Three-Hundred Sayings of the Ascetics of the Orthodox Church - Part 7

August 4, 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

 

III. Us and Our Neighbors

Relationships with Other People

A Christian must be courteous to all. His words and deeds should breath with the grace of the Holy Spirit, which abides in his soul, so that in this way he might glorify the name of God. He who regulates all of his speech also regulates all of his actions. He who keeps watch over the words he is about say also keeps watch over the deeds he intends to do, and he never goes out of the bounds good and benevolent conduct. The graceful speech of a Christian is characterized by delicateness and politeness. This fact, born of love, produces peace and joy. On the other hand, boorishness gives birth to hatred, enmity, affliction, competitiveness, disorder and wars. (St. Nektarius of Aegina)


It is joyful to feel that we do not and cannot have any enemies among men, but only unhappy brethren, who are deserving of pity and help, even when, through misunderstanding, they become our enemies and fight against us. Woe! They do not understand that the enemy is found within ourselves, and that first of all one must cast him out of oneself, and then also help others to do the same. We have only one enemy: the devil and his evil spirits. But man, no matter how far he has fallen, never loses certain sparks of light and goodness which may be blown into a bright flame. But for us there is no reason to fight against people, even when they consistently send against all kind of blows and rebukes ... To fight against people is to take a false position of our enemies. Even if we succeed, we gain nothing from this fight, but rather become estranged from our own success. (Martyr Roman Medved, Letter to His Daughter from the Gulag, 1932)

 

With all your power, ask the Lord for humility and brotherly love, because God freely gives His grace for love towards one's brother. Do an experiment on yourself: one day ask God for love towards your brother, and another day - live without love. You will see the difference. (St. Silouan the Athonite)

 

Adorn yourself with truth, try to speak truth in all things; and do not support a lie, no matter who asks you. If you speak the truth and someone gets mad at you, don't be upset, but take comfort in the words of the Lord: Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of truth, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 5:10). (St. Gennadius of Constantinople)

 

The holy Isaiah said: If one should speak to his brother with guile, he will not escape spiritual harm. (Ancient Patericon)

 

If someone puts his trust in God in a matter, let him not argue with his brother about it. (St. Mark the Ascetic, Sermon)

 

Draw nigh to the righteous, and through them you will draw nigh to God. Communicate with those who possess humility, and you will learn morals from them. A man who follows one who loves God becomes rich in the mysteries of God; but he who follows an unrighteous and proud man gets faraway from God, and will be hated by his friends. (St. Isaac the Syrian)

 

St. Pimen the Great said: Depart from every man who loves to quarrel. (Ancient Paterikon)

 

If you cannot close the mouth of one who reviles his brother, at least avoid conversation with him.(St. Isaac the Syrian)

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