Three-Hundred Sayings of the Ascetics of the Orthodox Church - Part 6

July 28, 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

 

The Spiritual Father

Consider that the Holy Spirit lives in the spiritual father, and He will tell you what to do. But if you think that the spiritual father lives negligently, and that the Holy Spirit can't live in him, you will suffer mightily for such a thought, and the Lord will humble you, and you will straightway fall into delusion. (St. Silouan the Athonite)


If a man does not tell everything to his spiritual father, then his path is crooked and does not lead to the Kingdom of Heaven. But the path of one who tells everything leads directly to the Kingdom of Heaven. (St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings)


Tell everything to your spiritual father, and the Lord will have mercy on you and you will escape delusion. But if you think that you know more about the spiritual life than your spiritual father, and you stop telling him everything about yourself in confession, then you will immediately be allowed to fall into some sort of delusion, in order that you may be corrected. (St. Silouan the Athonite)


The Holy Spirit acts mystically through the spiritual father, and then when you go out from your spiritual father, the soul feels her renewal. But if you leave your spiritual father in a state of confusion, this means that you did not confess purely and did not forgive your brother all of his sins from your heart. (St. Silouan the Athonite)

 

The Lord loves us so much that He suffered for us on the Cross; and His suffering was so great that we can't comprehend it. In the same way our spiritual pastors suffer for us, although we often don't see their suffering. The greater the love of the pastor, the greater his suffering; and we, the sheep, should understand this, and love and honor our pastors. (St. Silouan the Athonite)

 

The spiritual father only shows to way, like a signpost, but we have to traverse it ourselves. If the spiritual father shows the way and the disciple doesn't move himself, then he won't get anywhere, and will rot near the signpost. (St. Nikon of Optina)

 

Retribution

Don't be deceived regarding the knowledge of what will be after your death: what you sow here, you will reap there. After leaving here, no one can make progress. Here is the work, there the reward; here the struggle, there the crowns. (St. Barsanuphius the Great)


God gives His communion to all who love Him. Communion with God is life and light and
sweetness with all the good things that He has. But those who of their own will forsake him he rewards with separation from Him, which they themselves have chosen. As separation from light is darkness, so also alienation from God is deprivation of all good things which He has. But the good things of God are eternal and without end, so that the loss of them is eternal and without end. Thus, sinners shall be the cause of their own torments, just as the blind do not see the light, although it is shining on them. (St. Irenaeus of Lyons)

 

The Savior of our race, employing all means to freeman from deception, has shared with us who obey Him heavenly and divine good things. But to the disobedient he has shown that there awaits them not temporal torments that abide for a time, but eternal and everlasting torments. (St. Photius the Great)

 

Not only men, but also women, the weaker sex, in going by the narrow path of Christ have received for themselves the Kingdom of Heaven. For there is neither male nor female, but everyone receives his own reward according to his own labor. (St. Ephraim the Syrian)

 

The Eternal Joy of Christians

Christians, always rejoice, for evil, death, sin, the devil and hell have been conquered by Christ. But when all of this is conquered, is there anyone in the world who can bring our joy to naught? You are the lord of this eternal rejoicing as long as you do not give in to sin. Joy burns in our hearts from His truth, love, resurrection, and from the Church and His saints. Joy burns in our hearts all because of sufferings for Him, mockings for Him, and death for Him, insofar as these sufferings write our names in heaven. There is no true joy on earth without the victory over death, but the victory over death does not exist without the Resurrection, and the Resurrection does not exist without Christ. The risen God-Man Christ, the founder of the Church, constantly pours out this joy into the hearts of His followers through the Holy Mysteries and good deeds. Our faith is fulfilled in this eternal joy, insofar as the joy of faith in Christ is the only true joy for human nature. (St. Justin Popovich)

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