Bearing the Shame of Confession

ntropi stin eksomologisi

From «Remember thy First Love» by Archimandrite Zacharias Zacharou

Question: In taking the steps which you have presented W to us, the most difficult thing, I think, is to overcome the rear of shame. This is what I try to do in my parish. People will not come to confession although their souls are burdened and things are driving them crazy, because they cannot overcome the shame to admit their sins. How do you lead people in this direction?

Answer: I think that the strength to bear shame is a gift from God. When I was a young and inexperienced spiritual father, Elder read more… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Let’s not shoot at people in the name of Christ! (Elder Paissios the of Hoyly Mount Athos)

I told someone once: ‘What are you? Are you Jesus’ warrior or a fighter for the tempter? Do you realize that there are also fighters for the evil one? A Christian ought not to be a fanatic but ought to love all people’.

Whoever speaks without discretion, he harms people even when he is right. I met a writer who was very devout, but when he was talking to laymen, he was very blunt to the extent that they were shocked. He told me once: ‘I said such and such to a lady during a meeting’. However, he had talked in such a way that he had ‘damaged’ her, offending her in front of everyone.

‘Look’, I said to him. ‘You throw wreaths with diamonds at people. But the way you do it, breaks their heads, even the heads which are not very sensitive. Let’s not throw stones at people, in the name of Christianity. Whoever… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

St. Seraphim of Sarov: Ten Sayings

On God

God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold which comes from the devil – for the devil is cold – let us call on the Lord. He will come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but also for our neighbor, and the cold of him who hates the good will flee before the heat of His countenance.

On Hope

All who have firm hope in God are raised to Him and illumined by the radiance of the eternal light. If a man does not let excessive concern for himself turn him away from love for God and for acts of virtue, then this hope is true and wise. But if a man places all his hope in his own affairs and turns to God with prayer only when unforseen misfortunes befall him, and seeing no means in his own powers to avert them begins to rely on the help of God, his hope is vain and deceptive. True hope seeks first of all the Kingdom of God, and is confident that every earthly necessity of temporal life will doubtless be given… The heart can have no peace so long as it does not acquire such hope… It is of this hope that our Savior’s most holy words speak to us: «Come unto me, all ye that labor and are burdened, and I shall give you rest» (Matt. 11:28); that is, hope in Me and you shall be comforted in your labor and cares.

On Love for God

He who has achieved perfect love exists in this world as though he does not exist in it, for he considers himself a stranger to what is visible, and patiently awaits the invisible. He is wholly turned away from it towards love for God and forgetful of every other love. The soul, full of love or God, then leaves the body; it has no fear of the unsubstantial power of this world, but flies off with angels as though from a foreign land to a land of its own. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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The Divine Knowledge of God

Mosaic of Christ , Ravenna (6th Century A.D.)

We cannot know God in His nature, since this is unknowable and beyond the reach of mind or of reason. But we know Him from the arrangement of everything, because everything is, in a sense, projected out from Him, and this order possesses certain images and semblances of His divine paradigms. We therefore approach that which is beyond all as far as our capacities allow us and we pass by way of the denial and the transcendence of all things and by way of the cause of all things. God is therefore known in all things and as distinct from all things. He is known through knowledge and through unknowing…

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The Christian Life

Vladimir Borovikovsky’s The Saviour (1815)

The spiritual life, the Christian life, does not consist in developing a strong will capable of compelling us to do what we do not want. In a sense, of course, it is an achievement to do the right things when we really wish to do the wrong ones, but it remains a small achievement. A mature spiritual life implies that our conscious will is in accordance with the words of God and has remolded, transformed our nature so deeply, with the help of God’s grace, that the totality of our human person is only one will.

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The Benefits of Ignorance

I have had conversations in recent comments sections on the role of reason in the Orthodox life. I readily acknowledge that no one lives without some use of reason – but I contend that most of what forms the content of our life in Christ is not reason. The faith does have to contend with attacks and challenges from many arenas – and yet its success will not be established by the superiority of its arguments, but by faith in Christ. Arguments are often unfruitful in “reasonable” exchanges, for the form of Orthodox reason often differs from the form reason takes in many places. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

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The will of God

“Now crisis, (judgment) is upon this world;” (John 12, 31)

The crisis of the whole world is this.

The crisis of each and every one of us, is this.

Whether we like it or not,

whether we believe in God or not,

whether we are in His Church

or in a false, heretical dogma,

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