Saints


“Nothing troubles the man who is given over to the will of God, be it illness, poverty or persecution. He knows that the Lord in His mercy is solicitous for us. The Holy Spirit, whom the soul knows, is witness therefore. But the proud and the self-willed do not want to surrender to God’s will because they like their own way, and that is harmful for the soul.

Abba Pimen said: ‘Our own will is like a wall of brass between us and God, preventing us from coming near to Him or contemplating His mercy.’

We must always pray the Lord for peace of soul that we may the more easily fulfil the Lord’s commandments; for the Lord loves those who strive to do His will, and thus they attain profound peace in God.

He who does the Lord’s will is content with all things, though he be poor or sick and suffering, because the grace of God gladdens his heart. But the man who is discontent with his lot and murmurs against his fate, or against those who cause him offense, should realize that his spirit is in a state of pride, which has taken from him his sense of gratitude towards God.”

– St. Silouan the Athonite
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“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts of the Apostles 14:22).

“In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

Martyrdom of St. Peter the Aleut

The Lord Jesus prophesied this and by His example He proved it. The apostles also said this and by their examples they proved it. All the God-bearing Fathers of the Church, confessors and martyrs said this and they proved this by their example. Therefore, is there any need to doubt that, through a narrow door, one enters the kingdom of God? Should we hesitate for a moment that, “it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God?” No, there is no basis nor justification for doubt. Can sheep live among the wolves and not be attacked by them? Can a candle burn in the midst of cross winds and not sway back and forth? Can a good fruit-bearing tree grow along side the road and not be disturbed by passersby? Thus, the Church of pious souls cannot but be persecuted and be persecuted by heathens, by idolaters, by heretics, by apostates, from passions and vices, from sin and transgressions, from the world and by demons. So it is that not one devout soul can remain without persecution, be it externally or internally, until it is separated from the body and the world. Someone might oppose this and prove it otherwise according to his calculation and according to his logic. But, in this case, neither the mind nor the logic of one man is of any avail. Thousands who were crucified speak otherwise, thousands burned alive cry out otherwise, thousands who were beheaded prove otherwise and thousands who were drowned witness otherwise. O my brethren, the Christian Faith is mighty not only when it agrees with sensory reasoning and sensory logic but when, and especially when, it contradicts sensory reasoning and sensory logic.

Those who want to live a godly-life will be persecuted. This the apostle prophesied at the beginning of the Christian era and twenty Christian centuries render a multi-voiced echo to confirm the truth of the prophecy.

O resurrected Lord, grant us light that we may be pious to the end and give us the strength to endure persecution to the end.

– St. Nicholai of Zhicha

“The serpent found a second Eve in the Egyptian woman
and plotted the fall of Joseph through words of flattery.
But, leaving behind his garment, Joseph fled from sin.
He was naked but unashamed, like Adam before the fall.
Through his prayers, O Christ, have mercy on us.”

Doxastikon of the Aposticha from Holy Monday Bridegroom Matins

“The Lord gave us the Holy Spirit, and the man in whom the Holy Spirit lives feels that he has paradise within him.

Perhaps you will say, ‘Why is it I have not grace like that?’ It is because you have not surrendered yourself to the will of God but live in your own way. Look at the man who likes to have his own way. His soul is never at peace and he is always discontented: this is not right and that is not as it should be. But the man who is entirely given over to the will of God can pray with a pure mind, his soul loves the Lord, and he finds everything pleasant and agreeable.

Thus did the Most Holy Virgin submit herself to God: ‘Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word.’ And were we to say likewise—’Behold the servant of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word’—then the Lord’s words written in the Gospels by the Holy Spirit would live in our souls, and the whole world would be filled with the love of God, and how beautiful would life be on earth! And although the words of God have been heard the length and breadth of the universe for so many centuries, people do not understand and will not accept them. But the man who lives according to the will of God will be glorified in heaven and on earth.”

– St. Silouan the Athonite

St. Isidore of Pelusium (February 4)

“To live without speaking is better than to speak without living. For the former who lives rightly does good even by his silence, but the latter does no good even when he speaks. When words and life correspond to one another they are together the whole of divine philosophy.”

– St. Isidore of Pelusium 

View of Constantinople by Moonlight, by Ivan Aivazovsky

“Speaking about the spread and celebration of Christmas, St. John Chrysostom says: ‘Magnificent and noble trees when planted in the ground shortly attain great heights and become heavily laden with fruit; so it is with this day.’ So it is with the day of the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple. In the beginning this day was discussed among Christians but the solemn celebration began from the period of the great Emperor Justinian. During the reign of this emperor, a great pestilence afflicted the people in Constantinople and vicinity so that about five-thousand or more people died daily. At the same time a terrible earthquake occurred in Antioch. Seeing the weakness of man’s ability to prevent these misfortunes the emperor, in consultation with the patriarch, ordered a period of fast and prayer throughout the entire empire. And, on the day of the Meeting [The Presentation] itself, arranged great processions throughout the towns and villages that the Lord might show compassion on His people. And truly, the Lord did show compassion; for the epidemic and earthquake ceased at once. This occurred in the year 544 A.D. Following this and from that time one, the Feast of the Presentation [Meeting] began to be celebrated as a major feast of the Lord. The tree, in time, grew and began to bring forth-abundant fruit.”

– From the Prologue of Ohrid

Saints Barsanuphius the Great & John the Prophet

“The absence of envy among the saints is a startling and wonderful phenomenon. Not only did the saints not allow envy to seize their hearts but, with all their might, labored to uplift their companions and to diminish themselves. On one occasion when St. Hilarion of Palestine visited St. Anthony in Egypt, St. Anthony exclaimed: ‘Welcome Venus, the morning star!’ To that St. Hilarion replied: ‘Greetings and health be to you, the shining pillar who sustains the universe!’ When they praised St. Macarius as a monk, the saint replied: ‘Brethren, forgive me, I am not a monk but, I have seen monks!’ When some people told St. Sisoes that he attained the same level of perfection as St. Anthony, Sisoes replied: ‘If only I had but a single thought as does Anthony, I would be all aflame.'”

– From the Prologue of Ohrid, Jan 28

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