Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You cannot destroy the passions on your own

You cannot destroy the passions on your own, but ask God, and He will destroy them, if this is profitable for you.

St. Anatoly of Optina, found here

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bless My Enemies O Lord

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Enemies have driven me into your embrace more than friends have. Friends have bound me to earth, enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.
Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world. Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world. They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself. They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments. They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself. They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance. Bless my enemies, O Lord, Even I bless them and do not curse them. Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish. Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a dwarf. Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background. Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they have prevented me with an iron hand. Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they have wakened me from sleep. Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they have demolished it and driven me out.Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and have stretched out my hands to the hem of your garment.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly against me: so that my fleeing to You may have no return; so that all hope in men may be scattered like cobwebs; so that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul; so that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins, arrogance and anger; so that I might amass all my treasure in heaven; ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life. Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except himself. One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies, but cruel friends. It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies. Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and enemies.

A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand. But a son blesses them, for he understands. For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life. Therefore he freely steps among them and prays to God for them.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

St. Nikolai Velimirovich who suffered at Dachau. Prayer can be found in pdf form here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We should marvel how

demons and various diseases are dispelled by the sign of the precious and life-giving Cross, which all can make without cost or effort... The two fingers and single hand with which it is made represent the Lord Jesus Christ crucified, and He is thereby acknowledged to exist in two natures and one hypostasis or person. The use of right hand betokens His infinite power and the fact that He sits at the right hand of the Father. That the sign begins with a downward movement from above signifies His descent to us from heaven. Again, the movement of the hand from the right side to the left drives away our enemies and declares that by His invincible power the Lord overcame the devil, who is on the left side, dark and lacking strength.

St. Peter of Damaskos in the Philokalia

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Set me free, O God

Set me free, O God, from that multitude of speech which I suffer inwardly in my soul, wretched as it is in Thy sight, and flying for refuge to Thy mercy; for I am not silent in thoughts, even when silent in words...

O Lord the one God, God the Trinity, whatever I have said in these books that is Thine, may those who are Thine acknowledge; if [I have said] anything of my own, may it be pardoned both by Thee and by those who are Thine.

Augustine, conclusion of On the Trinity

Friday, June 12, 2009

Always think of your soul as knowing nothing

that you may be preserved from the reprehensible things which the supposition that you are capable of directing others stirs in you.

...Always consider yourself as needing instruction so that you may be found wise throughout your life.

St. Issac the Syrian On Ascetical Life

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We ought to love afflictions

God does not want us, His children, to be pestered. He gives us temptations and hardships in order to become perfect. Temptations will cease to exist in our life, when we reach the level of perfection...

We Christians ought to love afflictions and not try to get rid of them; afflictions are necessary means leading to our perfection.

Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos, quoted here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Isn't Christianity in the West better off

being in freedom? [Some one asked Father Dimitry Dudko during the the Soviet era] --he replied: "No. There they have a spirituality with comfort, and you can't expect much from that; here in Russia we have martyrs and suffering, and from that can come resurrection and new life."

...We [in the West] are in a privileged position of peace and freedom, and this is dangerous for us. We can sit in the midst of our Orthodox treasures, the treasures that give salvation that no one else has -- and be satisfied with our situation and so be totally fruitless. If we have difficulty in being Orthodox -- then let us rejoice, for that means we must struggle, and there is hope that we won't wither and die spiritually.

Seraphim (Rose) in Orthodoxy in America

Friday, June 5, 2009

The fathers

says the Gerontikon, 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 be 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.

St. Peter of Damaskos in the Philokalia

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pray and then speak.

That’s what to do with your children. If you are constantly lecturing them, you’ll become tiresome and when they grow up they’ll feel a kind of oppression. Prefer prayer and speak to them through prayer. Speak to God and God will speak to their hearts. That is, you shouldn’t give guidance to your children with a voice that they hear with their ears. You may do this too, but above all you should speak to God about your children. Say, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, give Your light to my children. I entrust them to You. You gave them to me, but I am weak and unable to guide them, so, please, illuminate them.’ And God will speak to them and they will say to themselves, ‘Oh dear, I shouldn’t have upset Mummy by doing that!’ And with the grace of God this will come from their heart.” He also said, “It is not sufficient for the parents to be devout. They mustn’t oppress the children to make them good by force. We may repel our children from Christ when we pursue the things of our religion with egotism.

Elder Porphyrios in Wounded by Love quoted here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

If the question which you raise

is concerning God, your inquiry is no simple or ordinary matter, for the Divinity is incomprehensible; and it will be sufficient for you to study the traditions of the holy apostles about Him and the teaching of the divine Fathers who followed in their steps and not trouble yourselves any further... [L]et us abstain from vain and dangerous questionings and let us each consider that which concerns ourselves... for it is written: 'Seek not out the things that are to high for thee, neither search the things that are too deep for thee.'

St. Daniel the Stylite in his Life