Three-Hundred Sayings of the Ascetics of the Orthodox Church - Part 2

June 23, 2018

Periodically in the coming months I will be utilizing a little book translated from Russian titled simply Three-Hundred Sayings of the Ascetics of the Orthodox Church. The purpose of the book is simple: to give short sayings from Orthodox saints on a variety of topics important to all of us. I have found this little collection helpful and I hope you do, too.
-Fr John

 

How do We Relate to God?

Always have the fear of God in your heart, and remember that God is always with you, everywhere, whether you are walking or sitting. (St. Gennadius of Constantinople, The Golden Chain, 14)


Having God, fear nothing, but cast all of your care upon Him, and He will take care of you. Believe undoubtingly, and God will help you according to His mercy. (St. Barsanuphius the Great, Instructions, 166)


You must love every man with your whole soul, but put your hope in the one God, and serve Him alone. For as long as He is protecting us and our friends (the angels) are helping us, our enemies (the demons) cannot inflict evil upon us. But when He forsakes us, then also our friends turn away from us, and our enemies receive power over us. (St. Maximus Confessor, Chapters on Love, 4.95)


If a man has no worries about himself at all for the sake of love toward God and the working of good deeds, knowing that God is taking care of him, this is a true and wise hope. But if a man takes care of his own business and turns to God in prayer only when misfortunes come upon him which are beyond his power, and then he begins to hope in God, such a hope is vain and false. A true hope seeks only the Kingdom of God ... the heart can have no peace until it obtains such a hope. This hope pacifies the heart and produces joy within it. (St. Seraphim of Sarov, Works, 4)

 

God takes care of everyone

Do not say, "this happened by chance, while this came to be of itself." In all that exists there is nothing disorderly, nothing indefinite, nothing without purpose, nothing by chance ... How many hairs are on your head? God will not forget one of them. Do you see how nothing, even the smallest thing, escapes the gaze of God? (St. Basil the Great)

 

It is an indubitable truth that the highest Divine Providence arranges all of creation. God considers all things beforehand and takes care for all things. This is the Divine fatherly care of which the blessed apostle Peter speaks: "Cast all of your cares upon Him, because He is concerned for you." (I Pet. 5:7) (St. Elias Minjatios. Sermon on the Great Fast, 1)

 

The purpose of God's Providence is to unite, by means of right faith and spiritual love, people who have been separated by evil. To this end the Savior also suffered for us, "in order to gather together the children of God who were scattered." (John 11:52) (St. Maximus Confessor, Chapters of Love, 4.17)

 

Those Who Have Known God

A man becomes spiritual insofar as he lives a spiritual life. He begins to see God in all things, to see His power and might in every manifestation. Always and everywhere he sees himself abiding in God and dependent on God for all things. But insofar as a man lives a bodily life, so much does he do bodily things; He doesn't see God in anything, even in the most wondrous manifestations of His Divine power. In all things he sees body, material, everywhere and always - "God is not before his eyes." (Ps. 35:2) (St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ, I.5)

 

When the soul knows the love of God by the Holy Spirit, then he clearly feels that the Lord is our own Father, the closest, dearest Father, the best. And there is not greater happiness than to love God with all the mind and heart, and our neighbor as our self. And when this love is in the soul, then all things bring joy to the soul. (St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, IX.15)

 

Don't be troubled if you don't feel the love of God in yourself, but thing about the Lord, that He is merciful, and guard yourself from sins, and the grace of God will teach you. (St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, IX.16)

 

When you throw a nail into a fire, it gets hot and starts to glow like fire. In the same way you, when you listen to divine teachings and live accordingly, will become like God. (St. Symeon of Daibabe, Sayings, 26)

 

The soul that has come to know God fully no longer desires anything else, nor does it attach itself to anything on the earth; and if you put before it a kingdom, it would not desire it, for the love of God gives such sweetness and joy to the soul that even the life of a king can no longer give it any sweetness. (St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, IX.13)

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