Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Way of Life is this:

Thou shalt love first the Lord thy Creator, and secondly thy neighbor as thyself; and thou shalt do nothing to any man that thou wouldst not wish to be done to thyself.

What you may learn from these words is to bless them that curse you, to pray for your enemies, and to fast for your persecutors. For where is the merit in loving only those who return your love? Even the heathens do as much as that. But if you love those who hate you, you will have nobody to be your enemy.

from Early Christian Writings; The Didache, p. 191

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A brother asked

one of the elders: What is humility? The elder answered him: To do good to those who do evil to you. The brother asked: Supposing a man cannot go that far, what should he do? The elder replied: Let him get away from them and keep his mouth shut.

From The Wisdom of the Desert pp. 53-54

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The inclination to irritability

is given to us to use against [our own] sin, and we were never meant to use it against our fellow men. When we do, we act contrary to nature. We use irritability in this wrong, deflected way because we are proud. You must, of course, strive to curb your irritability; but guard yourself against being elated if you succeed.

from Russian Letters of Spiritual Direction 1834-1860 Macarius, Starets of Optino, p. 79

Monday, October 20, 2008

The only way to God

is through doing good, through helping other people and denying the enourmous, human "I" we are always trying to push forward.

from Father Arseny 1893-1973 p. 186

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Abba Macarius was asked

"How should one pray?" The old man said, "There is no need at all to make long discourses; it is enough to stretch out one's hands and say, "Lord, as you will, and as you know, have mercy." And if the conflict grows fiercer say, "Lord, help!" He knows very well what we need and he shews us his mercy."

Saying of the Desert Fathers
, p. 131

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

There is among the passions

an anger of the intellect, and this anger is in accordance with nature. Without anger a man cannot attain purity: he has to feel angry with all that is sown in him by the [spiritual] enemy... He who wishes to acquire the anger that is in accordance with nature must uproot all self-will, until he establishes within himself the state natural to the intellect.

St. Isaiah the Solitary, Philokalia vol. I, p. 22

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

When Abba Anthony

thought about the depth of the judgements 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, 'Anthony, keep your attention on yourself; these things are according to the judgment of God, and it is not in your advantage to know anything about them.'

Sayings of the Desert Fathers p. 2

Friday, October 10, 2008

What is Tiny Little Stones?

This blog is named after the "five smooth stones" used by David to slay Goliath. As a small stone was used to slay a giant warrior, so David's Psalms have been used to slay spiritual enemies. Likewise, the sayings collected here, it is hoped, will be useful by those who ponder them to battle the passions, thoughts, and compulsions that afflict all humankind.

Tiny Little Stones is a collection of short sayings from the Church's holy people. They are collected for their practical value. Those who have gone before us and have been victorious in the spiritual battle have much to teach those with ears to hear, yet are still subject to their desires and selfishness. By the example, words, and continuing intercession of the saints, perhaps some of us will start, a little, to repent.