Freshly Picked Harvest Of Spiritual Instructions
"A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him saying: 'You are mad, you are not like us.'"
Abba Anthony of Egypt
There is nothing more burdensome and grievous then when conscience accuses us in anything, and there is nothing dearer then calmness and approval of the conscience,
St Maxim Confessor
Chastisement through the trials imposed on us is a spiritual rod, teaching us humility when in our foolishness we think too much of ourselves.
"...God who is all goodness fills the soul in which He dwells with all goodness (cf. Ps.107:9) as far as our nature is capable of receiving it, because God is infinite and cannot be contained by any created nature. I speak of those blessings that 'eye has not seen and ear has not heard, neither have entered into the heart of man' (I Cor. 2:9)...God who dwells in him teaches such a man about things to come and things present, not by word, but by action and experience and reality. As God removes the veil from the eyes of his mind he shows him what is His will and what is useful for him."
St. Symeon the New Theologian
Love Of God
Do you see, my brother, that nothing worldly can separate those who love God with all their heart from His love. Therefore, guard yourself, for fear that something distressful, or money, or home, or pleasure, or hatred, or injury, or someone who talks your praises, or all the venom of the serpent who breathes in our heart will turn you away from the love of God.
Means In World
The Martyrs won Paradise through their blood; the Ascetics, through their ascetic life. Now you, my brethren, who have children, how will you win Paradise? By means of hospitality, by giving to your brothers who are poor, blind, or lame.
St. Cosmas Aitolos
"When we call upon the Saints in prayer, if we pronounce their names from the heart, it already means that we bring them near our heart itself. Therefore ask their prayers and intercession undoubtingly for yourself. They will hear you, and will speedily lay your prayers before the Lord, in the twinkling of an eye, for He is omnipresent and omniscient."
St. John of Kronstadt
Never, O man, is that which relates to the Church corrected through compromises: there is no middle way between the Truth and the lie... and although one can say that there is a mean between light and darkness which is called the morning and evening twilight, nevertheless between the Truth and the lie, however hard you try, you will never find a mean.
St. Mark of Ephesus
"...it is impossible for those who do not love their own brethren to have love towards God or to enjoy His grace and care (cf. I John 3:17;)
St. Gregory Palamas
Dost thou enjoy honou? reject it, knowing that it renders thee a debtor. Does no one honour thee? thou oughtest to rejoice at it. For God will not lay to thy charge this, among other things, that thou hast enjoyed honour. Seest thou not that God upbraids Israel with this among other things, by His prophet, "I took of your sons for Prophets, and of your young men for sanctification" (Amos. 2:11). Thou wilt therefore gain this advantage at least, that thou wilt not aggravate thy punishment. For he who is not honoured in the present life, who is despised, and held in no consideration, but is insulted and scorned, gains this at least, if nothing else, that he has not to answer for being honoured by his fellow-servants.
St. John Chrysostom
Our good Master is present everywhere, hearkening to them that approach Him in purity and truth, as saith the Prophet, "The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their supplication." For this reason the Fathers define prayer as "the union of man with God," and call it "Angels' work," and "the prelude of gladness to come." For since they lay down before all things that "the kingdom of heaven" consists in nearness to and contemplation of the Holy Trinity, and since all the importunity of prayer leadeth the mind thither, prayer is rightly called "the prelude" and, as it were, the "fore-glimpse" of that blessedness.
St. John Damascene
"We receive salvation by grace and as a divine gift of the Spirit. But to attain the full measure of virtue we need also to possess faith and love, and to struggle to exercise our free will with integrity."
St. Makarios of Egypt
In the case of recruits for an army of this world, those whose task it is to induct them into the army look for bodily size and health. Not only must the future soldier have these qualities, but he must also be a free man. If he be a slave, his is rejected. But the King of heaven looks for no such thing. He even receives slaves into His army, and those who are old and weakened in limb, and He is not ashamed of them. Could there be anything more loving and kind than this? He seeks only qualities that lie within our control.
St. John Chrysostom
Good For Evil
"If a man is not envious or angry, and does not bear a grudge against someone who has offended him, that does not necessarily mean that he loves him. For, while still lacking love, he may be capable of not repaying evil with evil, in accordance with the commandment (cf. Rom. 12:17), and yet by no means be capable of rendering good for evil without forcing himself. To be spontaneously disposed to 'do good to those who hate you' (Matt. 5:44) belongs to perfect spiritual love alone."
St. Maximos the Confessor
Note well the weakness of the tyrant compared to the power of the one in prison. Herod was not strong enough to silence his own tongue. Having opened it, he opened up countless other mouths in its place and with its help. As for John, he immediately inspired fear in Herod after his murder -- for fear was disturbing Herod's conscience to such an extent that he believed John had been raised from the dead and was performing miracles.
St. John Chrysostom