Three-Hundred Sayings of the Ascetics of the Orthodox Church - Part 9

August 18, 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 to Deal with Those Who Hurt Us

Whoever prays for those who hurt him lays the demons low; but he who opposes his affronter is bound to the demons. (St. Mark the Ascetic)

 

Whoever does not fight the one who despises him, neither in word not in thought, has received true knowledge and demonstrates a firm trust in God. (St. Mark the Ascetic)

 

On Forgiveness of Insults

We have such a law: If you forgive, it means that God has forgiven you; but if you do not forgive your brother, it means that your sin remains with you. (St. Silouan the Athonite)


We all have to die, beloved brethren, and it will be hard for us if, while we are in this world, we do not love each other, if we are not reconciled to our enemies, whom we have offended, and if one has grieved another, if we do not forgive him. Then we will not have eternal blessedness in that world, and the heavenly Father will not forgive our sins. (St. Peter of Cetinje)


The forgiveness of insults is a sign of true love, free from hypocrisy. For thus the Lord also loved this world. (St. Mark the Ascetic)

 

When People Curse Us

We must receive the one who curses us as a messenger from God, rebuking our hidden evil thoughts, so that we, seeing our thoughts with exactness, might correct ourselves. For we do not know how many hidden evils we have; Only a perfect man can understand all of his own shortcomings. (St. Mark the Ascetic)


Inasmuch as you pray with all your soul for the one who has slandered you, so much will God reveal the truth to them who have believed the slander. (St. Maximus the Confessor)

 

When People Praise Us

When people begin to praise us, let us hurry to remember the multitude of our transgressions, and we will see that we are truly unworthy of that which they say and do in our honor. (St. John of the Ladder)

 

Rancor

If you are remembering evil against someone, then pray for him; and as you remove through prayer the pain of the remembrance of the evil he has done, you will stop the advance of the passion. And when you have attained brotherly love and love for mankind, you will completely cast this passion out of your soul. Then when someone else does evil to you, be affectionate and humble toward him, and treat him kindly, and you will deliver him from this passion. (St. Maximus the Confessor)

 

A soul that is nurtured by hatred toward man cannot be at peace with God, Who has said: If you forgive not men their sins, neither shall your Father forgive your sins (Matt. 6:15). If a man does not want to be reconciled, you must at least guard yourself from hating, praying with a pure heart for him, and speaking no evil of him. (St. Maximus the Confessor)

 

Love Toward Enemies

Whoever will not love his enemies cannot know the Lord and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit teaches us to love our enemies in such way that we pity their souls as if they were our own children. (St. Silouan the Athonite)


When you have been insulted, cursed, or persecuted by someone, do not think of what has happened to you, but of what will come from it, and you will see that your insulter has become the cause of many benefits to you, not only in this age, but in that which is to come. (St. Mark the Ascetic)


Do not desire to hear about the misfortunes of those who oppose you. For those who listen to such speech later reap the fruits of their evil intention. (St. Mark the Ascetic)


I ask you to try something. If someone grieves you, or dishonors you, or takes something of yours, then pray like this: "Lord, we are all your creatures. Pity your servants, and turn them to repentance," and then you will perceptibly bear grace in your soul. Induce your heart to love your enemies, and the Lord, seeing your good will, shall help you in all things, and will Himself show you experience. But whoever thinks evil of his enemies does not have love for God and has not known God. (St. Silouan the Athonite)

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