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    Prayer & Christian Devotion - Thread: SPIRITUAL MORSELS from the Ancient Fathers

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      SPIRITUAL MORSELS from the Ancient Fathers

      I would like to post here pithy sayings of the Ancient Christian Fathers as they are given to me each week in our Church Bulletin and other sources... All are invited to contribute such morsels too...

      Here are this week's:

      Just as it is natural for ocean rocks to be pounded by waves,
      similarly man will undoubtedly come into contact
      with the assaults borne of thoughts.
      St. Ephraim the Syrian
      _________________________________________________
      It may not be God’s will.
      Time will show, because God knows better than us.
      God always wants what is good for us.
      Elder Arsenios Galanopoulos, the cave dweller
      _________________________________________________
      Firmly believe that the Lord is at all times everything to you.
      During prayer He is the power and the fulfillment in the
      Holy Spirit of each of your words.
      During pious conversation He is your living water,
      the ardent flow of your words at all times.
      He is everything to you.
      Be free from care in the presence of your Lord.
      He has enclosed you with Himself upon all sides.
      He penetrates you wholly and knows all your thoughts,
      all your needs and inclinations,
      and if you live in Him with faith and love,
      then no evil shall befall you.
      'The Lord is at hand; be careful for nothing' (Phil. 4:6).
      --
      St. John of Kronstadt
      __________________________________________________ _____
      If you wait for the perfect conditions to work out your salvation,
      then you will never begin a God-pleasing life.
      St. Nikon of Optina
      __________________________________________________ ___
      Marriage is a bridge leading us from Earth to Heaven.
      Archimandrite Aimilianos Simonopetra
      Mount Athos
      __________________________________________________ ____
      Many people have never experienced
      the pleasure of a light stomach.
      St Paisios of Mt Athos
      __________________________________________________ ____
      Fasting is an expression of love and devotion,
      in which one sacrifices earthly satisfaction to attain the heavenly.
      Altogether too much of one's thoughts are taken up
      with care for sustenance and the enticements of the palate;
      one wishes to be free from them.
      Thus fasting is a step on the road of emancipation
      and an indispensable support in the struggle against selfish desires.
      Together with prayer, fasting is one of humanity's greatest gifts,
      carefully cherished by those who once have participated in it.
      Tito Coliander
      __________________________________________________ __
      Pain of heart is the condition for spiritual growth
      and the manifestation of God’s power.
      Healing occurs to those in desperation,
      hearts pained but still trusting and hoping in God’s help.
      This is when God acts.
      Father Seraphim Rose
      __________________________________________________ __
      You see, if one doesn't cut away passions while young,
      then as one matures, the self-will is weakened
      and the passions increase.
      St. Paisios of Mt. Athos
      ______________________________________________
      People were not created merely to live here on earth
      like animals that disappear after their death,
      but to live with God and in God,
      and to live not for a hundred or a thousand years,
      but to live eternally.

      St. INNOCENT of Alaska
      __________________________________________________
      Would it be difficult for God to constantly help everyone?
      No, but then man would not be really helped in this way.
      A spoiled child, whose parents constantly give him chocolates
      so he wants them always to be giving him,
      will become
      lazy, ill-disposed and unfortunate.
      Man, too, will never mature spiritually
      if he is constantly assisted by God
      without struggling himself.
      Elder St. Paisios of Mount Athos
      __________________________________________________ _

      Arsenios
      Last edited by Arsenios; 05-13-2018 at 04:21 PM.

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      The proof of love is in the works. Where love exists, it works great things. But when it ceases to act, it ceases to exist. -- Pope St. Gregory the Great


      I pared it down slightly so it could fit in the title bar of an IRC channel.
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

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      This life was given to you for repentance...
      Do not waste it in vain pursuits...


      St. Isaac the Syrian

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      The upright live forever, their reward is with the Lord, and the Most High has them in his care. This is why they receive, from the hands of the Lord, a royal crown, a splendid diadem. He will shelter them with his hand and his arm will be their shield.

      Godís jealous love will display his weapon; he will arm all creation to punish his enemies. He will put on justice as his breastplate and right judgment as his helmet, invincible holiness will be his shield, implacable anger his sword, and the universe will march with him against the foolish.
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

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      For God is silence, and in silence is he sung by means of that psalmody which is worthy of Him.
      I am not speaking of the silence of the tongue, for if someone merely keeps his tongue silent,
      without knowing how to sing in mind and spirit,
      then he is simply unoccupied and becomes filled with evil thoughts: …

      There is a silence of the tongue,
      there is a silence of the whole body,
      there is a silence of the soul,
      there is the silence of the mind,
      and there is the silence of the spirit.

      John the Solitary

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      It was said of Abba Sisoes that when he was at the point of death, while the Fathers were sitting beside him, his face shone like the sun. He said to them, "Look, Abba Anthony is coming." A little later he said, "Look, the choir of prophets is coming." Again his countenance shone with brightness and he said, "Look, the choir of apostles is coming." His countenance increased in brightness and lo, he spoke with someone. Then the old men asked him, "With whom are you speaking, Father?" He said, "Look, the angels are coming to fetch me, and I am begging them to let me do a little penance." The old man said to him, "You have no need to do penance, Father." But the old man said to them, "Truly, I do not think I have even made a beginning yet." Now they all knew that he was perfect. Once more his countenance suddenly became like the sun and they were all filled with fear. He said to them, "Look, the Lord is coming and he's saying, 'Bring me the vessel from the desert'" (cf. 2 Cor. 4:7). Then there was as a flash of lightening and all the house was filled with a sweet odour.


      2 Cor 4:7
      But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
      that the excellency of the power
      may be of God,
      and not
      of us.

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      The monk must die to everything
      before leaving the body,
      in order not to harm anyone.

      Abba Moses

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      Orthodoxy is life.
      If we don't live Orthodoxy, we simply are not Orthodox,
      no matter what formal beliefs we might hold.

      Fr. Seraphim Rose
      __________________________________________________ _____________________________________________
      No one can live without labour and no one is crowned without effort.
      Compel yourself to work for your salvation, and God will help you,
      for He will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of
      the truth' (I Tim. 2:4).

      Sts. Barsanuphius and John
      __________________________________________________ _____

      One must force himself to prayer when he has not spiritual prayer;
      and thus God, beholding him thus striving and compelling himself by force,
      in spite of an unwilling heart, gives him the true prayer of the Spirit.

      St. Macarius the Great
      __________________________________________________ _____

      When we speak of the wife obeying the husband,
      we normally think of obedience in military or political terms:
      the husband giving orders, and the wife obeying them.
      But while this type of obedience may be appropriate in the army,
      it is ridiculous in the intimate relationship of marriage.
      The obedient wife does not wait for orders.
      Rather, she tries to discern her husband’s needs and feelings,
      and responds in love.
      When she sees her husband is weary, she encourages him to rest;
      when she sees him agitated, she soothes him;
      when he is ill, she nurses and comforts him;
      when he is happy and elated, she shares his joy.
      Yet such obedience should not be confined to the wife;
      the husband should be obedient in the same way.
      When she is weary, he should relieve her of her work;
      when she is sad, he should cherish her, holding her gently in his arms;
      when she is filled with good cheer, he should also share her good cheer.
      Thus a good marriage is not a matter
      of one partner obeying the other,
      but of each other.

      St. John Chrysostom
      __________________________________________________ _____________________________________________
      If a man considers himself a believer,
      and has no misfortunes or illnesses,
      then this, according to the holy fathers,
      is a sign that he has not found favor with the Lord.

      Abbot Nikon Vorobiev
      __________________________________________________ ____
      “If a man has a full intention to please God,
      then God teaches him His will
      either through thoughts,
      through some other person,
      or through Holy Scripture.”

      St. Peter of Damascus
      __________________________________________________ _____________________________________________
      If a man falls to any kind of sin
      and does not grieve in measure
      with the wrong which he has committed,
      he will easily fall again into the same net.
      Abba Mark
      __________________________________________________ _____________________________________________
      The drunkard, the fornicator, the proud - he will receive God's mercy.
      But he who does not want to forgive,
      to excuse, to justify conciously, intentionally ...
      that person closes himself to eternal life before God,
      and even more so in the present life.
      He is turned away and not heard.

      Elder Sampson of Russia
      __________________________________________________ _______________________
      Our soul is simple, as the image and likeness of God;
      therefore, when it is well-regulated
      and is living in accordance with the will of God,
      then it is peaceful, easy, and joyous;
      whilst, on the contrary, when it consents to sin,
      commits sin, or is forced into sin by the Enemy,
      then it becomes disturbed, darkened, and heavy.
      Thus, always do the will of God,
      and you will be simple and quiet;
      but if you sin you will have no peace.

      St. John of Kronstadt
      __________________________________________________ _______________________________

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      The glory of Him, who moves all things, penetrates the universe, and glows in one region more, in another less. I have been in that Heaven that knows his light most, and have seen things, which whoever descends from there has neither power, nor knowledge, to relate: because as our intellect draws near to its desire, it reaches such depths that memory cannot go back along the track.
      Nevertheless, whatever, of the sacred regions, I had power to treasure in my mind, will now be the subject of my labour.
      O good spirit of the divine word, for the final effort, make me such a vessel of your genius, as you demand for the gift of your beloved laurel. Till now, one peak of Parnassus was enough, but now inspired by both I must enter this remaining ring. Enter my chest, and breathe, as you did when you drew Marsyas out of the sheath that covered his limbs.
      O Divine Virtue if you lend me your help, so that I can reveal that shadow of the kingdom of the Blessed, stamped on my brain, you will see me come to your chosen bough, and there crown myself with the leaves, that you, and the subject, will make me worthy of. Father, they are gathered, infrequently from it, for a Caesar’s or a Poet’s Triumph, through the fault, and to the shame, of human will: so the leaves of Daphne’s tree, the Peneian frond, should light joy in the joyful Delphic oracle, when it makes someone long for them. A great flame follows a tiny spark: perhaps, after me, better voices will pray, and Parnassus will respond. (The Divine Comedy volume III canto 1:1-36)



      At that, after a sigh of pity, she turned her eyes towards me, with that look a mother gives to her fevered child, and began: ‘All things observe a mutual order among themselves, and this is the structure that makes the universe resemble God. In it the higher creatures find the signature of Eternal Value, which is the end for which these laws were made, that I speak of.
      In that order, I say, all things are graduated, in diverse allocations, nearer to, or further from, their source, so that they move towards diverse harbours, over the great sea of being, each one with its given instincts that carry it onwards. This instinct carries the fire towards the moon; that one is the mover in the mortal heart; this other pulls the earth together and unifies it. And this bow does not only fire creatures that are lacking in intelligence, but also those that have intellect and love.
      The Providence that orders it so, makes the Empyrean, in which the ninth sphere whirls with the greatest speed, quiet, with its light: and the power of the bowstring, that directs whatever it fires towards a joyful target, carries us towards it now, as if to the appointed place. It is true that, as form is sometimes inadequate to the artist’s intention, because the material fails to answer, so the creature, that has power, so impelled, to swerve towards some other place, sometimes deserts the track (just as fire can be seen, darting down from a cloud) if its first impulse is deflected towards earth by false pleasures.
      You should not wonder more at your ascent, if I judge rightly, than at rivers falling, from mountains to their foot. It would be a marvellous thing, in you, if without any obstruction, you had settled below; just as stillness would be marvellous, on earth, in a living flame.’ At that She turned her gaze back towards Heaven. (canto 1:100-142)
      Pope Gregory I was well known for his alms to the poor, and he gave quite generously of the riches donated to the Church by the wealthy people of Rome. Everything from money to land was given to the poor in some fashion. He made clear to his subordinates that their duty was to relieve the distress faced by the poor.

      He ordered his clergy to go out into the streets to find and care for the poor in person.

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      Through Adam's fall
      we not only upset our relationship with God
      and lost our close communion with Him
      but also lost all spiritual cognition of our Creator
      and all inner inclination to such happiness.


      Bishop Alexander of Mojaisk

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