the Lord - which was in truth the resurrection of a real body, for no other person was raised again than He who had been crucified and died - what else was accomplished during the interval of forty days than to make our faith entire and clear of all darkness? For a while He conversed with His disciples, and dwelt with them, and ate with them, and allowed Himself to be handled with careful and inquisitive touch by those who were under the influence of doubt; and this was His purpose in entering in to them when the doors were shut, and by His breath giving them the Holy Spirit and opening the secrets of Holy Scripture after bestowing on them the light of intelligence, and again in His selfsame person showing to them the wound in the side, the prints of the nails and all the fresh tokens of the Passion, saying, 'Behold My hands and feet, that it is I Myself; handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have' (Lk. 24:39); that the properties of the divine and the human nature might be acknowledged to remain in Him without causing a division, and that we might in this way know that the Word is not what the flesh is as to confess that the one Son of God is both Word and flesh? 'Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (that dissolves Jesus) is not of God. And this is the spirit of Antichrist' (I Jn. 4:2-3). Now what is to dissolve Jesus, but to separate human nature from Him, and to make void by shameless inventions that mystery by which alone we have been saved?... For if a man does not think the Lord's crucifixion to be unreal... let him acknowledge His flesh also, and not doubt that He who he recognizes as having been capable of suffering is also man... since to deny His true flesh is also to deny His bodily sufferings."


From Nikitas Stithatos (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 153):

"... courage is accompanied by patience and firm resolution? God sets courage like a sea around the weakness of our nature, enabling us to undermine the strongholds and citadels of the enemy."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pg. 119):

"... when Christ has come to be within us He lulls to sleep the law that rages in the members of flesh. He rekindles our reverence towards God, while simultaneously causing the passions to atrophy. He does not reckon our faults against us. Instead, He tends us as a doctor would his patients. For He binds up that which has been wounded, He raises that which has fallen, as a good shepherd who has laid down His life for His sheep (cf. Jn. 10:11)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pgs. 458-459):

"As a poor man does not believe that he may in the future become a rich and very distinguished person, so many Christians do not believe that they shall possess a wealth of future blessings, and shall be made to 'sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus' (Eph. 2:6). We may well wonder how, without any special merits on our part, we can expect such high honor and glory, such riches. We are self-loving, covetous, avaricious, and therefore we are unable to understand how such infinite love, such a wise and disinterested Father can exist; it is as though we still cannot believe that 'God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life' (Jn. 3:16)."


From St. Gregory of Sinai (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 214):

"... courage shatters enemies attacking the soul from without, mercy those attacking it from within."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon Seminary Press pgs. 234-235):

"... once our Lord had shown Himself in many ways and on many occasions to be alive, not only did they all believe, but they preached everywhere: 'Their sound is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world' (Ps. 19:6 LXX; Rom. 10:18), 'The Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following' (Mk. 16:20). For signs were absolutely necessary until the word had been preached throughout the world. But if there had to be great signs to prove and confirm that the teaching was true, there had also to be signs, though not great ones, to show whether those who had received the word really believed. What signs do I mean? The witness of their deeds? How can we believe that someone has a truly divine, great, exalted, even heavenly understanding, such as godliness entails, if he clings to sordid actions and is engrossed in the earth and its concerns?"


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 129):

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son and Logos of God, the most tender name of our salvation, great is Your glory, great are Your works, marvelous are Your words, 'sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb' (Ps. 19:10). Glory to You, O Lord, glory to You. Who can glorify and hymn Your coming in the flesh, Your goodness, power, wisdom, Your life in this world and Your teaching? And how is it that Your holy commandments teach us the life of virtue so naturally and so easily? Who, having understood Your commandments and other sayings, will not be astonished when he perceives Your boundless wisdom? For You are the wisdom of God, the life of all, the joy of angels, the ineffable light, the resurrection of the dead, the good shepherd 'who gives His life for the sheep' (Jn. 10:11). I hymn Your transfiguration, crucifixion, burial, resurrection, ascension, Your enthronement at the right hand of God the Father, the descent of the Holy Spirit and Your future advent, when You will come with power and great, incomprehensible glory."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 126):

"The Lord's tomb stands equally either for this world or for the heart of each faithful Christian. The linen clothes are the inner essences of sensible things together with their qualities of goodness. The napkin is the simple and homogeneous knowledge of intelligible realities, together with the vision of God, in so far as it is granted. Through these things the Logos is initially recognized, for without them any higher apprehension of what He is would be altogether beyond our capacity. Those who bury the Lord with honor will also see Him risen with glory, but He is not seen by anyone else. For He can no longer be apprehended by His enemies as He does not wear those outer coverings through which He seemed to let Himself be captured by those who sought Him, and in which He endured suffering for the salvation of all."


From St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (Treasury of Russian Spirituality Vol. II; Nordland Publishing Co. pg. 216):

"You came into the world to save sinners; therefore You came to save Me also? You came to find and to save him who was lost; therefore You came to seek me too, for I am one of the lost. O Lord, O my God and Creator! I should have come to You as a transgressor of Your law. I should have fallen at Your feet, cast myself down before You, humbly begging forgiveness, pleading with You and craving Your mercy. But You Yourself have come to me, wretched and good-for-nothing servant that I am; my Lord has come to me, His enemy and apostate; my Master has come and has bestowed his love of mankind upon me. Listen my soul: God has come to us."


From St. Gregory of Nyssa (The Life of Moses; Paulist Press pgs. 55-56):

"... it is certainly required that what is subject to change be in a sense always coming to birth. In mutable nature nothing can be observed which is always the same. Being born spiritually, in the sense of constantly experiencing change, does not come about as the result of external initiative, as is the case with the birth of the body, which takes place by means outside our control. Such a birth occurs by choice. We are in some manner our own parents, giving birth to ourselves by our own free choice in accordance with whatever we wish to be? moulding ourselves to the teaching of virtue or vice. We can most certainly enter upon a better birth into the realm of light, however much the unwilling tyrant is distressed, and we can be seen with pleasure and be given life by the parents of this godly offspring, even though it is contrary to the designs of the tyrant? Scripture is seen to teach that the birth which distresses the tyrant is the beginning of the virtuous life. I am speaking of that kind of birth in which free will serves as the midwife?"


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 333):

"... we grapple with this 'law of sin' (Rom. 8:2) and expel it from our body, establishing in its place the surveillance of the intellect. Through this surveillance we prescribe what is fitting for every faculty of the soul and every member of the body. For the senses we prescribe what they should take into account and to what extent they should do so, and this exercise of the spiritual law is called self-control."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 160):

"... if you are not what you should be, you should not despair. It is bad enough that you have sinned; why in addition do you wrong God by regarding Him in your ignorance as powerless? Is He, who for your sake created the great universe that you behold, incapable of saving your soul? And if you say that this fact, as well as His incarnation, only makes your condemnation worse, then repent; and He will receive your repentance..."


From St. Theognostos (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 360):

"Do not pursue theology beyond the limits of your present state of development: it is wrong for us who are still drinking the milk of the virtues to attempt to soar to the heights of theology, and if we do so we will flounder like fledglings, however great the longing roused within us by the honey of spiritual knowledge. But, once purified by self-restraint and tears, we will be lifted up from the earth like Elijah or Habakkuk, anticipating the moment when we will be caught up in the clouds (cf. I Thess. 4:17); and transported beyond the world of the senses by undistracted prayer, pure and contemplative, we may then in our search for God touch the fringe of theology."


From St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 17):

"... those who have crucified themselves together with their passions and desires, and who proclaim the death of Jesus in their mortal flesh (cf. II Cor. 4:10), have made the flesh tractable and obedient to the law of God, so that it proves an ally rather than an adversary?"


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 197):

"As the evil one procured our twofold death by means of his single spiritual death, so the good Lord healed this twofold death of ours through His single bodily death, and through the one Resurrection of His Body gave us a twofold resurrection. By means of His bodily death He destroyed him who had power over our souls and bodies in death, and rescued us from his tyranny over them both. The evil one clothed himself in the serpent to deceive man, but the Word of God put on man's nature to trick the trickster. He received this nature in its undeceived and pure state, and kept it so to the end, offering it as firstfruits to the Father for sanctification from ourselves for ourselves."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pg. 165):

"... the law condemned sinners and sometimes imposed the supreme penalty on those who disregarded it and was in no way merciful, how was the appointment of a truly compassionate and merciful high priest not necessary for those on earth - one who would abrogate the curse, check the legal process, and free the sinners with forgiving grace and commands based on gentleness? 'I,' says the text, 'I am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins' (Is. 43:25). For we are justified by faith, not by works of the law, as Scripture says (Gal. 2:16)."


From Evagrios the Solitary (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 39):

"Provide yourself with such work for your hands as can be done, if possible, both during the day and at night, so that you are not a burden to anyone, and indeed can give to others, as St. Paul the Apostle advises (cf. I Thess. 2:9; Eph. 4:28). In this manner you will overcome the demon of listlessness and drive away all the desires suggested by the enemy; for the demon of listlessness takes advantage of idleness. 'Every idle man is full of desires' (Prov. 13:4 LXX)."


From St. John Cassian (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 83):

"If you want to correct your brother when he is doing wrong? you must keep yourself calm; otherwise you yourself may catch the sickness you are seeking to cure and you may find that the words of the Gospel now apply to you? 'Why do you look at the speck of dust in your brother's eye, and not notice the rafter in your own eye?' "


From St. Gregory of Nyssa (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. V; Eerdmans pg. 249):

"... there arises a law of faith for the life to come, teaching those who would come to God, by the history of Abraham, that it is impossible to draw near to God, unless faith mediate, and bring the seeking soul into union with the incomprehensible nature of God. For leaving behind him the curiosity that arises from knowledge, Abraham, says the Apostle, 'believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness' (Rom. 4:22). 'Now it was not for his sake,' the Apostle says, "but for us," that God counts to men for righteousness their faith, not their knowledge. For knowledge acts, as it were, in a commercial spirit, dealing only with what is known. But the faith of Christians acts otherwise. For it is the substance, not of things known, but of things hoped for. Now that which we have already we no longer hope for. 'For what a man has,' says the Apostle, 'why does he yet hope for' (Rom. 8:24)? But faith makes our own that which we see not, assuring us by its own certainty of that which does not appear. For so speaks the Apostle of the believer, that, 'he endured as seeing Him Who is invisible' (Heb. 11:27). Vain, therefore, is he who maintains that it is possible to take knowledge of the divine essence, by the knowledge which puffs up to no purpose."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 176):

"If we are not willing to sacrifice this temporal life, or perhaps even the life to come, for the sake of our neighbour, as were Moses and St. Paul, how can we say that we love him? For Moses said to God concerning his people, 'If Thou wilt forgive their sins, forgive; but if not, blot me as well out of the book of life which Thou hast written' (Ex. 32:32 LXX); while St. Paul said, 'For I could wish that I myself were severed from Christ for the sake of my brethren' (Rom. 9:3). He prayed, that is to say, that he should perish in order that others might be saved ? and these others were the Israelites who were seeking to kill him."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 128):

"Whatever we do without prayer and without hope in God turns out afterwards to be harmful and defective."


From St. Diadochos of Photiki (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 279):

"... from the instant we are baptized, grace is hidden in the depths of the intellect, concealing its presence even from the perception of the intellect itself. When someone begins, however, to love God with full resolve, then in a mysterious way, by means of intellectual perception, grace communicates something of its riches to the soul. Then, if he really wants to hold fast to this discovery, he joyfully starts longing to be rid of all his temporal goods, so as to acquire the field in which he has found the hidden treasure of life (cf. Mt. 13:44). This is because, when someone rids himself of all worldly riches, he discovers the place where the grace of God is hidden. For as the soul advances, divine grace more and more reveals itself to the intellect."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 136):

"If you want your sins to be 'covered' by the Lord (cf. Ps. 32:1), do not display your virtues to others. For whatever we do with our virtues, God will also do with our sins."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pgs. 183-184):

"If anyone has the temerity to say that Christ is a divinely inspired man instead of saying that He is truly God since He is by nature a single Son, in that the Word became flesh and shared in flesh and blood like us, let him be anathema? Christ Himself said about the holy prophets or the righteous who preceded Him: 'If he called them gods to whom the Word of God came, do you say of Him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, "You are blaspheming," because I said, "I am the Son of God"?' (Jn. 10:35-36). But God does not dwell in Christ in the same way as He does in us. For Christ was God by nature, who became like us. He was the one and only Son even when He became flesh. Those who have the temerity to say that He was a God-bearing man instead of saying that He was God made man inevitably incur this anathema."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 206):

"... joy and a settled state of soul show the holiness of Him who is present. Thus Abraham beholding the Lord rejoiced (Jn. 8:56); so also John at the voice of Mary, the God-bearer, leaped for gladness (Lk. 1:41)."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (Hymns of Divine Love; Dimension Books pg. 16):

"Those... who in God have their share, who dwell in Him, how will they embrace Him completely to be filled with Him? How will they attain the end of what is endless, tell me? This is altogether impossible, there is no way; and that is why, neither in the saints who live here below, nor in those who have gone to God in the other world, such a thought can penetrate; hidden as they are by the light of divine glory they are enlightened, they shine, they enjoy these delights, and they truly know, with total certainty, that the completion of it will be without an end, and that the increase in glory will eternally spring forth."


From St. Gregory of Nyssa (The Life of Moses; Paulist Press pg. 124):

"There is one antidote for evil passions: the purification of our souls which takes place through the mystery of godliness. The chief act of faith in this mystery is to look to Him who suffered the passion for us. The cross is the passion, so that whoever looks to it? is not harmed by the poison of desire. To look to the cross means to render one's whole life dead and crucified to the world."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg, 270):

"If God has given us Himself, if He abides in us and we in Him, according to His own true words, then what will He not give me, what will He spare for me, of what will He deprive me, how can He forsake me? 'The Lord is my shepherd: therefore I lack nothing' (Ps. 23:1)."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist Press pg. 48):

"Let everybody know this. He shall be assigned to the place and to the service to which he gave and devoted himself in this life and he can be sure that in eternity he will have as his lot the service and the companionship which he preferred in this life. This is what the Lord means when He says, 'If anyone is my servant let him follow Me and where I am he will be there as my servant' (Jn. 12:26)."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 181):

"He who wishes to inherit the kingdom of heaven, yet does not patiently endure what befalls him, shows himself ungrateful. For he was created by God's grace, has received all things in this world, awaits what is to come, and has been called to reign with Christ eternally, who has honoured him, in spite of his nothingness, with such great gifts, visible and invisible, to the extent even of shedding His most precious blood for him, not asking anything from him at all except that he should choose to receive His blessings."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series Two Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 57):

" 'I know,' St. Paul says, 'how to be abased' (Phil. 4:12). An untaught humility has no claim to praise, but only that which possesses modesty and a knowledge of self. For there is a humility that rests on fear, one too, that rests on want of skill and ignorance. Therefore Scripture says: 'He will save the humble in spirit' (Ps. 34:18). Gloriously, therefore, does he say: 'I know how to be abased;' that is to say, where, in what moderation, to what end, in what duty, in which office. The Pharisee knew not how to be abased, therefore he was cast down. The publican knew, and therefore he was justified (Lk. 18:11)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 308):

"... the passion for popularity brings such injury upon those it masters that it shipwrecks faith itself. Our Lord confirms this when He says, 'How can you have faith in Me when you receive honour from one another and do not seek for the honour that comes from the only God?' (cf. Jn. 5:44)."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II Vol. X; Eerdmans pgs. 446-447):

"... the Lord Jesus said, 'To those who are in bonds, Come out, and to those who are in prison, Go forth' (Isa. 49:9); so your sins are forgiven. All, then, are forgiven, nor is there any one whom He has not loosed. For thus it is written, that He has forgiven 'all transgressions, doing away with the handwriting of the ordinance that was against us' (Col. 2:13-14). Why, then, do we hold the bonds of others, while we enjoy our own remission? He, who forgave all, required of all that what every one remembers to have been forgiven to himself, he also should forgive others."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Triads; Paulist Press pgs. 54-55):

"It is not the man who has killed the passionate part of his soul who has the preeminence, for such a one would have no momentum or activity to acquire a divine state and right dispositions and relationship with God; but rather, the prize goes to him who has put that part of his soul under subjection, so that by its obedience to the mind, which is by nature appointed to rule, it may ever tend towards God, as is right, by the uninterrupted remembrance of Him. Thanks to this remembrance, he will come to possess a divine disposition, and cause the soul to progress towards the highest state of all, the love of God. Through this love, he will accomplish the commandments of Him whom he loves, in accord with Scripture, and will put into practice and acquire a pure and perfect love for his neighbor (cf. Jn. 4:19; 5:1-2, etc.), something that cannot exist without impassibility."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist Press pg. 47):

"... if we gaze upward in spirit to that condition enjoyed by the heavenly and celestial virtues who are truly in the kingdom of God, how else is this to be reckoned except as everlasting, continuous joy? What is more suitable and appropriate to true blessedness than an eternity of peace and joy? The Lord Himself? gives a most luminous description of the character and condition of that world. 'Look, I am creating new heavens and a new earth. The past will not remain in the memory nor will it rise up over the heart. But you will delight and rejoice forever in these things which I bring forth' (Isa. 65:17-18). Or again, 'Joy and happiness will be found in this, a blessing and a voice of praise. And it will be so month after month, from sabbath to sabbath' (Isa. 51:3; 66:23). And again, 'They will have joy and gladness; pain and lamentation shall flee' (Isa. 35:10)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 131-132):

"... the Lord's Cross discloses the entire dispensation of His Coming in the flesh, and contains within it the whole mystery of this dispensation. Extending in all directions, it embraces everything above, below, around and between? The Lord Himself, when He was going to ascend the Cross, openly referred to it as His lifting up and His glory (Jn. 3:14-15). And He announced that when He came again and manifested Himself, this sign of the Son of man would come with power and great glory (Mt. 24:30)."


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. I; Eerdmans pg. 482):

"... the prophets indicate? that God stood in no need of their slavish obedience, but that it was upon their own account that He enjoined certain observances in the law. And again, that God needed not their oblation, but merely demanded it, on account of man himself who offers it. The Lord taught this distinctly? For when He perceived them neglecting righteousness, and abstaining from the love of God, and imagining that God was to be propitiated by sacrifices and the other typical observances? David says: 'Sacrifices and oblation You did not desire, but my ears have you perfected' (Ps. 40:6). He thus teaches them that God desires obedience, which renders them secure, rather than sacrifices and holocausts, which avail them nothing towards righteousness."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ; SVS Press pg. 168):

"... the 'fulfillment of the law' (Rom. 13:10) consists precisely in the mutual union-in-love of all who share in a common human nature, a union which has charitable desire as the crowning virtue of the rationality of human nature, and which further adorns the law of nature with the addition of that desire. For the law of nature consists in natural reason assuming control of the senses, while the scriptural law, or the fulfillment of the scriptural law, consists in the natural reason acquiring a spiritual desire conducive to a relation of mutuality with others of the same human nature. Therefore the Lord Himself specifically says, 'Love your neighbor as yourself' (Mk. 12:31)?"


From St. Seraphim of Sarov (The Little Russian Philokalia Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pg. 79):

"... only the good deed done for Christ's sake brings us the fruits of the Holy Spirit. All that is not done for Christ's sake, even though it be good, brings neither reward in the future life nor the grace of God in this life. That is why our Lord Jesus Christ said: 'He who gathers not with Me scatters' (Lk. 11:23)."


From St. Diadochos of Photiki (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 171):

"It is well known that obedience is the chief among the initiatory virtues, for first it displaces presumption and then it engenders humility within us. Thus it becomes, for those who willingly embrace it, a door leading to the love of God? Thus humility should be the first concern of those who are fighting against the presumption of the devil, for as we advance it will be a sure guide to all the paths of virtue."


From St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent; Paulist Press pg. 250):

"When you are depressed, bear in mind the Lord's command to Peter to forgive a sinner seventy times seven (cf. Mt. 18:22). And you may be sure that He Who gave this command to another will Himself do very much more."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 118):

"Everything good is given by the Lord providentially; and he who has faith that this is so will not lose what he has been given."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Maximos the Confessor: The Early Church Fathers; Routledge pgs. 164-165):

"In the mystery of the Incarnation the truth of piety towards God is given to human beings, which transcends any natural order and capacity. The divine Paul, the great Apostle, who is both an initiate himself and initiates others in the divine and secretly-known wisdom, calls this mystery the foolishness of God and His weakness, because, I think, of its transcendent wisdom and power; the great and divinely-minded Gregory [the Theologian] calls it play, because of its transcendent prudence. For Paul says, 'The foolishness of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men' (I Cor. 1:25); while Gregory says, 'The high Word plays in every kind of form, mixing, as He wills, with His world here and there'. Each, by privation of what with us are most powerful attributes, points to what the divine possesses, and by negations of what is ours makes affirmation of the divine. For with us foolishness, weakness and play are privations, of wisdom, power and prudence, respectively, but when they are attributed to God they clearly mean excess of wisdom, power and prudence."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, Letter Eight; Paulist Press pg. 271):

"... let us quietly receive the beneficent rays of the truly good, the transcendently good Christ and let us be led by their light toward his divinely good deeds. After all is it not characteristic of His unspeakable, incomprehensible goodness that He fashions the existence of things, that He draws everything into being? That He wishes everything to be always akin to Him and to have fellowship with Him according to their fitness? Does He not come lovingly to those who have turned away from Him? Does He not contend with them and beg them not to spurn His love? Does He not support His accusers and plead on their behalf? He even promises to be concerned for them and when they are far away from Him they have only to make a backward turn and there He is, hastening to meet them. He receives them with completely open arms and greets them with a kiss of peace. He does not recriminate over what has happened. Now that they have returned, He pours His kindly love over them. He prepares a feast and summons His good friends so that the house may be full of rejoicers."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist Press pg. 200):

"The more a neighbor advances in submissive humility, in outstanding patience, in glorious generosity, the more the jealous man is moved by the greater goads of envy and all he wants is the ruin or the death of the one he envies. Nothing of the humility of their innocent brother, Joseph, could soften the jealousy of those eleven patriarchs. This is how Scripture tells the story about them: 'His brothers were jealous of him because his father loved him and they could speak no peaceful word to him' (Gen. 37:4). It revealed the point that their jealousy could accept no friendly gestures from their humble and obedient brother. They wanted him dead and they were barely satisfied by the crime of selling their own brother into slavery."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare; SVS Press pgs. 250-251):

"Begin and end the examination of your deeds with a diligent prayer, asking the Lord to give you eyes to see the innermost depths of your heart, for 'the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?' (Jer. 17:9). No one but God, Who is 'greater than our heart, and knows all things' (I Jn. 3:20). 'For You, even You only, know the hearts of all the children of men' (I Kgs. 8:39). There are wrong feelings deeply hidden in the heart; at times they slip into a man's actions, at times they are not even noticed and pollute them with the stench of sin. So pray with David the Prophet: 'Cleanse me from secret faults' (Ps. 19:12)."


From St. Theresa of Avila (The Interior Castle; Paulist Press pg. 52):

"His Majesty knows best what is suitable for us. There's no need for us to be advising Him about what He should give us, for He can rightly tell us that we don't know what we're asking for (cf. Mt. 20:22). The whole aim of any person who is beginning prayer ? and don't forget this, because it's very important ? should be that he work and prepare himself with determination and every possible effort to bring his will into conformity with God's will."


From St. Seraphim of Sarov (Little Russian Philokalia Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pg. 94):

"... the people who, in spite of the bonds of sin which fetter them and hinder them (by constraint and by inciting them to new sins), come to Him, our Savior, with perfect repentance for tormenting Him, who despise all the strength of the fetters of sin and force themselves to break their bonds ? such people at last actually appear before the face of God made whiter than snow by His grace. 'Come, says the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them whiter than snow' (Isa. 1:18)."


From St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent; Paulist Press pg. 156):

"Do not make judgments, and you will travel no quicker road to the forgiveness of your sins. 'Judge not, so that you may not be judged' (Lk. 6:37)."


From St. John of Karpathos (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 325):

"It is God who, by a simple act of His will, cleanses you. For what God chooses to make clean not even the great Apostle Peter can condemn or call unclean. For he is told: 'What God has cleansed, do not call unclean' (Acts 10:15). For has not God in His love acquitted us? 'Who then will condemn us?' (cf. Rom. 8:33-34). When we call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is not hard for our conscience to be made pure, and then we are no different from the prophets and the rest of the saints. For God's purpose is not that we should suffer from His anger, but that we should gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us."


From St. Theognostos (The Philokalia Vol. 2; Faber and Faber pg. 365):

"Faith and hope are not merely casual or theoretical matters. Faith requires a steadfast soul, while hope needs a firm will and an honest heart. How without grace can one readily believe in things unseen? How can a man have hope concerning the hidden things held in store unless through his own integrity he has gained some experience of the Lord's gifts? These gifts of grace are a gage of the blessings held in store, which they manifest as present realities. Faith and hope, then, require both virtue on our part and God's inspiration and help. Unless both are present we labour in vain."


From St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent; Paulist Press pg. 165):

"The slave of the belly ponders the menu with which to celebrate the feast. The servant of God, however, thinks of the graces that may enrich him."


From St. Gregory of Nazianzus (On God and Man; SVS Press pg. 49):

"God thought and things came to be, in-formed: the divine thought is the complicated womb of all that is. For it's not likely that, like some painter, He conjured up an image from a similar image, having seen beforehand things which His own one mind did not write."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pgs. 71-72):

"What is the cause that one is hardened, and another readily moved to compunction? Listen! It springs from the will, in the latter case a good will, in the former an evil one. It springs also from the thoughts, in the former case evil thoughts, in the latter from the opposite; and similarly from actions, in the former case actions contrary to God, in the latter godly ones... it is by free choice of the will that every person either attains compunction and humility, or else becomes hard-hearted and proud."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 350):

"In reference to the fulfillment of that which you ask of God in prayer, believe that it is as easy, and even incomparably easier, for the Lord to fulfill each of your words than it is for you to pronounce the words, and that if there is the word, there is also the deed; for with the Lord there is no word without the deed; no word shall return unto Him void (cf. Isa. 55:11), according to His word. Remember constantly during prayer that God is That Which Is, and that from Him everything proceeds: both the thought concerning anything, and the word concerning anything and everything ? that He is all wise, almighty and all gracious."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 71):

"... Adam chose the treason of the serpent, the originator of evil, in preference to God's commandment and counsel, and broke the decreed fast. Instead of eternal life he received death and instead of the place of unsullied joy he received this sinful place full of passions and misfortunes, or rather, he was sentenced to Hades and nether darkness. Our nature would have stayed in the infernal regions below the lurking places of the serpent who initially beguiled it, had not Christ come. He started off by fasting (cf. Mk. 1:13) and in the end abolished the serpent's tyranny, set us free and brought us back to life?"


From St. John of Damascus (An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, The Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. IX; Eerdmans pgs. 72-73):

"The soul of our Lord, when it was deified, descended into Hades, in order that, just as the Sun of Righteousness (Mal. 4:2) rose for those upon the earth, so likewise He might bring light to those who sit under the earth in darkness and shadow of death (Is. 9:2): in order that just as He brought the message of peace to those upon the earth, and of release to the prisoners, and of sight to the blind (Is. 61:1), and became to those who believed the Author of everlasting salvation and to those who did not believe a reproach of their unbelief (I Pet. 3:19), so He might become the same to those in Hades: 'That every knee should bow to Him, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth' (Phil. 2:10). And thus after He had freed those who had been bound for ages, straightway He rose again from the dead, showing us the way of resurrection."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist Press pg. 168):

"If... spiritual teachings are carefully received, if they are hidden and consigned within the quiet places of the mind, if they are marked in silence, they will later be like a wine of sweet aroma bringing gladness to the heart of a man. Matured by long reflection and by patience, they will be poured out as a great fragrance from the vessel of your heart. Like some everlasting spring they will flow out from the channels of experience and from the flowing waters of virtue. They will come bounding forth, running, unceasing, from, as it were, the abyss of your heart? And, as the prophet Isaiah declares, 'You will be like a well-watered garden, like a flowing spring whose waters will never fail. And places emptied for ages will be built up in you. You will lift up the foundation laid by generation after generation. You will be called the builder of fences, the one who turns the pathways toward peace' (Isa. 58:11-12)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 509):

"God is inexhaustible in His gifts to men? Everywhere we see plenty and joy; only the greedy rich lay their hands on and keep in their treasuries too many of God's gifts, which might plentifully nourish hundreds and thousands of poor. Man! Believe firmly in God's inexhaustibility in His gifts, and willingly 'deal your bread to the hungry' (Isa. 58:7)?"


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 97):

"Let us repent with all our heart and cast away not only our evil deeds, but also the wicked and unclean thoughts of our hearts and obliterate them in accordance with that which is written: 'Rend your hearts and not your garments' (Joel 2:13). Tell me: What use is it if we distribute our goods to the poor, but fail to make a break with evil and to hate sin? What use is it if, while we do not actively commit bodily sin, we mentally engage in shameful and unclean thoughts and invisibly commit sin and are governed and controlled by restrained passions of soul? I beseech you, let us cast away, together with our wealth, the habit of servitude to the evils we have mentioned. Nor let us stop at this, but let us eagerly wash away their defilement with tears of penitence."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On The Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ; SVS Press pgs. 119-120):

"...the Scripture says, 'For our sake God made Him become sin who knew no sin' (II Cor 5:21). Having originally been corrupted from its natural design, Adam's free choice corrupted along with it our human nature, which forfeited the grace of impassibility. Thus came sin into existence. The first sin, culpable indeed, was the fall of free choice from good into evil; the second, following upon the first, was the innocent transformation of human nature from incorruption into corruption. For our forefather Adam committed two 'sins' by his transgression of God's commandment: the first 'sin' was culpable, when his free choice willfully rejected the good; but the second 'sin', occasioned by the first, was innocent, since human nature unwillingly put off its incorruption. Therefore our Lord and God, rectifying this reciprocal corruption and alteration of our human nature by taking on the whole of our nature, even had in his assumed nature the liability of the passions which, in His own exercise of free choice, He adorned with incorruptibility. And it is by virtue of his assumption of this natural possibility that He 'became sin for our sake', though He did not 'know' any deliberate sin because of the immutability of His free choice. Because His free choice was incorruptible, he rectified our nature's liability to passions and turned the end of our nature's possibility - which is death - into the beginning of our natural transformation to incorruption. In turn, just as through one man, who turned voluntarily from the good, the human nature was turned from incorruption to corruption to the detriment of all humanity, so too through one man, Jesus Christ, who did not voluntarily turn from the good, human nature underwent a restoration from corruption to incorruption for the benefit of all humanity."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 136):

"He who suffers wrong and does not demand any reparation from the man who wronged him, trusts in Christ to make good the loss; and he is rewarded a hundredfold in this world and inherits eternal life (cf. Mk. 10:30)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 362):

"In order that you should have steadfast assurance during prayer, of receiving every spiritual blessing from the Lord, believe that by uniting yourself unto the Lord during your prayer you become one spirit with Him (cf. I Cor. 6:17), and that God is most gracious, almighty and wise. He is all-perfect perfection, therefore, you, too, according to your perceptivity, according to your faith and love, will become a partaker of His Divine perfections. In the union of your soul with God, do not consider anything impossible or difficult of fulfillment, 'for with God all things are possible' (Mk. 10:27) - not only the things which you can think of, or are thinking of, but also those which you cannot think of, or which you think of as impossible, for God is an infinite Being, and all His perfections are infinite."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 335):

"Fasting is good and so are vigils, ascetic practice and voluntary exile. But all these things are but the start, the prelude to citizenship in heaven, so that it is altogether senseless to put one's trust merely in them? the cardinal rule of the Christian life is not to put one's trust in acts of righteousness even if one practices all of them, or to imagine that one has done anything great; and even if one participates in grace, one must not think that one has achieved anything or reached the goal."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare, ed. by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and Rev. by Theophan the Recluse; SVS Press pg. 202):

"... if a man prays God for some virtue, and at the same time gives himself up to negligence, acquiring no definite means to gain this virtue, and making no effort towards it, truly this man tempts God, rather than prays. Thus the divine James says: 'The effectual prayer of a righteous man avails much' (Jms. 5:16). What avails to make prayer effective? is when, besides begging a saint to pray for him about something, the man also prays about it himself and with all diligence does everything necessary for obtaining his request."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3, edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 139):

"If a person's purpose is fixed in God with all humility and he patiently endures the trials that come upon him, God will resolve for him any question that perplexes him? Without such patience and humility a person will suffer what many have suffered, perishing in their stupidity, trusting to their own opinions and thinking they can get along very well without either a guide or the experience that comes from patience and humility. For experience transcends tribulation, trials and even active warfare. Should a person of experience be subject to some slight attack on the part of demons, this trial will be a source of great joy and profit to him; for it is permitted by God so that he may gain yet further experience and courage in facing his enemies."


From St. Basil the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. VIII; Eerdmans pg. 128):

"The Christian ought not to say anything behind his brother's back with the object of calumniating him, for this is slander, even if what is said is true (cf. II Cor. 12:20; I Pet. 2:1). He ought to turn away from the brother who speaks evil against him (cf. I Pet. 3:16-17; Jms. 4:11)?"


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pgs. 298-299):

"... penitence is the gateway that leads out of darkness into light. He who does not enter into the light (cf. Jn. 3:20) has not properly gone through the gate of repentance; for had he done so, he would have been in the light. He who does not repent commits sin, because he is not penitent, for 'whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin' (Jms. 4:17). He 'who commits sin is the slave of sin' (Jn. 8:34) and 'hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed' (Jn. 3:20). But now we have willingly and of our own accord entered into the light through penitence... "


From St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent; Paulist Press pg. 119):

"Everything is possible for the believer, said the Lord (cf. Mk. 9:23). I have watched impure souls mad for physical love but turning what they know of such love into a reason for penance and transferring that same capacity for love to the Lord. I have watched them master fear so as to drive themselves unsparingly toward the love of God. That is why, when talking of that chaste harlot, the Lord does not say, 'because she feared,' but rather, 'because she loved much' she was able to drive out fear with love (Lk. 7:47)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Triads; Paulist Press pg. 49):

"... if we are dominated by passionate emotions, then we certainly stand in need of the physical suffering that comes from fasting, vigils and similar things, if we are to apply ourselves to prayer. This suffering alone mortifies the body's inclination to sin, and moderates and weakens the thoughts that provoke violent passions. Moreover, it is this which brings about within us the start of holy compunction, through which both the stain of past faults is done away and the divine favour especially attracted, and which disposes one towards prayer. For 'God will not despise a bruised heart', as David says (Ps. 51:19); and? God heals in no more certain way than through suffering. This is why the Lord taught us in the Gospels that prayer can do great things when combined with fasting (Mk. 9:29)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 496):

"He that believes in Christ as he should do does not allow himself to doubt even for a moment in the truth of that which the Lord has said in His holy Gospel, in that which is taught by His pure bride, the Church. It is necessary to acquire such steadfastness of heart in faith that it should not in the least, not for one single moment, be shaken of our free-will, by duplicity, by an inclination towards the opposite side, in order that a Christian should not be like a 'wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed' (Jms. 1:6). Our faith in Christ is 'yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us' (II Cor. 1:19-20)."


From St. Philotheos of Sinai (The Philokalia Vol. 3, edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 17):

"Nothing is more unsettling than talkativeness and more pernicious than an unbridled tongue, disruptive as it is of the soul's proper state. For the soul's chatter destroys what we build each day and scatters what we have laboriously gathered together. What is more disastrous than this 'uncontrollable evil' (Jms. 3:8)? The tongue has to be restrained, checked by force and muzzled, so to speak, and made to serve only what is needful. Who can describe all the damage that the tongue does to the soul?"


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses; Paulist Press pg. 232):

"Jesus our Lord and God, who has never fallen into sin, was smitten so that those sinners who imitate Him should not only receive the forgiveness of the sins they have committed, but also become partakers of His divinity (II Pt. 1:4) because of their obedience. He who does not accept this in humility of heart because he is ashamed to imitate the Master's sufferings, of him will Christ also be ashamed in the presence of the angels (Mk. 8:38) and of His Father who is in heaven (Mt. 10:33). This is what I mean to say ? He was God, but He became man for the sake of us men. He was slapped, spit upon, crucified, as though He who is impassible in His Godhead were teaching and telling each one of us for whom He suffered: 'O man, if you wish to become a god and obtain eternal life and to be with Me, that which your ancestor failed to obtain because he wished for it in an evil way, then abase yourself even as I abased Myself for your sake. Cast aside the boastful pride of the devilish mind; accept being beaten, spat upon, buffeted, and endure those things until death and be not ashamed of it.' "


From St. Antony the Great (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 359):

"The fruits of the earth are not brought to perfection immediately, but by time, rain and care; similarly, the fruits of men ripen through ascetic practice, study, time, perseverance, self-control and patience."


From St. John Cassian (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 83):

"We must, with God's help, eradicate the deadly poison of the demon of anger from the depths of our souls. So long as he dwells in our hearts and blinds the eyes of the heart with his somber disorders, we can neither discriminate what is for our good, nor achieve spiritual knowledge, nor fulfill our good intentions, nor participate in true life; and our intellect will remain impervious to the contemplation of the true, divine light; for it is written, 'Man's anger does not bring about the righteousness of God' (Jms. 1:20)."


From St. Gregory of Sinai (The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 253):

"To suffer for Christ's sake is patiently to endure whatever happens to us. For the envy which the innocent provoke is for their benefit, while the Lord's schooling tests us so as to bring about our conversion, since it opens our ears when we are guilty. That is why the Lord has promised an eternal crown to those who endure in this manner (cf. Jms. 1:12)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 233):

"I think that when the our Lord and God was teaching His disciples how to pray and said, 'Lead us not into temptation' (Mt. 6:13), He was teaching them to pray that they should reject the kind of temptation which we willingly accept, that is, to pray that they should not be abandoned to the experience of temptations which, when willingly accepted, lead to intended pleasures. But I think when St. James? was teaching those struggling for truth not to be afraid, and said, 'My brethren, regard it as a great joy when various trials befall you' (Jms. 1:2), he was speaking with reference to the kind of trial which is not subject to our will, that is, to trials which are contrary to our wishes and produce suffering. That both these interpretations are correct is clear from the fact that the Lord at once adds, 'But deliver us from the evil one', and that James continues: 'Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patient endurance; and let this endurance come to fruition, so that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing' (Jms. 1:3-4)."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses, Paulist Press pgs. 68-69):

"... warfare goes on constantly, and the soldiers of Christ must at all times be armed with their weapons. Neither by night nor by day nor for a single instant is this warfare interrupted, but even when we eat or drink or do anything else (cf. I Cor. 10:31) we find ourselves in the thick of battle. It is incorporeal enemies that we face; they are constantly facing us even though we do not see them. They are watching us closely to see whether they can find some member of ours unprotected so that they may be able to stab it with their weapons and slay us. No one can seek protection for himself behind visible walls and ramparts and even for a single hour hide himself and briefly catch his breath, nor can anyone flee and be saved thereby, nor yet may we engage in the battle by relays. On all men there lies the inescapable necessity of joining in this conflict. No one may escape the alternatives of either winning and staying alive or of being overwhelmed and dying."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare ed. by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and rev. by Theophan the Recluse; SVS Press pg. 143):

"The feelings which seek expression in words are mostly egotistical, since they seek to express what flatters our self-love and can show us, as we imagine, in the best light."


From St. Gregory Nazianzen (On God and Man; SVS Press pg. 46):

"In threefold lights the one nature of God is established, not a numberless unity, since it subsists in three excellencies, nor a Threesome worshipped severally, since the nature is inseparable. In the Godhead is the unity, but they whose Godhead it is are three in number. Each is the one God, if you should talk of them singly. Again, there is one God, without beginning, whence comes the wealth of Godhead whenever the word refers to all three, so that, on the one hand, it might reverently proclaim to men the threefold lights, and on the other hand, that by it we might extol the strong-shining Monarchy, and not content ourselves with a pluralist marketplace of gods."


From St. John of Karpathos (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 307):

"Do not forget what St. Paul says: 'I fear lest, after preaching to others, I myself should be cast away' (I Cor. 9:27); "Let anyone who thinks he stands firm take care lest he fall" (I Cor. 10:12); 'You, who are spiritual? look to yourself, in case you are also tempted' (Gal. 6:1). Remember how Solomon, after receiving so much grace, turned aside to wickedness (cf. I Kgs. 11:1-8); remember how St. Peter unexpectedly denied his Lord. If you allow yourself to forget all this, you will grow over-confident?"


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1 trans. by Christopher Veniamin; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 142):

"Being delivered from bodily sins is not enough; we must also cleanse the inner energy which dwells in our soul. For out of our hearts 'proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness' (Mk. 7:21) and so on ? these are what motivate people."


From St. Clement of Rome (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. I; Eerdmans pg. 9):

"Let us cleave... to those who cultivate peace with godliness, and not to those who hypocritically profess to desire it. For the Scripture says in a certain place (Mk. 7:6), 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their hearts is far from Me.' "


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare, ed. by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain and revised by Theophan the Recluse; SVS Press pg. 85):

"Although... it is very important not to rely on our own efforts in the unseen warfare, at the same time, if we merely give up hope of ourselves and despair of ourselves without having found another support, we are certain to flee immediately from the battlefield or to be overcome and taken prisoner by our enemies. Therefore, together with complete renunciation of ourselves, we should plant in our heart a perfect trust in God and a complete confidence in Him. In other words we should feel with our whole heart that we have no one to rely on except God, and that from Him and Him alone can we expect every kind of good, every manner of help, and victory."


From St. Basil the Great (The Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers: Series Two Vol. VIII; Eerdmans pg. 128):

"No Christian ought to think of himself as his own master, but each should rather so think and act as though given by God to be slave to his like minded brethren (cf. I Cor. 9:19)?"


From St. Augustine (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series One, Vol. II; Eerdmans pg. 107):

"Our Lord reserved to Himself certain things which He would do in due time in a manner outside the course and order of nature, so that they would wonder and be astonished at seeing not great but unusual things, who are unmoved by things daily seen. For the government of the world is a greater miracle than feeding five thousand men from five loaves; yet at the former no one wonders, the latter astonishes all men: not as a greater wonder, but as a rarer."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers trans. by Norman Russell; Routledge pg. 107):

"... in Christ that which is enslaved is liberated in a real sense and ascends to a mystical union with Him who put on the form of a servant, while in us it is liberated by an imitation of the union with the One through our kinship according to the flesh. For why is it 'not with angels that He is concerned but with the descendents of Abraham, whence He had to be made like His brethren in every respect' (Heb. 2:16-17) and become a real human being? Is it therefore not clear to everyone that He descended to the level of a servant, not providing anything for Himself by this, but giving us Himself as a gift, 'so that we by His poverty might become rich' (cf. II Cor. 8:9), soaring through the attainment of likeness to Him to his own proper and superlative good, and might prove to be by faith gods and children of God?"


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 248):

" 'For the fall and resurrection of many in Israel is the Lord appointed' (Lk. 2:34), says the Holy Gospel. We should ask consequently whether He may not be appointed for the fall of those who contemplate the visible creation solely according to the senses and of those who stick to the mere letter of Holy Scripture, not being able in their folly to go further and grasp the new spirit of grace. And we should ask whether He may not be appointed for the resurrection of those who contemplate God's creatures and listen to His words in a spiritual manner, cultivating in appropriate ways only the divine image that is within the soul."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pgs. 337-338):

"Just as the power of evil works by persuasion, not by compulsion, so does divine grace. In this way our liberty and free will are preserved. If a man commits sin when he is subject to the devil, he himself pays the penalty, not the devil, since he was impelled to evil not by force but by his own will. It is the same where a good action is concerned: grace does not ascribe this action to itself but to the man, giving him the credit for it, since he is the cause of the goodness that befalls him. Grace does not make a man incapable of sin by forcibly and compulsorily laying hold of his will but, though present, allows him freedom of choice, so as to make it clear whether the man's own will inclines to virtue or to evil. For the law looks not to a man's nature but to his free power of choice, which is capable of turning towards either good or evil."


From St. Hilary of Poitiers (The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers Vol. IV; Henry Regnery Co. pg. 311):

"In this we see the wondrous virtue of the Lord: that the power dwelling in His body should communicate to perishable things the efficacy to heal, and that the divine activity should issue forth even from the hem of His garment. For God is not perceptible by the senses, to be enclosed within a body. The assumption of a body did not limit the nature of His power; but for our redemption His power took upon it the frailty of our body."


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Man; SVS Press pg. 43):

"Let us quake before the great Spirit, Who is my God, Who has made me know God, Who is God there above, and Who forms God here: almighty, imparting manifold gifts, Him Whom the holy choir hymns, Who brings life to those in heaven and on earth, and is enthroned on high, coming from the Father, the divine force, self-commandeered; He is not a Child (for there is one worthy Child of the One who is best), nor is He outside the unseen Godhead, but of identical honor."


From St. Augustine (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I vol. VII; pgs. 520-521):

"The devils also say, 'We know who you are, the Son of God, the Holy One of God' (Mk. 1:24). This Peter said, this also the devils: the words the same, the mind not the same. And how is it clear that Peter said this with love? Because a Christian's faith is with love, but a devil's without love. How without love? Peter said this, that he might embrace Christ (cf. Mt. 16:16); the devils said it, that Christ might depart from them. For before they said, 'We know who You are, the Son of God,' they said, 'What have we to do with you? Why have you come to destroy us before the time?' (Mt. 8:29). It is one thing then to confess Christ that you may hold Christ, another thing to confess Christ that you may drive Christ from you."


From St. Ephraim the Syrian (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II Vol. XIII; Eerdmans pg. 328):

"While the Lord was on the sea, His arm reached even to the fountain of the wind (Mk. 4:39), to shut it up. The ship bore His manhood, but the power of His Godhead bore the ship and all that was therein."


From St. Cyril of Jerusalem (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II Vol. VII; Eerdmans pgs. 41-42):

"... the glory of the Gospel is reserved for Christ's true children only. Therefore the Lord spoke in parables to those who could not hear (Mt. 13:13): but to the Disciples he explained the parables in private (Mk. 4:34): for the brightness of the glory is for those who have been enlightened, the blinding for them that believe not."


From St. John Chrysostom (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series Vol. 10; Eerdmans pg. 285):

" 'Whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him' (Mk. 4:25). Although the saying is full of much obscurity, yet it indicates unspeakable justice. For what He has said is like this: When anyone has forwardness and zeal, there shall be given to him all things on God's part also, but if he is void of these and does not contribute his own share, neither are God's gifts bestowed? God is not so much taking it away, as counting him unworthy of His gifts. This we also do when we see anyone listening carelessly, and when with much entreaty we cannot persuade him to attend; it remains for us to be silent. For if we are still to go on, his carelessness is aggravated. But the one who is striving to learn we lead on, and pour in much more."


From St. Seraphim of Sarov (The Little Russian Philokalia Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pg. 99):

"Every success in anything we should refer to the Lord and with the Prophet say: 'Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory' (Ps. 113:9)."


From St. Seraphim of Sarov (The Little Russian Philokalia Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pg. 79):

"The true aim of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God? But? only the good deeds done for Christ's sake bring us the fruits of the Holy Spirit."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare, ed. by Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, rev. by Theophan the Recluse; SVS Press pg. 85):

"... we should plant in our heart a perfect trust in God and a complete confidence in Him? The following thoughts will help you to be grounded in this hope and, thereby, to receive help: (a) that we seek help from God, Who is Omnipotent and can do all that He chooses, and therefore can also help us. (b) that we seek it from God, Who, being Omniscient and Wise, knows all in the most perfect manner, and therefore knows fully what is best for the salvation of each one of us. (c) that we seek help from God, Who is infinitely Good and Who comes to us with ineffable love, always desirous and ready from hour to hour and from moment to moment to give us all the help we need for complete victory in the spiritual warfare which takes place in us, as soon as we run with firm trust to the protection of His arms. (d) we should review in our memory all the instances of speedy divine help described in the Scriptures."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1 trans. by Christopher Veniamin; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 100):

" 'Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand' (Mk. 1:15). Not only is it at hand, but it is in us, for the Lord also says, 'The kingdom of heaven is within you' (Lk. 17:21). Nor is it merely within you, for before long it will come more openly to abolish every principality, power and might (cf. Eph. 1:21), and to grant invincible strength, inexhaustible riches and unchanging, incorruptible and unending enjoyment, glory and might solely to those who live according to God's will and have passed their time here in a way that pleases Him. Since the kingdom of God is at hand and within us and will soon arrive, let us make ourselves worthy of it by works of repentance. Let us exercise force on ourselves, driving away evil prejudices and habits."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 47):

"Those taught by God will be regarded as fools by the disciples of such as are wise in the wisdom of this world. But in fact it is the worldly-wise that are fools, spouting an inane secular wisdom, the stupidity of which God has demonstrated (cf. I Cor. 1:20) and which Scripture condemns as material, unspiritual, devilish, filled with strife and malice (cf. Jms. 3:15). Since these people are blind to the divine light, they cannot see the marvels it contains; they regard as deluded those who dwell in that light and see and teach others about what is within it. On the contrary, it is they themselves that are deluded, not having tasted the ineffable blessings of God."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 274):

"There is a single energy of God and the saints? they are living icons of Christ, being the same as He is, by grace rather than by assimilation."


St. Gregory of Nazianzus (On God and Man, SVS Press pg. 40):

"If time came before me, time is not before the Word, whose Begetter is atemporal. When the beginningless Father was there, leaving nothing superior to His divinity, then also was there the Father's Son, having in the Father a timeless beginning, like the sun's great circle of overwhelming clear light."


From St. Augustine (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series Vol. II; Eerdmans pg. 269):

"... emotions and affections... when they are exercised in a becoming way, follow the guidance of right reason; who will dare to say that they are diseases or vicious passions? Even the Lord Himself, when He condescended to lead a human life in the form of a slave, had no sin whatever, and yet exercised these emotions where He judged they should be exercised. For as there was in Him a true human body and a true human soul, so also was there true human emotion. When, therefore, we read in the Gospel that the hard-heartedness of the Jews moved Him to sorrowful indignation (cf. Mk. 3:5), that when about to raise Lazarus He even shed tears (cf. Jn. 11:35), that He earnestly desired to eat the Passover with His disciples (cf. Lk. 22:15), that as His passion drew near His soul was sorrowful (cf. Mt. 26:38), these emotions are certainly not falsely ascribed to Him. But as He became man when it pleased Him, so, in the grace of His definite purpose, when it pleased Him He experienced those emotions in His human soul."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 149):

"No benefit comes from a just man's prayer if he who asks for it finds more pleasure in sin than in virtue. For Samuel mourned over Saul when he sinned, but he was not able to obtain God's mercy, for his grief was not supported by the necessary change of life on the part of the sinner. Hence God put an end to the pointless grief of His servant, saying to him, 'How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?' (I Sam. 16:1)."


From Nikitas Stithatos (The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 120):

"... liberated from the pangs of hell and the anguish of judgment, the soul is joyously filled with longing for the blessings in store for it; purity and chasteness attend on it and, spurred by intense desire, unite it with God. Through this union it experiences an ineffable delight and sheds the sweet pleasureful tears of compunction. Exempt from the ordinary forms of perception and as though in ecstasy following the Bridegroom, it cries voicelessly, 'I pursue You in the fragrance of Your myrrh; tell me, O You whom my soul loves, where You feed Your flock, where You give it rest in the noon-day of pure contemplation? Let me not be rejected from the flock of the righteous. With You are the illuminations of the great mysteries' (cf. Song of Solomon 1:4-7)."


From G. K. Chesterton (Essential Writings, edit. by William Griffin; Orbis pgs. 130-131):

"Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when Joy is the fundamental thing in him, and Grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive state of mind; Praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul. Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; Joy is the uproarious labor by which all things live? Christianity satisfies suddenly and perfectly man's ancestral instinct for being the right way up; satisfies it supremely in this, that by its creed Joy becomes something gigantic, and Sadness something special and small."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 129):

"There is a sin which is always 'unto death' (I Jn. 5:16): the sin for which we do not repent. For this sin even a saint's prayers will not be heard."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pgs. 307-308):

"It is significant how deeply attracted men are by the spectacle of an earthly king and how eagerly they seek after it; and how everyone who lives in a city where the king has his residence longs to catch a glimpse simply of the extravagance and ostentation of his entourage. Only under the influence of spiritual things will they disregard all this and look down on it, wounded by another beauty and desiring a different kind of glory. If the sight of a mortal king is so important to worldly people, how much more desirable must the sight of the immortal king be to those into whom some drops of the Holy Spirit have fallen and whose hearts have been smitten by divine love? For this they will relinquish all amity with the world, so that they may keep that longing continually in their hearts, preferring nothing to it."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 45):

"If through fear of God you cutoff your own will - inexplicably, for you do not know how this happens - God will give you His will. You will keep it indelibly in your heart, opening the eyes of your mind so that you recognize it; and you will be given the strength to fulfill it. The grace of the Holy Spirit operates these things: without it, nothing is accomplished."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Father: Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 577):

"... how can it be other than right to worship the Body of the Lord, all-holy and all-reverend as it is, announced as it was by the archangel Gabriel, formed by the Holy Spirit, and made the Vesture of the Word? It was at any rate a bodily hand that the Word stretched out to raise her that was sick of a fever (Mk. 1:31): a human voice that He uttered to raise Lazarus from the dead (Jn. 11:43); and, once again, stretching out His hands upon the Cross, He overthrew the prince of the power of the air, that now works (Eph. 2:2) in the sons of disobedience, and made the way clear for us into the heavens."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Maximos the Confessor: The Early Church Fathers trans. by Andrew Louth; Routledge pg. 107):

"... the blessed Anna, the mother of the great Samuel, being barren and childless, asked God for the fruit of the womb, and fervently promised to give back to God who had given it the baby she was to be given by making him a servant in the temple. The secret teaching of this is that every soul must be barren of fleshly pleasures through being sown by God with the seeds of virtue, so that, conceiving in the mind and giving birth to reason obedient to God, it might be able to bring forth the power to see with knowledge what is in front of it, through a religious attention to contemplation. So that judging nothing its own, as a great and precious obligation, everything is referred to God who gives and receives."


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 476):

" [At. the wedding feast in Cana] that wine, which was produced by God in a vineyard, and which was first consumed, was good (Jn. 2:3). None of those who drank of it found fault with it; and the Lord partook of it also. But that wine was better which the Word made from water, on the moment, and simply for the use of those who had been called to the marriage. For although the Lord had the power to supply wine to those feasting, independently of any created substance, and to fill with food those who were hungry, He did not adopt this course; but, taking the loaves which the earth had produced, and giving thanks (Jn. 6:11), and on the other occasion making water wine, He satisfied those who were reclining at table, and gave drink to those who had been invited to the marriage; showing that the God who made the earth, and commanded it to bring forth fruit, who established the waters, and brought forth the fountains, was He who in these last times bestowed upon mankind, by His Son, the blessing of food and the favour of drink: the Incomprehensible acting thus by means of the comprehensible, and the Invisible by the visible; since there is none beyond Him, but He exists in the bosom of the Father."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 239):

"The soul's salvation is the consummation of faith (cf. I Pet. 1:9). This consummation is the revelation of what has been believed. Revelation is the inexpressible interpenetration of the believer with the object of belief and takes place according to each believer's degree of faith (cf. Rom. 12:6). Through that interpenetration the believer firmly returns to his origin. This return is the fulfillment of desire. Fulfillment of desire is ever-active repose in the object of desire. Such repose is eternal uninterrupted enjoyment of this object. Enjoyment of this kind entails participation in supranatural divine realities. This participation consists in the participant becoming like that in which he participates. Such likeness involves, so far as this is possible, an identity with respect to energy between the participant and that in which he participates by virtue of the likeness. This identity with respect to energy constitutes the deification of the saints. Deification, briefly, is the encompassing and fulfillment of all times and ages, and of all that exists in either. This encompassing and fulfillment is the union, in the person granted salvation, of his real authentic origin and his real authentic consummation. This union presupposes a transcending of all that by nature is essentially limited by an origin and a consummation. Such transcendence is effected by the almighty and more than powerful energy of God, acting in a direct and infinite manner in the person found worthy of this transcendence. The action of this divine energy bestows a more than ineffable pleasure and joy on him in whom the unutterable and unfathomable union with the divine is accomplished. This, in the nature of things, cannot be perceived, conceived or expressed."


From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 103):

"... these three witnesses are one, as John said: 'The water, the blood, and the Spirit' (I Jn. 5:8). One in the mystery, not in nature. The water, then, is a witness of burial, the blood is a witness of death, the Spirit is a witness of life. If, then, there be any grace in the water, it is not from the nature of water, but from the presence of the Holy Spirit."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers trans. by Norman Russell; Routledge pg. 85):

"That our Lord was anointed in a human manner and is said to have received a share of the Holy Spirit, even though He was Himself the giver of the Spirit, and the sanctifier of creation, is explained where it says: I gave Him My Spirit to be upon Him (Isa. 42:1). For when He was baptized, the Spirit, says Scripture, descended upon Him in the form of a dove and remained upon Him (Mt. 3:16). If at the time of His baptism He received the Spirit in accordance with the limitations of His humanity, this would be in keeping with other instances. Insofar as He is God He was not sanctified by receiving the Spirit. For He is the one? who is doing the sanctifying. But insofar as He is human He is sanctified in accordance with the dispensation of the Incarnation."


From St. Silouan (Wisdom from Mount Athos: Writings of Staretz Silouan by Archimandrite Sophrony; SVS Press pg. 30):

"The man who knows the delight of the love of God ? when the soul warmed by grace, loves both God and her brother ? knows in part that 'the kingdom of God is within us'. Blessed is the soul that loves her brother, for our brother is our life."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ; SVS Press pgs. 103-104):

"The manner of birth from God within us is two-fold: the one bestows the grace of adoption, which is entirely present in potency in those who are born of God; the other introduces, wholly by active exertion, that grace which deliberately reorients the entire free choice of the one being born of God toward the God who gives birth. The first bears the grace, present in potency, through faith alone; but the second, beyond faith, also engenders in the knower the sublimely divine likeness of the One known, that likeness being effected precisely through knowledge. Therefore the first manner of birth is observed in some because their will, not yet fully detached from its propensity to the flesh, has yet to be wholly endowed with the Spirit by participation in the divine mysteries that are made known through active endeavor. The inclination to sin does not disappear as long as they will it. For the Spirit does not give birth to an unwilling will, but converts the willing will toward deification."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 1-5-106):

" 'Now we are the sons of God'. This is the starting point of adoption. However, 'it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is' (I Jn. 3:2). This is the perfection of adoption of sons and renewal which God bestowed on us in Christ, and of which John says in his Gospel that, 'Christ gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God' (Jn. 1:12-13)."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 145):

"... humility, the mother of discrimination and spiritual insight? has its own characteristic by which it is known. The humble person must possess every virtue and yet truly think himself the greatest of debtors and inferior to everything else in creation."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers trans. by Norman Russell; Routledge pgs. 106-107):

"... the assertion that the Word dwelt in us (cf. Jn. 1:14) is a useful one because it also reveals to us a very deep mystery. For we are all in Christ. The common element of humanity is summed up in His person, which is also why He was called the last Adam: He enriched our common nature with everything conducive to joy and glory just as the first Adam impoverished it with everything bringing corruption and gloom. This is precisely why the Word dwelt in all of us by dwelling in a single human being, so that through that one being who was 'designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness' (Rom. 1:4) the whole of humanity might be raised up to His status so that the verse, "I said, you are gods and all of you sons of the Most High" (Ps. 82:6) might through applying to one of us come to apply to us all."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 261):

" 'As you lie in bed, repent of what you say in your heart' (Ps. 4:4 LXX), that is, repent in the stillness of the night, remembering the lapses that occurred in the confusion of the day and disciplining yourself in hymns and spiritual songs (cf. Col. 3:16) ? in other words, teaching yourself to persist in prayer and psalmody through attentive meditation on what you read. For the practice of the moral virtues is effectuated by meditating on what has happened during the day, so that during the stillness of the night we can become aware of the sins we have committed and can grieve over them."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 200):

"... the Apostle says, 'he that says he abides in Christ ought himself also to walk as He walked' (I Jn. 2:6). Otherwise we make a vain pretence and show, if we follow not His steps, Whose name we glory in, and assuredly they would not be irksome to us, but would free us from all dangers, if we loved nothing but what He commanded us to love."


From St. John of Karpathos (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 301):

"It is written: 'I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall come to all people' (Lk. 2:10) - not just to some people. Again, it is written: 'Let all the earth worship You and sing to You' (Ps. 66:4 LXX) - not just part of the earth. This singing is an expression not of grief but of rejoicing. Since this is so, let us not despair, but pass through this present life cheerfully, conscious of its joys."


St. Gregory of Nyssa (Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers Vol. 1; Henry Regnery Co. pg. 101):

"For though He appeared as man yet He was not in all things subject to the laws of humanity; that He was born of woman, savored of lowliness; the virginity however that attended His birth shows that He transcended mankind. His carrying in the womb was joyful. His birth immaculate, His coming forth without pain, His nativity free of blemish, neither taking rise from the will of the flesh, nor brought forth in sorrow; for since she who by her fault had brought death to our nature was condemned to bring forth in sorrow, it was fitting that the Mother of Life should bring forth in joy. And in that hour, in which the shadows begin to retire, and the immense gloom of night was forced back by the splendour of this Light, Christ, through this virginal incorruption, comes to share the life of mortal men. For death had reached the boundary of the domination of sin, and now it moves towards nothingness, because of the presence of the True Light, which by its evangelical rays has given light to the whole world."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ; SVS Press pg. 94):

"... for our sake loosing within Himself the bonds of bodily birth, He granted us through spiritual birth, according to our own volition, power to become children of God instead of children of flesh and blood if we have faith in His Name (cf. Jn. 1:12-13). For the Savior the sequence was, first of all, incarnation and bodily birth for my sake; and so thereupon the birth in the Spirit through baptism, originally spurned by Adam, for the sake of my salvation and restoration by grace, or, to describe it even more vividly, my very remaking."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers trans. by Norman Russell; Routledge pgs. 161-162):

"... it was on account of this reason that He became as we are, that He might make us brothers and free men. 'To all who received Him,' Scripture says, 'He gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God' (Jn. 1:12, 13). For the Word of God the Father was born according to the flesh in the same way as ourselves, so that we too might be enriched with a birth which is from God through the Spirit, no longer being called children of flesh but rather, having been transformed into something that transcends nature, being called sons of God by grace. For the Word, by nature and in reality the only-begotten and true Son, became like one of us."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers trans. by Norman Russell; Routledge pgs. 143-144):

"... Godhead and flesh are different in their nature, yet the body of the Word of God was the Word's own; the Word that was united to it was not separated from the body. For this is the only way in which we can conceive of Emmanuel, which means 'God with us' (Mt. 1:23). There is no other way. That is precisely why on one occasion, having made Himself manifest to us as man from the point of view of His self-emptying, He says, 'No one takes My life from Me' (Jn. 10:18), while on another occasion, conceived of as God from a heavenly point of view and one with His own flesh, He says, 'No one has ascended into heaven but He who has descended from heaven, the Son of Man' (Jn. 3:13)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 223):

"The contemplative intellect, through fortitude and self-restraint, subjugates the incensive power and desire for ever to the lordship of the intelligence, so that they serve the virtues. It does not give them their complete freedom until the law of nature is totally swallowed up by the law of the spirit, in the same way as the death of the unhappy flesh is swallowed up by infinite life (cf. II Cor. 5:4), and until the entire image of the unoriginate kingdom is clearly revealed, mimetically manifesting in itself the entire form of the archetype. When the contemplative intellect enters this state it gives the incensive power and desire their freedom, transmuting desire into the unsullied pleasure and pure enravishment of an intense love for God and the incensive power into spiritual fervour, an ever-active fiery ?lan, a self-possessed frenzy."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 373):

"Prior to the incarnation of the Logos of God the kingdom of heaven was as far from us as the sky is from the earth; but when the King of heaven came to dwell amongst us and chose to unite Himself with us, the kingdom of heaven drew near to us all. Since the Logos of God through His descent to us has brought the kingdom of heaven close to us, let us not distance ourselves from it by leading an unrepentant life. Let us rather flee the wretchedness of those who sit 'in darkness and the shadow of death' (Is. 9:2). Let us acquire the fruits of repentance: a humble disposition, compunction and spiritual grief, a gentle and merciful heart that loves righteousness and pursues purity, peaceful, peace-making, patient in toil, glad to endure persecution, loss, outrage, slander and suffering for the sake of truth and righteousness."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 73):

"When a man's intellect is constantly with God, his desire grows beyond all measure into an intense longing for God and his incensiveness is completely transformed into divine love. For by continual participation in the divine radiance his intellect becomes totally filled with light; and when it has reintegrated its passible aspect, it redirects this aspect towards God, filling it with an incomprehensible and intense longing for Him and with unceasing love, thus drawing it entirely away from worldly things to the divine."


From St. John of Karpathos (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 317):

"To the soul that doubts how it can ever give birth to Christ through great acts of holiness, these words are said: 'The Holy Spirit shall come upon you' (Lk. 1:35). Where the Holy Spirit is present, do not expect any more the sequence and laws of nature and habit. The Holy Spirit whom we worship is all-powerful, and in an astonishing way He brings into existence what does not as yet exist within us. The intellect that was previously defeated He now makes victorious; for the Paraclete who in compassion comes upon us from above 'is higher than all' (Jn. 3:31), and He raises us above all natural impulses and demonic passions."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pgs. 339-340):

"... when the soul recognizes - what is indeed the truth - that all its good actions for God's sake, together with all its understanding and knowledge, are to be ascribed to God alone and that everything should be attributed to Him, then God accepts this as the greatest gift that man can make, as the offering that is most precious in His eyes."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 171):

"... the Archangel... flew down from on high, and God's messages and salutations? reversed Adam and Eve's condemnation, and healed the curse which was upon them, turning it into a blessing (cf. Lk. 1:28-38). For the King of all desired the secret beauty of the Ever-Virgin, as David foretold (cf. Ps. 45:11). He bowed the heavens and came down (cf. Ps. 18:9), and overshadowed her (cf. Lk. 1:35), rather, the power of the Most High came to dwell in her in His very person. He did not reveal His presence through darkness and fire, as He did to Moses (cf. Ex. 19:16, 18), nor through a tempest and cloud, as He did to Elijah (cf. I Kgs. 18:45), but the unveiled power of the Most High directly overshadowed the Virgin's perfectly pure womb with nothing intervening, neither the air of earth or heaven, nor anything visible or invisible. For this was not overshadowing but pure union. Since anything that overshadows something else naturally gives it its own form and character, what came to pass in the Virgin's womb was not just union but the formation, out of both the power of the Most High and her all-holy virgin womb, of the incarnate Word of God. The Word of God in the flesh made His abode in her, came forth from her, and appeared on earth and went about among men. He made our human nature divine, and bestowed on us, according to the holy Apostle, 'things the angels desire to look into' (I Pet. 1:12). Such is the extraordinary honour and all-surpassing glory of the Ever-Virgin, which defeats the mind and speech of all, however angelic they be."


From St. Leo the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 98):

"The true birth of Christ? is confirmed by the true cross; since He is Himself born in our flesh, Who is crucified in our flesh, which, as no sin entered into it, could not have been mortal, unless it had been that of our race. But in order that He might restore life to all, He undertook the cause of all and rendered void the force of the old bond, by paying it for all, because He alone of us all did not owe it: that, as by one man's guilt all had become sinners, so by one man's innocence all might become innocent, righteousness being bestowed on men by Him Who had undertaken man's nature. For in no way is He outside our true bodily nature, of Whom the Evangelist in beginning his story says, 'the book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham' (Mt. 1:1), with which the blessed Apostle Paul's teaching agrees, when he says 'whose are the fathers and of whom is Christ according to the flesh, Who is above all God blessed forever' (Rom. 9:5), and so to Timothy 'remember', he says, 'that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, of the seed of David' (II Tim. 2:8)."


From St. Diadochos of Photiki (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 258):

"Faith without works and works without faith will both alike be condemned, for he who has faith must offer to the Lord the faith which shows itself in actions. Our father Abraham would not have been counted righteous because of his faith had he not offered its fruit, his son. He who loves God both believes truly and performs the works of faith reverently. But he who only believes and does not love, lacks even the faith he thinks he has; for he believes merely with a certain superficiality of intellect and is not energized by the full force of love's glory. The chief part of virtue, then, is faith energized by love."


From St. Gregory Nazianzen (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series Vol. VII; Eerdmans pg. 388):

"I seem indeed to hear that voice, from Him Who gathers together those who are broken, and welcomes the oppressed: I have given you up, and I will help you. In a little wrath I struck you, but with everlasting mercy I will glorify you (cf. Isa. 54:8). The measure of His kindness exceeds the measure of His discipline."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 173):

"We should give thanks to God, as it is said: 'In everything give thanks' (I Thess. 5:18). Closely linked to this phrase is another of St. Paul's injunctions: 'Pray without ceasing' (I Thess. 5:17), that is, be mindful of God at all times, in all places, and in every circumstance. For no matter what you do, you should keep in mind the Creator of all things. When you see the light, do not forget Him who gave it to you; when you see the sky, the earth, the sea and all that is in them, marvel at these things and glorify their Creator; when you put on clothing, acknowledge whose gift it is and praise Him who in His providence has given you life. In short, if everything you do becomes for you an occasion for glorifying God, you will be praying unceasingly. And in this way your soul will always rejoice, as St. Paul commends (cf. I Thess. 5:16)."


From St. Gregory of Sinai (The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 276):

"God immediately forgives everything to those who ask forgiveness in a spirit of humility and contrition and who ceaselessly invoke His holy name. As the Psalmist says, 'Confess to the Lord and call upon His holy name' (cf. Ps. 105:1)."


From Abba Philimon (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 348):

"Even when carrying out needful tasks, do not let your intellect be idle but keep it meditating inwardly and praying. For in this way you can grasp the depths of divine Scripture and the power hidden in it, and give unceasing work to the intellect, thus fulfilling the apostolic command: 'Pray without ceasing' (I Thess. 5:17). Pay strict attention to your heart and watch over it, so that it does not give admittance to thoughts that are evil or in any way vain or useless. Without interruption, whether asleep or awake, eating, drinking, or in company, let your heart inwardly and mentally at times be meditating on the psalms, at other times be repeating the prayer, 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me'. And when you chant, make sure that your mouth is not saying one thing while your mind is thinking another."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 206):

"Having been conceived with so many great promises, John the Forerunner was anointed as a prophet before being born and ? marvelous to relate! ? passed on this anointing to his mother (Lk. 1:41-45). Like Isaiah, he was clothed in the 'garment of salvation' and the 'robe of righteousness' (Isa. 61:10); like Elijah he anointed someone else to be a prophet in his place (cf. I Kgs. 19:16), and while still unborn he equaled and surpassed both prophets in their perfection, because he displayed these attributes in the presence of the Lord. Once an unborn babe's members have been formed, it can move, but does not yet have a voice, as it is not yet living in air. When the Virgin, who was at that time carrying God within her, appeared, even though John was in the womb he did not fail to perceive God's presence and His dispensation, but extolled it, declaring the divinity through his mother's tongue (Lk. 1:42). He leapt and rejoiced within her as ? what a miracle! ? he received in the Holy Spirit the fullness of the age to come in his mother's womb."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 258):

"The patient endurance of the saints exhausts the evil power that attacks them, since it makes them glory in sufferings undergone for the sake of the truth. It teaches those too much concerned with a life in the flesh to deepen themselves through such sufferings instead of pursuing ease and comfort; and it makes the flesh's natural weakness in the endurance of suffering a foundation for overwhelming spiritual power. For the natural weakness of the saints is precisely such a foundation, since the Lord has made their weakness stronger than the proud devil."


From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 47):

"Those taught by God will be regarded as fools by the disciples of such as are wise in the wisdom of this world. But in fact it is the worldly-wise that are fools, spouting an inane secular wisdom, the stupidity of which God has demonstrated and which Scripture condemns as material, unspiritual, devilish, filled with strife and malice (cf. Jms. 3:15). Since these people are blind to the divine light, they cannot see the marvels it contains; they regard as deluded those who dwell in that light and see and teach others about what is within it. On the contrary, it is they themselves that are deluded, not having tasted the ineffable blessings of God."


From St. Diadochos of Photiki (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 291):

"At the beginning of the struggle the holy commandments of God must be fulfilled with a certain forcefulness of will (cf. Mt. 11:12); then the Lord, seeing our intention and labour, will grant us readiness of will and gladness in obeying His purposes. For 'it is the Lord who makes ready the will' (Prov. 8:35 LXX), so that we always do what is right joyfully. Then shall we truly feel that 'it is God who energizes in you both the willing and the doing of His purpose' (Phil. 2:13)."


From Evagrios the Solitary (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 46):

"He who has mastery over his incensive power has mastery also over the demons. But anyone who is a slave to it is a stranger to the ways of the Saviour, for as the Saviour enjoined us: 'Learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart: and you will find rest for your souls' (Mt. 11:29). Now if a man abstains from food and drink, but becomes incensed to wrath because of evil thoughts, he is like a ship sailing the open sea with a demon for a pilot."


From St. Basil the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series Vol. VIII pg. 261):

"Human life is but of brief duration. 'All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God shall stand forever' (Isa. 40:6, 8). Let us hold fast to the commandment that abides, and despise the unreality that passes away."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 210):

"When any devout philosopher fortified with virtue and spiritual knowledge, or with ascetic practice and contemplation, sees the power of evil rising up against him through the passions, like the king of the Assyrians rising up against Hezekiah (cf. II Kgs. 18:13-16; Isa. 36:1-2), he is aware that only with God's help can he escape. He invokes God's mercy by crying out silently and striving to advance still further in virtue and knowledge; and he receives as an ally, or rather as his salvation, an angel, that is, one of the higher principles of wisdom and knowledge, who cuts off 'every mighty man, warrior, leader and commander in the camp' (II Chr. 32:21)."


From St. Gregory the Great (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series Vol. XII; Eerdmans pg. 58):

"...mercifulness, in calling after transgression, is well expressed through the Prophet, when to man turned away from God it is said, 'Your eyes shall see your teacher, and your ears shall hear the word of one behind your back admonishing you' (Isa. 30:20-21). For indeed the Lord admonished the human race to their face, when to man, created in Paradise, and standing in free will, He declared what He ought to do or not to do. But man turned his back on the face of God, when in his pride he despised His commands. Yet still God deserted him not in his pride, in that He gave the Law for the purpose of recalling man, and sent exhorting angels, and Himself appeared in the flesh of our mortality. Therefore, standing behind our back, He admonished us, in that, even though despised, He called us to the recovery of grace."


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 519):

"... not merely in works, but also in faith, has God preserved the will of man free and under his own control, saying, 'According to your faith be it unto you' (Mt. 9:29); thus showing that there is a faith specially belonging to man, since he has an opinion specially his own. And again, 'All things are possible to him who believes' (Mk. 9:23); and, 'Go your way; and as you have believed, so be it done unto you' (Mt. 8:13). Now all such expressions demonstrate that man is in his own power with respect to faith. And for this reason, 'he who believes in Him has eternal life; while he who believes not the Son has not eternal life, but the wrath of God shall remain upon him' (Jn. 3:36)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pgs. 315-316):

"Prayer changes from entreaty to thanksgiving, and meditation on the divine truths of faith fills the heart with a sense of jubilation and unimpeachable hope. This hope is a foretaste of future blessings, of which the soul even now receives direct experience, and so it comes to know in part the surpassing richness of God's bounty, in accordance with the Psalmist's words, 'Taste and know that the Lord is bountiful' (Ps. 34:8). For He is the jubilation of the righteous, the joy of the upright, the gladness of the humble, and the solace of those who grieve because of Him."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 204):

"Without the power of intelligence there is no capacity for spiritual knowledge; and without spiritual knowledge we cannot have the faith from which springs that hope whereby we grasp things of the future as though they were present. Without the power of desire there is no longing, and so no love, which is the issue of longing; for the property of desire is to love something. And without the incensive power, intensifying the desire for union with what is loved, there can be no peace, for peace is truly the complete and undisturbed possession of what is desired."


St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 472):

"For as the flesh is capable of corruption, so is it also of incorruption; and as it is of death, so is it also of life. These two do mutually give way to each other; and both cannot remain in the same place, but one is driven out by the other, and the presence of the one destroys that of the other. If, then, when death takes possession of a man, it drives life away from him, and proves him to be dead, much more does life, when it has obtained power over the man, drive out death, and restore him as living unto God. For if death brings mortality, why should not life, when it comes, vivify man? Just as Isaiah the prophet says, 'Death devoured when it had prevailed' (Isa. 25:8 LXX). And again, 'God has wiped away every tear from every face'. Thus that former life is expelled, because it was not given by the Spirit, but by the breath."


From St. John of Damascus (On the Divine Images; SVS Press pg. 72):

"The Lord called His disciples blessed, for He said, 'Blessed are your eyes, for they see?' (Lk.10:23). The apostles saw Christ in the flesh; they witnessed His sufferings and His miracles, and heard His words. We too desire to see, and to hear, and so be filled with gladness. They saw Him face to face, since He was physically present. Since He is no longer physically present, we hear His words read from books, and by hearing, our souls are sanctified and filled with blessings, and so we worship, honoring the books from which we hear His words. So also, through the painting of images, we are able to contemplate the likeness of His bodily form, His miracles, and His passion, and thus are sanctified, blessed and filled with joy. Reverently we honor and worship His bodily form, and by contemplating His bodily form, we form a notion, so far as possible for us, of the glory of His divinity. Since we are fashioned of both soul and body, and our souls are not naked spirits, but are covered, as it were with a fleshly veil, it is impossible for us to think without using physical images?"


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 265):

"The Master's Body is the visible mountain of which Isaiah speaks, the Lord's house above the tops of all the mountains of reason (cf. Isa. 2:2 LXX). Neither an angel nor a man, but the incarnate Lord Himself came and saved us, being made like us for our sake while remaining unchanged as God. In the same way as He came down, without changing place but condescending to us, so He returns once more, without moving as God, but enthroning on high our human nature which He had assumed. It was truly right that the first begotten human nature from the dead (Rev. 1:5) should be presented there to God, as first-fruits from the first crop offered for the whole race of men."


From Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare, Faber and Faber pg. 271):

"Watch yourself with all diligence, lest the enemy steals near and robs you, depriving you of this great treasure, which is inner peace and stillness of soul. The enemy strives to destroy the peace of the soul, because he knows that when the soul is in turmoil it is more easily led to evil. But you must guard your peace."


From St. Isaiah the Solitary (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 24):

"Our teacher Jesus Christ, out of pity for mankind and knowing the utter mercilessness of the demons, severely commands us: 'Be ready at every hour, for you do not know when the thief will come; do not let him come and find you asleep' (cf. Mt. 24:42-43). He also says: 'Take heed, lest your hearts be overwhelmed with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of this life, and the hour come upon you unawares' (cf. Lk. 21:34). Stand guard, then, over your heart and keep watch on your senses; and if the remembrance of God dwells peaceably within you, you will catch the thieves when they try to deprive you of it."


From St. Clement (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1; Eerdmans pg. 14):

" 'Behold, the Lord comes, and His reward is before His face, to render to every man according to his work(Rev. 22:12). He exhorts us, therefore, with our whole heart to attend to this, that we be not lazy or slothful in any good work. Let our boasting and our confidence be in Him. Let us submit ourselves to His will. Let us consider the whole multitude of His angels, how they stand ever ready to minister to His will. For the Scripture says, 'Ten thousand times ten thousand stood around Him, and thousands of thousands ministered to Him (Dan. 7:10), and cried, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole creation is full of His glory (Is. 6:3).' And let us therefore, conscientiously gathering together in harmony, cry to Him earnestly, as with one mouth, that we may be partakers of His great and glorious promises."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 172):

"We ought all of us always to give thanks to God for both the universal and the particular gifts of soul and body that He bestows on us. The universal gifts consist of the four elements and all that comes into being through them, as well as all the marvelous works of God mentioned in the divine Scriptures. The particular gifts consist of all that God has given to each individual. These include wealth, so that one can perform acts of charity; poverty, so that one can endure it with patience and gratitude; authority, so that one can exercise righteous judgment and establish virtue; obedience and service, so that one can more readily attain salvation of soul; health, so that one can assist those in need and undertake work worthy of God; sickness, so that one may earn the crown of patience; spiritual knowledge and strength, so that one may acquire virtue; weakness and ignorance, so that, turning one's back on worldly things, one may be under obedience in stillness and humility; unsought loss of goods and possessions, so that one may deliberately seek to be saved and may be helped when incapable of shedding all one's possessions or even of giving alms; ease and prosperity, so that one may voluntarily struggle and suffer to attain the virtues and thus become dispassionate and fit to save other souls; trials and hardship, so that those who cannot eradicate their own will may be saved in spite of themselves, and those capable of joyful endurance may attain perfection. All these things, even if they are opposed to each other, are nevertheless good when used correctly; but when misused, they are not good, but are harmful for both soul and body."


From St. Gregory of Sinai (The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 219):

"With regards to patience the Lord says, 'You will gain possession of your souls through your patient endurance' (Lk. 21:19). He did not say "through your fasting" or "through your vigils". I refer to the patience bestowed by God, which is the queen of virtues, the foundation of courageous actions. It is patience that is peace amid strife, serenity amid distress, and a steadfast base for those who acquire it. Once you have attained it with the help of Christ Jesus, no swords and spears, no attacking armies, not even the ranks of demons, the dark phalanx of hostile powers, will be able to do you any harm."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 223):

"... the mind of man is prone to evil exceedingly; moreover, our adversary the devil, envying us the possession of such great blessings, goes about seeking to snatch away the seed of the word which is sown within us. Wherefore as if by His prophetic warnings He would seal up His instructions in our hearts as His own peculiar treasure, the Lord said, 'Take heed that no man deceive you: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am He; and the time draws near; and they shall deceive many: do not go after them' (Lk. 21:8). This is a great gift which the Word has bestowed on us, that we should not be deceived by appearances, but that, however these things are concealed, we should all the more distinguish them by the grace of the Spirit. For whereas the inventor of wickedness and great spirit of evil, the devil, is utterly hateful, and as soon as he shows himself is rejected of all men, - as a serpent, as a dragon, as a lion seeking whom he may seize upon and devour, - therefore he conceals and covers what he really is, and craftily impersonates that Name which all men desire, so that deceiving by a false appearance, he may thenceforth fix fast in his own chains those whom he has led astray."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 166):

"Christ is born and becomes man by adding to Himself flesh endowed with an intellective soul. He who from non-being brings created things into being is Himself born supernaturally of a Virgin who does not thereby lose her virginity. For just as He Himself became man without changing His nature or altering His power, so He makes her who bore Him a Mother while keeping her a Virgin. In this way He reveals one miracle through another miracle, at the same time concealing one with the other. This is because in Himself, according to His essence, God always remains a mystery. He expresses His natural hiddenness in such a way that He makes it more hidden through the revelation. Similarly, in the case of the Virgin who bore Him, He made her a Mother in such a way that by conceiving Him the bonds of her virginity became even more indissoluble."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 292):

"...the Son subjects to the Father those who freely accept subjection (cf. I Cor. 15:28). This subjection will be voluntary, and through it the last enemy, death, will be destroyed. That which is in our power, our free will, through which the power of corruption entered into us, will surrender voluntarily to God and will have mastery of itself because it had been taught to refrain from willing anything other than what God wills. As our Savior Himself said, taking what is ours into Himself, "Yet not as I will, but as You will (Mt. 26:39). And later St. Paul, as though he denied himself and did not have his own life, said: 'It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me' (Gal. 2:20)."


St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pgs. 52-53):

"... in time to come, when we are incorruptible and immortal, when we have come at last to the blessed inheritance of being like Christ, then, as Scripture says, 'we shall always be with the Lord' (I Thess. 4:17). In most holy contemplation we shall be ever filled with the sight of God shining gloriously around us as once it shone for the disciples at the divine transfiguration? we shall have a conceptual gift of light from Him and, somehow, in a way we cannot know, we shall be united with Him and, our understanding carried away, blessedly happy, we shall be struck by His blazing light. Marvelously, our minds will be like those in the heavens above. We shall be 'equal to angels and sons of God, being sons of the resurrection' (Lk. 20:36)."


From St. Diadochos of Photiki (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 276):

"Ideas of value always shun verbosity, being foreign to confusion and fantasy. Timely silence, then, is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts."


From St. Antony the Great (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 333):

"Intelligent men have no need to listen to much talk, but should attend only to that which is profitable and guided by God's will."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Father, Second Series Vol. IV; Eerdmans pg. 525):

"... the righteous alone, being prepared, shall be satisfied, saying, 'I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when Your glory is seen by me' (Ps. 17:15). For he who partakes of divine bread always hungers with desire; and he who thus hungers has a never-failing gift, as Wisdom promises, saying, 'The Lord will not slay the righteous soul with famine' (Prov. 10:3). He promises too in the Psalms, 'I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her poor with bread' (Ps. 132:15). We may also hear our Saviour saying, 'Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled' (Mt. 5:6). Well then do the saints and those who love the life which is in Christ raise themselves to a longing after this food."


St. Tikhon of Zadonsk (A Treasury of Russian Spirituality Vol. 2; Pg. 216):

"You came into the world to save sinners; therefore You came to save Me also... You came to find and to save him who was lost; therefore You came to seek me too, for I am one of the lost. O Lord, O my God and Creator! I should have come to You as a transgressor of Your law. I should have fallen at Your feet, cast myself down before You, humbly begging forgiveness, pleading with You and craving Your mercy. But You Yourself have come to me, wretched and good-for-nothing servant that I am; my Lord has come to me, His enemy and apostate; my Master has come and has bestowed his love of mankind upon me. Listen my soul: God has come to us."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 91):

"The recovery of spiritual sight and the healing of physical blindness have much in common. Some of those whose bodily eyes were blind received their sight at once, like the man who heard and immediately saw and was healed (Lk. 18:35-43). Others recovered their sight gradually, as in the case of the man, who, before he was completely cured, said, 'I see men as trees, walking' (Mk. 8:22-26). It is the same with those whose spiritual eyes are healed. Whereas some recover instantly? others are healed in stages?"


From St. Gregory the Great (Parables of the Gospel trans. by Nora Burke; Scepter pg. 63):

"To hide one's talent in the earth (cf. Mt. 25:18) is to occupy the intelligence God gives us in purely earthly matters, not to seek spiritual profit, never to lift our heart above worldly considerations. For there are some who received the gift of understanding, but who, nevertheless, understand only the flesh. Of these the prophet says, 'They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge' (Jer. 4:22)."


Theoliptis, Metropolitan of Philadelphia (The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 182):

"When there is no conscious understanding of prayer and when the suppliant does not put himself in the presence of Him whom he invokes, how can the soul be gladdened? How can a heart find joy when it only pretends to pray but lacks true prayer? 'The hearts of those who seek the Lord will rejoice' (Ps. 105:3). To seek the Lord is to prostrate yourself with your whole mind and with great fervour before God and to expel every worldly thought with the knowledge and love of God that spring from pure and unremitting prayer."


From St. Irenaeus (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1, Eerdmans pg. 446):

"... in the name of Christ is implied, He who anoints, He that is anointed, and the unction itself with which He is anointed. And it is the Father who anoints, but the Son who is anointed by the Spirit, who is the unction, as the word declares by Isaiah, 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me,' (Is. 61:1) ? pointing out both the anointing Father, the anointed Son, and the unction, which is the Spirit."


From St. Philotheos of Sinai (The Philokalia Vol. 3 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 30):

"Let us cut sin out of our heart, and we will find within us the kingdom of heaven."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist Press pg. 95):

"The apostles were very sure that everything of theirs which had to do with salvation was a gift to them from God. 'Increase our faith' (Lk. 17:5). They did not presume that the fullness of faith would come to them merely because they freely opted for it. They believed, rather, that it was a gift of God which would have to be granted to them."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 313):

"The five watchful virgins who bore in the vessels of their hearts the oil that was not inherent in their nature - for it is the grace of the Holy Spirit - were able to enter with the bridegroom into the bridal-chamber. But the other foolish and sinful virgins, who remained fixed in their own nature, did not practice watchfulness, nor did they think it important to receive this oil of joyfulness in their hearts, for they still walked according to the flesh. On the contrary, in their negligence, slothfulness and self-righteousness, they were as though asleep, and for this reason they were shut out from the bridal-chamber of the kingdom (cf. Mt. 25:1-13)."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 216):

"The man seized by spiritual joy is astounded by the many blessings that God in his grace has bestowed on him, and he loves his Benefactor. But he who obdurately indulges in luxury and splendour, like the rich man (cf. Lk. 16:19), thinks that those consumed by fear and facing trials and temptation suffer in this way because of their sins, and in his comfort and complacency he despises them. He imagines that he deserves his easy life, although in fact he does not deserve it at all; for, blinded by his inane love for the ephemeral, he had made himself unworthy of the life held in store. He may even think that he has attained the state of love and on account of this has received greater benefits than others have. This shows that he is totally unaware of God's forbearance towards him. For this reason he will find himself defenceless on the day of judgment and deservedly will hear the words, 'You received your good things during your lifetime' (Lk. 15:25)."


From St. Gregory of Sinai (The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 231):

"According to St. Paul (cf. Rom. 15:16), you "minister" the Gospel only when, having yourself participated in the light of Christ, you can pass it on actively to others. Then you sow the Logos like a divine seed in the fields of your listeners' souls. 'Let your speech be always filled with grace', says St Paul (Col. 4:6), 'seasoned' with divine goodness. Then it will impart grace to those who listen to you with faith. Elsewhere St. Paul, calling the teachers tillers and their pupils the field they till (cf. II Tim. 2:6), wisely presents the former as ploughers and sowers of the divine Logos and the latter as the fertile soil, yielding a rich crop of virtues. True ministry is not simply a celebration of sacred rites; it also involves participation in divine blessings and the communication of these blessings to others."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 229):

"... whenever Christ, the Bridegroom of pure souls, is mystically united with each soul, He gives the Father occasion to rejoice over this as at a wedding. It is Christ Himself Who says, 'Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner who repents' (Lk. 15:7). For joy, according to the Apostle, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22), Who through conversion brings back to Christ those living in repentance, and reunites them with Him. And this joy embraces both those in heaven and godly men on earth. That is why there is joy in heaven over one repentant sinner."


From St. John of Karpathos (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 299):

"The moon as it waxes and wanes illustrates the condition of man: sometimes he does what is right, sometimes he sins and then through repentance returns to a holy life. The intellect of one who sins is not destroyed... just as the physical size of the moon does not diminish, but only its light. Through repentance a man regains his true splendour, just as the moon after the period of waning clothes itself once more in its full light. If a man believes in Christ, 'even though he dies, he shall live' (John 11:25); he shall know that 'I the Lord have spoken, and will do it' (Ezek. 17:24 LXX)."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences; Paulist Press pg. 45):

"Men seized of the urge to have a knowledge of God and to be pure in mind devote all their gathered energies to this one task. While they still live in the corruption of the flesh they give themselves to that service in which they will persevere when the corruption has been laid aside. And already they come in sight of what the Lord and Savior held out when He said, 'Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God' (Mt. 5:8)."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke; Studion Publishers, Inc. pg. 414):

"The lesson our Lord teaches us is love for the poor which is a thing precious in the sight of God. Do you feel pleasure in being praised when you have any friends or relatives feasting with you? I will tell you of something far better. Angels will praise your bounty, and the rational powers above, and holy men as well; and our Lord too will accept it Who transcends all and Who loves mercy and is kind. Lend to Him, fear nothing, and you shall receive with usury what you gave, for it says, 'He who has pity on the poor lends to God' (Prov. 19:17). Our Lord acknowledges the loan, and promises repayment? The outlay, therefore, is not unfruitful: rather compassion on the poor will make your wealth breathe forth a sweet savor."


From Evagrios the Solitary (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 38):

"Provide yourself with such work for your hands as can be done, if possible, both during the day and at night, so that you are not a burden to anyone, and indeed can give to others, as St. Paul the Apostle advises (cf. I Thess. 2:9; Eph. 4:28). In this manner you will overcome the demon of listlessness and drive away all the desires suggested by the enemy; for the demon of listlessness takes advantage of idleness. 'Every idle man is full of desires' (Prov. 13:4 LXX)."


From St. John of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 341):

"Every man possesses that which is according to the image of God, "for the gifts of God are irrevocable" (Rom. 11:29). But only a few ? those who are virtuous and holy, and have imitated the goodness of God to the limit of human powers ? possess that which is according to the likeness of God."


From St. Gregory of Nyssa (The Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Second Series Vol. 5; Eerdmans pg. 117):

"In the tradition of the faith delivered by the Truth we are taught to believe in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If it were right to believe that the Son was created, how was it that the Truth in delivering to us this mystery bade us believe in the Son, and not in the creature? And how is it that the inspired Apostle, himself adoring Christ, lays it down that they who worship the creature besides the Creator are guilty of idolatry (Rom. 1:25)? Were the Son created, either St. Paul would not have worshipped Him, or he would have refrained from classing those who worship the creature along with idolaters, lest he himself should appear to be an idolater, in offering adoration to the created. But he knew that He Whom he adored was God over all (cf. Rom. 9:5), for so he terms the Son in the epistle to the Romans."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 344):

"However great the afflictions we suffer, what are they compared with the promised future reward, or with the grace of the Holy Spirit that visits souls even in this present life, or with the deliverance that we have received from the obscurity of evil passions, or with the enormous debts we owe because of our sins? As St. Paul says: 'The sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us' (Rom. 8:18). Hence we must patiently endure everything for the Lord's sake, like brave soldiers dying for our King."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 120):

"If God suffers in the flesh when He is made man, should we not rejoice when we suffer, for we have God to share our sufferings? This shared suffering confers the kingdom on us. For he spoke truly who said, 'If we suffer with Him, then we shall also be glorified with Him' (Rom. 8:17)."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 288):

"He who wants to be stamped with the virtues should pursue before everything else and at all times fear of God and holy love, the first and greatest of the commandments (cf. Mt 22:38). Let him continually beseech the Lord to send this love into his heart, and thus let him advance and grow, augmenting it day by day through the ceaseless and unbroken remembrance of God. Through diligence and effort, concern and struggle he becomes capable of acquiring love for God, given form within him by the grace and bounty of Christ. Through such love the second commandment, love for one's neighbour (cf. Mt. 22:39), can easily be attained. Let these two primary commandments take precedence over the others and let him pursue them more than the others. In this way the secondary commandments will follow naturally on the primary."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 333):

"... we grapple with this 'law of sin' (Rom. 8:2) and expel it from our body, establishing in its place the surveillance of the intellect. Through this surveillance we prescribe what is fitting for every faculty of the soul and every member of the body. For the senses we prescribe what they should take into account and to what extent they should do so, and this exercise of the spiritual law is called self-control."


From St. Diadochos of Photiki (The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pgs. 280-281):

"... when we fervently remember God, we feel divine longing well up within us from the depths of our heart. The evil spirits invade and lurk in the bodily senses, acting through the compliancy of the flesh upon those still immature in soul. According to the Apostle, our intellect always delights in the laws of the Spirit (cf. Rom. 7:22), while the organs of the flesh allow themselves to be seduced by enticing pleasures. Furthermore, in those who are advancing in spiritual knowledge, grace brings an ineffable joy to their body through the perceptive faculty of the intellect. But the demons capture the soul by violence through the bodily senses, especially when they find us faint-hearted in pursuing the spiritual path. They are, indeed, murderers provoking the soul to what it does not want."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 103):

" 'The long-suffering man abounds in understanding' (Prov. 14:29), because he endures everything to the end and, while awaiting that end, patiently bears his distress. The end, as St. Paul says, is everlasting life (cf. Rom. 6:22). 'And this is eternal life, that they might know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent' (Jn. 17:3)."


From St. Peter of Damaskos (The Philokalia Vol. 3 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 169):

"The fathers... kept the commandments; their successors wrote them down; but we have placed their books on the shelves. And even if we want to read them, we do not have the application to understand what is said and to put it into practice; we read them either as something incidental, or because we think that by reading them we are doing something great, thus growing full of pride. We do not realize that we incur greater condemnation if we do not put into practice what we read... And we should remember what the Lord says about the servant who knew his master's will but failed to carry it out (cf. Lk. 12:47)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Five para. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 36):

"Whereas God gives all people strength and power - for He shows no partiality (cf. Acts 10:34) - He is glorified only in His saints. The sun pours down its rays abundantly upon all alike, but they are visible only to those with open eyes. Those with clear-sighted, pure eyes benefit from the pure light of the sun, not those whose vision is dimmed because of illness, mist or some thing similar which has afflicted their eyes. In the same way, God richly bestows His help on all, for He is the ever-flowing, enlightening and saving Fount of mercy and goodness. But not everyone takes advantage of His grace and power to practice and perfect virtue or show forth miracles, only those with a good intent, who demonstrate their love and faith towards God by good works (cf. Jms. 2:20-26), who turn away completely from everything base, hold fast to God's commandments and lift up the eyes of their understanding to Christ the Sun of righteousness (Mal. 4:2)."


From St. Gregory of Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 31 sect. 8; SVS Press pg. 122):

" 'The Holy Spirit Who proceeds from the Father' (Jn. 15:26): Insofar as He proceeds from the Father, He is no creature; inasmuch as He is not begotten, He is no Son; and to the extent that procession is the mean between ingeneracy and generacy, He is God. Thus God escapes... syllogistic toils and shows Himself stronger than... exclusive alternatives. What, then, is 'proceeding'? You explain the ingeneracy of the Father and I will give you a biological account of the Son's begetting and the Spirit's proceeding - and let us go mad... for prying into God's secrets. What competence have we here? We cannot understand what lies under our feet, cannot count the sand in the sea, 'the drops of rain or the days of this world' (Sir. 1:2), much less enter into the 'depths of God' (I Cor. 2:10) and render a verbal account of a nature so mysterious, so much beyond words."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Nine sect. 20; Paulist Press pg. 113-114):

" 'May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven' (Mt. 6:10). No greater prayer can be offered than that the things of earth should be put on a level with the things of heaven... What else is this if not a declaration that men should be like angels, that just as the will of God is fulfilled by the angels in heaven so all men on earth should do, not their will, but His. The only man capable of offering up this prayer sincerely will be the one who believes that God arranges everything - the seemingly good and the seemingly bad - for our benefit, that the salvation and the well-being of His own people is more of a care and a concern to Him than to ourselves."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers, Against Nestorius: Mary, the Mother of God; Routledge pgs. 134-135):

"If the Word of God had not been born like us according to the flesh, if He had not partaken of the same elements as we do, he would not have delivered human nature from the fault we incurred in Adam, nor would He have warded off the decay from our bodies, nor would He have brought to an end the power of the curse which we say came upon the first woman. For it was said to her, 'in pain you shall bring forth children' (Gen. 3:16). But human nature, which fell sick through the disobedience of Adam, now became glorious in Christ through His utter obedience. For it is written 'that as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous' (Rom. 5:19). In Adam it suffered the penalty: 'You are earth and to earth you shall return' (Gen. 3:19 LXX). In Christ it was enriched by being able to overcome the snares of death and, as it were, exult in triumph over decay, repeating the prophetic text, 'O death where is thy victory? O Hades, where is thy sting?' (Hos. 13:14 LXX; I Cor. 15:55). It came under a curse, as I have said, but this too was abolished in Christ. And indeed it has been said somewhere to the holy Virgin, when Elizabeth prophesied in the spirit, 'Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb' (Lk. 1:42). Sin has reigned over us and the inventor and father of sin has lorded it over all who dwell under the sky, provoking the transgression of the divine laws. But in Christ we see human nature, as if experiencing a new beginning of the human race, enjoying freedom of access to God. For He said clearly, 'the ruler of this world is coming and he has no power over Me' (Jn. 14:30)."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series Vol. IV, Against the Heathen, Chapter 35 sect. 1; Eerdmans pg. 22):

"God, being good and loving to mankind, and caring for the souls made by Him, - since He is by nature invisible and incomprehensible, having His being beyond all created existence, for which reason the race of mankind was likely to miss the way to the knowledge of Him, since they are made out of nothing while He is unmade, - for this cause God by His own Word gave the Universe the Order it has, in order that since He is by nature invisible, men might be enabled to know Him at any rate by His works. For often the artist even when not seen is known by his works."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 26, Plough Publishing pgs. 98-99):

" 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'... Christianity... dethrones feeling and good fortune and replaces them with the 'shall'... romantic love and friendship are preferential, the passion of preference; Christian love, however, is self-renunciation's love and therefore trusts in the 'you shall'. According to Christ, our neighbor is our equal. Our neighbor is not the beloved, for whom you have a passionate preference, nor your friend, whom you prefer. Nor is your neighbor, if you are well educated, the learned person with whom you have cultural affinity - for with your neighbor you have before God the equality of humanity. Nor is your neighbor one who is of higher social status than you, and you love him because he has higher social status. This is mere preference and to that extent self-love. Nor is your neighbor one who is inferior to you, and you love him because he is inferior to you, because such love can easily be partiality's condescension and to that extent self-love. No, Christian love, this 'you shall', means equality. In your relationship to people of distinction you shall love your neighbor. In relation to those who are inferior you are not to love in pity but shall love your neighbor. Your neighbor is every person, for on the basis of distinctions he is not your neighbor, nor on the basis of likeness to you as in contrast to others. He is your neighbor on the basis of equality with you before God."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Letters, Letter Eight sect. 5; Paulist Press pg. 278):

"Those who do not know must be taught, not punished. We do not hit the blind. We lead them by the hand."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. IV; SVS Press pg. 67):

"...none of the good things of this present life can be relied on. They are short-lived. The things we see, though made by the creative Logos and the wisdom that transcends all wisdom, are always changing, now one way and now another, born upward and then downward. That is why it seems we are being played with. Before something can be laid hold of it flees and escapes our grasp. Yet there is purpose in all this, for when we reflect on the instability and fickleness of such things, we are led to seek refuge in the enduring things that are to come. For if life always went well, would we not become so attached to our present state, even though we know it will not last, and by deception become enslaved to pleasure? In the end we would think that our present life is best and noblest, and forget that, being made in the image of God, we are destined for higher things."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Five para. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 35):

"Let us consider the patience of holy men and women, how they willingly endured long periods of fasting, vigil and various other physical hardships as though they were not in the body, battling to the end against evil passions and all sorts of sin, in the invincible inner warfare against principalities, powers and spiritual wickedness (cf. Eph. 6:12). They wore away their outer selves and made them useless, but their inner man was renewed and deified by Him from Whom they also received gifts of healing and mighty works. When we think on these matters and understand that they surpass human nature, we are filled with wonder and glorify God who gave them such grace and power. For even if their intentions were good and noble, without God's strength they could not have gone beyond the bounds of their nature and driven away the bodiless enemy while clothed in their bodies."


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 31 sect. 3; SVS Press pg. 118):

"...we shall begin... by applying identical expressions to the Three. 'He was the true light that enlightens every man coming into the world' (Jn. 1:9) - yes, the Father. 'He was the true light that enlightens every man coming into the world' -yes, the Son. 'He was the true light that enlightens every man coming into the world' -yes, the Comforter. These are three subjects and three verbs - He was and He was and He was. But a single reality was. There are three predicates - light and light and light. But the light is one, God is one. This is the meaning of David's prophetic vision: 'In Your light we shall see light' (Ps. 36:9). We receive the Son's light from the Father's light in the light of the Spirit: that is what we ourselves have seen and what we now proclaim - it is the plain and simple explanation of the Trinity."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Nine sect. 19; Paulist Press pg. 113):

"The second request of the very pure soul is to see the coming of the Father's kingdom (cf. Mt. 6:10). What this means first of all is that each day Christ should reign among holy men. And this happens when the devil's power has been driven out of our hearts through the expulsion of sinful foulness and when God has begun to reign within us amid the good odors of virtue. With fornication vanquished, chastity rules; with anger overcome, peace is king; with pride under foot, humility is sovereign."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 17:11; Routledge pg. 128):

"Our Lord wishes the disciples to be kept in a state of unity by maintaining a likemindedness and an identity of will, being mingled together as it were in soul and spirit and in the law of peace and love for one another. He wishes them to be bound together tightly with an unbreakable bond of love, that they may advance to such a degree of unity that their freely chosen association might even become an image of the natural unity that is conceived to exist between the Father and the Son. That is to say, He wishes them to enjoy a unity which is inseparable and indestructible, which may not be enticed away into a dissimilarity of wills by anything at all that exists in the world or any pursuit of pleasure, but rather preserves the power of love in the unity of devotion and holiness, which is what actually happened. For as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, 'the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul' (Acts 4:32), that is, in the unity of the Spirit."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series Vol. IV, Against the Heathen, Chapter 31 sects. 3-4; Eerdmans pg. 20):

"...the sole function of the eye is to see, of the ears to hear, of the mouth to taste, of the nostrils to apprehend smells, and of the hand to touch. But what one ought to see and hear, what one ought to touch, taste and smell, is a question beyond the senses, and belonging to the soul and to the intelligence which resides in it... the strings of the lyre have each its proper note, high, low, or intermediate, sharp or otherwise, yet their scale is indistinguishable and their time not to be recognized, without the artist. For then only is the scale manifest and the time right, when he that is holding the lyre strikes the strings and touches each in turn. In like manner, the senses being disposed in the body like a lyre, when the skilled intelligence presides over them, then too the soul distinguishes and knows what it is doing and how it is acting."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 26; Plough Publishing pg. 97):

"If anyone asks, 'Who is my neighbor?' then Christ's reply to the Pharisee, who asked this same question, contains the only answer, for in answer to this question Christ turned everything around. Christ says: 'Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among robbers?' The Pharisee answers correctly, 'The one who showed him mercy' (Lk. 10:36). This means that by doing your duty you easily discover who your neighbor is. The Pharisees's answer is contained in Christ's question. He towards whom I have a duty is my neighbor, and when I fulfill my duty, I prove that I am a neighbor. Christ does not speak about recognizing our neighbor but about being a neighbor yourself, about proving yourself to be a neighbor, something the Samaritan showed by his compassion. Choosing a lover, finding a friend, yes that is a long, hard job, but your neighbor is easy to recognize, easy to find - if you yourself will only recognize your duty and be a neighbor."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Letters, Letter Eight sect. 4; Paulist Press pg. 277):

"Our Lord Jesus Christ made the merciful shepherding of His sheep the proof of love for Himself (cf. Jn. 21:15-17). He denounces as 'wicked' the servant who refused to pardon the debt of his fellow servant and who did not share in even the smallest way, the immense kindness that was bestowed on himself; that he should suffer the fate which he dealt is plainly shown to be right (cf. Mt. 18:32-33)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. IV; SVS Press pgs. 66-67):

"Our forefather Adam... used his freedom to turn toward what was worse and to direct his desire away from what had been permitted to what was forbidden. It was in his power 'to be united to the Lord and become one spirit with God...' (I Cor. 6:15). But Adam was deceived and chose to cut himself off voluntarily from God's happy end for him, preferring by his own free choice to be drawn down to the earth (cf. Gen. 2:17) than to become God by grace."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Five para. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 35):

"Truly 'God is glorious in His saints' (Ps. 68:35 LXX). Let us call to mind the martyrs' superhuman struggles, how in the weakness of their flesh they put to shame the evil one's strength, disregarding pain and wounds as they struggled bodily against fire, sword, all different kinds of deadly tortures, patiently resisting while their flesh was cut, their joints dislocated and their bones crushed, and keeping the confession of faith in Christ in its integrity, complete, unharmed and unshaken. As a result there were bestowed on them the incontrovertible wisdom of the Spirit and power to work miracles."


From St. Gregory of Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 30 sect. 21; SVS Press pg. 111):

"Our Lord Jesus Christ has united with Himself all that lay under condemnation, in order to release it from condemnation. For all our sakes He became all that we are, sin apart - body, soul, mind, all that death pervades. The joint result is a man who is visibly, because He is spiritually discerned as, God. He is 'Son of Man' (Mt. 9:6) through Adam and through the Virgin, from who He was descended - from Adam His forefather, from the Virgin by the law of motherhood, not by that of fatherhood... He is... 'Melchizedek' (Heb. 7:1), because on the transcendent level He had no mother, on the human level no father, and His high estate is without genealogy (cf. Heb. 7:3). 'Who', it says, 'can recount His generation (Is. 53:8)?' "


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Nine sect. 18; Paulist Press pgs. 112-113):

"The words 'hallowed be Your name' could well be understood in the sense that God is hallowed by our perfection. In other words, when we say 'hallowed be Your name' to Him what we are really saying is 'Father, make us such as to deserve knowledge and understanding of how holy You are, or at least let Your holiness shine forth in the spiritual lives we lead.' And this surely happens as men 'see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven' (cf. Mt. 5:16)."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 17:11; Routledge pg. 126):

"...when our Lord says something that combines in some way the human with the divine, do not on this account take offence and foolishly cease admiring as one ought the incomparably skillful way in which He has chosen His words, elegantly preserving for us in every way His dual character, so that we see Him who is by nature truly both God and man speaking as such at one and the same time, brilliantly combining the humble element of the humanity with the glory of the ineffable divine nature, and maintaining a proportionality of expression with regard to both, in a way that is entirely blameless and free from any reproach."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series Vol. IV, Against the Heathen, Chapter 30 sects. 1-3; Eerdmans pg. 20):

"...the way of truth will aim at reaching the real and true God. But for its knowledge and comprehension, there is need of none other save of ourselves. Neither, as God Himself is above all, is the road to Him afar off or outside ourselves, but it is in us, and it is possible to find it from ourselves, in the first instance, as Moses also taught, when he said: 'The word' of faith 'is within your heart' (Deut. 30:14). Which very thing the Saviour declared and confirmed, when He said: 'The kingdom of God is within you' (Lk. 17:12). For having in ourselves faith and the kingdom of God, we shall be able quickly to see and perceive the King of the Universe, the saving Word of the Father... nor let anyone... simply deceive himself, professing to have no such road, and therefore find a pretext for his godlessness. For we all have set foot upon it, and have it, even if we are not willing to travel by it, but rather swerve from it and go wrong, because of the pleasures of this life which attract from without. And if one were to ask, what road is this? I say that it is the soul of each one of us, and the intelligence which resides there. For by it alone can God be contemplated and perceived."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 23; Plough Publishing pg. 87):

"If you have any knowledge at all of human nature, who can doubt that Judas was an admirer of Christ! And we know that Christ at the beginning of His work had many admirers. Judas was precisely an admirer and thus later became a traitor. It is just as easy to reckon as the stars that those who only admire the truth will, when danger appears, become traitors. The admirer is infatuated with the false security of greatness; but if there is any inconvenience or trouble, he pulls back. Admiring the truth, instead of following it, is just as dubious a fire as the fire of erotic love, which at the turn of the hand can be changed into exactly the opposite, to hate, jealousy, and revenge."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Letters, Letter Eight sect 3; Paulist Press pg. 275):

"...if in some public place we were to see a master, an old man, or a father harmed, attacked, and beaten up by a servant, a younger man, or a son we would think ourselves lacking due respect if we did not hasten to the assistance of those of superior rank, regardless of whatever prior wrong these might have done. Therefore, how could we avoid being ashamed as we witness reason harmed by anger and desire, when we see it driven from the authority given to it by God so that in an unholy and unjust manner trouble, discord, and disorder are stirred up in us? That is why our blessed and God-given lawmaker proclaimed that anyone who has not put his own house in order is unfit to hold authority in the Church of God (cf. I Tim. 3:5). For the one who commands himself will command another."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. IV; SVS Press pg. 66):

"...out of God's great goodness human beings were composed of a soul and body. The rational and intellectual soul given to man is made in the image of its maker and through desire and intense love it holds fast to God and participates in the divine life. The soul becomes godlike through divinization, and because God cares for what is lower, that is the body, and has given the command to love one's neighbor , the soul prudently makes use of the body. By practicing the virtues the body gains familiarity with God and becomes a fellow servant with the soul. God who dwells in the soul uses it as an instrument to relate to the body and through the intimate bond between body and soul makes it possible for the body to share in the gift of immortality. The result is that what God is to the soul the soul becomes to the body, and the one God, Creator of all, is shown to reside proportionately in all beings through human nature. Things that are by nature separated from one another return to a unity as they converge together in the one human being. When this happens God will be 'all in all' (I Cor. 15:28), permeating all things and at the same time giving independent existence to all things in Himself. Then no existing thing will wander aimlessly or be deprived of God's presence. For through the presence of God we are called 'gods' (Jn. 10:35), 'children of God' (Jn. 1:12), 'the body' (Eph. 1:23) and 'members' (Eph. 5:30) of God, even 'portions of God'. In God's purpose this is the end toward which our lives are directed. For this end man was brought into the world."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Four para. 16; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 33):

"Anyone who has fallen into fornication, adultery or any other such bodily impurity, should desist from this revolting filth and cleanse himself through confession, tears, fasting and the like. For God judges unrepentant fornicators and adulterers. He condemns them, dismisses them and consigns them to hell, unquenchable fire and other never-ending punishments, saying, 'Let the impure and accursed be taken away, lest they see and enjoy the glory of the Lord' (cf. Isa. 26:10 LXX)."


From St. Gregory of Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 30 sect. 20; SVS Press pg. 110):

"The Son is 'Life' (Jn. 14:6) because He is 'Light', constituting and giving reality to every thinking being. 'For in Him we live, move and exist' (Acts 17:28) and there is a two-fold sense in which He breathes into us (cf. Gen. 2:7; Jn. 20:22); we are filled, all of us, with His breath, and those who are capable of it, all those who open their mind's mouth wide enough, with His Holy Spirit."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Nine sect. 18; Paulist Press pgs. 111-112):

"A state of soul more exalted and more elevated will follow upon... prayer... We must be careful to aspire to this state of soul. This is what the beginning of the Lord's prayer tells us when it says "Our Father" (Mt. 6:9). With our own voice we proclaim that the God, the Lord of the universe, is our Father and we thereby assert that we have been called out of the state of servitude to adoption as sons. To this we add "who are in heaven" and we do so to mark the fact that the delay we make during this life of ours on earth is a kind of exile keeping us very distant from our Father... let us hasten out of it and with all longing let us rush toward that domain which we proclaim to be the abode of our Father."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 17:11; Routledge pgs. 125-126):

"...He is God who has become man, occupying, as it were, a middle position by an ineffable and indescribable union, since He has neither left the sphere of the truly divine nor has He entirely abandoned that of the human. For His ineffable generation from God the Father raises Him up, in that He is Word and Only-begotten, to the divine essence and to the glory that naturally accompanies it, while His self-emptying draws Him down somewhat to our world. Not that this self-emptying is sufficient to overwhelm by force, so to speak, Him who with the Father is king of the universe, for the Only-begotten is never forced against His will. Rather, it was of His own accord, out of love for us, that He accepted the self-emptying and persevered with it. That is to say, He humiliated Himself voluntarily, not as a result of any compulsion. For He would have been convicted of not having undergone the suffering of His humiliation willingly, if there had been anyone at all powerful enough to have had an advantage over Him to undergo this against His will. Therefore He humbled Himself willingly for our sake. For we ourselves would never have been called sons by grace and gods (cf. Ps. 82:6) if the Only-begotten had not undergone humiliation for us and on our behalf."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series Vol. IV, Against the Heathen, Chapter Eight sect. 3; Eerdmans pg. 8):

"...men having learned to contrive evil, which is no reality in itself, in like manner feigned for themselves as gods beings that had no real existence."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 23; Plough Publishing pg. 86):

"To want to admire instead of to follow Christ is not necessarily an invention by bad people. No, it is more an invention by those who spinelessly keep themselves detached, who keep themselves at a safe distance. Admirers are related to the admired only through the excitement of the imagination. To them Christ is like an actor on the stage except that, this being real life, the effect He produces is somewhat stronger. But for their part, admirers make the same demands that are made in the theater: to sit safe and calm. Admirers are only all too willing to serve Christ as long as proper caution is exercised, lest one personally come in contact with danger. As such, they refuse to accept that Christ's life is a demand."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Letters, Letter Eight sect. 1; Paulist Press pg. 270):

"...whoever lives in the company of the good God must be as like Him as possible... Why was David, the father of God, loved by God? Because he was good, even to his enemies. 'I have found a man after my own heart' (I Sam. 13:14). So said the lover of good Who transcends good... Job was justified because he remained aloof from all wrongdoing (Job 42:10). Joseph took no revenge on the brothers who betrayed him (Gen. 45:5-15). Abel humbly and unsuspiciously followed the brother who was to kill him (Gen. 4:8). The word of God calls 'good' all these men who neither planned nor did evil things, whose goodness stood up against the evil of others, men who lived in conformity with God. They did good to those wronging them and extended to them their own abundant goodness so as to bring them gently around to behaving like them."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. III; SVS Press pgs. 64-65):

"It is impossible that those who have found the stability that comes from having their dwelling place in God will turn way from God. How can those who have actually found rest in God become satiated and be drawn away recklessly by desire? For by definition, satiety quenches appetite... Satiety comes about in two ways: either appetite is quenched because it desired things that are trivial, or because it becomes nauseous by being drawn to what is base and repugnant. In the latter case desire turns into loathing. But for those who enjoy fellowship with God who is infinite and beautiful, desire becomes more intense and has no limit."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Four para. 15; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 32):

"Let us flee from wrath and hasten through repentance to obtain the kindness and compassion of the divine Spirit. If anyone feels hatred towards another, let him be reconciled with him and restore love, lest his hatred and conflict with his brother should bear witness against him that he does not love God. 'For if you do not love your brother whom you have seen, how can you love God whom you have not seen?' (cf. I Jn. 4:20). When we love one another, let our love be unfeigned, and let us show it by deeds, by neither saying nor doing, nor even enduring to hear, anything insulting or harmful to our brethren. As Christ's beloved Theologian taught us, ' Brethren, do not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth' (cf. I Jn. 3:18)."


From St. Gregory of Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 30 sect. 20; SVS Press pg. 110):

"The Son is 'Truth' (Jn. 14:6), because truth is a single whole, while falsehood is a splintered complex. and because He is the unstained seal (cf. Jn. 6:27), the utterly faithful impress (cf. Heb. 1:3) of the Father. He is called 'Image' (Col. 1:15) because He is consubstantial with the Father; He stems from the Father and not the Father from Him, it being the nature of an image to copy the original and be called after it. But there is more to it than this. The ordinary image is a motionless copy of a moving being. Here we have a living image of a living being, indistinguishable from its original to a higher degree than Seth from Adam and any earthly offspring from its parent."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Nine sects. 9, 11, 12, 13, 14; Paulist Press pgs. 107-109):

"The apostle notes four types of prayer. 'My advice is that first of all supplication should be offered up for everyone, prayers, pleas, and thanksgiving' (I Tim. 2:1)... A supplication is a plea or petition made on account of present and past sin by someone who is moved by contrition to seek pardon. In prayers we offer or promise something to God. The Greek term means 'vow'... Third comes pleas. We usually make them for others when we ourselves are deeply moved in spirit. We offer them for those dear to us or when we beg for peace in the world... Fourth are thanksgivings. Unspeakably moved by the memory of God's past kindnesses, by the vision of what He now grants or by all that He holds out as a future reward to those who love Him, the mind gives thanks. In this perspective richer prayers are often uttered. Looking with purest gaze at the rewards promised to the saints, our spirit is moved by measureless joy to pour out wordless thanksgiving to God."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 14:16-17; Plough Publishing pg. 125):

"...those who are good and sober-minded, who keep their heart free of the evils that are in the world, willingly open themselves to the Holy Spirit, and having received Him keep Him, and so far as is humanly possible, behold Him spiritually, thereby winning a wonderful reward worthy of emulation. For He will sanctify them and prove them to be accomplishers of every good thing, and will release them from the shameful state of the slavery that belongs to the human condition and bestow upon them the dignity of adoption as sons. Paul, too, witnesses to this, when he says, 'Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" ' (Gal. 4:6)."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series Vol. IV, Against the Heathen, Chapter 7 sects. 3-5; Eerdmans pg. 7):

"...evil has not from the beginning been with God or in God, nor does it have any substantive existence; but that men, in default of the vision of good, began to devise and imagine for themselves what was not, after their own pleasure. For it is as if a man, when the sun is shining, and the whole earth illumined by his light, were to shut fast his eyes and imagine darkness where no darkness exists, and then walk wandering as if in darkness, often falling and going down steep places, thinking it was dark and not light, - for, imagining that he sees, he does not see at all; so, too, the soul of man shutting fast her eyes, by which she is able to see God, has imagined evil for herself, and moving therein, knows not that, thinking she is doing something, she is doing nothing. For she is imagining what is not, nor is she abiding in her original nature; but what she is is evidently the product of her own disorder. For she is made to see God, and to be enlightened by Him; but of her own accord in God's stead she has sought corruptible things and darkness, as the Spirit says somewhere in writing, "God made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions" (Eccles. 7:29). Thus it has been then that men from the first discovered and contrived and imagined evil for themselves."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 22; Plough Publishing pg. 84):

"It is only all too easy to understand the requirements contained in God's Word ('Give all your goods to the poor.' 'If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the left.' 'If anyone takes your coat, let him have your cloak also." "Rejoice always.' 'Count it sheer joy when you meet various temptations' etc.). The most ignorant, poor creature cannot honestly deny being able to understand God's requirements. But it is tough on the flesh to will to understand it and to then act accordingly. It is not a question of interpretation, but action."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Letters, Letter Five; Paulist Press pg. 265):

"The divine darkness is that 'unapproachable light' (I Tim. 6:16) where God is said to live. And if it is invisible because of a superabundant clarity, if it cannot be approached because of the outpouring of its transcendent gift of light, yet it is here that is found everyone worthy to know God and to look upon Him. And such a one, precisely because he neither sees Him nor knows Him, truly arrives at that which is beyond all seeing and all knowledge. Knowing exactly this, that He is beyond everything perceived and conceived, he cries out with the prophet, 'Knowledge of You is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it' (Ps. 139:6)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. III; SVS Press pgs. 63-64):

"...what is more desirable to God's precious ones than to be divinized, that is for God to be united with those who have become gods and by His goodness to make everything His own. Hence the state that comes from contemplating God and enjoying the gladness it gives is rightly called pleasure, rapture and joy. It is called pleasure because the term means that for which we naturally strive, rapture, because it is an active receptivity by which what has received power from without becomes itself capable of generating power that is effective beyond itself... It is called joy because it has nothing to gainsay it, neither from the past nor from the future. For it is said that joy is neither conscious of past sorrow nor has any place for that satiety that inevitably disappoints, one reason why satiety is anticipated with trepidation. It is the same with pleasure. Therefore, as the inspired Scriptures and our fathers, who are wise from hearing the Scriptures read in the divine mysteries, confirm, 'joy' is the most appropriate term to refer to the life that is to come."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Four para. 13; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 31):

"...the Holy Spirit will not just be with us until the end of the age, but rather will stay with those who are worthy in the age to come, making them immortal and filling their bodies as well with eternal glory, as the Lord indicated by telling His disciples, 'I will pray to the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever' (Jn. 14:16). 'It is sown', says the Apostle (meaning buried and committed to the earth), 'a dead natural body', that is to say, an ordinary created body with a created soul, stable and capable of movement. 'It is raised' (that is, comes back to life), 'a spiritual body' (cf. I Cor 15:44), which means a supernatural body, framed and ordered by the Holy Spirit, and clothed in immortality, glory and incorruption by the Spirit's power (cf. I Cor. 15:53)."


From St. Gregory of Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 30 sect. 18; SVS Press pg. 108):

" 'He Who Is' and 'God' are in some special way names of His being. 'He Who Is' has the superiority here. He used it of Himself, in delivering His oracles to Moses on the mountain, telling Moses, who asked what He should be called, to say to the people: 'He Who Is has sent me' (Ex. 3:14). But this is not the only reason; we also find it to be a more distinctively full and apt name. 'God', according to bright students of Greek etymology, is derived from words meaning 'to run' or 'to burn' - the idea being of continuous movement and consuming of evil qualities hence, certainly, God is called a 'consuming fire' (Dt. 4:24). Nevertheless, it is a relational, not an absolute term. The same thing applies to the word 'Lord' which is also used as a name of God. 'I am the Lord your God', He says, 'this is my name' (Is. 42:8), and, 'The Lord is His name' (Ex. 15:3). But we are making deeper inquiries into a nature which has absolute existence, independent of anything else. The actual, personal being of God in its fullness is neither limited nor cut short by any prior or subsequent reality - so it was and so it will be."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Nine sect. 8; Paulist Press pg. 107):

"Prayer changes at every moment in proportion to the degree of purity in the soul and in accordance with the extent to which the soul is moved whether by outside influence or of itself. Certainly the same kind of prayers cannot be uttered continuously by any one person. A lively person prays one way. A person brought down by the weight of gloom or despair prays another. One prays another way when the life of the spirit is flourishing, and another way when pushed down by the mass of temptation. One prays differently, depending on whether one is seeking the gift of some grace or virtue or the removal of some sinful vice. The prayer is different once again when one is sorrowing at the thought of hell and the fear of future judgment, or when one is fired by hope and longing for future blessedness, when one is in need or peril, in peace or tranquility, when one is flooded with the light of heavenly mysteries or when one is hemmed in by aridity in virtue and staleness in one's thinking."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 14:16-17; Routledge pg. 124):

"The Holy Spirit dwells in the saints and remains with them for ever, if they cleanse the eye of their understanding by cleaving to every sound doctrine and by resolutely pursuing every virtue, and thus maintain the grace within themselves. For Christ says that those who are in the world, that is, those who are preoccupied with the things of this world and choose to love earthly things, are unable to contain or to behold the Spirit."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series Vol. IV, Against the Heathen, Chapter 5 sect. 2; Eerdmans pg. 6):

"...just as if a charioteer, having mounted his chariot on the race course, were to pay no attention to the goal toward which he should be driving, but, ignoring this simply were to drive the horse as he could, or in other words as he would, and often drive against those he met, and often down steep places, rushing wherever he impelled himself by the speed of the team, thinking that thus running he has not missed the goal, - for he regards the running only, and does not see that he has passed wide of the goal; - so the soul too, turning from the way toward God, and driving the members of the body beyond what is proper, or rather, driven itself along with them by its own doing, sins and makes mischief for itself, not seeing that it has strayed from the way, and has swerved from the goal of truth, to which the Christ-bearing man, the blessed Paul, was looking when he said, "I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:4): so that the holy man, making the good his mark, never did what was evil."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 22; Plough Publishing pgs. 83-84):

"Being alone with God's Word is a dangerous matter. Of course, you can always find ways to defend yourself against it: Take the Bible, lock your door - but then get out ten dictionaries and twenty-five commentaries. Then you can read it just as calmly and coolly as you read newspaper advertising. With this arsenal you can really begin to wonder, 'Are there not several valid interpretations?' And what about the prospect of new interpretations? Perhaps there are five interpreters with one opinion and seven with another and two with a strange opinion and three who are wavering or who have no opinion at all. So you calmly conclude, 'I myself am not absolutely sure about the meaning of this passage. I need more time to form an opinion.' Good Lord! What a tragic misuse of scholarship that it makes it so easy for people to deceive themselves!"


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Letters, Letter Four; Paulist Press pg. 264):

"...we do not confine our definition of Jesus to the human domain. For He is not simply a man, nor would He be transcendent if He were only a man. Out of His very great love for humanity, He became quite truly human, both superhuman and among humans; and, though Himself beyond being, He took upon Himself the being of humans. Yet He is not less overflowing with transcendence. He is ever-transcendent, and superabundantly so. He takes on being, and is Himself a being beyond being. Superior Himself to the human condition He does the work of a man. A proof of this is that a virgin supernaturally bore Him (Mt. 1:18-25) and that flowing water, bearing the weight of His corporeal, earthly feet, did not yield, but, rather, held Him up with supernatural power (Mt. 14:25-33)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. III; SVS Press pg. 63):

"The saints will be welcomed by the ineffable light and will contemplate the holy and majestic Trinity that shines clearly and brightly and unites itself wholly to the entire soul. This alone I take to be the kingdom of heaven... The fullness of God permeates them wholly as the soul permeates the body, and they become, so to speak, limbs of a body, well adapted and useful to the Master. He directs them as He thinks best, filling them with His own glory (cf. II Pet. 1:3) and blessedness, and bestows on them unending life beyond imagining and wholly free from the signs of corruption that mark the present age. He gives them life, not the life that comes from breathing air, nor that of veins coursing with blood, but the life that comes from being wholly infused with the fullness of God... so that the soul receives changelessness and the body immortality; hence the whole man, as the object of divine action, is divinized by being made a god by the grace of God who became man. He remains wholly man in soul and body by nature, and becomes wholly god in body and soul by grace and by the unparalleled divine radiance of blessed glory appropriate to him. Nothing can be imagined more splendid and lofty than this."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Four para. 12; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 30):

"Christ had ascended bodily into heaven, so if He had not sent His Holy Spirit to accompany and strengthen His disciples and their successors in following generations who taught the Gospel of grace, He would not have been preached to all nations, nor would the proclamation have been passed down to us. That is why the Lord, in His all-surpassing love for mankind, showed at Pentecost that His disciples were partakers, fathers and ministers of everlasting light and life, who bring us to new birth for eternal life and make those who are worthy children of the Light and fathers of enlightenment. Thus, He Himself is with us even until the end of the world, as was promised through the Spirit (MT. 28:20)."


From St. Gregory of Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 30 sect. 17; SVS Press pgs. 107-108):

"Our starting-point must be the fact that God cannot be named... no mind has yet contained or language embraced God's substance in its fullness. No, we use facts connected with Him to outline qualities that correspond with Him, collecting a faint and feeble mental image from various quarters. Our noblest theologian is not one who has discovered the whole - our earthly shackles do not permit us the whole - but one whose mental image is by comparison fuller, who has gathered in his mind a richer picture, outline, or whatever we call it, of the truth."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf Nine sect. 6; Paulist Press pg. 106):

"When the soul is solidly rooted in... peacefulness, when it is freed of the bonds of every carnal urge, when the unshaking thrust of the heart is toward the one supreme Good, then the words of the apostle will be fulfilled. 'Pray without ceasing,' he said (I Thes. 5:17). 'In every place lift up pure hands, with no anger and no rivalry' (I Tim 2:8). Sensibility is, so to speak, absorbed by this purity. It is reshaped in the likeness of the spiritual and the angelic so that all its dealings, all its activity will be prayer, utterly pure, utterly without tarnish."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 14:16-17; Routledge pg. 124):

"...if someone should say that the Spirit is not from the essence of God, how could a creature, when it receives the Spirit, be a partaker of God? In what way do we become temples of God in fact and name if we receive a created or alien spirit and not that which is from God? How do we become 'partakers of the divine nature' (II Pet. 1:4), as the saints declare, in virtue of our being partakers of the Spirit (Heb. 6:4) if He is reckoned amongst created beings and has not rather proceeded for us from the divine nature itself? He does not pass through it into us as something alien to it but, in a manner of speaking, becomes in us some quality as it were of the Godhead."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series Vol. IV, Against the Heathen, Chap. 2 sects. 3-4; Eerdmans pg. 5):

"...when the mind of men... is wholly... dwelling with itself as it was made to begin with, then, transcending the things of sense and all things human, it is raised up on high; and seeing the Word, it sees in Him also the Father of the Word, taking pleasure in contemplating Him, and gaining renewal by its desire toward Him; exactly as the first of men created, the one who was named Adam in Hebrew, is described in the Holy Scriptures as having at the beginning his mind directed toward God in a freedom unembarrassed by shame, and as associating with the holy ones in that contemplation of things perceived by the mind which he enjoyed in the place where he was - the... Garden. So purity of soul is sufficient of itself to reflect God, as the Lord also says, 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God'. "


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 22; Plough Publishing pgs. 82-83):

"...it is not the obscure passages in Scripture that bind you but the ones you understand. With these you are to comply at once. If you understood only one passage in all of Scripture, well, then you must do that first of all. It will be this passage God asks you about. Do not first sit down and ponder the obscure passages. God's Word is given in order that you shall act according to it, not that you gain expertise in interpreting it."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chapter Twelve sect. 3; Paulist Press pg. 176):

"You will notice how God's word gives the title of 'gods' not only to those heavenly beings who are our superiors (cf. Ps. 82:1; 95:3; Gen. 32:28-30), but also to those sacred men among us who are distinguished for their love of God (cf. Ex. 4:16, 7:1; Pss. 45:6 LXX, 82:6; Jn. 10:34). Now the hiddenness of the Godhead is a transcendent one. It is far above everything. No being can in any way or as a matter of right be named like to it. Yet every being endowed with intelligence and reason, which, totally and as far as it can, is returned to be united with Him, which is forever being raised up toward His divine enlightenments, which if one may say so, tries as hard as possible to imitate God - such a one surely deserves to be called divine."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. III; SVS Press pg. 62):

"If God made all things by His will (cf. Rev 4:11), and it is always pious and right to say that God knows His own will, and that He made each creature by an act of will, then God knows existing things as He knows the products of His own will, since He also made existing things by an act of will. Furthermore, I think that these assertions are in accord with what is said in the Scripture to Moses: 'I know you above all' (Ex. 18:11). And about some it was said: 'The Lord knows those who are His' (II Tim. 2:19). And to others He said: 'I do not know you' (Mt. 7:23; 15:12). Voluntary movement, either in accord with the will and word of God or against the will and word of God, prepared each person to hear the divine voice."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Four para. 10; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 29):

"If from one burning lamp someone lights another, then another from that one, and so on in succession, he has light continuously. In the same way, through the Apostles ordaining their successors, and these successors ordaining others, and so on, the grace of the Holy Spirit is handed down through all generations and enlightens all who obey their spiritual shepherds and teachers."


From St. Gregory of Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 30 sect. 6; SVS Press pg. 98):

"...God will be 'all in all' (I Cor. 15:28) when we are no longer what we are now, a multiplicity of impulses and emotions, with little or nothing of God in us, but are fully like God , with room for God and God alone. This is the 'maturity' (cf. Col. 1:28) towards which we speed."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Nine sect. 4; Paulist Press pg. 103):

"If sin and worldly preoccupation have not weighed the soul down, if dangerous passion has not sullied it, then, lifted up by the natural goodness of its purity, it will rise to the heights on the lightest breath of meditation and, leaving the lowly things... it will travel upward to the heavenly and the invisible. And so we are quite rightly admonished by the Lord's command: 'See to it that your hearts are not weighed down in drunkenness and intoxication and in the concerns of every day' (Lk. 21:34). Therefore if we wish our prayers to reach upward to the heavens and beyond we must ensure that our mind is cleared of every earthly defect and cleansed of all passion's grip and is so light of itself that its prayer, free of sin's weighty load, will rise upward to God."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 14:16-17; Routledge pgs. 123-124):

"...'He breathed on His disciples and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit" ' (Jn. 20:22). Therefore will not one... be strongly disposed to believe, that since the Son is a partaker in an essential manner of the natural excellences of God the Father, He possesses the Spirit in the same way as one would conceive of the Father possessing Him, that is, not as something added on, or of external origin? For it is foolish... to think in this way. A suitable analogy is how each of us has his own breath inside himself and sends it forth from the depths of his being. That is why Christ also breathed on the disciples physically (Jn. 20:22), demonstrating that just as breath issues from the mouth in a physical way, so the Spirit of God pours forth from the divine essence in a manner befitting God. Since the Spirit of God the Father is indeed the same as that of the Son, how will They not necessarily possess a single authority subsisting simultaneously both in a separate and in a unified mode? For the Father is the Father and not the Son, and the Son is the Son and not the Father, albeit that the Father is in the Son and the Son in the Father. Nevertheless when they give the Advocate, that is, the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son do not give Him separately. Rather He is supplied to the saints from the Father through the Son. That is why when the Father is said to give, the Son 'through whom are all things' gives; and when the Son is said to give, the Father 'from whom are all things' gives (I Cor. 8:6)."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series Vol. IV, Against the Heathen, Chap. 2 sect. 2; Eerdmans pg. 5):

"God, Maker of all and King of all, that has His Being beyond all substance and human discovery, inasmuch as He is good and exceeding noble, made, through His own Word our Saviour Jesus Christ, the human race after His own image, and constituted man able to see and know realities by means of this assimilation to Himself, giving him also a conception and knowledge even of His own eternity, in order that, preserving his nature intact, he might not ever either depart from his idea of God, nor recoil from the communion of the holy ones; but having the grace of Him that gave it, having also God's own power from the Word of the Father, he might rejoice and have fellowship with the Deity, living the life of immortality unharmed and truly blessed."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 22; Plough Publishing pgs. 80-82):

"...how highly do you value God's Word? Imagine a lover who has received a letter from his beloved. I assume that God's Word is just as precious to you as this letter is to the lover. I assume that you read and think you ought to read God's Word in the same way the lover reads this letter. Yet you perhaps say, 'Yes, but Scripture is written in a foreign language.' Let us assume, then, that this letter from the beloved is written in a language that the lover does not understand. But let us assume that there is no one around who can translate it for him. Perhaps he would not even want any such help lest a stranger be initiated into his secrets. What does he do? He takes a dictionary, begins to spell his way through the letter, looks up every word in order to obtain a translation. Now let us imagine that, as he sits there busy with his task, an acquaintance comes in. He knows that the letter has come, because he sees it lying there, and says, 'So, you are reading a letter from your beloved.' What do you think the other will say? He answers, 'Have you gone mad? Do you think this is reading a letter from my beloved! No, my friend, I am sitting here toiling... with a dictionary to get it translated. At times I am ready to explode with impatience; the blood rushes to my head, and I would just as soon hurl the dictionary on the floor - and you call that reading! You must be joking! No, thank God, as soon as I am finished with the translation I shall read my beloved's letter; that is something altogether different.'... All the scholarly preliminaries were regarded as nothing but a necessary evil so that he could come to the point - of reading the letter from his beloved... Let us assume that this letter contained not only an expression of affection, but also a wish, something the beloved wanted her lover to do... the lover... he is off at once to fulfill his beloved's wish... think of God's Word. When you read it in a scholarly way, with a dictionary or a commentary, then you are not reading God's Word... If you happen to be a scholar, then please see to it that even with all your learned reading you do not forget to read God's Word. If you are not a scholar, rejoice! Be glad that you can listen to God's address right away! And if in the listening you hear a wish, a command, an order, then - remember the lover! - off with you at once to do what it asks."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chapter Ten sect. 2; Paulist Press pgs. 173-174):

"All angels bring revelations and tidings of their superiors. The first bring word of God who is their inspiration, while the others, according to where they are, tell of those inspired by God... the holiest of the seraphim 'cry out to one another' (Is. 6:3)... this shows that the first ranks pass on to the second what they know of God."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. II; SVS Press pg. 60):

"By His gracious condescension God became man and is called man for the sake of man and by exchanging His condition for ours revealed the power that elevates man to God through his love for God and brings God down to man because of His love for man. By this blessed inversion, man is made God by divinization and God is made man by hominization. For the Word of God and God wills always and in all things to accomplish the mystery of His embodiment."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Bible and the Holy Fathers, Homily on the Dormition; SVS Press pg. 1015):

"A most mystical economy of courtship came to pass as regards the Virgin, a strange greeting surpassing speech which the Archangel, descended from above, addressed to her, and disclosures and salutations from God which overturn the condemnation of Eve and Adam and remedy the curse laid on them, transforming it into a blessing? There came to pass in the womb not a union only, but further, a formation, and that thing formed from the Power of the Most High and the all-holy virginal womb was the incarnate Word of God. Thus the Word of God took up His dwelling in the Theotokos in an inexpressible manner and proceeded from her, bearing flesh? This is the encomium which transcends nature and the surpassingly glorious glory of the Ever-Virgin? she was also rightly glorified and exalted together with Him? The death of the Theotokos was also life-bearing, translating her into a celestial and immortal life? Its commemoration not merely renews the memory of the wondrous deeds of the Mother of God, but also adds thereto the strange gathering at her all-sacred burial of all the sacred apostles conveyed from every nation? Thus she exalted those under her through herself, and, showing while on earth an obedience to things heavenly rather than things earthly, she partook of more excellent deserts and of superior powers? She alone in her body, glorified by God, now enjoys the celestial realm together with her Son. For earth and grave and death did not hold forever her life-originating and God-receiving body ? the dwelling more favored than Heaven and the Heaven of heavens? How indeed could that body suffer corruption and turn to earth?... The 'ark of holiness' (Ps. 131:8) is resurrected, after the prophetic ode, together with Christ? by her ascension? uniting those on high with those below? In this manner she was in the beginning 'a little lower than the angels' (Ps. 8:6), as it said, referring to her mortality, yet this only served to magnify her pre-eminence as regards all creatures? Receptacle of great graces? she only is the frontier between created and uncreated nature, and there is no man that shall come to God except he be truly illumined through her? It was through the Theotokos alone that the Lord came to us."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Four para. 8; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 27):

"...although divided in His various powers and energies, in each of His works the Holy Spirit is wholly present and active, undividedly divided, partaken of while remaining complete, like the sun's ray."


From St. Gregory of Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 30 sect. 6; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 97):

"...a disposition is an unsatisfactory thing unless we give it practical effect - deeds show dispositions."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf Nine sect. 3; Paulist Press pgs. 102-103):

Because of the workings of the memory whatever has preoccupied our mind before the time for prayer must of necessity intrude on our actual prayers. Therefore in advance of prayer we must strive to dispose ourselves as we would wish to be during prayer. The praying spirit is shaped by its earlier condition. As we prostrate ourselves for prayer our deeds, words, fastings rise up in our imagination. They are as they were before our prayer, and they move us to anger or gloom. We turn back toward desire or worldly affairs. Stupidly - and I am ashamed to say it - we laugh as we recall some clownish act or word, and the mind flits back to the earlier concerns of our talk. So therefore before we pray we must hasten to drive from our heart's sanctuary anything we would not wish to intrude on our prayers, and all this so that we might do as the apostle bids us: 'Pray ceaselessly' (I Thes. 5:17). 'In every place lift up pure hands, with no anger and no rivalry' (I Tim. 2:8). But we will not be able to fulfill this injunction unless the mind within us is cleansed of the contagion of sin, is devoted to virtue as its natural good, and feeds continuously on the contemplation of the all-powerful God."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria:The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 14:16-17; Routledge pg. 123):

"That the Son is Himself an advocate, both in name and in reality, John will witness in his own writings, where he says, 'I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the expiation of our sins' (I Jn. 2:1-2). He therefore calls the Spirit 'another advocate' (Jn. 14:16), intending that He should be conceived as a separate hypostasis, yet possessing such a close likeness to Himself and with the power to operate in a manner identical to that in which He Himself might perhaps do, that He appears to be the Son Himself and not at all different. For He is His Spirit. And indeed He called Him the very Spirit of truth, also calling Himself the truth (cf. Jn 14:6)."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series Vol. IV, Against the Heathen, Chapter 2 sect. 1; Eerdmans pgs. 4-5):

"In the beginning wickedness did not exist. Nor indeed does it... in any way belong to man's nature. But men later on began to contrive it, and to elaborate it to their own hurt. Whence also they devised the invention of idols, treating what was not as though it were."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 21; Plough Publishing pg. 78):

"...no one becomes a believer by hearing about Christianity, by reading about it, by thinking about it. It means that while Christ was living, no one became a believer by seeing Him once in a while or by going and staring at Him all day long. No, a certain setting is required - venture a decisive act. The proof does not precede but follows; it exists in and with the life that follows Christ. Once you have ventured the decisive act, you are at odds with the life of this world. You come into collision with it, and because of this you will gradually be brought into such tension that you will then be able to become certain of what Christ taught. You will begin to understand that you cannot endure this world without having recourse to Christ. What else can one expect from following the truth?"


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Writings, The Celestial Hierarchy Chapter Nine sect. 4; Paulist Press pgs. 172-173):

"It was revealed to Pharoah by the angel presiding over the Egyptians and to the ruler of the Babylonians by their angel that there is a concerned and authoritative Providence and Lordship over all things. Servants of the true God were established as leaders for those nations, and the manifestation of things represented by the angelic visions were revealed by God through the angels to certain sacred men near the angels, namely Joseph and Daniel (cf. Gen. 41:1-32, Dan. 2:1-45, 4:1-27). For there is only one ruling source and Providence in the world, and we must not imagine that the Deity took charge of the Jewish people alone and that angels or gods, on an equal footing with Him or even hostile to Him, had charge of the other peoples... The single Providence of the Most High for all commanded angels to bring all peoples to salvation, but it was Israel alone which returned to the Light and proclaimed the true Lord... For there is only one Providence over all the world, a supra-being transcending all power visible and invisible; and over every nation there are presiding angels entrusted with the task of raising up toward that Providence, as their own source, everyone willing to follow, as far as possible."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. II; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 58):

"There can be no doubt that the one Word of God is the substance of virtue in each person. For our Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the substance of all the virtues, as it is written: 'This one God made our wisdom, our justice, our sanctification and redemption' (I Cor. 1:30). These things of course are said about Him absolutely, since He is wisdom and righteousness and sanctification itself. They are not, as in our case, simply attributed to Him, as for example in the expression, a 'wise man' or a 'just man'. It is evident that every person who participates in virtue as a matter of habit unquestionably participates in God, the substance of the virtues."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware, Topics of Natural and Theological Science no. 146; Faber and Faber pgs. 414-415):

"The Lord said to His disciples, 'There are some standing here who will not taste death till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power' (Mk. 9:1); and after six days He took Peter, James and John, and when they had ascended Mount Tabor He shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light (cf. Mt. 17:1-2). When the disciples could look at it no longer or, rather, because they lacked the strength to gaze at the brightness, they fell prostrate to the earth (cf. Mt. 17:6). None the less, in accordance with the Saviour's promise they did see the kingdom of God, that divine and inexpressible light. St. Gregory of Nazianzos and St. Basil call this light 'divinity', saying that 'the light is the divinity manifested to the disciples on the Mount', and that it is 'the beauty of Him who is Almighty, and His noetic and contemplatable divinity'. St. Basil the Great also says that this light is the beauty of God contemplated by the saints alone in the power of the divine Spirit; and again he writes, 'On the mountain Peter and the sons of thunder saw His beauty shining more brightly than the sun; and they were privileged to receive with their eyes a foretaste of His advent.' St. John of Damaskos as well as St. John Chrysostom calls that light a natural ray of the Divinity. The former writes, 'Because the Son was begotten unoriginately from the Father, He possesses the natural, unoriginate ray of the Divinity; and the glory of the Divinity becomes the glory of His body.' And St. John Chrysostom says, 'The Lord appeared upon the mountain more radiant than Himself because the Divinity revealed its rays.' "


From St. Gregory of Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 30 sect. 5; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pgs. 96-97):

" 'My God, my God, look upon me, why have you forsaken me (Ps. 22:1; Mt. 27:46)?'... Our Lord Jesus Christ is not forsaken either by the Father or , as some think, by His own Godhead, which shrank in fear from suffering, abandoning the sufferer. Who applies that argument either to His birth in this world in the first place or to His ascent of the cross? No, in Himself... He expresses our condition. We had once been the forsaken and disregarded; then we were accepted and now are saved by the sufferings of the impassible. He made our thoughtlessness and waywardness His own, just as the psalm, in its subsequent course, says (Ps. 22:1-3) - since the Twenty-Second Psalm clearly refers to Christ."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Nine sect. 2; Paulist Press pgs. 101-102):

"...it is pointless... simply to talk about prayer, simply to direct attention to its ultimate reality, with its presupposition of the practice of all the virtues. The first task is to look at the succession of obstacles to be overcome and then to examine the necessary preliminaries to success. With the gospel parable for a guide, one must carefully calculate and gather together everything required for the construction of this most sublime tower of the spirit. And preliminary work will be necessary if the assembled materials are to be of any use, for they will not be able to support the sublime reality of perfection unless we unload all our vices and rid our souls of the wreck and rubble of passions. Then simplicity and humility must be laid as sure foundations on... the living earth of our hearts, on that rock of which Scripture speaks. There the tower to be built with our virtues may rest unshakably and rise with utter assurance to the heights of the skies. That tower resting on such foundations will not crumble, will feel no shock even when the mighty torrents of passion come pouring against it, when the raging tides of persecution are like a battering ram against its walls, when the cruel hurricane of storming devils pounds and thunders against it."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 14:16-17; Routledge pg. 122):

"Our Lord Jesus Christ mingles... the human with the divine and neither returns to the pure glory of the Godhead nor indeed dwells wholly on the human dimension, but in a manner which transcends reason yet at the same time is consistent with the union of the natures operates through both, seeing that He is simultaneously both God and man. For He was God by nature, in virtue of being the fruit of the Father and the reflection of His essence. On the other hand He was man in virtue of having become flesh. He therefore speaks both as God and man at the same time, for in this way it was possible to observe properly the form of words appropriate to the dispensation of the flesh."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series Vol. IV, Against the Heathen, Chapter 1 sect. 5; Eerdmans pg. 4):

"...if after the Cross all idolatry was overthrown, while every manifestation of demons is driven away by this Sign, and Christ alone is worshipped and the Father known through Him, and, while gainsayers are put to shame, He daily invisibly wins over the souls of these gainsayers, - how, one might fairly ask them, is it still open to us to regard the matter as human, instead of confessing that He Who ascended the Cross is Word of God and Saviour of the World? But these men seem to me quite as bad as one who should traduce the sun when covered by clouds, while yet wondering at his light, seeing how the whole of creation is illumined by him."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 21; Plough Publishing pgs.77-78):

"...many have doubted. And there have been those who felt obliged to refute their doubt with reasons. But these reasons backfire and foster a doubt that gets stronger and stronger. Why? Because demonstrating the truth of Christianity does not lie in reasons but in imitation: what resembles the truth... Without a life of imitation, of following Christ, it is impossible to gain mastery over doubts. We cannot stop doubt with reasons. Those who try have not learned that it is wasted effort. They do not understand that imitation is the only force that... can break up the mob of doubts and... compel them to go home and hold their tongues."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chapter Nine sect. 3; Paulist Press pg. 171):

"Our way of life is not predetermined and the free will of those benefiting from the gift of divine Light does not take away from such light its attribute of being a providential source of enlightenment. What actually happens is this. The dissimilarity of the intelligent sights either make the overflowing gift of light of the Father's goodness completely unpartaken and unbestowed, because of their resistance, or there is an unequal participation in these gifts in large or small amounts, in clarity or obscurity. And in the meantime the shining well-spring of all this continues to be single and simple, forever the same and forever overflowing."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. II; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 56):

"...one's movement towards the divine reaches its end only when one reaches God... 'The true Sabbaths are the rest laid up for the people of God' (Heb. 4:9). God can 'bear these sabbaths' (cf. Is. 1:13) because they are true. And the one 'in which the world is crucified' (Gal. 6:14) reaches these sabbaths of rest because he has clearly turned away from worldly things and returned to his own spiritual resting place. The one who arrives there will no longer be moved from his place, for there he finds quiet and tranquility."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Four paras. 1-2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press):

"...when we hear that the Spirit was sent by the Father and the Son, this does not mean that the Spirit has no part in Their greatness, for He is not just sent, but also Himself sends and consents to be sent. This is clearly shown by Christ's words spoken through the Prophet, "My hand has laid the foundation of the earth and stretched out the heavens, and now the Lord God, and His Spirit, has sent Me" (cf. Is. 48:13-16). Again, speaking through the same Prophet He says, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the meek" (Is. 61:1). The Holy Spirit is not just sent, but Himself sends the Son, Who is sent by the Father. He is therefore shown to be the same as the Father and the Son in nature, power, operation and honour."


From St. Gregory of Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 29 sect. 20; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 87):

"As man our Lord was baptized, but He absolves sins as God; He needed no purifying rites Himself - His purpose was to hallow water. As man He was put to the test, but as God He came through victorious - yes, He bids us be of good cheer, because He has conquered the world. He hungered - yet He fed thousands. He is indeed "living, heavenly bread" (Jn. 6:51). He thirsted - yet He exclaimed: "Whoever thirsts, let him come to Me and drink (Jn. 7:37). Indeed He promised that believers would become fountains (Jn. 7:38). He was tired - yet He is the "rest" (Mt. 11:28) of the weary and the burdened. He was overcome by heavy sleep - yet He goes lightly over the sea, rebukes winds, and relieves the drowning Peter."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Nine sect. 2; Paulist Press pg. 101):

"...just as the edifice of all the virtues strives upward toward perfect prayer so will all these virtues be neither sturdy nor enduring unless they are drawn firmly together by the crown of prayer. This endless, unstirring calm of prayer... can neither be achieved nor consummated without these virtues. And likewise virtues are the prerequisite foundation of prayer and cannot be effected without it."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary of John 12:27; Routledge pg. 121):

"...if at the time of our Lord's passion He willingly endured many insults with forbearance, and accepted suffering voluntarily for our sake when it was in His power to avoid it, this acceptance of suffering for the good of others is a sign of extraordinary compassion and the highest glory."


From St. Athanasius (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series Vol. IV, Against the Heathen, Chapter 1 sects. 1; Eerdmans pg. 4):

"The knowledge of Christianity and of the truth of things is independently manifest rather than in need of human teachers, for almost day by day it asserts itself by facts, and manifests itself brighter than the sun by the doctrine of Christ."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 20; Plough Publishing pgs. 75-76):

"How could it occur to anyone to demonstrate that God exists unless one has already allowed Himself to ignore Him? A king's existence is demonstrated by way of subjection and submissiveness. Do you want to try and demonstrate that the king exists? Will you do so by offering a string of proofs, a series of arguments? No. If you are serious, you will demonstrate the king's existence by your submission, by the way you live. And so it is with demonstrating God's existence. It is accomplished not by proofs but by worship. Any other way is but a thinker's pious bungling."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chapter Seven sect. 4; Paulist Press pgs. 165-166):

"...theology has transmitted to the men of earth those hymns sung by the first ranks of the angels whose gloriously transcendent enlightenment is thereby made manifest. Some of these hymns, if one may use perceptible images, are like the 'sound of many waters' (Ez. 1:24, Rev. 14:2, Rev. 19:6) as they proclaim: 'Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His place' (Ez. 3:12 LXX). Others thunder out that famous and venerable song, telling of God: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory' (Is. 6:3, Rev. 4:8)... this first group passes on the word that the Godhead is a monad, that it is one in three persons, that its splendid providence for all reaches from the most exalted beings in heaven above to the lowliest creatures of earth. It is the Cause and source beyond every source for every being and it transcendently draws everything into its perennial embrace."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. II; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 55):

"The Logos whose excellence is incomparable, ineffable and inconceivable in Himself is exalted beyond all creation and even beyond the idea of difference and distinction. This same Logos, whose goodness is revealed and multiplied in all the things that have their origin in Him, with the degree of beauty appropriate to each being, recapitulates all things in Himself (cf. Eph. 1:10). Through this Logos there came to be both being and continuing to be, for from Him the things that were made came to be in a certain way and for a certain reason, and by continuing to be and by moving, they participate in God. For all things, in that they came to be from God, participate proportionally in God, whether by intellect, by reason, by sense-perception, by vital motion, or by some habitual fitness... Consequently, each of the intellectual and rational beings, whether angels or human beings, through the very Logos according to which each was created, Who is in God and is 'with God' (Jn. 1:1), is 'called and indeed is' (cf. I Jn. 3:1) a 'portion of God' through the Logos that preexisted in God..."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Three paras. 15-16; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 20-21):

"Over those who have voluntarily submitted to them, the evil spirits have power. If, however, we simply watch, lift up our mind's eye to the Master Who has ransomed us from the devil's harsh service, and pay attention to Him as ever present, we shall not be afraid, as the Psalm says, of 'the arrow that flies by day; nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction and demon of noonday' (cf. Ps. 91:5-6 LXX). When they attempt to approach us they will fall and not come near us, nor shift us from virtue's secure foundation. As the same Psalm writer says of himself, 'I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved' (Ps. 16:8). If we too always see Him as being before us, if sometimes we sing His praise, at other times entreat Him and at others give Him thanks, according as we are able, He will take hold of each of us by the right hand and guide us with His counsel and might (cf. Ps. 73:23-24), rescue us from the power of darkness and reinstate us in His kingdom, bestowing incorruptible eternal life upon us. May we all attain to this, to His glory and the glory of His Father without beginning, and the co-eternal, life-giving Spirit, now and for ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen."


From St. Gregory of Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 29 sect. 19; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pgs. 86-87):

"Christ who is presently human was incomposite. He remained what He was; what He was not, He assumed... He came into being because of something, namely your salvation... Man and God... became a single whole, the stronger side predominating, in order that I might be made God to the same extent that He was made man. He was begotten -yet He was already begotten - of a woman. And yet she was a virgin. That it was from a woman makes Him human, that she was a virgin makes Him divine. On earth He has no father, but in heaven no mother. All this is part of His Godhead. He was carried in the womb, but acknowledged by a prophet as yet unborn himself, who leaped for joy at the presence of the Word for whose sake he has been created (cf. Lk. 1:41). He was wrapped in swaddling bands, but at the Resurrection He unloosed the swaddling bands of the grave. He was laid in a manger, but was extolled by angels, disclosed by a star and adored by Magi... He had 'no form or beauty' (cf. Is. 53:2) for the Jews, but for David He was 'fairer than the children of men' (Ps. 45:2) and on the mount He shines forth, becoming more luminous than the Sun (cf. Mt. 17:2), to reveal the future mystery."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Three sect. 19; Paulist Press pg. 98):

"...there is clearly expressed for us... what it is we must attribute either to free will or to the decision and daily assistance of the Lord. We are characterized by whether we respond zealously or lackadaisically to the kindly dispensations of God. This perspective is plainly expressed in the healing of the two blind men. Jesus was passing by, a fact made possible by God's provident grace. And the achievement of their own faith and belief was to cry out 'Lord, son of David, have pity on us' (Mt. 20:31). The restored sight of their eyes is the gift of divine mercy."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 12:27; Routledge pgs. 120-121):

"Christ... despising death and the shame that comes from suffering, focused only on the achievements resulting from the suffering. And immediately seeing the death of all of us departing from our midst as the result of the death of His own flesh, and the power of decay about to be completely destroyed, and human nature already formed anew in anticipation of newness of life (cf. Rom. 6:4), He all but says to God the Father something on the following lines: 'The body, O Father, shrinks from suffering and is afraid of a death that violates nature. Indeed it seems scarcely endurable that He who is enthroned with You and has power over all things should be subjected to the outrageous treatment of the Jews. But since I have come for this purpose, glorify Your Son, that is, do not hinder Him from going to His death but give Your consent to Your offspring for the good of all.' "


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 17; Plough Publishing pg.65):

"The object of faith, understood Christianly, is not a doctrine, for then the relation is merely intellectual. Neither is the object of faith a teacher who has a doctrine, for when a teacher has a doctrine, then the doctrine is more important than the teacher. The object of faith is the actuality and authority of the teacher; that the teacher actually is... Faith's posture is not in relation to a teaching, whether it is true or not, but is the answer to the question about a fact: Do you accept the fact that He, the Teacher, actually exists? Please note that the answer to this is a matter of infinite concern. Of course, if the object of faith is only a human being, then the whole thing is a sham. But this is not the case for Christians. The object of Christian faith is God's historical existence, that is, that God at a certain point in time existed as an individual human being... Christianity is not a doctrine but a fact: God came into existence through a particular human being at a particular point in history."


St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chap. Seven sect. 2; Paulist Press pg. 162):

"...the aim of every hierarchy is always to imitate God so as to take on His form... the task of every hierarchy is to receive and to pass on undiluted purification, the divine light, and the understanding which brings perfection."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. I; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pgs. 53-54):

"...if we know God our knowledge of... everything will be brought to perfection, and, in so far as is possible, the infinite, divine and ineffable dwelling place (cf. Jn. 14:2) will be ours to enjoy. For this is what our sainted teacher said in his famous philosophical aphorism: 'Then we shall know as we are known' (I Cor. 13:12), when we mingle our god-formed mind and divine reason to what is properly its own and the image returns to the archetype for which it now longs."


St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Three para. 13; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 19-20):

"...we are stirred up to wage war within us by the law of grace, the teaching of the Gospel, which forbids us to have in our hearts anger, adulterous thoughts or desire provoked by the devil, arms us against such suggestions and rouses us to resist. As the Apostle wrote to the Ephesians, 'Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places' (Eph. 6:11-12). They find it hard to bear that they have fallen from those high places, and are fanatically provoked against us, who, through raising our minds to God, have 'our commonwealth in heaven' (cf. Phil. 3:20)."


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 29 sect. 8; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pgs. 75-76):

"How... has the Son been begotten? This begetting would be a triviality if it could be understood by you, who have no knowledge of your own genesis... The heavenly begetting is more incomprehensible than your own, to the same extent that God is harder to trace out than man. If you make its incomprehensibility a ground for denying the fact, it is high time you ruled out as non-existent a good number of things you do not understand, the chief of which is God Himself... God's begetting ought to have the tribute of our reverent silence. The important point is for you to learn that He has been begotten. As to the way it happens, we shall not concede that even angels, much less you, know that. Shall I tell you the way? It is a way known only to the begetting Father and the begotten Son. Anything beyond this fact is hidden by a cloud..."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Three sect. 16; Paulist Press pg. 96):

"If the faith of Peter (Mk. 9:23; Lk. 22:31-32) needed the help of God to keep from faltering, who will be so presumptuous and so blind as to think he can preserve his own without daily help from the Lord? This is how it is, especially in view of what the Lord Himself says in the Gospel: 'As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in Me' (Jn. 15:4). 'You can do nothing without Me' (Jn. 15:5). Since He says this, since He asserts that nobody can show forth the fruits of the Spirit unless he has been inspired by God and has worked with God, it would surely be foolish, indeed sacrilegious, to attribute any good actions of ours to our own effort rather than to divine grace. 'Everything good and everything perfect comes from above from the Father of light' (Jms. 1:17). And Zechariah says 'The good comes from Him and the best comes from Him' (Zech. 9:17). The blessed apostle regularly says the same: 'What have you got that you did not receive? And if you received it why boast as though you had not received it?' (I Cor. 4:7)."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 12:27; Routledge pgs. 119-120):

" 'Now,' He says, 'is My soul troubled. And what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.' Notice... how easy it is to produce confusion and fear in human nature, whereas by contrast the divine and ineffable power is in all respects indestructible and invulnerable and oriented only towards the courage that befits it. For the thought of death that has slipped in attempts to agitate Jesus, while the power of the divinity at once masters the emotion that has been aroused and immediately transforms that which has been conquered by fear into an incomparable courage. We may therefore suppose that even in the Saviour Christ Himself that which belonged to His humanity was moved in two necessary ways. For it was absolutely essential that even in this manner He should show Himself to be a human being, not in mere appearance or by some fiction, but rather a natural and true human being born of a woman and bearing every human characteristic except sin alone. Now fear and timidity, being natural emotions in us, are not to be classified among the sins. Moreover, the human qualities were active in Christ in a profitable way, not that having been set in motion they should prevail and develop further, as is the case with us, but that having been set in motion they should be brought up short by the power of the Word, nature having first been transformed in Christ into a better and more divine state. For it was in this way and in no other that the mode of healing passed over into ourselves too."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 16; Plough Publishing pgs. 62-63):

"...the reason for [this age's] anxiety and unrest is because in one direction, 'truth' increases in scope and quantity - via science and technology - while in the other, certainty and confidence steadily decline. Our age is a master in developing truths while being wholly indifferent to certitude. It lacks confidence in the good."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chapter Seven sect. 1; Paulist Press pgs. 161-162):

"...the highest order as God's immediate neighbor, being grounded directly around God and receiving the primal theophanies and perfections [are described as] 'thrones' (Col. 1:16). The title of the most sublime and exalted thrones conveys that in them there is a transcendence over every earthly defect, as shown by their upward-bearing toward the ultimate heights, that they are forever separated from what is inferior, that they are completely intent upon remaining always and forever in the presence of Him who is truly the most high, that free of all passion and material concern, they are utterly available to receive the divine visitation, that they bear God and are ever open, like servants, to welcome God.


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. I; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 53):

"It is absolutely necessary that everything will cease its willful movement towards something else when the ultimate beauty that satisfies our desire appears. In so far as we are able we will participate without being restricted, as it were, being uncontainably contained. All our actions and every sublime thought will tend eagerly towards that end in which all desire comes to rest and beyond which they cannot be carried. For there is no other end towards which all free movement is directed than the rest found in total contemplation by those who have reached that point... For nothing besides God will be known, nor will there be anything opposed to God that would entice one to desire it. Instead, when God's ineffable majesty is made known, all intellectual and sensible things will be encompassed by Him. It is like the light from the stars. The stars do not shine in the day. When the greater and incomparable light of the sun appears, they are hidden and cannot be seen by the senses. With respect to God this is even more so, for God is infinite, and uncreated things cannot be compared to created things."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Three para. 12; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 18-19):

"Brethren, there is a warfare of the senses which comes from outside ourselves and drags into sin all who do not courageously resist. But such warfare is not always roused against us, nor are our senses continually active. Sometimes, even when our senses are in action, sin is left undone because of the absence of means, or because the time and place is not suitable. For when appropriate circumstances are lacking, thieves, robbers, the immoral, the adulterous, the rapacious and the greedy cannot perpetuate sin. However, within our own minds there is a different battle, the warfare of thoughts, which is much more grievous than that of the senses. It is always active and needs neither physical means, nor particular times and places to accomplish wickedness. Whereas our senses' struggle with sin originates from the impressions made by things on our sight, hearing and other senses, the battle of the mind is set in motion within us by the direct action of the evil spirits themselves, and by their attacks and provocations. If someone is victorious in the warfare of the senses, that does not mean that he is invincible in that of the mind. But anyone who conquers the inner battle, mightily overcomes in the outer one. As the Apostle says, 'Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh' (Gal. 5:16)."


From St. Gregory of Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 29 sect. 5; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 72):

"Can anyone be a father without beginning to be one? Yes, one who did not begin his existence. What begins to exist begins to be a father - God the Father did not begin at all. He is Father in the true sense, because He is not a son as well. Just as the Son is son in the true sense, because He is not a father as well. In our case, the word 'father' cannot be truly appropriate, because we must be fathers and sons..."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Three sect. 16; Paulist Press pg. 95):

"The apostles were very sure that everything of theirs which had to do with salvation was a gift to them from God. 'Increase our faith' (Lk. 17:5). They did not presume that the fullness of faith would come to them merely because they freely opted for it. They believed, rather, that it was a gift of God which would have to be granted to them."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 6:56; Routledge pgs. 118-119):

"...if we really yearn for eternal life, if we long to have the provider of immortality within ourselves, let us not abstain from the Eucharist like some of the more negligent, nor let us provide the devil in the depths of his cunning with a trap and a snare for us in the form of a pernicious kind of reverence. 'Yes, indeed,' someone might say. 'But it is written: "Anyone who eats of the bread and drinks of the cup unworthily, eats and drinks judgment upon himself" (cf. I Cor. 11:29). I have examined myself and I see that I am not worthy.' But then when will you be worthy? My response would be: 'When will you present yourself to Christ? If you are always going to be afraid of falling, you will never cease falling - "For who can discern his faults," as the holy Psalmist says (Ps. 18:12 LXX) - and you will end up totally bereft of a share in saving sanctification.' Make up your mind, then, to lead a more devout life in conformity with the law, and so partake of the Eucharist in the conviction that it dispels not only death but even the diseases that are in us (cf. I Cor. 11:30). For when Christ has come to be within us he lulls to sleep the law that rages in the members of flesh. He rekindles our reverence towards God, while simultaneously causing the passions to atrophy. He does not reckon our faults against us. Instead, He binds up that which has been wounded, he raises that which has fallen, as a good shepherd who has laid down His life for the sheep (Ez. 34:16; Jn. 10:11)."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 15; Plough Publishing pgs. 58-60):

"There are two ways of reflection. For objective reflection, truth becomes an object, and the point is to disregard the knowing subject. By contrast, in subjective reflection truth becomes personal appropriation, a life, inwardness, and the point is to immerse oneself... When the question about truth is asked objectively, what is reflected upon is not the relation but the 'what' of the relation... when the question about truth is asked subjectively, the individual's relation to the truth is what matters... God is a subject to be related to, not an object to be studied or meditated on... The person who chooses the subjective way immediately grasps the difficulty of trying to find God objectively. He understands that to know God means to resort to God, not by virtue of objective deliberation, but by virtue of the infinite passion of inwardness. Whereas objective knowledge goes along leisurely on the long road of deliberation, subjective knowledge considers every delay of decision a deadly peril. Knowing subjectively considers decision so important that it is immediately urgent, as if the delayed opportunity had already passed by unused."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chapter Seven sect. 1; Paulist Press pgs. 161-162):

"The name 'cherubim' means 'fullness of knowledge' or 'outpouring of wisdom'... The name cherubim signifies the power to know and to see God, to receive the greatest gifts of His light, to contemplate the divine splendor in primordial power, to be filled with the gifts that bring wisdom and to share these generously with subordinates as a part of the beneficent outpouring of His wisdom."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. I; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pgs. 51-52):

"...the Son subjects to the Father those who freely accept subjection (I Cor. 15:28). This subjection will be voluntary, and through it the last enemy, death, will be destroyed. That which is in our power,our free will, through which the power of corruption entered into us, will surrender voluntarily to God and will have mastery of itself because it had been taught to refrain from willing anything other than what God wills. As our Savior Himself said, taking what is ours into Himself, ' Yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt' (Mt. 26:39). And later St. Paul, as though he denied himself and did not have his own life, said: 'It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me' (Gal. 2:20)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Three para. 11; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 18):

"Brethren, [our Lord Jesus Christ] is near each one of us, even if unseen. That is why He said to the Apostles when He ascended, 'Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world' (Mt. 28:20). Every day we should stand in awe of Him, as He is with us, and do what is pleasing before Him. If we are unable now to perceive Him with our physical eyes, we can, if we are watchful, see Him continually with the eyes of our understanding, and not just see Him, but reap great benefits from Him. This vision destroys all sin, demolishes all evil, and drives away everything bad. It yields every virtue, gives birth to purity and dispassion, and bestows eternal life and the kingdom without end. As we attend to this joyful sight, gazing with our mind's eye on Christ as though He were present, each of us will say with David, 'Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident' (Ps. 27:3)."


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 29 sect. 3; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 71):

"How is it... that the Son and Holy Spirit are not co-unoriginate with the Father, if they are co-eternal with Him? Because they are from Him, though not after Him. 'Being unoriginate' necessarily implies 'being eternal,' but 'being eternal' does not entail 'being unoriginate,' so long as the Father is referred to as origin. So because They have a cause They are not unoriginate... a cause is not necessarily prior to its effects... Because time is not involved, They are to that extent unoriginate... for the sources of time are not subject to time."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Three sect. 15; Paulist Press pg. 95):

"It is not our free will but 'it is the Lord who sets the captive free' (Ps. 145:7). It is not our own virtue but 'it is the Lord who lifts up those who were laid low' (Ps. 145:8). It is not application to reading but 'it is the Lord who gives light to the blind' (Ps. 145:8). It is not our cautiousness but 'it is the Lord who protects the stranger' (Ps. 145:9). It is not our endurance but 'it is the Lord who raises or gives support to the fallen' (Ps. 144:14)."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 6:56; Routledge pg. 118):

"...anyone who receives the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and drinks His precious blood, as He Himself says, comes to be one with Him, mixed and mingled with Him, as it were, through partaking of Him, so that He comes to be in Christ, as Christ in turn is in him... the smallest portion of the sacrament mingles our whole body with itself and fills it with its own energy."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 13; Plough Publishing pg. 54):

"The truth is lived before it is understood. It must be fought for, tested, and appropriated. Truth is the way... Anyone will easily understand it if he just gives himself to it."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo:Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy Chap. Seven sect. 1; Paulist Press pgs. 161-162):

"...the designations given to... heavenly intelligences signify the mode in which they take on the imprint of God. Those with a knowledge of Hebrew are aware of the fact that the holy name 'seraphim' means 'fire-makers,' that is to say, 'carriers of warmth' (cf. Is. 6:2-7)... the description seraphim really teaches this - a perennial circling around the divine things, penetrating warmth, the overflowing heat of a movement which never falters and never fails, a capacity to stamp their own image on subordinates by arousing and uplifting in them too like a flame, the same warmth. It means also the power to purify by means of the lightning flash and the flame. It means the ability to hold unveiled and undiminished both the light they have and the illumination they give out. It means the capacity to push aside and do away with every obscuring shadow."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7 sect. 1; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pgs. 50-51):

"...everything that comes into existence is subject to movement, since it is not self-moved or self-powered. If then rational beings come into being, surely they are also moved, since, they moved from a natural beginning in 'being' toward a voluntary end in 'well-being.' For the end of the movement of those who are moved is 'eternal well-being' itself, just as its beginning is being itself which is God who is the giver of being as well as of well-being. For God is the beginning and the end. From Him come both our moving in whatever way from a beginning and our moving in a certain way toward Him as an end."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. II, Homily Twenty-Three para. 3; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 13):

"...night possessed us and the shadow of death encompassed us, for we had fallen into sin and lost the power of sight which was ours by God's grace and by which we were able to perceive the light that bestows true life. Night and death had been poured out on our human nature, not because of any change in the true light, but because we had turned aside and no longer had any inclination towards the life-bearing light. In the last times, however, the Giver of eternal light and Source of true life has had mercy upon us."


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 29 sect. 3; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 71):

"...when did the Son and Holy Spirit originate? They transcend 'whenness,' but if I must give a naive answer - when the Father did. When was that? There has not been a 'when' when the Father has not been in existence. This, then, is true of the Son and of the Holy Spirit... Since when has the Son been begotten? Since as long as the Father has not been begotten. Since when has the Spirit been proceeding? Since as long as the Son has not been proceeding but being begotten in a non-temporal way that transcends explanation. We cannot, though, explain the meaning of 'supra-temporal' and deliberately keep clear of any suggestion of time. Expressions like 'when,' 'before x,' 'after y,' and 'from the beginning' are not free from temporal implications however much we try to wrest them. No, we cannot explain it... "


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Three Sect. 15; Paulist Press pgs. 94-95):

"The blessed David asks the Lord for understanding with which to recognize those commands written, as he very well knew, in the book of the Law. 'I am Your servant; give me understanding so that I may learn Your decrees' (Ps. 119:125). Now, understanding was something which nature had granted him, and so far as knowledge of God's commands, these were laid down in the readily available Law. Yet he prayed to the Lord for a better grasp of them, for he knew that natural endowment does not suffice unless God's light guides reason, enabling it to enter into the spirit of the Law and to see in a clearer light what it enjoins."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 6:54; Routledge pg. 117):

"We do not... say that God the Word who is from the Father was transformed into the nature of flesh, or that the flesh changed into the Word. For each remains what it is by nature and Christ is one from both. The Word was united with His own flesh in a transcendent manner that is beyond human understanding, and having, as it were, transferred the flesh wholly to Himself by that energy by which it lies in His power to give life to those things that lack life, He drove corruption out of our nature and also rid it of that which through sin has prevailed from of old, namely, death. Therefore He who eats the holy flesh of Christ has eternal life. For the flesh contains the Word who is by nature Life. That is why He says, 'I will raise him up at the last day' (Jn. 6:54). Instead of saying, 'My body will raise him up,' that is, will raise up the person who eats it, He has put in the word 'I', since He is not other than His own flesh - a view that is naturally unacceptable, for He utterly refuses to be divided into a pair of sons after the union. Therefore what He is saying is that I who have come to be in him, that is, through my flesh will raise him up who eats of it at the last day."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 286):

"If you are a scholar, a student in any educational establishment, or an official in some ministry, an officer in any of the branches of the military service, or a technologist, a painter, a sculptor, a manufacturer, a mechanic - remember that the first science for each one of you is to be a true Christian, to believe sincerely in the Holy Trinity, to converse daily with God in prayer, to take part in the Divine service, to observe the rules and regulations of the Church, and to bear in your heart, before your work, during your work, and after your work, the name of Jesus, for He is our light, our strength, our holiness, and our help."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 13; Plough Publishing pg. 53):

"Truth is not a deposit of acquired knowledge. This might have been if Christ had been, for example, a teacher of truth, a thinker, one who made a discovery. But Christ is the way as well as the truth. His teaching is infinitely superior to all the inventions of any and every age, an eternity older and an eternity higher than all systems, even the very newest. His teaching is the truth - not in terms of knowledge, but in the sense that the truth is a way - and as the God-man He is and remains the way; something that no human being, however zealously he professes that the truth is the way, dare assert of himself without blasphemy."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chap. Six sect. 2; Paulist Press pgs. 160-161):

"The word of God has provided nine explanatory designations of the heavenly beings... the first group is forever around God and is said to be permanently united with Him ahead of any of the others and with no intermediary. Here there are the most holy 'thrones' and the orders said to possess many eyes and many wings, called in Hebrew the 'cherubim' and 'seraphim'... The second group... is made up of 'authorities,' 'dominions,' and 'powers.' And the third, at the end of the heavenly hierarchies, is the group of 'angels,' 'archangels,' and 'principalities.' "


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ, Ambiguum 7 Sect I; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 30):

"Christ says: 'Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest' (Mt. 11:28). Therefore no creature has ever ceased using the inherent power that directs it towards its end, nor has it ceased the natural activity that impels it towards its end, nor harvested what it had anticipated. I am referring of course to being impassible and unmoved. For it belongs to God alone to be the end and the completion and the impassible. It belongs to creatures to be moved toward that end which is without beginning, and to come to rest in the perfect end that is without end, and to experience that which is without definition, but not to be such or to become such in essence. For whatever comes into being and is created is certainly not absolute."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Three para. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 13):

"Christ, the Sun of righteousness (Mal. 4:2), is without beginning and pre-eternal. He is both immutable and unchangeable, as with Him there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning (Jms. 1:17).He is without end, never-setting, beaming out the true and heavenly light of day without evening, in which the spirits of the righteous live with the good angels. When this present age reaches its end, the righteous shall also have their bodies with them, as heirs of the light and sons of the true day. That day continues forever without evening and neither has, nor ever did have, a morning, since it has no beginning."


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 29 sect. 2; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 70):

"In a serene, non-temporal, incorporeal way, the Father is parent of the 'offspring' and originator of the 'emanation' - or whatever name one can apply when one has entirely extrapolated from things visible. We shall not venture, as a non-Christian philosopher rashly did, to talk of an 'overflowing of goodness,' 'as though a bowl had overflowed' - these were the plain terms he used in his disquisition on primary and secondary causes. We ought never to introduce the notion of involuntary generation (in the sense of some sort of unrestrained natural secretion), which is completely out of keeping with ideas about the Godhead. This is why we limit ourselves to Christian terms and speak of 'the Ingenerate,' 'the Begotten,' and (as God the Word Himself does in one passage) 'what Proceeds from the Father' (Jn. 15:26)." (The non-Christian philosopher referred to in the above quote was Plotinus.)


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Three sect. 13; Paulist Press pg. 94):

"Holy men have never claimed that their own efforts would have enabled them to find a sense of direction along the road that they were traveling to perfect virtue. Rather, they sought it from the Lord, praying, 'Direct me in Your truth' (Ps. 24:5) and 'direct the road I take in Your sight' (Ps. 5:9). And someone else asserts that he grasped this not only through faith but in a direct experience of how things are: 'I learned, Lord, that a man is no master of the road he takes nor is it in man's power as he goes his way to control his steps' (Jer. 10:23). The Lord Himself had this to say to Israel: 'I will lead him on, like a greening fir tree, and the fruit you bear comes from me' (Hos. 14:9)."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril Of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 6:53; Routledge pg. 116):

"...reflect on the fact that water is cold by nature, but when it is poured into a kettle and put on the fire, it all but forgets its own nature and moves across to the energy of that which has dominated it. In the same way, although we are corruptible because of the nature of the flesh, we too through our mingling with Life abandon our own weakness and are transformed into its property, that is to say, into life. For it was absolutely necessary, not only that our soul should be re-created into newness of life by the Holy Spirit, but also that this coarse and earthly body should be sanctified by a coarser but analogous participation [in the Body and Blood of the Lord] and called to incorruption."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 286):

"If you are fond of dressing elegantly, or when you put on your clothes, think of the incorruptible garment of righteousness in which our souls should be arrayed, or of Jesus Christ Who is our spiritual raiment, as it is said: 'For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ' (Gal. 3:27)."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 13; Plough Publishing pgs. 52-53):

"...in our day Christ as the truth has... been abolished: we take Christ's teaching - but abolish Christ. We want truth the easy way. This is to abolish truth, for Christ the teacher is more important than the teaching... Truth is not a sum of statements, not a definition, not a system of concepts, but a life. Truth is not a property of thought that guarantees validity to thinking. No, truth in its most essential character is the reduplication of truth within yourself... Your life expresses the truth in the striving... The Gospel says that this is eternal life, to know the only true God and the One Whom He sent, the Truth (Jn. 17:3)."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chap. Four, sect. 4; Paulist Press pgs. 158-159):

"Jesus Himself... obediently submitted to the wishes of God the Father as arranged by the angels. It was the angels who announced to Joseph the Father's arrangements regarding the withdrawal into Egypt and the return to Judea (Mt. 2:13, 19-22). The commands of the Father were given to Jesus Himself by the angels. I do not need to remind you of the sacred tradition concerning the angel who comforted Jesus (Lk. 22:43, Mt. 4:11) or of the fact that because of His generous work for our salvation He Himself entered the order of revealers and is called the 'angel of great counsel' (Is. 9:6 LXX). Indeed, when He announced what He knew of the Father, was it not as an angel?"


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware, Second Century On Theology no. 100; Faber and Faber pg. 163):

"He who through virtue and spiritual knowledge has brought his body into harmony with his soul has become a harp, a flute and a temple of God. He has become a harp by preserving the harmony of the virtues; a flute by receiving the inspiration of the Spirit through divine contemplation; and a temple by becoming a dwelling place of the Logos through the purity of his intellect."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Two paras. 16-17; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 10-11):

"[Our Lord Jesus Christ] was separated from [the disciples] in the body (though as God He was with them) and, as He had promised them, He was taken up and sat at the right hand of the Father with our human flesh. As He lived, died, rose and ascended, so we live, die and are resurrected. Not all of us, however, will attain to the ascension, but only those for whom to live is Christ, and to die for Him is gain (Phil. 1:21), those who, before they died, crucified sin through repentance and a way of life according to the Gospel. After the Resurrection of all, they alone will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (cf. I Thess. 4:17). A cloud also received the Lord as He ascended, as Luke relates in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:9). After the Ascension the disciples did not see Him with their bodily eyes but with the eyes of their souls, yet they worshipped Him (Lk. 24:52). Let us do the same, then, and like them, stay in peace (for Jerusalem means peace) keeping peace within ourselves and with one another. Let each of us go into our own upper room (Acts 1:13), our mind, and stay there praying, and let us purify ourselves from passionate and base thoughts. In this way we shall not miss the Coming of the Comforter, and shall worship the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in spirit and truth, now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen."


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 29 sect. 2; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 70):

"Atheism with its lack of a governing principle involves disorder. Polytheism, with a plurality of such principles, involves faction and hence the absence of a governing principle, and this involves disorder again. Both lead to an identical result - lack of order, which, in turn, leads to disintegration, disorder being the prelude to disintegration. Monotheism, with its single governing principle, is what we value - not monotheism defined as the sovereignty of a single person (after all, self-discordant unity can become a plurality) but the single rule produced by equality of nature, harmony of will, identity of action, and the convergence towards their source of what springs from unity - none of which is possible in the case of created nature. The result is that though there is numerical distinction, there is no division in the substance. For this reason, a one eternally changes to a two and stops at three - meaning the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Three sect. 12; Paulist Press pg. 94):

"No just man suffices unto himself for the winning of justification. The divine mercy must always hold out a hand to his footsteps as they falter and almost stumble, and this is so because the weakness of his free will may cause him to lose balance, and if he falls he may perish forever."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 6:53; Routledge pgs.115-116):

"...as [our Lord] approached a city called Nain, 'a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother' (Lk. 7:12). Again He 'touched the bier' and said, 'Young man, I say to you, arise' (Lk. 7:14). He does not simply leave it to the word to effect the raising of the dead, but in order to show that His own body was life-giving, as we have already said. He touches the corpses, and by this act puts life into those who had already decayed. And if by touch alone of His holy flesh He gives life to that which has decayed, how shall we not profit more richly from the life-giving Eucharist when we taste it? For it will certainly transform those who partake of it and endow them with its own proper good, that is, immortality."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pgs. 285-286):

"If you experience a feeling of hunger or thirst, and wish to eat and drink, think of the hunger or thirst of the soul (it thirsts after righteousness, for justification, for Christ, for sanctification), which, if you do not satisfy, your soul may die from hunger, crushed by the passions, weakened and exhausted; and in satisfying your bodily hunger, do not forget to appease, above all and before all, your spiritual hunger, by conversing with God, by heart-felt repentance for your sins, by reading the story and precepts of the Gospel, and especially by the communion of the Divine Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 13; Plough Publishing pg. 51):

"What is truth, and in what sense was Christ the truth? The first question, as is well known, was asked by Pilate (Jn. 18:38), and it is doubtful whether he ever really cared to have his question answered. Pilate asks Christ, 'What is truth?' That it did not occur to Pilate that Christ was the truth demonstrates precisely that he had no eye at all for the truth. Christ's life was the truth (Jn. 14:6). To this end was Christ born, and for this purpose did He come into the world, that He should bear witness to the truth. What, then, is the fundamental confusion in Pilate's question? It consists in this, that it occurred to him to question Christ in this way; for in questioning Christ he actually denounced himself; he revealed that Christ's life had not illumined him."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Writings, The Celestial Hierarchy Chapter Four sect. 4; Paulist Press pg. 158):

"I note that the mystery of Jesus' love for humanity was first granted to the angels and the gift of this knowledge was granted by the angels to us. It was the most divine Gabriel who guided Zechariah the hierarch into the mystery that, contrary to all hope and by God's favor, he would have a son who would be a prophet of the divine and human work of Jesus, who was beneficently about to appear for the salvation of the world (Lk. 1:11-20). Gabriel revealed to Mary how in her would be born the divine mystery of the ineffable form of God (Lk. 1:26-39). Another angel forecast to Joseph the true fulfillment of the divine promise made to his ancestor David (Mt. 1:20-25; II Sam. 7:12-17). Yet another angel brought the good news to the shepherds who, because of their quiet life withdrawn from the crowd, had somehow been purified. And with him 'a multitude of the heavenly host' (Lk. 2:8-14) passed on to those on earth that famous song of jubilation."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware, Second Century on Theology no. 99; Faber and Faber pg. 163):

"He who is a beginner on the way must not be brought to practise the commandments by kindness alone, but must more often be induced to continue the struggle by being rigorously reminded of God's judgment. In this way he will not only be moved by love to desire what is divine, but will be moved by fear to avoid what is evil. For 'I will sing to Thee, O Lord, of mercy and judgment' (Ps. 101:1 LXX). He will sing to God charmed by love, and steeled by fear he will have strength for the song."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Two para. 14; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 9):

"...shall we not serve the Lord Who by nature loves mankind, risk our lives and get rid of superfluous possessions in order to acquire heavenly riches? Shall we not endure dishonour from men, usually scoundrels, so as to attain to divine glory, exchanging the mortal for the immortal? Shall we not be hungry in moderation and thirsty, that we may eat the Bread of Life which came down from heaven (Jn. 6:51) and drink the true living water, whosoever is worthy to eat and drink of which, shall never hunger or thirst (Jn. 4:10, 14)? Should we not cleanse the eye of our soul, abstaining "from all defilement of the flesh and spirit" (II Cor. 7:1), in order that we may see the light which preceded the sun, or rather, that we become children of that light (Eph. 5:8), and other lights ourselves, through sharing in His light, holding forth the word of life (cf. Phil. 2:15-16)?"


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 28 sect. 21; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 52):

"It is like employing a small tool on big constructions, if we use human wisdom in the hunt for knowledge of reality."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 6:53; Routledge pg. 115):

"... when He raises the dead the Saviour is seen to be operating not by word alone, nor by commands such as befit God, but He firmly insisted on using His holy flesh as a kind of co-worker, that He might show it to be capable of giving life and already made one with Him. For it really was His own body and not that of another. Thus when He raised the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, saying, 'Child, arise' (Lk. 8:54), He took her by the hand, as Scripture records. While giving life as God by His all-powerful command, He also gives life by the touch of His holy flesh, demonstrating through both that the operation was a single and cognate one."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Three sect. 12; Paulist Press pg.93):

"Never by our sole diligence or zeal nor by our most tireless efforts can we reach perfection. Human zeal is not enough to win the sublime rewards of blessedness. The Lord must be there to help and to guide our hearts toward what is good. Every moment we must join in the prayer of David: 'Direct my footsteps along Your paths so that my feet do not move astray' (Ps. 16:5) and 'He has settled my feet on a rock and guided my footsteps' (Ps. 39:3) - all this so that the invisible guide of the human spirit may direct back toward love of virtue our free will, which in its ignorance of the good and its obsession with passion is carried headlong into sin."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part 2, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 285):

""If you see the fury and hear the howling of the tempest, or read of shipwrecks, think of the storm of human passions causing daily groans and disturbance in the hearts of men, wrecking the spiritual ship of the soul or the ship of human society; and pray fervently to the Lord that He may subdue the tempest of sins, as He once subdued the tempest at sea by His word, and that He may root our passions from our hearts, and re-establish in them unceasing tranquility."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 13; Plough Publishing pg. 51):

"Truth is not something you can appropriate easily and quickly. You certainly cannot sleep or dream yourself to the truth. No, you must be tried, do battle, and suffer if you are to acquire the truth for yourself. It is a sheer illusion to think that in relation to the truth there is an abridgement, a short cut that dispenses with the necessity for struggling for it."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chap. Four sect. 2; Paulist Press pgs. 156-157):

"...heavenly beings... look on the divine likeness with a transcendent eye. They model their intellects on Him... They have the first and the most diverse participation in the divine and they, in turn, provide the first and the most diverse revelations of the divine hiddenness. That is why they have a preeminent right to the title of angel, or messenger, since it is they who are first granted the divine enlightenment and it is they who pass on to us the revelations which are so far beyond us. Indeed the Word of God teaches us that the Law was given to us by the angels (Acts 7:38, 53; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware, Second Century on Theology no. 98; Faber and Faber pg. 163):

"If we keep the path of virtue undefiled through devout and true knowledge, and do not deviate to either side, we will experience the advent of God revealed to us because of our dispassion. For 'I will sing a psalm and in a pure path I will understand when Thou wilt come to me' (cf. Ps. 101:1-2). The psalm stands for virtuous conduct; understanding indicates the spiritual knowledge, gained through virtue, by means of which we perceive God's advent, when we wait for the Lord vigilant in the virtues."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Two para. 13; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 8):

"Given that we desire long life, should we not take eternal life into account? If we long for a kingdom which, however enduring, has an end, and glory and joy which, great as they are, will fade, and wealth that will perish with this present life, and we labour for the sake of such things; ought we not to seek the kingdom, glory, joy and riches which, as well as being all-surpassing, are unfading and endless, and ought we not to endure a little constraint in order to inherit it?"


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 28 sect. 20; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 52):

"Had Paul been able to express the experiences gained from the third heaven (cf. II Cor. 12:2-4), and his progress, ascent, or assumption to it, we should, perhaps, have more knowledge about God... But since they are ineffable, let them have the tribute of our silence. Let us give this much attention to Paul when he says: "We know in part and we prophesy in part" (I Cor. 13:9). This... is the confession of one who is no mere layman in knowledge... [but] of a great champion and teacher of the truth. Yet he counts all knowledge in this world as nothing more than "puzzling reflections in mirrors (I Cor. 13:12), because it has its basis in small-scale images of reality."


St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Three sect. 12; Paulist Press pg. 93):

"...we know that God arranges the opportunities for salvation in different ways. Our situation is that we respond eagerly or in a laggardly manner to these opportunities made available by God to us. God made the call "come out of your homeland"; Abraham by coming out was exercising obedience. There was the instruction "come into the land"; it was done, and that was the work of obedience. But the addition "which I shall show you" has to do with the grace of God, who gave a command - and a promise."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Father by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 6:53; Routledge pg. 115):

"...the Word that came from the Father and the temple that came from the Virgin are not identical in nature. For the body is not consubstantial with the Word that is from God. But they are one in their coming together and in the ineffable way in which they are combined. And if the flesh of the Saviour became life-giving, seeing that it was united with that which is life by nature, i.e. the Word that is from God, when we taste of it we have that life within ourselves, since we too are united with the flesh of the Saviour in the same way as that flesh is united with the Word that dwells in it."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 285):

"...when seeking material light, remember the spiritual light which is indispensable for the soul, and without which it remains in the darkness of the passions, in the darkness of spiritual death. 'I am come as a light into the world,' says the Lord, 'that whosoever believeth on Me, should not abide in darkness' (Jn. 12:46)."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 10; Plough Publishing pg. 42):

"We mustn't forget that the One who is present in confession is omniscient. God knows everything, remembers everything, all that we have ever confided to Him, or what we have ever kept from His confidence. He is the One 'who sees in secret,' with whom we speak even in silence. No one can venture to deceive Him either by talk or by silence. When we confess to God, therefore, we are not like a servant that gives account to his master for the administration entrusted to him because his master could not manage everything or be everywhere at once. Nor when we confess are we like one who confides in a friend to whom sooner or later he reveals things that his friend did not previously know. No, much of what you are able to keep hidden in darkness you only first get to know by revealing it to the all-knowing One. The all-knowing One does not get to know something about those who confess, rather those who confess find out something about themselves."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chap. Two sect. 2; Paulist Press pg. 149):

"... [in scripture] there are two reasons for creating types for the typeless, for giving shape to what is actually without shape. First, we lack the ability to be directly raised up to conceptual contemplation. We need our own upliftings that come naturally to us and which can raise before us the permitted forms of the marvelous and unformed sights. Second, it is most fitting to the mysterious passages of scripture that the sacred and hidden truth about the celestial intelligences be concealed through the inexpressible and the sacred... Not everyone is sacred, and, as scripture says, knowledge is not for everyone (cf. I Cor. 8:7)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware, Second Century on Theology no. 97; Faber and Faber pg. 163):

"We must not only put bodily passions to death but also destroy the soul's impassioned thoughts. Hence the Psalmist says, 'Early in the morning I destroyed all the wicked of the earth, that I might cut off all evil-doers from the city of the Lord' (Ps. 101:8) - that is, the passions of the body and the soul's godless thoughts."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Two para. 6; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 3):

"...we are not without hope of salvation, nor is it at all the right time for us to despair. All our life is a season of repentance, for God 'desires not the death of the sinner', as it is written, 'but that the wicked turn from his way and live' (cf. Ez. 33:11 LXX). For, if there were no hope of turning back, why would death not have followed immediately on disobedience, and why would we not be deprived of life as soon as we sin? For where there is hope of turning back, there is no room for despair."


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 28 sect. 17; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pgs 49-50):

"No one has yet discovered or ever shall discover what God is in His nature and essence... we shall, in time to come, 'know as we are known' (I Cor 13:12). But for the present what reaches us is a scant emanation, as it were a small beam from a great light - which means that any one who 'knew' God or whose 'knowledge' of Him has been attested to in the Bible, has a manifestly more brilliant knowledge than others not equally illuminated. This superiority was reckoned knowledge in the full sense, not because it really was so, but by the contrast of relative strengths."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Three sect. 10; Paulist Press pg. 91):

"...when we abandon visible riches... it is strange goods and not our own that we are leaving. And this is so even if we boast that we acquired them through our own efforts or that they were passed on to us as an inheritance. I say nothing is ours except what is in our hearts, what belongs to our souls, what cannot be taken away by anyone."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 6:53; Routledge pg. 115):

" 'Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you do not have eternal life in you' (Jn. 6:53). For those who do not receive Jesus through the sacrament will continue to remain utterly bereft of any share in the life of holiness and blessedness and without any taste of it whatsoever. For He is Life by nature, seeing that He was born of a living Father. And His holy body is no less life-giving, for it has been constituted in some way and ineffably united with the Word that gives life to all things."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 285):

"...if you wish to get pure air into your room, or if you go for a walk in the fresh air, think of the pure and of the unclean heart. Many of us like to have pure air in the room (and this is an excellent habit), or are fond of walking in the fresh air, but they do not even think of the necessity of the purity of the spirit or heart (of, so to say, spiritual air, the breath of life); and, living in the fresh air, they allow themselves to indulge in impure thoughts, impure movements of the heart, and even impurity of language, and most impure carnal actions."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chap. 8; Plough Publishing pg. 33):

"...knowing God is the condition for the sanctification of a human being by God's assistance and according to His intention. Wherever God is, there He is always creating... He wants to create a new human being. To need God is to become new. And to know God is the crucial thing."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chap. Two sect. 1; Paulist Press pg. 148):

"The Word of God makes use of poetic imagery when discussing... formless intelligences but... it does not do so for the sake of art, but as a concession to the nature of our own mind. It uses scriptural passages in an uplifting fashion as a way, provided for us from the first, to uplift our mind in a manner suitable to our nature."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware, Second Century on Theology no. 86; Faber and Faber pg. 159):

"We know that according to Scripture there is something which transcends the age. Scripture has indicated that this thing exists but it has not specified what it is, as the following text shows: 'The Lord rules the age, and above the age, and for ever' (Ex. 15:18 LXX). There is therefore something above the age, namely the inviolate kingdom of God. For it is not right to say that the kingdom of God had a beginning or that it was preceded by ages or by time. We believe the kingdom to be the inheritance of those who are saved, their abode and their place, as the true Logos has taught us. For it is the final goal of those who long for that which is the desire of all desires. Once they have reached it they are granted rest from all movement whatsoever, as there is no longer any time or age through which they need to pass. For after passing through all things they will come to rest in God, who exists before all ages and whom the nature of ages cannot attain."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Two para. 4; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 3):

"...angels... are always being filled full of light, becoming ever more radiant and making blessed use of their natural ability to change. They dance for joy around the First Light, look continuously towards Him and are enlightened directly by Him, as they tirelessly sing the praises of the Fount of light and, being ministers of light, transmit illuminating grace to those lower beings who are being enlightened."


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 28 sect. 13; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 47):

"...though every thinking being longs for God, the First Cause, it is powerless... to grasp Him. Tired with the yearning it chafes at the bit and, careless of the cost, it tries a second tack. Either it looks at things visible and makes of these a god - a gross mistake, for what visible thing is more sublime, more godlike, than its observer... - or else it discovers God through the beauty and order of things seen, using sight as a guide to what transcends sight without losing God through the grandeur of what it sees."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Three sect. 9; Paulist Press pgs. 90-91):

"... there are... neutral riches, that is, those which can prove to be either good or bad. They lean to one or the other, depending on the will and character of those making use of them. The blessed apostle had this to say about them: "Give a warning to those rich in this world's goods that they must not look down on other people. They must not put their hope in the uncertainty of riches but, rather, on God who generously pours all we need out to us. Tell them to do good, to practice good works, to be generous, to store up for themselves in the future a solid treasure with which they may acquire a true life' (I Tim. 6:17-19)."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 6:53; Routledge pg. 114):

"...when people have come to believe, the power of learning naturally follows. That is why the prophet Isaiah says, 'If you do not believe, neither will you understand' (Is. 7:9 LXX). It [is]... right that... understanding... should be introduced once faith [has] taken root... rather than that the investigation should precede faith."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 285):

"How are we to seek first the kingdom of God? In the following manner: let us suppose that you wish to walk, or drive, or else go in a boat somewhere on any worldly, temporal business; before doing so, first pray to the Lord that He may correct the ways of your heart, and then also your present bodily way, or that He may direct the way of your life in accordance with His commandments; desire this with all your heart, and often renew your prayer concerning this. The Lord, seeing your sincere desire and endeavour to walk in accordance with His commandments, will, by degrees, correct all your ways."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 8; Plough Publishing pg. 30):

"... the more one needs God the more perfect he is. To need God is nothing to be ashamed of but is perfection itself. It is the saddest thing in the world if a human being goes through life without discovering that he needs God!"


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chap. One sect. 3; Paulist Press pg. 147):

"The source of spiritual perfection provided us with perceptible images of [the] minds [of the angels]. He did so out of concern for us and because He wanted us to be made godlike. He made the heavenly hierarchies known to us. He made our own hierarchy a ministerial colleague of these divine hierarchies by an assimilation, to the extent that is humanly feasible, to their godlike priesthood. He revealed all this to us in the sacred pictures of the scripture so that He might lift us in spirit up through the perceptible to the conceptual, from sacred shapes and symbols to the simple peaks of the hierarchies of heaven."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware, Second Century on Theology no. 84; Faber and Faber pgs. 158-159):

"According to the text, 'We are the body of Christ and each of us is one of its members' (cf. I Cor. 12:27), we are said to be the body of Christ. We do not become this body through the loss of our own bodies; nor again because Christ's body passes into us hypostatically or is divided into members; but rather because we conform to the likeness of the Lord's flesh by shaking off the corruption of sin. For just as Christ in His manhood was sinless by nature both in flesh and in soul, so we too who believe in Him, and have clothed ourselves in Him through the Spirit, can be without sin in Him if we so choose."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Two para. 3; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 2):

"...reasonable natures have free will, and can turn to the good or the bad voluntarily by themselves. They either attach themselves to God's will, which results in their continuous progress, improvement and advancement, or they oppose God's will, are justly subjected to what He permits, and sink wretchedly from bad to worse."


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 28 sect 6; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 41):

"No one seeing a beautifully elaborated lyre with its harmonious, orderly arrangement, and hearing the lyre's music will fail to form a notion of its craftsman-player, to recur to him in thought though ignorant of him by sight. In this way the creative power, which moves and safeguards its objects, is clear to us, though it be not grasped by the understanding. Anyone who refuses to progress this far in following instinctive proofs must be wanting in judgment. But still, whatever we imagined or figured to ourselves or reason delineated is not the reality of God."


From St. John Cassian (The Conferences, Conf. Three sect. 8; Paulist Press pgs. 89-90):

"Just as the virtues acquired in this life and the love which is their source clothe their possessor after death in shining beauty, so do sins cloak the soul and stain it with foul colors which will cling to it. Beauty or ugliness of spirit come with the brand of virtue or of sin. Color comes upon the soul to make it shine and make it deserve to hear the prophetic words: 'The king will fall in love with your beauty' (Ps. 44:11); or else there is the color that makes it dark, foul, and misshapen and it speaks out to admit the nastiness of its shame: 'My wounds stink and are festering, the result of my folly' (Ps. 37:6)... "


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 6:38-39; Routledge pgs. 112-113):

"... when [Christ] was about to ascend to [the Father] and addressed His discourse to God, He said clearly in the form of a prayer, 'Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt' (Mt. 26:39). That the Word of God, immortal and incorruptible, and by nature Life in itself, could not cower before death, is I think abundantly clear to all. Nevertheless, having come to be in the flesh, He allows Himself to experience the things proper to the flesh, and consequently, when death is at the door, to cower before it, that He might appear to be a real human being. That is why He says, 'If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me'. What He means is this: 'If it be possible, Father, that without suffering death I should win life for those who have fallen under its power, if death could die without My dying, that is to say, with regard to the flesh, let the cup pass from Me. But since this cannot take place in any other way, not as I will but as Thou wilt.' Do you see how weak human nature is, even in Christ Himself, when it relies on its own powers? Through the Word that is united with it, the flesh is brought back to a courage befitting God and is restrained in order to have a more valiant spirit, so as not to rely upon what seems right to its own will, but rather to follow the aim of the divine will and eagerly to run towards whatever the law of the Creator calls us."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pgs. 284-285):

"It very often happens that the mist of the spirit of malice surrounds our heart, and does not allow us to speak peaceably with our neighbours, who have once or several times offended us, or expressed ill-will towards us. We must pray fervently to the Lord, that He Himself would disperse this mist of malice, and fill our heart with mercy and love, even towards our enemies, for they, in the blindness of the passions - of pride, envy, covetousness, malice - do not themselves know what they do, as the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ knew not what they did when they persecuted Him all His life and at last put Him to a shameful death. We must remember that the Christian religion consists in loving our enemies: 'For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?' (Mt. 5:46)."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chap. 7; Plough Publishing pgs. 26-28):

"It was not to save a nation that Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac, nor to appease angry gods... Then why does Abraham do it? For God's sake... He does it for the sake of God because God demands proof of his faith... He was not justified by being virtuous, but by being an individual submitted to God in faith."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy Chap One sect. 3; Paulist Press pg. 146):

"...any thinking person realizes that the appearances of beauty are signs of an invisible loveliness. The beautiful odors which strike the senses are representations of a conceptual diffusion. Material lights are images of the outpouring of an immaterial gift of light. The thoroughness of sacred discipleship indicates the immense contemplative capacity of the mind. Order and rank here below are a sign of the harmonious ordering toward the divine realm. The reception of the most divine Eucharist is a symbol of participation in Jesus. And so it goes for all the gifts transcendently received by the beings of heaven, gifts which are granted to us in a symbolic mode."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware, Second Century on Theology no.83; Faber and Faber pg. 158):

"According to the text, 'But we have the intellect of Christ' (I Cor. 2:16), the saints are said to receive Christ's intellect. But this does not come to us through the loss of our own intellectual power; nor does it come to us as a supplementary part added to our intellect; nor does it pass essentially and hypostatically into our intellect. Rather, it illumines the power of our intellect with its own quality and conforms the activity of our intellect to its own. In my opinion the person who has Christ's intellect is he whose intellection accords with that of Christ and who apprehends Christ through all things."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Two para. 2; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 1-2):

"If... God highly exalted Christ because He humbled Himself, suffered dishonour, was tempted and endured a shameful cross and death for our sake, how will He save, glorify and raise us up if we neither choose humility, nor show love to our fellows, nor gain our souls by enduring temptation (cf. Lk. 21:19), nor follow the saving Guide through the 'strait gate' and along the 'narrow way' leading to eternal life (Mt. 7:14)? To this end we were called, says Peter, the chief Apostle, ' Because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps' (I Pet. 2:21)."


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 27 sect. 5; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press; pgs. 28-29):

"Let us conduct our debate within our frontiers, and not be carried away to Egypt or dragged off to Assyria. Let us not 'sing the song of the Lord in a foreign land' (Ps. 136:4), by which I mean before any and every audience, heathen or Christian, friend or foe, sympathetic or hostile: these keep all too close a watch on us, and they would wish that the spark of our dissensions might become a conflagration; they kindle it, they fan it, by means of its own draught they raise it to the skies, and without our knowing what they are up to, they make it higher than those flames at Babylon which blazed all around (cf. Dan. 3:20). Having no strength in their own teaching, they hunt for it in our weakness, and for this reason like flies settling on wounds, they settle on our misfortunes - or should I say our mistakes? Let us be blind to our doings no longer, and let us not neglect the proprieties in these matters. If we cannot resolve our disputes outright, let us at least make this mutual concession, to utter spiritual truths with the restraint due to them, to discuss holy things in a holy manner, and not to broadcast to profane hearing what is not to be divulged. Do not let us prove that we are less reverent than those who worship demons and venerate obscene tales and objects..."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Three sect. 7; Paulist Press pg. 89):

"If I give all my goods to feed the poor... if I add to this sacrifice the fiery martyrdom of my flesh; if I hand my body over for the sake of Christ; if, nevertheless, I am impatient, prone to anger, jealous, proud; if I become enraged when wrongs are done to me; if I am on the lookout for my own interest; if my thoughts are evil; if I do not patiently and gladly endure all that happens to me; then the renunciation and the martyrdom of the outer man will be of no benefit to me as long as the inner spirit wallows in its old and sinful ways. It will be of no value that when in the first zeal of conversion I despised the simple substance of the world, which is neither good nor bad but neutral, if I took no care to throw out at the same time the evil goods of a corrupt heart and made no effort to achieve a Godlike love, a love which is patient and kind, which is not jealous, not boastful, which does not show annoyance or is wrong-headed, which is not on the lookout for itself, which thinks no evil, which endures all and sustains all, and which, finally, never allows itself to slip into the snares of sin."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers, Commentary on John 6:38-39; Routledge pg. 112):

"What was it... that was both willed and not willed by Christ? The treatment He bore at the hands of the Jews - the dishonour, the revilings and insults, the tortures and scourgings and spittings, and moreover the false charges, and last of all the death of the flesh. Christ bore these things willingly for our sake, but if it had been possible for Him to achieve what He earnestly desired for us without suffering, He would not have wished to suffer. But since the Jews were undoubtedly utterly intent on inflicting these things upon Him, He accepts that He has to suffer and turns what He does not will into what He wills, for the sake of the good that would ensue from His suffering. God the Father concurred with Him and consented that He should willingly undergo all things for the salvation of all. In this we see very clearly the infinite goodness of the divine nature, for it did not refuse to make that which was undesirable the object of its will for our sake."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 284):

"The Lord is the accomplishment of everything good that I think, feel and do."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chap. 6; Plough Publishing pgs. 23-24):

"Christ was crucified because He would have nothing to do with the crowd (even though He addressed Himself to all). He did not want to form a party, an interest group, a mass movement, but wanted to be what He was, the truth... Therefore everyone who will genuinely serve the truth is by that very fact a martyr. To win a crowd is no art; for that only untruth is needed, nonsense, and a little knowledge of human passions. But no witness to the truth dares to get involved with the crowd. His work is to be involved with all people, if possible, but always individually, speaking with each and every person on the sidewalk and on the streets - in order to split apart. He avoids the crowd, especially when it is treated as authoritative in matters of the truth or when its applause, or hissing, or balloting are regarded as judges. He avoids the crowd with its herd mentality more than a decent young girl avoids the bars on the harbor. Those who speak to the crowd, coveting its approval, those who deferentially bow and scrape before it must be regarded as being worse than prostitutes. They are instruments of untruth."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chap. One sect. 2; Paulist Press pgs. 145-146):

"To the best of our abilities, we should raise our eyes to the paternally transmitted enlightenment coming from sacred scripture and, as far as we can, we should behold the intelligent hierarchies of heaven and we should do so in accordance with what scripture has revealed to us in symbolic and uplifting fashion. We must lift up the immaterial and steady eyes of our minds to that outpouring of Light which is so primal, indeed much more so, and which comes from that source of divinity, I mean the Father. This is the Light which, by way of representative symbols, makes known to us the most blessed hierarchies among the angels. But we need to rise from this outpouring of illumination so as to come to the simple ray of Light itself."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 81, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 158):

"A pure heart is perhaps one which has no natural propulsion towards anything in any manner whatsoever. When in its extreme simplicity such a heart has become like a writing-tablet beautifully smoothed and polished, God comes to dwell in it and writes there His own laws."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 2, Homily Twenty-Two para. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 1):

"Do you see this shared celebration and joy of ours, which the Lord bestowed on those who believe in Him with His Resurrection and Ascension? It sprang from affliction. Do you see this life, or rather, this immortality? It shone upon us through death. Do you see the heavenly height to which Christ ascended when He was taken up, and the sublime glory with which He was glorified according to the flesh? He attained to this by means of humility and dishonour. As the Apostle says of Him, 'He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father' (Phil. 2:8-11)."


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 27 sect. 4; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pgs. 27-28):

"It is more important that we should remember God than that we should breathe: indeed, if one may say so, we should do nothing else besides."


From St. John Cassian (The Conferences, Conf. Three sects. 4-5; Paulist Press pgs. 83-84):

" [There are] three types of vocation... The first is from God, the second comes by way of man, and the third arises from necessity. The vocation from God comes whenever some inspiration is sent into our sleepy heart, stirring us with a longing for eternal life and salvation, urging us to follow God and to cling with most saving compunction to His commands... The second type of calling is... that which comes through human agency when the example and the advice of holy people stirs us to long for salvation... The third kind of vocation is that which comes through necessity. Imprisoned by the riches and pleasures of this world, we are suddenly put to the test. The danger of death hangs over us. The loss or seizure of our property strikes us. The death of those we love reduces us to sadness. And we are moved to turn in haste to God whom we had neglected in good times. Of these three types, the first two seem to have the better beginnings. Yet I have occasionally found that some who started from the third level... have turned out to be perfect men, most fervent in spirit and very like those who, entering the Lord's service by way of the first and best of vocations, lived out the remainder of their lives with a praiseworthy zeal of soul. And, again, I have known many who began with this higher calling and who often grew lukewarm and fell down to a most lamentable end."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 6:35; Routledge pgs. 110-111):

"...the holy body of Christ endows those who receive it with life and keeps us incorrupt when it mingles with our bodies. For it is not the body of anyone else, but is thought of as the body of Him who is Life by nature, since it has within itself the entire power of the Word that is united with it, and is endowed with His qualities, or rather filled with His energy, through which all things are given life and maintained in being. This being the case, those who have been baptized and have tasted divine grace should know that if they go reluctantly or scarcely at all to church, and cease to receive communion for years on end, yet feign a pernicious reverence as a pretext for not wishing to participate in Him sacramentally, they cut themselves off from eternal life, for they have refused to be given life. And this refusal, even if they make it seem to be in some way the fruit of reverence, becomes a snare and a stumbling-block. They ought instead to make every effort to realize the power and willingness that is within them, that they might become eager to clear away sin and attempt in its place to follow a more spiritual regime, and thus run all the more courageously to participate in life."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 283):

"When you are in the temple, remember that you are in the living presence of the Lord God, that you stand before His face, before His eyes, in the living presence of the Mother of God, of the holy angels, and of the first-born of the Church - that is, our forefathers, the prophets, Apostles, hierarchs, martyrs, reverend Fathers, the righteous, and all the saints. Always have the remembrance and consciousness of this when you are in the temple, and stand with devotion, taking part willingly and with all your heart in the Divine service."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chap. 5; Plough Publishing pg. 19):

"...busyness, keeping up with others, hustling hither and yon, makes it almost impossible for an individual to form a heart..."


From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chap. 1 sect. 1; Paulist Press pg. 145):

" 'Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights' (Jms. 1:17). But there is something more. Inspired by the Father, each procession of the Light spreads itself generously toward us, and, in its power to unify, it stirs us by lifting us up. It returns us back to the oneness and deifying simplicity of the Father who gathers us in. For, as the sacred Word says, 'from Him and to Him are all things' (Rom. 11:36)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 79, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pgs. 157-158):

"The man who has struggled bravely with the passions of the body, has fought ably against unclean spirits, and has expelled from his soul the conceptual images they provoke, should pray for a pure heart to be given him and for a spirit of integrity to be renewed within him (cf. Ps. 51:10). In other words, he should pray that by grace he may be completely emptied of evil thoughts and filled with divine thoughts, so that he may become a spiritual world of God, splendid and vast, wrought from moral, natural and theological forms of contemplation."


From St. Gregory Palamas (The Homilies Vol. 1, Homily Twenty-One paras.. 17-18; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 274):

"As we lift up our hearts to [our Lord] we shall behold the great spectacle of our nature united forever with the fire of the divinity. And laying aside everything to do with the coats of skin in which we were clothed because of the transgression (cf. Gen. 3:21), let us stand on holy ground (cf. Ex. 3:5), each one of us marking out his own holy ground through virtue and steadfast inclination towards God. In this way we shall be bold when God comes in fire, and run forward to be enlightened and once enlightened live with Him for ever, to the glory of Him Who is the Light above all glory, might, honour and worship, now and for ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen."


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 27 sect. 3; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 27):

"Who should listen to discussions of theology? Those for whom it is a serious undertaking, not just another subject like any other for entertaining small-talk, after the races, the theater, songs, food, and sex: for there are people who count chatter on theology and clever deployment of arguments as one of their amusements."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Two sect. 24; Paulist Press pg. 79):

"...whoever is guided solely by his own judgment and decision will never climb up to the summit of perfection and will not fail to be the victim of the devil's ruinous power to delude."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on John 6:35, Cyril Of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell; Routledge pg. 110):

" 'He who comes to Me,' He says, 'will not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.' Yes indeed, He says. I will Myself agree with you that the manna was given through Moses, but those who are of it grew hungry. I will concede that from the travail of the rock water was given to you, but those who drank grew thirsty, and the gift described brought only a temporary relief to them. But he who comes to Me shall never be hungry, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. What, then, does Christ promise? Nothing corruptible, but rather the eucharistic reception of the holy flesh and blood, which restores man wholly to incorruption, so that he has no further need of those things that keep death away from the flesh, by which I mean food and drink."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 283):

"Let others mock at you, oppose you, when you are under the influence of any passion; do not be in the least offended with those who mock at or oppose you, for they do you good; crucify your self-love and acknowledge the wrong, the error of your heart. But have the deepest pity for those who mock at words and works of faith and piety, of righteousness; for those who oppose the good which you are doing... God preserve you from getting exasperated at them..."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chap. 4; Plough Publishing pg. 18):

"The advantages and benefits of earthly life are bound up in mediocrity. But genuine religion has an inverse relationship to the finite. Its aim is to raise human beings up so as to transcend what is earthly. It is a matter of either/or. Either prime quality, or no quality at all; either with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength, or not at all. Either all of God and all of you, or nothing at all! We clever humans, however, prefer to treat faith as if it were something finite, as if it were something for the betterment and enjoyment of temporal life. It is supposed to bring us meaning and fulfillment, happiness and direction. This kind of religion is nothing but a deception."


From St. Dionysius (The Mystical Theology, Chap. Five, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pg. 141):

"We make assertions and denials of what is next to [the Divine Nature], but never of It, for It is both beyond every assertion, being the perfect and unique cause of all things, and, by virtue of Its preeminently simple and absolute nature, free of every limitation, beyond every limitation; it is also beyond every denial."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 77, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 157):

"So long as the soul advances 'from strength to strength' (Ps. 84:7) and 'from glory to glory' (II Cor. 3:18), that is, so long as it advances from one degree of virtue to a greater degree and from one level of spiritual knowledge to a higher level, it remains a 'sojourner', one who has no permanent home, as in the saying, 'My soul has long been a sojourner' (Ps. 120:6 LXX). For great is the distance and many are the levels of knowledge through which the soul must pass before it reaches 'the place of the miraculous tabernacle, the house of God itself, with the voice of exultation and thanksgiving, and the sound of feasting' (Ps. 42:4 LXX). It advances continually from one hymn of praise to another, from one level of divine contemplation to another, full of joy and thankfulness for what it has already seen. For all those who have received the Spirit of grace into their hearts celebrate in this festive manner, crying 'Abba, Father' (Gal. 4:6)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Twenty-One para. 16, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 273):

"We... are entangled in worldly affairs, but if you abstain from acquisitiveness and mutual hatred, and strive to speak the truth and be chaste, then you... will make every day a Sabbath by being inactive in evil. When a day comes that is especially profitable for salvation, you must free yourselves even from blameless work and words, patiently stay in God's Church, listen with understanding to the reading and teaching and contritely attend to the supplications, prayers and hymns to God. Thus you... will fulfill the Sabbath, ordering your conduct according to the Gospel of God's grace and lifting up the eyes of your understanding towards Christ sitting above the vaults of heaven with the Father and the Spirit."


From St. Gregory Nazianzus (On God and Christ, Oration 27 sect. 3; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pg. 27):

"What is the right time [to discuss theology]? Whenever we are free from the mire and noise without, and our commanding faculty is not confused by illusory, wandering images, leading us, as it were, to mix fine script with ugly scrawling, or sweet-smelling scent with slime. We need actually 'to be still' (Ps. 46:10) in order to know God, and when we receive the opportunity, 'to judge uprightly' (Ps. 75:2) in theology."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Two sect 14; Paulist Press pg. 75):

"[God] arranged that the boy Samuel should be chosen but instead of teaching him directly He had him, turn once or twice to an old man. This youngster, to whom He had granted a direct encounter with Himself, had nevertheless to go for instruction to someone who had offended God, and all because that person was an old man. He decided that Samuel was most worthy of a high calling and yet He made him submit to the guidance of an old man so that once summoned to a divine ministry he might learn humility and might himself become for all the young a model of deference."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on John 1:15, Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Father by Norman Russell; Routledge pgs. 107-108):

"Having said that the Word became flesh, that is, a human being, and having brought Him down to brotherhood with things created and in bondage, He preserves intact with this verse (John 1:15, 'And we have beheld His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth') the dignity befitting the divine and shows Him again full of the distinctive property of the Father that is present within Him. For the divine nature is truly immutable in Itself, not susceptible of change into anything else, but rather always remaining the same, and retains Its own prerogatives. Therefore even though the Evangelist says that the Word became flesh, he is not asserting that He was overcome by the infirmities of the flesh, or that He fell away from His original power and glory when He clothed Himself in our frail and inglorious body. For we have seen His glory, He says, a glory surpassing that of others, and which one should confess befits the Only-begotten Son of God the Father. For He was full of grace and truth.


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 281):

"There is, my brethren, a true, real life, and there is a false, imaginary life. To live in order to eat, drink, dress, walk; to enrich ourselves in general, to live for earthly pleasures or cares, as well as to spend time in intriguing and underhanded dealings; to think ourselves competent judges of everything and everybody is - the imaginary life; whilst to live in order to please God and serve our neighbours, to pray for the salvation of their souls and to help them in the work of their salvation in every way, is to lead the true life. The first life is continual spiritual death, the second - the uninterrupted life of the Spirit."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chap. 4; Plough Publishing pg. 17):

"Christianity does not oppose debauchery and uncontrollable passions and the like as much as it opposes... flat mediocrity, this nauseating atmosphere, this homey, civil togetherness, where admittedly great crimes, wild excesses, and powerful aberrations cannot easily occur - but where God's unconditional demand has even greater difficulty in accomplishing what it requires: the majestic obedience of submission."


From St. Dionysius (The Mystical Theology, Chap. Three, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pg. 139):

"The fact is that the more we take flight upward [to God], the more our words are confined to the ideas we are capable of forming; so that now as we plunge into that darkness which is beyond intellect, we shall find ourselves not simply running short of words but actually speechless and unknowing."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 76, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pgs. 156-157):

"... not as God in His essence and as coessential with God the Father was the only-begotten Son given to us; only inasmuch as by virtue of God's providential dispensation He became man by nature and, for our sakes made coessential with us, He was given to us who have need of such grace. And from His fullness we always receive the grace which corresponds to each step we take along the spiritual path. Thus he who has kept the inner principle of things perfectly pure within himself will acquire the glory, full of grace and truth, of the Logos of God made flesh for us, who through His coming glorified and sanctified Himself in His human nature for our sake. For 'when He appears,' says Scripture, 'we shall be like Him' (I Jn. 3:2)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Twenty-One para. 14, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 272):

"...those called by Christ's name should order their lives. They should persevere in prayers and supplications and, in imitation of the angels, have their eyes lifted up to the Master above the heavens, praising and blessing Him with irreproachable conduct, and waiting for His mystical Coming. As the Psalmist says to Him, 'I will sing and will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt Thou come unto me?' (Ps. 101:2)."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (On the Cosmic Mystery of Christ, Ad Thalassium 2; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pgs. 100-101):

"...the divine Logos, when He became man, said, 'My Father is working even now, and I am working.' The Father approves this work, the Son properly carries it out, and the Holy Spirit essentially completes both the Father's approval of it all and the Son's execution of it, in order that the God in Trinity might be 'through all and in all things' (Eph. 4:6), contemplated as the whole reality proportionately in each individual creature as it is deemed worthy by grace, and in the universe altogether, just as the soul naturally indwells both the whole body and each individual part without diminishing itself."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Two sect. 13; Paulist Press pg. 74):

"...unless the grace of God comes to the help of our frailty, to protect and defend it, no man can withstand the insidious onslaughts of the enemy nor can he damp down or hold in check the fevers which burn in our flesh with nature's fire."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on John 1:14b, Clement of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell; Routledge pg. 107):

"...'in Christ' that which is enslaved is liberated in a real sense and ascends to a mystical union with Him who put on the form of a servant, while 'in us' it is liberated by an imitation of the union with the One through our kinship according to the flesh. For why is it 'not with angels that He is concerned but with the descendents of Abraham, whence He had to be made like His brethren in every respect' (Heb. 2:16-17) and become a real human being? Is it therefore not clear to everyone that He descended to the level of a servant, not providing anything for Himself by this, but giving us Himself as a gift, 'so that we by His poverty might become rich' (cf. II Cor. 8:9), soaring through the attainment of likeness to Him to His own proper and superlative good, and might prove to be by faith gods and children of God? For He who is by nature Son and God dwelt 'in us'; wherefore we also in His Spirit 'cry Abba! Father!' (Rom. 8:15). The Word dwells as if in all in the one temple taken for us and from us, that containing us all in Himself 'He might reconcile us all in one body to the Father', as Paul says (Eph. 2:16, 18)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 280):

"...the more sincere our confession, the more tranquil will be the soul afterwards. Sins are secret serpents, gnawing at the heart of a man and all his being; they do not let him rest, they continually suck his heart; sins are prickly thorns, constantly goring the soul; sins are spiritual darkness. Those who repent must bring forth the fruits of repentance."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Sect. I Chap. 4; Plough Publishing pgs. 16-17):

"The greatest danger to Christianity is, I contend, not heresies, not heterodoxies, not atheists, not profane secularism - no, but the kind of orthodoxy which is cordial drivel, mediocrity served up sweet. There is nothing that so insidiously displaces the majestic as cordiality.


From St. Dionysius (The Mystical Theology Chap. Two, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pg. 138):

"I pray we... come to this darkness so far above light! If only we lacked sight and knowledge so as to see, so as to know, unseeing and unknowing, that which lies beyond all vision and knowledge. For this would be really to see and to know: to praise the Transcendent One in a transcending way... We would be like sculptors who set out to carve a statue. They remove every obstacle to the pure view of the hidden image, and simply by the act of clearing aside they show up the beauty which is hidden."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 75, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 156):

"When our intellect has shaken off its many opinions about created things, then the inner principle of truth appears clearly to it, providing it with a foundation of real knowledge and removing its former preconceptions as though removing scales from eyes, as happened in the case of St. Paul (cf. Acts 9:18). For an understanding of Scripture that does not go beyond the literal meaning, and a view of the sensible world that relies exclusively on sense perception, are indeed scales, blinding the soul's visionary faculty and preventing access to the pure Logos of truth."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Twenty-One para. 13, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 271):

"The disciples worshipped the most high Lord Who had come down from heaven, made the earth into heaven and gone up again whence He came, having united things below with things above and formed one Church, at the same time heavenly and earthly, to the glory of His love for mankind."


From St. Gregory of Nazianzus (Oration 27 sect. 3, On God and Christ; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press pgs. 26-27):

"Discussion of theology is not for everyone, I tell you, not for everyone - it is no such inexpensive or effortless pursuit. Nor, I would add, is it for every occasion, or every audience; neither are all its aspects open to inquiry. It must be reserved for certain occasions, for certain audiences, and certain limits must be observed. It is not for all people, but only for those who have been tested and have found a sound footing in study, and, more importantly, have undergone, or at the very least are undergoing, purification of body and soul. For one who is not pure to lay hold of pure things is dangerous, just as it is for weak eyes to look at the sun's brightness."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. Two sect. 11; Paulist Press pg. 70):

"We will most easily come to a precise knowledge of true discernment if we follow the paths of our elders, if we do nothing novel, and if we do not presume to decide anything on the basis of our own private judgment. Instead let us in all things travel the road laid down for us by the tradition of our elders and by the goodness of their lives. Strengthened by this routine a person will not only reach the summit of discernment but he will remain completely safe from all the snares of the enemy... the spiritual life is unseen and hidden, open to only the purest heart. Here the fact of going wrong brings harm that is not of this world and that cannot be easily rectified. Rather, it causes the loss of the soul and an everlasting death. So then how stupid it is to believe that only this way of life has no need of a teacher."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on John 1:14b, Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell; Routledge pgs. 106-107):

"...the assertion that the Word dwelt in us is a useful one because it reveals to us a very deep mystery. For we were all in Christ. The common element of humanity is summed up in His person, which is also why He was called the last Adam: He enriched our common nature with everything conducive to joy and glory just as the first Adam impoverished it with everything bringing corruption and gloom. This is precisely why the Word dwelt in all of us by dwelling in a single human being, so that through that one being who was 'designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness' (Rom. 1:4) the whole of humanity might be raised up to His status so that the verse, 'I said, you are gods and all of you sons of the Most High' (Ps. 82:6) might through applying to one of us come to apply to us all."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg.280):

"The longer we remain without confessing, the worse it is for us, the more entangled we become in the bonds of sin, and therefore the more difficult it is to give an account."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chap. 3; Plough Publishing pgs. 13-14):

"When you say 'Yes' or promise something, you can very easily deceive yourself and others also, as if you had already done what you promised. It is easy to think that by making a promise you have at least done part of what you promised to do, as if the promise itself were something of value. Not at all! In fact, when you do not do what you promise, it is a long way back to the truth."


From St. Dionysius (The Mystical Theology, Chap. One sect. 3, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pgs. 136-137):

"Moses is commanded to submit first to purification and then to depart from those who have not undergone this. When every purification is complete, he hears the many-voiced trumpets. He sees the many lights, pure and with rays streaming abundantly. Then, standing apart from the crowds and accompanied by chosen priests, he pushes ahead to the summit of the divine ascents. And yet he does not meet God Himself, but contemplates, not Him who is invisible, but rather where He dwells. This means, I presume, that the holiest and highest of the things perceived with the eye of the body or the mind are but the rationale which presupposes all that lies below the Transcendent One.through them, however, His unimaginable presence is shown, walking the heights of those holy places to which the mind at least can rise. But then he [Moses] breaks free of them, away from what sees and is seen, and he plunges into the truly mysterious darkness of unknowing. Here, renouncing all that the mind may conceive, wrapped entirely in the intangible and the invisible, he belongs completely to Him who is beyond everything."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 73, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 155):

"So long as we only see the Logos of God as embodied multifariously in symbols in the letter of Holy Scripture, we have not yet achieved spiritual insight into the incorporeal, simple, single and unique Father as He exists in the incorporeal, simple, single and unique Son, according to the saying, 'He who has seen Me has seen the Father...and I am in the Father and the Father in Me' (Jn. 14:9-10). We need much knowledge so that, having first penetrated the veils of the sayings which cover the Logos, we may with a naked intellect see - in so far as men can - the pure Logos, as He exists in Himself, clearly showing us the Father in Himself. Hence a person who seeks God with true devotion should not be dominated by the literal text, lest he unwittingly receives not God but things appertaining to God; that is, lest he feel a dangerous affection for the words of Scripture instead of for the Logos. For the Logos eludes the intellect which supposes that is has grasped the incorporeal Logos by means of His outer garment, like the Egyptian woman who seized hold of Joseph's garments instead of Joseph himself (cf. Gen. 39:7-13), or like the ancients who were content merely with the beauty of physical things and mistakenly worshipped the creation instead of the Creator (cf. Rom. 1:25)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Twenty-One para. 12, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 271):

"[Our Lord Jesus Christ] was... carried up to heaven (Lk. 24:50-51). With a radiant cloud for a chariot, He ascended in glory (cf. Acts 1:9), entered the Holy of Holies not made by hands and sat down on the right hand of the heavenly majesty, making our human substance share His own throne and divinity."


From St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa of the Summa ed. by Peter Kreeft, Sect. 1, Ques. 1, Tenth Art.; Ignatius Press pgs. 49-50):

"The author of Holy Writ is God, in whose power it is to signify His meaning, not by words only (as man also can do), but also by things themselves. So, whereas in every other science things are signified by words, this science has the property, that the things signified by the words have themselves also a signification. Therefore that first signification whereby words signify things belongs to the first sense, the historical or literal. That signification whereby things signified by words have themselves also a signification is called the spiritual sense, which is based on the literal, and presupposes it. Now this spiritual sense has a threefold division. For as the Apostle says (cf. Heb. 10:1) the Old Law is a figure of the New Law, and Dionysius says 'the New Law itself is a figure of future glory". Again, in the New Law, whatever our Head has done is a type of what we ought to do. Therefore, so far as the things of the Old Law signify the things of the New Law, there is the allegorical sense; so far as the things done in Christ, or so far as the things which signify Christ, are types of what we ought to do, there is the moral sense. But so far as they signify what relates to eternal glory, there is the anagogical sense. Since the literal sense is that which the author intends, and since the author of Holy Writ is God, Who by one act comprehends all things by His intellect, it is not unfitting, as Augustine says, if, even according to the literal sense, one word in Holy Writ should have several senses."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 22; Paulist Press pg. 57):

"All the corners of our heart must... be examined thoroughly and the marks of all that rise up into them must be investigated with the utmost wisdom. And all this must be done in case some beast of mind, some lion or serpent, has passed through and has left its dangerous hidden marks there, marks by which, as a result of the way we neglect our thoughts, a way into the sanctuary of our heart may be made available to others. Every hour and every moment working over the earth of our heart with the plough of Scripture, that is, with the memory of the Lord's cross, we shall manage to destroy the lairs of the wild beasts within us and the hiding places of the venomous serpents."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on John 1:14b, Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell; Routledge pg. 106):

"The Evangelist rephrases in a useful way what he has just said, and brings the significance of his doctrine into sharper focus. Having stated that the Word of God became flesh, he is anxious in case anyone of profound ignorance should assume that the Word has abandoned His own proper nature and has in reality been transformed into flesh and has suffered, which is impossible, for with regard to its mode of being the divine is far removed from any kind of change or alteration into something else. The Theologian therefore very aptly added at once: 'and dwelt in us', so that realising that he was referring to two things, the subject of the dwelling and that in which the dwelling was taking place, you should not think that the Word was transformed into flesh but rather that He dwelt in flesh, using as His own particular body the temple that is from the holy Virgin. 'For in Him the whole fullness of the deity dwells bodily', as St. Paul says (Col. 2:9)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 280):

"He who is accustomed to give account of his life at confession here will not fear to give an answer at the terrible judgment-seat of Christ. It is for this purpose that the mild tribunal of penitence was here initiated, in order that we, being cleansed and amended through penitence here below, may give an answer without shame at the terrible judgment-seat of Christ."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Sect. 1 Chap. 2; Plough Publishing pg. 12):

"...the person who surrenders absolutely to God, with no reservations, is absolutely safe. From this safe hiding-place he can see the devil , but the devil cannot see him."


From St. Dionysius (The Mystical Theology, Chap. 1 sect. 2, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pg. 136):

"What has actually to be said about the Cause of everything is this. Since it is the Cause of all beings, we should posit and ascribe to it all the affirmations we make in regard to beings, and, more appropriately, we should negate all these affirmations, since It surpasses all being. Now we should not conclude that the negations are simply the opposites of the affirmations, but rather that the cause of all is considerably prior to this, beyond privations, beyond every denial, beyond every assertion."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 72, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 155):

"...the Lord said as He drew near His passion, 'Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself; and He will glorify Him at once' (Jn. 13:31-32). From This it is clear that divine gifts follow sufferings endured for the sake of virtue."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Twenty-One para. 10, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press; pg. 269):

"The Lord came to send fire upon the earth (cf. Lk. 12:49), and through participation in this fire He makes divine not just the human substance which He assumed for our sake, but every person who is found worthy of communion with Him."


From St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa of the Summa ed. by Peter Kreeft, Sect. I, Ques. 1, Ninth Art.; Ignatius Press pgs. 47-48):

"It is befitting Holy Writ to put forward divine and spiritual truths by means of comparisons with material things. For God provides for everything according to the capacity of its nature. Now it is natural to man to attain to intellectual truths through sensible objects, because our knowledge originates from sense. Hence in Holy Writ spiritual truths are fittingly taught under the likeness of material things. This is what Dionysius says, 'We cannot be enlightened by the divine rays except they be hidden within the covering of many sacred veils.' It is also befitting Holy Writ, which is proposed to all without distinction of persons - 'To the wise and to the unwise I am a debtor' (Rom. 1:14) - that spiritual truths be expounded by means of figures taken from corporeal things, in order that thereby even the simple who are unable by themselves to grasp intellectual things may be able to understand it..."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 21; Paulist Press pg. 57):

"If our thoughts suggest something to us to be done we must handle it with the utmost scrupulosity. It must be placed on the scales of our heart and weighed with the most exacting care. Is it filled with what is good for all? Is it heavy with the fear of God? Is it genuine in the feelings which underlie it? Is it lightweight because of human show or because of some thrust toward novelty? Has the burden of vainglory lessened its merit or diminished its luster? This prompt testing will be done as something public. That is, it is measured against the acts and the witness of the apostles. If it looks to be whole, complete, and in conformity with these latter, then let us hold on to it. Or if it seems defective, dangerous, and not of equal weight with these, let us cautiously and carefully reject it."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on John 1:14a, Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell; Routledge pg. 106):

"[St. John] does not say that the Word came into flesh; he says that He became flesh in order to exclude any idea of a relative indwelling, as in the case of the prophets and the other saints. He really did become flesh, that is to say, a human being... the Word is God by nature both in the flesh and with the flesh, since He has it as His own property, yet is conceived of as something separate from it, and is worshipped in it and with it... "


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 279):

"Our Lord God is pleased with us for our importunate request for His mercies, seeing in our importunity our faith and love to Him; whilst we sinners are angry with the poor, who daily and importunately ask alms of us - even with poor children, whose confidence in men is especially great, and whose belief in the goodness of others is boundless, because they themselves are simple, good, and meek. Being covetous, sensual, and proud, we often look contemptuously upon them, cry out at them... get out of temper, not wishing to understand that hunger, want of clothes, boots, urgent demand for the rent of their miserable lodgings, force them to beg importunately of us."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Sect. 1 Chap. 3; Plough Publishing pg. 12):

"Where unclarity resides, there is temptation, and there it proves only too easily the stronger. Wherever there is ambiguity, wherever there is wavering, there is disobedience down at the bottom."


From St. Dionysius (The Mystical Theology, Chap. 1 sect. 1, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pg. 135):

"Trinity!! Higher than any being, any divinity, any goodness! Guide of Christians in the wisdom of heaven! Lead us up beyond unknowing and light, up to the farthest, highest peak of mystic scripture, where the mysteries of God's Word lie simple, absolute and unchangeable in the brilliant darkness of a hidden silence. Amid the deepest shadow they pour overwhelming light on what is most manifest. Amid the wholly unsensed and unseen they completely fill our sightless minds with treasures beyond all beauty."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 71, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pgs. 154-155):

"The divine Logos of God the Father is mystically present in each of His commandments. God the Father is by nature present entirely and without division in His entire divine Logos. Thus, he who receives a divine commandment and carries it out receives the Logos of God who is in it; and he receives through Him the Father who is by nature present in Him, and the Spirit who likewise is by nature in Him. ' I tell you truly, he that receives whomever I send receives Me; and he that receives Me receives Him that sent Me' (John 13:20). In this way, he who receives a commandment and carries it out receives mystically the Holy Trinity."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Twenty-One para. 5, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 266):

"We start... imitation of Christ with Holy Baptism, which symbolizes the Lord's Burial and Resurrection. Virtuous living and conduct in accord with the Gospel are its intermediate stage, and its perfection is victory through spiritual struggles against the passions, which procures painless, indestructible, heavenly life."


From St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa of the Summa edited by Peter Kreeft, Pt. 1 Ques. 1 Eighth Art.; Ignatius Press pgs. 46-47):

"...sacred doctrine makes use even of human reason, not, indeed, to prove faith (for thereby the merit of faith would come to an end), but to make clear other things that are put forward in this doctrine. Since therefore grace does not destroy nature, but perfects it, natural reason should minister to faith as the natural bent of the will ministers to charity. Hence the Apostle says: 'Bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ' (II Cor. 10:5). Hence sacred doctrine makes use also of the authority of the philosophers in those questions in which they are able to know the truth by natural reason, as St. Paul quotes a saying of Aratus: 'As some also of your own poets said: "For we are also His offspring" ' (Acts 17:28). Nevertheless, sacred doctrine makes use of these authorities as extrinsic and probable arguments; but properly uses the authority of the canonical Scriptures as the incontrovertible proof, and the authority of the doctors of the Church as one that may properly be used, yet as merely probable. For our faith rests upon revelation made to the apostles and prophets, who wrote the canonical books, and not on the revelations (if any such there are) made to other doctors..."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 20; Paulist Press pg. 54):

"...we must first scrutinize thoroughly anything appearing in our hearts or any saying suggested to us. Has it come purified from the divine and heavenly fire of the Holy Spirit? Or does it lean toward Jewish superstition? Is its surface piety something which has come down from bloated worldly philosophy? We must examine this most carefully, doing as the apostle bids us: 'Do not believe in every spirit, but make sure to find out if spirits are from God' (I Jn. 4:1)."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on John 1:14a, Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell; Routledge pg. 105):

"It was necessary... for the phrase 'You are earth and to earth you shall return' to be relaxed through having the fallen body united in an ineffable manner with the Word that endows all things with life. And it was necessary that when the flesh had become His own flesh it should partake of His immortality. Considering that fire has the power to transfer to wood the physical quality of the energy naturally present within it and all but transform into itself whatever it comes to be in by participation, it would be quite absurd if we did not take it for granted that the Word of God who transcends all things could make His own proper good, which is life, operative in the flesh."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 278):

"The heart is refined, spiritual, and heavenly by nature - guard it; do not overburden it, do not make it earthly, be temperate to the utmost in food and drink, and in general in bodily pleasures. The heart is the temple of God. 'If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy' (I Cor. 3:17)."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Sect. 1 Chap. 2; Plough Publishing pg. 11):

"...there is one thing that all Satan's cunning and all the snares of temptation cannot take by surprise - an undivided will."


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Thirteen sect. 3, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pgs. 129-130):

"There is the transcendent unity of God and the fruitfulness of God, and as we prepare to sing this truth we use the names Trinity and Unity for that which is in fact beyond every name, calling it the transcendent being above every being. But no unity or trinity, no number or oneness, no fruitfulness, indeed, nothing that is or is known can proclaim that hiddenness beyond every mind and reason of the transcendent Godhead which transcends every being. There is no name for it nor expression. We cannot follow it into its inaccessible dwelling place so far above us and we cannot even call it by the name of goodness. In our urge to find some notion and some language appropriate to that ineffable nature, we reserve for it first the name which is most revered. Here, of course, I am in agreement with the scripture writers. But the real truth of these matters is in fact far beyond us."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 63, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 152):

"Some are reborn through water and the spirit (cf. Jn. 3:5); others receive baptism in the Holy Spirit and in fire (cf. Matt. 3:11). I take these four things - water, spirit, fire and Holy Spirit - to mean one and the same Spirit of God. To some the Holy Spirit is water because He cleanses the external stains of their bodies. To others He is simply spirit because He makes them active in the practice of virtue. To others He is fire because He cleanses the interior defilement which lies deep within their souls. To others, according to Daniel, He is Holy Spirit because He bestows on them wisdom and spiritual knowledge (cf. Dan. 1:17; 5:11-12). For the single identical Spirit takes His different names from the different ways He acts on each person."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Twenty-One para. 3, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 265):

"The Master's Body is the visible mountain of which Isaiah speaks, the Lord's house above the tops of all the mountains of reason (cf. Isa. 2:2 LXX). Neither an angel nor a man, but the incarnate Lord Himself came and saved us, being made like us for our sake while remaining unchanged as God. In the same way as He came down, without changing place but condescending to us, so He returns once more, without moving as God, but enthroning on high our human nature which He had assumed. It was truly right that the first begotten human nature from the dead (Rev. 1:5) should be presented there to God, as first fruits from the first crop offered for the whole race of men."


From St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa of the Summa edited by Peter Kreeft, Ques. 1, Eighth Art.; Ignatius Press pg. 46):

"...[sacred] doctrine is especially based upon arguments from authority, inasmuch as its principles are obtained by revelation: thus we ought to believe on the authority of those to whom the revelation has been made. Nor does this take away from the dignity of this doctrine, for although the argument from authority based on human reason is the weakest, yet the argument from authority based on divine revelation is the strongest."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. 1 sect. 19; Paulist Press pg. 52):

"...we should realize that there are three sources for our thoughts - God, the devil, and ourselves."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on John 1:14a, Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell; Rutledge pgs. 104-105):

"...man is a rational but at the same time a composite animal, made up, that is to say, of soul and this perishable and earthly flesh. When he was created by God and brought into being, since he did not possess incorruptibility and immortality of his own nature (these attributes belong essentially only to God), he was sealed with the Spirit of life, thus acquiring a relationship with the divine good that transcends nature. For Scripture says, 'He breathed upon his face the breath of life, and the man became a living soul' (Gen. 2:7 LXX). But when he was punished for his transgression, he rightly heard the words, 'You are earth and to earth you shall return' (Gen. 3:9 LXX) and was stripped of the grace. The breath of life, that is, the Spirit who says 'I am the life', departed from the earthly flesh and the living being succumbed to death through the flesh alone, since the soul was preserved in its immortality, with the result that it was to the flesh alone that the words 'You are earth and to earth you shall return' were addressed."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 278):

"Divine service, being the high contemplation of the mind, is at the same time, and pre-eminently, the peace, the sweetness and blessedness of the heart."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Sect. 1 Chap. 2' Plough Publishing pg. 11):

"God is present in the moment of choice, not in order to watch but in order to be chosen. Therefore, each person must choose. Terrible is the battle, in a person's innermost being, between God and the world. The crowning risk involved lies in the possession of choice."


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Thirteen, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pg. 128):

"[God] is perfect not only insofar as He is absolute perfection, defining perfection in Himself and from His singular existence and total perfection, but also because He is far beyond being so. He sets a boundary to the boundless and in His total unity He rises above all limitation. He is neither contained nor comprehended by anything. He reaches out to everything and beyond everything and does so with unfailing generosity and unstinted activity."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 47, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 149):

"The Logos came down out of love for us. Let us not keep Him down permanently, but let us go up with Him to the Father, leaving the earth and earthly things behind, lest He say to us what He said to the Jews because of their stubbornness: 'I go where you cannot come" (Jn. 8:21)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Twenty para. 16, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 263):

"...the grace of the Spirit takes possession of the quiet soul, and gives it a taste of the unspeakable good things to come, which no passionate and negligent eye has seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of such a man (cf. I Cor. 2:9). This taste is the earnest of these good things, and the heart which accepts these pledges becomes spiritual and receives assurance of its salvation."


From St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa of the Summa edited by Peter Kreeft, Ques. 1 Eighth Art.; Ignatius Press pg. 45):

"Sacred Scripture, since it has no science above itself, can dispute with one who denies its principles only if the opponent admits some at least of the truths obtained through divine revelation; thus we can argue with heretics from texts in Holy Writ, and against those who deny one article of faith we can argue from another. If our opponent believes nothing of divine revelation, there is no longer any means of proving the articles of faith by reasoning, but only of answering his objections - if he has any - against faith."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. sect. 17; Paulist Press pgs. 51-52):

"...it is not possible that the mind should be unapproached by thoughts. But these must not be attributed completely either to some incursion or those spirits which strive to slip them in among us. Otherwise man's free will would not remain nor would our task of self-discipline continue to be there. But I would say that to a great extent it is up to us to ensure the good character of our thoughts. It depends on us whether they turn holy and spiritual or else earthly and of the flesh. Now the regular reading and the continuous meditation on Scripture are undertaken so that a spiritual turn be given to our memory. The constant singing of the psalms is designed to produce a persistent compunction within us so that the mind, slimmed down, may not have a taste for the things of earth and will turn, instead, to behold the things of heaven. And if we carelessly neglect these, then of necessity the mind, filled with the squalor of sin, turns soon and comes rushing toward the domain of the flesh."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on John 1:14a, Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell; Rutledge pg. 104):

" 'And the Word became flesh...' the Evangelist... explains clearly that the Only-begotten one both became and was called a son of man. For the statement that the Word became flesh means that and nothing else: it is like saying that the Word became a human being, but even more starkly. Now to speak in this way should not appear strange or unusual to us, since sacred Scripture often refers to the entire living creature by the word 'flesh' alone, as in the verse of the prophet Joel, 'I will pour our my Spirit on all flesh' (Joel 2:28). Doubtless we should not suppose that the prophet is saying that the divine Spirit is to be supplied to human flesh alone unendowed with a soul, for that would be totally absurd. On the contrary, understanding the whole by the part, he names man by the flesh."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pgs. 277-278):

"Both learned and unlearned young men seldom go to church, and in general do not attend to their spiritual education, looking upon it as unnecessary and giving themselves up to worldly vanity. Attention must be paid to this. It is the fruit of pride... They consider attendance at church and Divine service as the business of the common people and women, forgetting that, in the temple, Angels officiate with trembling, together with men, and regard this as their highest bliss."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Sect. 1 Chap. 2; Plough Publishing pgs.10-11):

"...it is presumptuous ridicule of God if someone thinks that only the person who desires great wealth chooses mammon. Alas, the person who insists on having a penny without God, wants to have a penny all for himself. He thereby chooses mammon. A penny is enough, the choice is made, he has chosen mammon; that it is little makes not the slightest difference. The love of God is hatred of the world and love of the world hatred of God."


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Twelve sects. 1-2; Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pg. 126):

"...we must all offer up a hymn of praise to the God... who is 'Lord of lords' (Deut. 10:17, Ps. 136:1, I Tim. 6:15, Rev. 17:14, 19:16)... Lordship is not simply a matter of being superior with respect to inferiors but a complete possession of all that is beautiful and good, and is furthermore a true and unshakable stability."


From St Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 43, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 148):

" 'For the fall and resurrection of many in Israel is the Lord appointed', says the Holy Gospel (Lk. 2:34). We should ask consequently whether He may not be appointed for the fall of those who contemplate the visible creation solely according to the senses and of those who stick to the mere letter of Holy Scripture, not being able in their folly to go further and grasp the new spirit of grace. And we should ask whether He may not be appointed for the resurrection of those who contemplate God's creatures and listen to His words in a spiritual manner, cultivating in appropriate ways only the divine image that is within the soul."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Twenty para. 15. The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 262):

"It is impossible for anyone who stands in God's holy Church collecting his thoughts, lifting his mind to God, occupying his understanding with the sacred singing from the beginning until the end and waiting patiently, not to undergo a divine change, in accordance with his attention to God and His teachings. Through this attention a certain warmth is born in the heart which chases away evil like flies, creates spiritual peace and comfort in the soul and bestows sanctification on the body, according to him who said, 'My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned' (Ps. 39:3). One of the God-bearing Fathers also taught us this, saying, 'Strive as hard as you can to ensure that your inner labour is according to God's will, and you will conquer the outward passions'. The great Paul, too, urged us towards this, saying, 'Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh' (Gal. 5:16)."


From St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa of the Summa edited by Peter Kreeft, Ques. 1 Sixth Art.; Ignatius Press pg. 43):

"...it is the part of a wise man to arrange and to judge, and since lesser matters should be judged in the light of some higher principle, he is said to be wise in any one order who considers the highest principle in that order: thus in the order of building he who plans the form of the house is called wise and architect, in opposition to the inferior laborers who trim the wood and make ready the stones: 'As a wise architect I have laid the foundations (I Cor. 3:10). Again, in the order of all human life, the prudent man is called wise, inasmuch as he directs his acts to a fitting end: 'Wisdom is prudence to a man' (Prov. 10:23). Therefore he who considers absolutely the highest cause of the whole universe, namely God, is most of all called wise. Hence wisdom is said to be the knowledge of divine things, as Augustine says... sacred doctrine essentially treats of God viewed as the highest cause - not only so far as He can be known through creatures just as philosophers knew Him - 'That which is known of God is manifest to them' (Rom. 1:19) - but also so far as He is known to Himself alone and revealed to others. Hence sacred doctrine is especially called wisdom..."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. 1 sect. 17; Paulist Press pg. 51):

"It is impossible for the mind to remain undisturbed by thoughts, but anyone serious about the matter can certainly permit them entry or drive them away, and although their origin does not lie entirely under our control we can choose to approve of them and to adopt them."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on John 1:13, Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell; Routledge pg. 103):

"We are... called gods, not simply by grace because we are winging our way towards the glory that transcends us, but because we already have God dwelling and abiding within us, in accordance with the prophetic text 'I will live in them and move among them' (II Cor. 6:16)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 277):

"The best moments on earth are those during which we meditate upon heavenly things in general, when we recognize or defend the truth, that heavenly dweller and denizen. Only then do we truly live. Therefore, the essential interests of the soul require that we should oftener rise above the earth, upwards to heaven, where is our true life, our true country, which shall have no end."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 2; Plough Publishing pg. 10):

"...a human being not only can choose but... he must choose... for in this way God retains His honor while at the same time has a fatherly concern for humankind. Though God has lowered Himself to being that which can be chosen, yet each person must on his part choose. God is not mocked. Therefore the matter stands thus: If a person avoids choosing, this is the same as the presumption of choosing the world."


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Ten sect. 3, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pg. 121):

"One can take eternity and time to be predicates of God since, being the Ancient of Days, He is the cause of all time and eternity. Yet He is before time and beyond time and is the source of the variety of time and of the seasons. Or again, He precedes the eternal ages, for He is there before eternity and above eternity, and 'His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom' (Ps. 145:13). Amen."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 41, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 147):

"Those who, animal-like, live solely according to the senses... misuse God's creation in order to indulge the passions. They do not understand the principle of that wisdom which is revealed to all: that we should know and praise God through His creation and that by means of the visible world we should understand whence we came, what we are, for what purpose we were made and where we are going. On the contrary, they travel through this present age in darkness... with... ignorance of God."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Sixteen para. 16, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 189):

"Christ was baptized by John, and as He went up from the water the heavens were opened to Him and the voice of the Father was heard from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17). The Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove, showing those present the One to Whom the voice from above bore witness. In this way He was declared to be truly the Son, the Father in heaven was manifested as being truly the Father, and the Spirit too was made known as proceeding from the Father and resting upon the Father's rightful Son. The grace of the Son, of His Father and of the Spirit came to dwell in the baptismal water, such that when it touched those baptized later following His example, they would be divinely regenerated and mystically renewed and recreated in such a way that they would no longer be from the Old Adam and so attract the curse. Instead they would be born of the New Adam and so have God's blessing, not being children of the flesh, but God's children, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God through Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:13)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Twenty para. 13, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 261):

"...if anyone looks with faith at the mystical table and the Bread of Life placed on it, he sees the Person of the Word of God, Who was made flesh for our sake and dwelt among us (John 1:14). If he shows himself a worthy receptacle, he will not only see but become a partaker of Him, receive Him to dwell within him, and be filled with His divine grace."


From St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa of the Summa, Ques. 1 Fifth Art., edited by Peter Kreeft; Ignatius Press pgs. 42-43):

"This science [theology] can in a sense depend upon the philosophical sciences, not as though it stood in need of them, but only in order to make its teaching clearer. For it accepts its principles not from other sciences; but immediately from God, by revelation. Therefore it does not depend upon other sciences as upon the higher, but makes use of them as of the lesser, and as handmaidens: even so the master sciences make use of the sciences that supply their materials, as political of military science. That it thus uses them is not due to its own defect or insufficiency, but to the defect of our intelligence, which is more easily led by what is known through natural reason (from which proceed the other sciences), to that which is above reason..."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 15; Paulist Press pgs. 50-51):

"Contemplation of God can be understood in more than one fashion. For God is not solely known by way of that astonished gaze at His ungraspable nature, something hidden thus far in the hope that comes with what has been promised us. He can also be sensed in the magnificence of His creation, in the spectacle of His justice, and in the help He extends each day to the running of the world. He can be sensed too when with well-purified minds we consider what He has achieved in each generation by means of His saints. He can be sensed when we gaze with trembling hearts at the power of His which controls, guides, and rules everything, when we contemplate His immense knowledge and His knowing look which the secrets of the heart cannot evade. His presence is known when we meditate on the fact that the sands of the sea are numbered by Him, that He keeps a count of the waves. Astounded, we reflect that every drop of rain, every day and every hour of all the centuries, everything past and everything to come are all facts of which He is aware. Overwhelmed with wonder we think of that unspeakable mercy of His which allows Him to endure with unfailing patience the numberless crimes committed at every moment while He watches. We think of how in His pity for us He has called us to Him, though we had done nothing previously to deserve it. We think of all the times when He made it possible for us to be saved as His adopted sons. He ordained that our birth was to be such that His grace and the knowledge of His Law would be available to us from the cradle. And having overcome the adversary within us He offers us, in return merely for our goodwill, an eternity of happiness and of rewards. We think too of the incarnation, which He arranged for our salvation, and we think of how He spread to all people the wonder of His mysteries. There are innumerable other considerations of this kind. They surface within our sensibilities - depending on the quality of our living and purity of our hearts. By means of them God is seen and beheld in immaculate visions."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on John, 1:13, Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell; Routledge pgs. 102-103):

"...those who have attained adoption as sons of God through faith in Christ are baptized not into anything belonging to the created order but into the Holy Trinity Itself, through the mediation of the Word, who on the one hand joined what is human to Himself by means of the flesh that was united to Him, and on the other was joined by nature to Him who had begotten Him, since He was by nature God. Thus what is servile rises up to the level of sonship through participation in Him who is Son in reality, called and, as it were, promoted to the rank which the Son possesses by nature. That is why we are called offspring of God and are such, for we have experienced a rebirth by faith through the Spirit."


From St, John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 276):

"He who is insolent towards men is insolent towards God... Respect in man the grand, inestimable image of God and be forbearing towards the faults and errors of fallen man, so that God may be forbearing towards your own..."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 1; Plough Publishing pgs. 7-8):

"...the greatest thing each person can do is to give himself to God utterly and unconditionally - weaknesses, fears, and all. For God loves obedience more than good intentions or second-best offerings, which are all too often made under the guise of weakness."


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Ten sect. 3, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pgs. 120-121):

"When describing things as eternal the intention of scripture is not always to suggest that they are absolutely uncreated, everlasting, incorruptible, immortal, unchanging, and immutable. I have in mind here texts such as 'Rise up, you eternal doors' (Ps. 24:7, 9 LXX). Actually, the designation 'eternity' is frequently given to something very ancient or, again, to the whole course of earthly time, since it is characteristic of eternity to be very old, unchanging, and the measure of being. Time, on the other hand, has to do with the process of change manifested, for instance, in birth, death, and variety. Hence theology tells us that we who are bound in by time are destined to have a share of eternity when at last we attain the incorruptible, unchanging Eternity (I Cor. 15:53). And then scripture talks sometimes of the splendors of a temporal eternity and of an eternal time (Ps. 77:5 LXX, Rom. 16:25, II Tim. 1:9, Titus 1:2). But of course it is clear to us that, strictly speaking, what scripture discusses and denotes is that eternity is the home of being, while time is the home of things that come to be."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 40, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 147):

"When like the patriarchs we learn to dig wells of virtue and spiritual knowledge within ourselves by means of ascetic practice and contemplation, we will find within us Christ the spring of life (cf. Gen. 26:15-18). Wisdom commands us to drink from this spring, saying, 'Drink water from your own pitchers and from the spring of your own wells' (Prov. 5:15). If we do this we shall find that the treasures of wisdom truly are within us."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Twenty para. 10, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 259-260):

" 'Go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father, and to My God, and your God' (Jn. 20:!7). He is our Father by grace through the Spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:15), but His Father by nature on account of His divinity. Similarly, He is our God as the creator of our human nature, but His God by reason of the dispensation whereby He became man. He made these distinctions so that we might understand the difference."


From St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa of the Summa edited by Peter Kreeft, Ques. 1 Fifth Art.; Ignatius Press pg. 42):

"It may well happen that what is in itself the more certain on account of the weakness of our intelligence, which is dazzled by the clearest objects of nature; as the owl is dazzled by the light of the sun. Hence the fact that some happen to doubt about articles of faith is not due to the uncertain nature of the truths, but to the weakness of human intelligence; yet the slenderest knowledge that may be obtained of the highest things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge obtained of lesser things..."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 14; Paulist Press pg. 49):

"...the souls of the dead [are] not deprived of their intellectual faculties but... they also are not lacking in feelings such as hope and sadness, joy and fear. They already have a foretaste of what is in store for them after the general judgment. Nor does it happen, as some unbelievers would hold, that upon leaving this world they are turned to nothing. Actually they live more intensely and they concentrate more on the praises of God."


From St. Isaac the Syrian (The Bible and the Holy Fathers for Orthodox compiled by Johanna M. Manley; St. Vladimir's Press pg. 970):

"?[Christmas] night bestowed peace on the whole world; so, let no one threaten; this is the night of the Most Gentle One ? let no one be cruel; this is the night of the most Humble One ? let no one be proud. Now is the day of joy, -let us not revenge; now is the day of good will, - let us not be mean. In this day of peace let us not be conquered by anger? Today the Bountiful impoverished Himself for our sake; so, the rich one, invite the poor to your table. Today we received a gift, for which we did not ask; so let us give alms to those who implore us and beg. This present day cast open the heavenly door to our prayers: let us open our doors to those who ask our forgiveness. Now the Divine Being took upon Himself the seal of humanity, in order for humanity to be decorated by the seal of Divinity."


From St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Commentary on John 1:13, Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell; Routledge pg. 101):

"Those... who through faith in Christ have been called to the sonship of God, have put off the inferiority of their own nature. Radiant with the grace of Him who is honouring them, as if dressed in brilliant white clothing, they advance to a status that transcends nature. For they are no longer called children of the flesh but rather offspring of God by adoption (cf. Rom. 8:14-15; 9:8)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 275):

"Wherever a man goes, he always comes back home afterwards. So it is with the Christian, whoever he may be, whether he is a person of distinction or a simple one, rich or poor, learned or ignorant; wherever he may be, whatever station he may occupy in society, whatever he does, he must remember that he is not at home, but on a voyage, on the way, and that he must return home - to his father, mother, to his elder brothers and sisters; and that this home is heaven, his father - God; his mother - the Most-pure Mother of the Lord; his elder brothers and sisters - the angels and saints of God; and he must also remember that all his earthly duties and works are artificial, whilst his real duties are the salvation of his soul, the fulfillment of Christ's commandments, the cleansing of his heart."


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Nine sect. 3, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pgs. 115-116):

" 'Smallness' or subtlety is predicated of God's nature because He is outside of the bulky and the distant, because He penetrates without hindrance through everything. Indeed smallness is the most elementary cause of everything and you will find no part of the world without its share of smallness, which is why we use the word in this sense in regard to God. For what is here is something penetrating unhindered into and through all things, energizing them, 'piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart' and of everything, since 'before Him no creature is hidden' (Heb. 4:12 f.). This smallness has neither quantity nor magnitude. It is unconquerable, infinite, and unlimited, comprehending everything and itself never comprehended."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 1; Plough Publishing pg. 6):

"A good decision is our will to do everything we can within our power. It means to serve God with all we've got, be it little or much. Every person can do that."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 38, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 147):

"If you expound the teaching of the Logos from the standpoint of the moral life, using materialistic words and examples which correspond to the capacity of your hearers, you make the Logos flesh. Conversely, if you elucidate mystical theology by means of the higher forms of contemplation you make the Logos spirit."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Twenty, para. 4, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 255):

"...the wise providence of God orders our affairs in many different ways and lovingly bestows on each one of us what is appropriate and profitable both for virtuous deeds and the mysteries of faith."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. 1 sect. 14; Paulist Press pg. 49):

"The gospel parable of the poor man Lazarus and of the rich man clothed in purple shows us that souls separated from the body are neither inactive nor bereft of feeling. The one man wins as his blessed abode the peace that exists in the bosom of Abraham; the other is subjected to the unbearable scorchings of eternal fire. And if we wish to ponder what was said to the thief, namely, 'Today you shall be with me in paradise,' what other obvious meaning is there to this if not that souls continue to have their former sense of awareness and, further, that their lot is in keeping with their merits and with what they have done? The Lord would never have made this promise to the thief if He knew that the soul, once separated from the body, must lose all feeling and be turned into nothing. For it was the soul and not the body which would go with Christ to paradise."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell, Commentary on John 1:11; Routledge pg. 101):

"We... ascend to a dignity that transcends our nature on account of Christ, but we shall not also be sons of God ourselves in exactly the same way as He is, only in relation to Him through grace by imitation. For He is a true Son who has His existence from the Father, while we are sons who have been adopted out of His love for us, and are recipients by grace of the text 'I have said, you are gods and all of you sons of the Most High' (Psalm 82:6)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part:II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 275):

"Do not be vexed with those who show pride, or malice, effeminacy, and impatience in their intercourse with you, or others, but , remembering that you yourself are subject to the same and greater sins and passions, pray for them and be meek with them."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 1; Plough Publishing House pg. 5):

"...cowardice is very comfortable and obliging in associating with other passions. It knows very well how to make friends with them. Cowardice settles deep in our souls like the idle mists on stagnant waters. From it arises unhealthy vapors and deceiving phantoms. The thing that cowardice fears most is decision; for decision always scatters the mists, at least for a moment. Cowardice thus hides behind the thought it likes best of all: the crutch of time. Cowardice and time always find a reason for not hurrying, for saying, 'Not today, but tomorrow', whereas God in heaven and the eternal say: 'Do it today. Now is the day of salvation.' "


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Nine sect. 2, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pg. 115):

"God is called great because of that characteristic greatness of His which gives of itself to everything great, is poured out on all greatness and indeed reaches far beyond it. His greatness takes in all space, surpasses all number, moves far beyond infinity in its abundance, in the overflowing of its great works and in the gifts welling up from it. These are gifts which however widely they are shared by all remain nevertheless undiminished and possess the same super-fullness. They are not lessened by being partaken. Indeed, they pour out all the more generously. This greatness is infinite, with neither quantity nor number, and it reaches a flood as a result of the absolute transcendent outpouring of incomprehensible grandeur."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 36, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 146):

"When we think of the height of God's infinity we should not despair of His compassion reaching us from such a height; and when we recall the infinite depth of our fall through sin we should not refuse to believe that the virtue which has been killed in us will rise again. For God can accomplish both these things: He can come down and illumine our intellect with spiritual knowledge, and He can raise up the virtue within us and exalt it with Himself through works of righteousness."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Twelve para. 3, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 255):

"Grace comes immediately to meet some of those who strive, giving them assurance of the earnest of their inheritance (cf. Eph. 1:14), letting them taste the promised prizes, as if stretching out a loving hand to welcome them and anointing them for further struggles. With others, however, grace waits for the end of the struggle, and prepares for them the crown of patience as well. As one of the God-bearing Fathers says, 'Some receive holy rewards before their labours, some during labours, and some when they depart' (St. John Climacus)."


From St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa of the Summa edited and annotated by Peter Kreeft, Ques. 1, first article; Ignatius pg. 36):

"It was necessary for man's salvation that there should be a knowledge revealed by God, besides philosophical science built up by human reason. Firstly, indeed, because man is directed to God, as to an end that surpasses the grasp of his reason: 'The eye hath not seen, O God, besides Thee, what things Thou hast prepared for them that wait for Thee' (Is. 66:4). But the end must first be known by men who are to direct their thoughts and actions to the end. Hence it was necessary for the salvation of man that certain truths which exceed human reason should be made known to him by divine revelation."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 14; Paulist Press pg. 48):

"There are many indeed living in the body but actually dead. They lie in hell and cannot praise God. By contrast there are those who are dead to the body but who praise God in spirit and praise Him in accordance with the saying 'Spirits and souls of the just, give praise to the Lord' (Dan. 3:86), and 'Let every spirit offer praise to the Lord' (Ps. 150:6). In the Apocalypse the souls of those who have been killed are said not only to praise God but to cry out to Him. And in the gospel there is the clearer statement of the Lord when He says, 'Have you not read the utterance of God in the words "I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." He is not God of the dead but of the living' (Matt. 22:31-32)."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on John, John 1:11, from Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell; Routledge pg. 100):

"...the Son gives what belongs properly to Him alone and exists by nature within Him as a right, setting it out in common, as if making the matter an image of the loving kindness inherent within and of His love for the world. There was no other way for us who have borne the image of the man of dust to escape corruption, unless the beauty of the image of the man of heaven is imprinted upon us through our having been called to sonship (cf. I Cor. 15:49). For having become partakers of Him through the Spirit (cf. Heb. 3:14; 6:4), we were sealed into likeness to Him and mount up to the archetypal form of the image, in accordance with which divine Scripture says we were also made (cf. Gen. 1:27). For scarcely do we thus recover the ancient beauty of our nature, than we become superior to the evils that arose from the Fall."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 274):

"When you are subjected to the malicious and furious violence of the passions, and to the harassments of the Devil, during the fulfillment of various works for God, accept these sufferings as sufferings for the name of Christ, and rejoice in your sufferings, thanking God; for the Devil is preparing you, without knowing it himself, the most shining crowns from the Lord."


From Soren Kierkegaard (Provocations, Chapter 2; Plough Publishing House pgs. 9-10):

"Do you know of any more overwhelming and humbling expression for God's condescension and extravagance towards us human beings than that He places Himself, so to say, on the same level of choice with the world, just so that we may be able to choose; that God, if language dare speak thus, woos humankind - that He, the eternally strong one, woos sapless humanity? Yet, how insignificant is the young lover's choice between her pursuers by comparison with this choice between God and the world."


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Eight sect. 9, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Writings; Paulist Press pg. 114):

"Salvation, benevolently operating for the preservation of the world, redeems everything in accordance with the capacity of things to be saved and it works so that everything may keep within its appropriate virtue. This is why the theologians name it 'Redemption,' because it does not permit the truly real to fall to nothingness and because it redeems from the passions, from impotency and deficiency anything which has gone astray toward error or disorder or has suffered a failure to reach its proper virtues. Redemption is like a loving father making up for what is missing and overlooking any slack. It raises a thing up from an evil condition and sets it firmly where it ought to be, adding on lost virtue, bringing back order and arrangement where there was disorder and derangement, making it perfect and liberating it from defects."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 35, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 146):

"Those who seek the Lord should not look for Him outside themselves; on the contrary, they must seek Him within themselves through faith made manifest in action. For He is near you: 'The word is... in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith' (Rom. 10:8) - Christ being Himself the word that is sought."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Nineteen paras. 20-21, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 252):

"Anyone united with what is changeable either suffers all manner of reverses and loses what he has, such as riches, splendour and pleasure, or else he dies and brings upon himself the greatest change of all, departing naked and abandoning all the goods of this present life and his hopes for them... By contrast, for those who despise this world's goods and seek to learn about the world to come and hasten to do what serves to attain it, death does not inflict loss when it comes, but rather it conveys them away from what is vain and unstable to the day without evening, undying life, inexhaustible riches, unfading joy, eternal glory, and things that truly exist and remain forever unchanged."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 14; Paulist Press pg. 48):

"Let everybody know this. He shall be assigned to the place and to the service to which he gave and devoted himself in this life and he can be sure that in eternity he will have as his lot the service and the companionship which he preferred in this life."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on Isaiah 45:9, 10 from Cyril of Alexandria by Norman Russell; Routledge pg. 91):

" 'Will the ploughmen plough the earth all day?' (Is. 45:9). 'O foolish people,' he is saying, 'a cultivator turns over the soil with the plough but he does not go on doing it forever, nor is the whole business of cultivation taken up with ploughing. For he turns over the soil not simply for the sake of doing so but in order that it might be made ready to receive the seed when he sows it and prove to be productive. Therefore I gave the hearts of all of you, which were once overgrown like wastelands, a preliminary working over, using the law of Moses as a plough, and turning them over like a farmer made them suitable for sowing with good seed. Therefore accept what he offers and do not remain permanently attached to your beloved plough, which is the law.' For he ploughed, as I have said, not so that you should hold fast to ploughing (for what would be the use of that?) but so that you should produce the fruits of truth."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 274):

"Should thoughts of self-praise, of self-satisfaction, occur to you, say: 'I myself am nothing; all that is good in me is accomplished by the grace of God.' What hast thou that thou didst not receive?' (I Cor. 4:7). 'Without Me ye can do nothing' (John 15:5)."


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Eight sect. 7, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pg. 113):

"...the title 'Righteousness' is given to God because He assigns what is appropriate to all things; he distributes their due proportion, beauty, rank, arrangement, their proper and fitting place and order..."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 33, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 145):

"He who devoutly strives to attain wisdom and is on his guard against the invisible powers, should pray that both natural discrimination - whose light is but limited - and the illuminating grace of the Spirit abide in him. The first by means of practice trains the flesh in virtue, the second illuminates the intellect so that it chooses above all else companionship with wisdom; and through wisdom it destroys the strongholds of evil and pulls down 'all the self-esteem that exalts itself against the knowledge of God' (II Cor. 10:5)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Nineteen para. 13, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 247):

"Being bodiless, God is nowhere, but as God He is everywhere. If there were a mountain, a place or any part of Creation where God was not, then He would be found to be in some way circumscribed. So He is everywhere and in everything. In what way is this so? Is He contained not by each part but by the whole? No, because then that would be a body. He embraces and encompasses everything, and is Himself everywhere and also above everything, worshipped by true worshippers in His Spirit and Truth."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 13; Paulist Press pgs. 46-47):

"If the kingdom of God is within us and that is a kingdom of justice, of peace, and of joy then whoever remains with these virtues is certainly in the kingdom of God. By contrast, all who deal in unrighteousness, in discord, and in death-bearing gloom have taken their stand in the kingdom of the devil, in hell and in lifelessness. It is by these tokens that the kingdom of God or of the devil is recognized."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary on Isaiah, Is. 4:1, Cyril of Alexandria: The Early Church Fathers by Norman Russell; Routledge pg. 89):

"...service [to God] does not consist in offering sacrifice. It consists in the readiness to submit a tender neck, a neck that needs, as it were, not so much as a touch to the will of God."


From St. Mark the Ascetic (Letter to Nicolas the Solitary, The Philokalia Vol. 1 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 148):

"You should continually and unceasingly call to mind all the blessings which God in His love has bestowed on you in the past, and still bestows for the salvation of your soul. You must not let forgetfulness of evil or laziness make you grow unmindful of these many and great blessings, and so pass the rest of your life uselessly and ungratefully. For this kind of continual recollection, pricking the heart like a spur, moves it constantly to confession and humility, to thanksgiving with a contrite soul, and to all forms of sincere effort, repaying God through its virtue and holiness. In this way the heart meditates constantly and conscientiously on the words from the Psalms: 'What shall I give to the Lord in return for all His benefits towards me?' (Psalm 116:12)."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 273):

"When hungry, do not throw yourself upon food - else you will overload your heart and body. Eat slowly, without avidity, with reflection to the glory of God, remembering the God Who feeds us, and above all His incorruptible food, His Body and Blood, that out of love He has given Himself to us in food and drink, remembering also the holy word of the Gospel."


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Eight sect. 5, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pgs. 111-112):

"This Power [God] ensures that the orders and directions of the universe achieve their proper good and It preserves in immortality the unharmed lives of the angelic henads. It keeps the stars of heaven in their shining and unchanging orders. It gives them the power to be eternal. It distinguishes the circlings of time from its procession and duly brings them to base. It fashions the unquenchability of fire and the ceaseless moisture of water. It keeps the atmosphere fluid, founds the earth upon the void, making its labors endlessly fruitful. It preserves the shared harmony and mixture of the linked elements in their distinctiveness and their separateness. It reinforces the bonds of soul and body. It stirs the powers which give nourishment and growth to plants. It guides the powers which keep each creature in being. It establishes the unshakable remaining of the world. To those made godlike It grants the power for deification itself. In short, nothing in the world lacks the almighty power of God to support and to surround it, for that which completely lacks power has neither existence, nor individuality, nor even a place in the world."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 32, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 145):

"When the Logos of God is raised up in us by our practice of the virtues and by contemplation, He draws all things to Himself (cf. John 12:32); He sanctifies in virtue and spiritual knowledge our thoughts and words about the flesh, the soul and the nature of beings; He sanctifies also the very members of our bodies and our senses, and He places them all under His yoke. So let the visionary of divine things eagerly ascend in pursuit of the Logos until he reaches the place where He is. For, as Ecclesiastes puts it, He 'draws to His place' (Eccles. 1:5) all those who follow Him, and as the great High Priest He brings them into the Holy of Holies, where He Himself, who became as we are, has entered as a forerunner on our behalf (cf. Heb. 6:20)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Nineteen para. 12, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 246):

"The heavenly Father Whom we worship is the Father of the Truth, namely, of the only-begotten Son, and has the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, and those who worship Him in these Two do so because they believe in these Persons and act through Them. For the Apostle tells us that it is through the Spirit that we worship and pray (cf. Rom. 8:26), and God's only-begotten Son says, 'No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me' (John 14:6)."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 13; Paulist Press pg. 46):

"...a man surrounded by the frailty of the flesh cannot cling totally to God or be joined to Him in unbroken contemplation. Yet we certainly need to know the direction in which our mind must always go. We must be aware of the destination toward which we must always summon our spirit. And whenever the mind can succeed in this let it rejoice, and whenever it is distracted let it grieve and sigh, knowing that as often as it is turned aside from contemplation it has been cut off from the ultimate good, knowing that to veer for even a moment from beholding Christ is to be guilty of impurity. When our gaze has wandered even a little from Christ let us immediately turn the eyes of our heart back to Him and let our vision be directed to Him as though along the straightest line."


From St. Cyril of Alexandria (Commentary of Isaiah, 3:5, The Early Church Fathers: Cyril of Alexandria; Routledge pg. 85):

"That He [Christ] was anointed in a human manner and is said to have received a share of the Holy Spirit, even though He was Himself the giver of the Spirit, and the sanctifier of creation, is explained where it says: I gave him my Spirit to be upon Him (cf. Is. 3:5). For when He was baptized, the Spirit, says Scripture, descended upon Him in the form of a dove and remained upon Him (cf. Matt. 3:16). If at the time of His baptism He received the Spirit in accordance with the limitations of His humanity, this would be in keeping with other instances. Insofar as He is God He was not sanctified by receiving the Spirit. For He is the one... who is doing the sanctifying. But insofar as He is human He is sanctified in accordance with the dispensation of the Incarnation."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 273):

"In prayer and in every work of your life avoid suspicious ness, doubt and diabolical imaginations. Let your spiritual eye be single, in order that the whole body of your prayer, of your works and of your life may be light."


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Eight sect. 2; Paulist Press pgs. 110-111)

"God is Power in that all power is initially contained within His own self. He is Power sofar as He exceeds all power. He is the cause of all power. He gives being to all things through His power which is total and unthwarted. He is the cause of power in its totality and in its specific form. His power is infinite because all power comes from Him and because He transcends all power, even absolute power. He possesses a superabundance of power which endlessly produces an endless number of other powers. The created powers never blunt the super-unbounded work of His power-producing power. His transcendent power is inexpressible, unknowable, inconceivably great, and, as it flows over, it empowers whatever is weak and it preserves and directs the humblest of its echoes."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 31, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 145):

"Blessed is he who like Joshua (cf. Josh. 10:12-13) keeps the Sun of righteousness from setting in himself throughout the whole day of his present life, not allowing it to be blotted out by the dusk of sin and ignorance. In this way he will truly be able to put to flight the cunning demons that rise up against him."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Nineteen para. 9, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 243):

"If you put something fragrant on to burning coals, you motivate those who approach to come back again and to stay near, but if instead you put on something with an unpleasant, oppressive smell, you repel them and drive them away. It is the same with the mind. If your attention is occupied with what is holy, you make yourself worthy of being visited by God, since this is the sweet savour which God catches scent of. On the other hand, if you nurture evil, foul and earthly thoughts within you, you remove yourself from God's supervision and unfortunately make yourself worthy of His aversion."


From G. K. Chesterton (Habits of Belief, Essential Writings; Orbis Books pg. 140):

"The vault above us is not deaf because the universe is an idiot; the silence is not the heartless silence of an endless and aimless world. Rather the silence around us is a small and pitiful stillness like the prompt stillness of a sick room. We are perhaps permitted tragedy as a sort of merciful comedy, because the frantic energy of divine things would knock us down like a drunken farce. We can take our own tears more lightly than we could take the tremendous levities of the angels. So we sit perhaps in a starry chamber of silence while the laughter of the heavens is too loud for us to hear."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 11; Paulist Press pg. 45):

"The blessed apostle described even the higher gifts of the Holy Spirit as things that would vanish. He points to love as alone without end. 'Prophecies will end, languages cease and knowledge will fail' (I Cor. 13:8). As for love, 'love will never cease'. Actually, all gifts have been given for reasons of temporal use and need and they will surely pass away at the end of the present dispensation. Love, however, will never be cut off. It works in us and for us, and not simply in this life. For when the burden of physical need has been laid aside in the time to come, it will endure, more effectively, more excellently, forever unfailing, clinging to God with more fire and zeal through all the length of incorruption."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 272):

"We love everything brilliant on earth: gold, silver, precious stones, crystal, bright clothing - why, then, do we not love the future glory to which the Lord calls us? Why do we not aspire to shine like the sun? 'Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father' (Matt. 13:43). It is because we have perverted the nature of our soul by sin, and have attached ourselves to earth instead of to heaven, to corruptible things instead of to incorruptible ones; because we love earthly, transitory, perishable, and seductive splendour. But why is there such a love for everything bright in us? Because our soul was created for heavenly light, and was originally all light, all radiance; thus light is inborn in it, the feeling and desire for light are inborn in it. Direct this aspiration to seeking for heavenly light!"


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Seven sect. 4, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Writings; Paulist Press pg. 110):

"The man in union with truth knows clearly that all is well with him, even if everyone thinks that he has gone out of his mind. What they fail to see, naturally, is that he is gone out of the path of error and has in his real faith arrived at the truth. He knows that far from being mad, as they imagine him to be, he has been rescued from the instability and the constant changes which bore him along the variety of error and that he has been set free by simple and immutable stable truth. That is why the principle leaders of our divine wisdom die each day for the truth. They bear witness in every word and deed to the single knowledge of the truth possessed by Christians. They prove that truth to be more simple and more divine than every other. Or, rather, what they show is that here is the only true, single, and simple knowledge of God."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 30, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 145):

"As long as I remain imperfect and refractory, neither obeying God by practising the commandments nor becoming perfect in spiritual knowledge, Christ from my point of view also appears imperfect and refractory because of me. For I diminish and cripple Him by not growing in spirit with Him, since I am 'the body of Christ and one of its members' (I Cor. 12:27)."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Nineteen para. 6, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 240-241):

"While He [the Lord Jesus] was sitting alone by the well, 'There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water' (John 4:7). As man, the Lord was thirsty, and saw that someone who was naturally thirsty was coming to quench her thirst. As God, however, He also saw that her heart was athirst for the water of salvation, although she did not know Him Who could give it to her. So He hastened to reveal Himself to her longing soul for, as it is written, He Himself longs for those who long for Him (cf. Ps. 9:10; Prov. 7:15)."


From G. K. Chesterton (Habits of Belief, Essential Writings; Orbis Books pg. 140):

"Christianity satisfies suddenly and perfectly man's ancestral instinct for being the right way up; satisfies it supremely in this, that by its creed Joy becomes something gigantic, and Sadness something special and small."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 10; Paulist Press pg. 45):

"...works of piety and charity... are necessary in this present life for as long as inequality prevails. Their workings here would not be required were it not for the superabundant numbers of the poor, the needy, and the sick... As long as this inequity rages in the world, these good works will be necessary and valuable to anyone practicing them and they shall yield the reward of an everlasting inheritance to the man of good heart and concerned will."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part II, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 271):

"Lord! I am - a miracle of Thy goodness, wisdom and omnipotence, inasmuch as I was brought by Thee from non-existence into existence; inasmuch as I am preserved until now by Thee in this existence; inasmuch as by the mercy, bounties, and love to mankind of Thine Only-begotten Son, I shall inherit eternal life, provided I am faithful unto Thee; inasmuch as by the mysterious act of Thine offering Thyself through Thy Son as a sacrifice, I am restored from the terrible fall, I am redeemed from eternal destruction, I glorify Thy goodness, Thine infinite power, Thy wisdom! But complete the miracle of Thy goodness, omnipotence and wisdom upon me, a miserable sinner, and by ways known to Thee, save me, Thine unworthy servant, and lead me into Thine eternal kingdom, make me worthy of the life that never grows old, of the day that has no evening."


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Seven sect. 4, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pgs. 109-110):

"God is praised as 'Logos' by the sacred scriptures... because... This Word is simple total truth. Divine faith revolves around it because it is pure and unwavering knowledge of all. It is the one sure foundation for those who believe, binding them to the truth, building the truth in them as something unshakably firm so that they have an uncomplicated knowledge of the truth of what they believe. If knowledge unites knower and known, while ignorance is always the cause of change and of the inconsistency of the ignorant, then, as scripture tells us (Rom. 8:39), nothing shall separate the one who believes in truth from the ground of true faith, and it is there that he will come into the possession of enduring, unchanging identity."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 29, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 144):

"Just as the teaching of the Law and the prophets, being harbingers of the coming advent of the Logos in the flesh, guide our souls to Christ (cf. Gal. 3:24), so the glorified incarnate Logos of God is Himself a harbinger of His spiritual advent, leading our souls forward by His own teachings to receive His divine and manifest advent. He does this ceaselessly, by means of the virtues converting those found worthy from the flesh to the spirit. And He will do it at the end of the age, making manifest what has hitherto been hidden from men."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Eighteen para. 15, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 235-236):

"It is pointless for someone to say that he has faith in God if he does not have the works which go with faith. What benefit were their lamps to the foolish virgins who had no oil (Matt. 25:1-13), namely, deeds of love and compassion? What good did calling Abraham his father do to that rich man frying in the unquenchable flame for his pitilessness towards Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)? What use was his apparent obedience to the invitation to that man who had failed to acquire through good works a garment fitting for the divine wedding and the bridechamber of immortality? He was invited and approached because he clearly believed, and he sat down alongside those holy guests, but when he was convicted and put to shame for being clothed in depraved habits and deeds, he was mercilessly bound hand and foot, and cast into hellfire, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 22:11-14)."


From G. K. Chesterton (Habits of Belief, Essential Writings; Orbis Books pgs. 139-140):

"Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when Joy is the fundamental thing in him, and Grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive state of mind; Praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul. Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; Joy is the uproarious labor by which all things live."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 8; Paulist Press pg. 43):

"In looking after the Lord and His disciples Martha did a very holy service. Mary, however, was intent on the spiritual teaching of Jesus and she stayed by His feet... while Martha was working hard, responsibly and fully intent on her job... she demanded the help of her sister from the Lord. 'Does it not bother You that my sister leaves me to do the work alone?' she said. 'Tell her to come and help me' (Luke 10:40). Certainly she summons Mary to a task that is not inconsequential but is a praiseworthy service. Yet what does she hear from the Lord? 'Martha, Martha, you are full of worry and are upset over many things where actually it should be over a few or even one thing. Mary has chosen the good part and it will not be taken away from her' (Luke 10:41-42)... In saying this the Lord locates the primary good not in activity, however praiseworthy, however abundantly fruitful, but in truly simple... contemplation of Himself."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part 1, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 270):

"Leave all human injustices to the Lord, for God is the Judge, but as to yourself, be diligent in loving everybody with a pure heart..."


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Seven sect. 3, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pgs. 108-109):

"...we cannot know God in His nature, since this is unknowable and beyond the reach of mind or of reason. But we know Him from the arrangement of everything, because everything is, in a sense, projected out from Him, and this order possesses certain images and semblances of His divine paradigms. We therefore approach that which is beyond all as far as our capacities allow us and we pass by way of the denial and the transcendence of all things and by way of the cause of all things. God is therefore known in all things and as distinct from all things. He is known through knowledge and through unknowing. Of Him there is conception, reason, understanding, touch, perception, opinion, imagination, name, and many other things. On the other hand He cannot be understood, words cannot contain Him, and no name can lay hold of Him. He is not one of the things that are and He is no thing among things. He is known to all from all things and He is known to no one from anything... the most divine knowledge of God, that which comes through unknowing, is achieved in a union far beyond mind, when mind turns away from all things, even from itself, and when it is made one with the dazzling rays, being then and there enlightened by the inscrutable depth of Wisdom."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 28, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 144):

"Before His visible advent in the flesh the Logos of God dwelt among the patriarchs and prophets in a spiritual manner, prefiguring the mysteries of His advent. After His incarnation He is present in a similar way not only to those who are still beginners, nourishing them spiritually and leading them toward the maturity of divine perfection, but also to the perfect, secretly pre-delineating in them the features of His future advent as if in an ikon."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Seventeen para. 22, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pg. 223):

"...let us, brethren, meet together and often come to God's Church, where all who are truly godly are present and never stay away. When each of you enters the church, look for the more godly of those within, whom you can recognize just by seeing how they stand in attentive silence. Watch for those who are more pious and God-fearing than the rest, and go and attach yourself to them, and attend upon God with them. When you come out after the dismissal on the Lord's Day and are at leisure from earthly work for the sake of Him Whose day it is, carefully search to see if there is an imitator of the Apostles who mostly stays indoors, longing for God with silent prayer, psalmody and other suitable practices. Approach such a person... Sit down beside him and stay with him as long as possible. Talk to him about God and divine matters, asking questions, humbly learning and appealing for help through prayer. If you do this, I know for sure that Christ will invisibly come to you, give peace within the thinking part of your soul, increase your faith, strengthen your steadfastness, and in due time set you among His chosen in the heavenly kingdom."


From G. K. Chesterton (Habits of Belief, Essential Writings; Orbis Books pg. 138):

"The test of happiness is gratitude."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 7; Paulist Press pg. 42):

"What we gain from fasting does not compensate for what we lose through anger. Our profit from scriptural reading in no way equals the damage we cause ourselves by showing contempt for a brother. We must practice fasting, vigils, withdrawal, and the meditation of Scripture as activities which are subordinate to our main objective, purity of heart, that is to say, love, and we must never disturb this principal virtue for the sake of those others. If this virtue remains whole and unharmed within us nothing can injure us, not even if we are forced to omit any of those other subordinate virtues. Nor will it be of any use to have practiced all these latter if there is missing in us that principal objective for the sake of which all else is undertaken."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part 1, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 269):

"Adam became so proud that he wished to become God and died for his pride; the Son of God humbled Himself unto death, and gave life to the fallen. O abyss of humility! Adam and Eve lost themselves through gluttony, the Lord fasted and died for them, in order to give them life. They were disobedient, Christ fulfilled obedience."


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Seven sect. 2, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pg. 108):

"...God does not possess a private knowledge of Himself and a separate knowledge of all the creatures in common. The universal Cause, by knowing Itself, can hardly be ignorant of the things which proceed from It and of which It is the source. This, then, is how God knows all things, not by understanding things, but by understanding Himself."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 27, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 144):

"...since the Corinthians were weak, while with them St. Paul rightly 'decided to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified' (I Cor. 2:2). But since the Ephesians were perfect, he wrote to them that God 'has raised us up in union with Christ Jesus and enthroned us with Him in the heavenly realm' (Eph. 2:6), thus affirming that the Logos of God adapts Himself according to each person's strength. In this way, He is crucified for those taking their first steps... and He nails their impassioned energies to the cross with divine fear. He rises again and ascends into heaven for those who have put off the whole of their fallen selfhood, corrupted by the desires of deceitfulness (cf. Eph. 4:22); who have been entirely renewed through the Holy Spirit as man created in the image of God (cf. Eph. 4:24); and who draw near to the Father through His grace, which is in them, and so are raised 'far above every principality, power, might and dominion, and above every name that is named not only in this age but also in the age to come' (Eph. 1:21). For all things, all names and dignities sequent to God, are likewise inferior to him who through grace dwells in God."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Seventeen para 19, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary Press pgs. 221-222):

"...those who have suffered for Christ are adorned forever with their wounds. Windows in a house do not make it less safe and are not something ugly but a necessary decoration for a building, to let in light and allow those within to look out. In the same way, the body's sufferings for Christ's sake and the resultant wounds become for those who bear them windows to let in the light without evening. And when that light shines forth they will be recognizable by the divine beauty and radiance of their wounds and not by their ugliness. Their scars will not be obliterated when suffering comes to an end, in so far as they procure immortality."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 7; Paulist Press pg. 41):

"Everything we do, our every objective, must be undertaken for the sake of... purity of heart... we must practice the reading of the Scripture, together with all the other virtuous activities... to hold our hearts free of the harm of every dangerous passion and in order to rise step by step to the high point of love."


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part 1, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 265):

"Love does not reflect. Love is simple. Love never mistakes. Likewise believe and trust without reflection, for faith and trust are also simple; or better: God, in whom we believe and in whom we trust, is an incomplex Being, as He is also simply love."


From St. Dionysius (The Divine Names, Chapter Seven sect. 2, Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works; Paulist Press pgs. 107-108):

"The divine Mind... takes in all things in a total knowledge which is transcendent. Because it is the Cause of all things it has a foreknowledge of everything. Before there are angels He has knowledge of angels and He brings them into being. He knows everything else and, if I may put it so, He knows them from the very beginning and therefore brings them into being. This... is what scripture means with the declaration, 'He knows all things before their birth' (Dan. 13:42 [Susanna 42]). The divine Mind does not acquire knowledge of things from things. Rather, of itself and in itself it precontains and comprehends the awareness and understanding and being of everything in terms of their cause."


From St. Maximos the Confessor (Second Century on Theology no. 25, The Philokalia Vol. 2 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 143):

"If the divine Logos of God the Father became son of man and man so that He might make men gods and the sons of God, let us believe that we shall reach the realm where Christ Himself now is; for He is the head of the whole body (cf. Col. 1:18), and endued with our humanity has gone to the Father as forerunner on our behalf. God will stand 'in the midst of the congregation of gods' (Ps. 82:1 LXX) - that is, of those who are saved - distributing the rewards of that realm's blessedness to those found worthy to receive them, not separated from them by any space."


From St. Gregory Palamas (Homily Seventeen para. 17, The Homilies Vol. 1; St. Tikhon's Seminary press pg. 220):

"Let no one out of laziness or continuous worldly occupations miss these holy Sunday gatherings, which God Himself handed down to us, lest he be justly abandoned by God... If you are detained and do not attend on one occasion, make up for it the next time, bringing yourself to Christ's Church. Otherwise you may remain uncured, suffering from unbelief in your soul because of deeds or words, and failing to approach Christ's surgery to receive... holy healing."


From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. One sect. 6; Paulist Press pg. 41):

"Perfection... is clearly not achieved simply by being naked, by the lack of wealth or by the rejection of honors, unless there is also that love whose ingredients the apostle described (cf. I Cor. 13) and which is to be found solely in purity of heart. Not to be jealous, not to be puffed up, not to act heedlessly, not to seek what does not belong to one, not to rejoice over some injustice, not to plan evil - what is this and its like if not the continuous offering to God of the heart that is perfect and truly pure, a heart kept free of all disturbance?"


From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ:Part 1, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 266):

"The Lord, before His Incarnation, let mankind experience all the bitterness of sin, all their powerlessness to eradicate it; and when all longed for a Deliverer, then He appeared, the most wise, all-powerful Physician and Helper. When men hungered and thirsted after righteousness, as it grew weaker, then the everlasting righteousness came."



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