Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Spiritual nectar: reflections on specific patristic sayings


  • Please log in to reply
166 replies to this topic

#41 Seda S.

Seda S.

    Regular Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 158 posts

Posted 16 November 2008 - 06:00 PM


Were do you get all these spiritual stories? Is their a website?

+Angela


See this translation online-
http://www.vitae-pat...g.uk/page2.html

Also, 'The Paradise of the Holy Fathers', in 2 volumes, ascribed to St Athanasius- here:
http://www.ccel.org/...s/?show=worksBy

There is another translation of the sayings of the Desert Fathers, by Sister Benedicta Ward, but the text of that book is not available online. (http://www.alibris.c...Ward, Benedicta)

#42 Anna Stickles

Anna Stickles

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,365 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 16 November 2008 - 09:00 PM

Then I heard a voice saying in my thoughts: `Depart, Pachon! Keep up the fight! It was for this reason that I let you be depressed, so that you might not become haughty as a strong person, but rather might know your own weakness, and that you might not trust too much in your own way of life, but rather come running to God for help.'"

"I returned then fully satisfied, and I settled down confidently, worrying no more about the struggle, but dwelling in peace the rest of my days


For Holy Communion, the confession of our sins to a father confessor is needed; whereas for our communication with God, the confession of our weaknesses before Him is necessary.


these remind me of a wonderful quote by St Jerome I ran across the other day. It's so hard, I think, to keep struggling but never depend on ourselves. If we don't struggle we won't know our weakness, but if we continually keep struggling with the idea that "If I just try a little harder I can do it." we'll never see God's help because if He helped us at that point we would just credit the victory to ourselves. It's when we know we can't and we find the strength anyway that we know that God has given us His help.



For while they acknowledge the grace of God, they tell us that our acts do not depend upon His help. Rather, they understand by the grace of God free will and the commandments of the Law. ...They say that we ought to thank Him for having created us such that of our own free will we can choose the good and avoid the evil. ...For if God’s grace is limited to this that He has formed us with wills of our own, and if we are to rest content with free will, not seeking the divine aid lest this should be impaired, we should cease to pray; for we cannot entreat God’s mercy to give us daily what is already in our hands having been given to us once for all. Those who think thus make prayer impossible and boast that free will makes them not merely controllers of themselves but as powerful as God. For they need no external help. Away with fasting, away with every form of self-restraint! For why need I strive to win by toil what has once for all been placed within my reach?" (5)



"For our parts we gladly embrace this freedom, but we never forget to thank the Giver; knowing that we are powerless unless He continually preserves in us His own gift. As the apostle says, “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." To will and to run are mine, but they will cease to be mine unless God brings me His continual aid. For the same apostle says “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do." and in the Gospel the Saviour says: “my Father worketh hitherto and I work."



He is always a giver, always a bestower. It is not enough for me that he has given me grace once; He must give it me always.I seek that I may obtain, and when I have obtained I seek again. I am covetous of God’s bounty; and as He is never slack in giving, so I am never weary in receiving. The more I drink, the more I thirst. For I have read the song of the psalmist: “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”Every good thing that we have is a tasting of the Lord. (6) St Jerome, Letter CXXXIII. To Ctesiphon.








Edited by Anna Stickles, 16 November 2008 - 09:02 PM.
formatting


#43 Nina

Nina

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,149 posts

Posted 17 November 2008 - 03:39 AM

On Thoughts, Fantasies, and Distractions

You should always keep in mind, my child, that whatever your thoughts tell you is from the devil with the aim of making you despair, while he sits back and chortles. Therefore, you should also scoff at him and pay no attention to his silly words. You will never suffer harm when you disregard him. Take care to pay no attention to whatever he says, and you are saved. You will suffer no harm whatsoever if you adhere to this advice. Anyone who has believed his thoughts has suffered harm. This is why disregarding them and saying the prayer does wonders.

Do not sorrow, my child, do not despair, do not lose your courage. No matter what the devil whispers in your mind, it is a lie, deceit. Do not believe him at all! He rejoices when he sees people believing him and becoming embittered. On the other hand, he is tremendously grieved when they do not believe him and remain in peace!

As for me, when my Elder told me that these thoughts need to be disregarded, I believed him completely right away and immediately put his advice into practice---which is how I was cured.

For the cure to be complete, you must disregard these thoughts. Believe me, this is the best medicine. See to it that you do not neglect it. All your effort should be how not to think of those thoughts that the devil puts in your mind. Pay no attention to them, and do not grieve at all.

Show no mercy towards filthy fantasies; strike at them with anger, with divine fear, with the double-edged sword of the prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me." Shout it intensely, cry out; Jesus is invisibly present to help. "The Lord is near to all that call upon Him." (Ps. 144:18)



Selected from Counsels from the Holy Mountain from the Letters and Homilies of Elder Ephraim



#44 Nina

Nina

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,149 posts

Posted 18 November 2008 - 05:06 AM

From Evagrios the Solitary (The Philokalia Vol. 1; Faber and Faber pg. 63):

The Holy Spirit, out of compassion for our weakness, comes to us even when we are impure. And if He finds our intellect truly praying to Him, He enters it and puts to flight the whole array of thoughts and ideas circling within it, and He arouses it to a longing for spiritual prayer.



#45 Nina

Nina

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,149 posts

Posted 19 November 2008 - 04:28 AM

From St. John Chrysostom (as quoted by St. Gregory Palamas, The Philokalia Vol. 4; Faber and Faber pg. 395):

A man does not possess all the gifts, lest he think that grace is nature.



#46 Ken McRae

Ken McRae

    Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 580 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 22 November 2008 - 08:13 AM

A man does not possess all the gifts, lest he think that grace is nature.


Or (lest he think, vainly,) that he has no need of the Body of Christ and its several other members! It is interesting to note, in this vein, that while the grace of spirit-bearing eldership is not given to all, yet all may penetrate deeply into the mystery of godliness and attain the heavenly Sophia, or the true gnoisis and wisdom of God; and so, advance very far, indeed, in true spiritual knowledge and the art of spiritual direction; if only they would sincerely apply themselves to the acquisition of such divine experience and skill in life of the Holy Mysteries.

an unworthy wretch

#47 Nina

Nina

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,149 posts

Posted 02 December 2008 - 07:41 PM

"The physical eye perceives the outward or literal sense of things and from it derives sensory images. The intellect, once purified and reestablished in its pristine state, perceives God and from Him derives divine images. Instead of a book the intellect has the Spirit; instead of a pen, mind and tongue - 'my tongue is a pen', says the Psalmist (cf. Ps. 45:1); and instead of ink, light. So plunging the mind into the light that it becomes light, the intellect, guided by the Spirit, inscribes the inner meaning of things in the pure hearts of those who listen. Then it grasps the significance of the statement that the faithful 'shall be taught by God' (cf. Isa. 54:13; John 6:45), and that through the Spirit God 'teaches man knowledge' (Ps. 94:10)."


St. Gregory of Sinai

#48 Nina

Nina

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,149 posts

Posted 04 December 2008 - 04:36 PM

From St. Ambrose (The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series Vol. X; Eerdmans pg. 88):

"Do not desert a friend in time of need, nor forsake him nor fail him, for friendship is the support of life. Let us then bear our burdens as the Apostle has taught (cf. Gal. 6:2): for he spoke to those whom the charity of the same one body had embraced together. If friends in prosperity help friends, why do they not also in times of adversity offer their support? Let us aid by giving counsel, let us offer our best endeavors, let us sympathize with them with all our heart."



#49 Nina

Nina

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,149 posts

Posted 29 December 2008 - 04:42 PM

There was a saint in Egypt who dwelt in a desert place. Far away from him there was a Manichaean who was a priest -- at least, what they call a priest. Once, when this Manichaean was going to visit one of his
confederates, night overtook him in the place where the orthodox saint was living. He was in great distress, fearing to go to him to sleep there, for he knew that he was well known as a Manichaean, and he was
afraid that he would not be received. However, finding himself compelled to do so, he knocked; and the old man opened the door to him, recognized him, received him joyfully, constrained him to pray with him,
and after having given him refreshment, he made a bed for him. Thinking this over during the night, the Manichaean said to himself, "How is it that he is without any suspicions about me? Truly, this man is of God."
And he threw himself at his feet, saying, "Henceforth, I am orthodox," and he stayed with the old man.


Spiritual nectar

#50 Nina

Nina

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,149 posts

Posted 03 January 2009 - 05:58 PM

"Too great solicitude for worldly things is natural to an unbelieving and fainthearted man. And woe to us if we, in taking care for ourselves, do not confirm ourselves in our hope in God. Who takes care for ourselves in our hope in God, Who takes care for us! If we do not ascribe to Him the visible goods which we use in this present age, how can we expect from Him those goods which are promised in the future? Let us not be such faint believers, but rather let us 'seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added' unto us, according to the word of the Savior (Mt. 6:33)."

St. Seraphim of Sarov



#51 Rdr Andreas

Rdr Andreas

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,033 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 03 January 2009 - 07:47 PM

Nina, thank you for this saying of St Seraphim. Let us all try always, especially when people praise us for anything, to say - at least in our hearts - that every gift we have and every opportunity for doing good comes to us from God. I was once at a concert given by a famous pianist. There was tumultuous applause at the end. As an encore, she played Bach's 'Jesu of man's desiring' as if to deflect the praise upwards.

#52 Nina

Nina

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,149 posts

Posted 04 January 2009 - 02:51 AM

Nina, thank you for this saying of St Seraphim. Let us all try always, especially when people praise us for anything, to say - at least in our hearts - that every gift we have and every opportunity for doing good comes to us from God. I was once at a concert given by a famous pianist. There was tumultuous applause at the end. As an encore, she played Bach's 'Jesu of man's desiring' as if to deflect the praise upwards.


Therefore thank God, for that saying of St. Seraphim. :)

#53 Nina

Nina

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,149 posts

Posted 09 February 2009 - 11:19 PM

Abba Pambo said, "If you have a heart, you can be saved."

#54 Rick H.

Rick H.

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,231 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 10 February 2009 - 03:14 PM

"Too great solicitude for worldly things is natural to an unbelieving and fainthearted man. And woe to us if we, in taking care for ourselves, do not confirm ourselves in our hope in God. Who takes care for ourselves in our hope in God, Who takes care for us! If we do not ascribe to Him the visible goods which we use in this present age, how can we expect from Him those goods which are promised in the future? Let us not be such faint believers, but rather let us 'seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added' unto us, according to
the word of the Savior (Mt. 6:33)."


Thanks Nina.

I wonder if any have more that speak to this place of balance in which we avoid extremes.

On the one hand, "Too great solicitude for worldly things . . .;" but, on the other hand, 'if a man will not work, neither shall he eat,' as the Apostle speaks towards busybodies/idleness.

I wonder if there are any other patristic sayings about the fine line between 'faith' and 'irresponsibility' . . . or between 'hope' and a sophisticated system of non-surrender?

#55 Herman Blaydoe

Herman Blaydoe

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,157 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 10 February 2009 - 04:06 PM

Thanks Nina.

I wonder if any have more that speak to this place of balance in which we avoid extremes.

On the one hand, "Too great solicitude for worldly things . . .;" but, on the other hand, 'if a man will not work, neither shall he eat,' as the Apostle speaks towards busybodies/idleness.

I wonder if there are any other patristic sayings about the fine line between 'faith' and 'irresponsibility' . . . or between 'hope' and a sophisticated system of non-surrender?


It was said of Abba John the Dwarf, when he was younger, that one day he said to his elder brother, "I should like to be free of all care, like the angels who do not work, but ceaselessly offer worship to God." So he took off his cloak and went away into the desert. After a week he came back to his brother. When he knocked on the door, he heard his brother say, before he opened it, "Who are you?" He said, "I am John, your brother." But he replied, "John has become an angel, and henceforth he is no longer among men." Then the other begged him saying, "It is I." However, his brother did not let him in, but left him there in distress until morning. Then, opening the door, he said to him, "You are a man and you must once again work in order to eat." Then John made a prostration before him, saying, "Forgive me."

from The Sayings of the Desert Fathers



#56 Nina

Nina

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,149 posts

Posted 10 February 2009 - 07:44 PM

I wonder if any have more that speak to this place of balance in which we avoid extremes.

On the one hand, "Too great solicitude for worldly things . . .;" but, on the other hand, 'if a man will not work, neither shall he eat,' as the Apostle speaks towards busybodies/idleness.

I wonder if there are any other patristic sayings about the fine line between 'faith' and 'irresponsibility' . . . or between 'hope' and a sophisticated system of non-surrender?

\

Rick, I think that the emphasis of this quote is on gratitude and thanksgiving to God. That being said the key word that can be stumbling is 'solicitude' since we do not know if "the translator is a traitor" or not in this case (as Italians say it), my opinion would be to accept the meaning 'anxious' of the word 'solicitude'. Apostles never preached anxiety for material things. As God ordered them, they went to their mission with minimal belongings relying on God's Providence - this is also different from the topic of responsibility, or idleness. Also Christ said something similar to Martha and Mary.

#57 Rick H.

Rick H.

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,231 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 10 February 2009 - 07:50 PM

Thanks for the insights Nina.

#58 Nina

Nina

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,149 posts

Posted 11 February 2009 - 02:13 AM

The Russian ascetic, Father Tychon, who lived sixty years on Mt.
Athos after he had visited three hundred monasteries in Russian, said,
"God blesses with one hand in the morning the entire world, and uses
both hands to bless the humble man. A humble person is above the whole
world."


from an Athonite Gerontikon



#59 Nina

Nina

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,149 posts

Posted 17 February 2009 - 03:34 AM

"Being bountiful and full of love, God awaits with great patience the repentance of every sinner, and He celebrates the return of the sinner with celestial rejoicing. But when someone sees this generosity and patience, and how God awaits repentance and so does not punish sins one by one, he may neglect the commandment and make such generosity an excuse for indifference, adding sin to sin, offence to offence, laziness to laziness. In this way he will reach the furthest limits of sin, and fall into such transgression that he is not able to recover himself. On the contrary, sinking into the lowest depths and finally committing himself to the devil, he destroys himself. That is what happened in the time of Noah: people had surrendered so unrestrainedly to the impulses of evil, piling up such a load of sin on themselves and showing not the least sign of repentance, that the whole earth became corrupt (cf. Gen 6:5)."


From St. Makarios of Egypt (The Philokalia Vol. 3; Faber and Faber pg. 320)

#60 Anna Stickles

Anna Stickles

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,365 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 17 February 2009 - 11:48 AM

Most of Nina's wonderful quotes here have been on the practical side, for instruction but I've been reading Justin Martyr lately and his appeal to the Greeks at the end of his Discourse struck me as a beautiful summary of what our Christian life is about. Since the text is not linked in our library I thought it deserved a place somewhere.

Henceforth, ye Greeks, come and partake of incomparable wisdom, and be instructed by the Divine Word, and acquaint yourselves with the King immortal; and do not recognise those men as heroes who slaughter whole nations. For our own Ruler, the Divine Word, who even now constantly aids us, does not desire strength of body and beauty of feature, nor yet the high spirit of earth's nobility, but a pure soul, fortified by holiness, and the watchwords of our King, holy actions, for through the Word power passes into the soul. O trumpet of peace to the soul that is at war! O weapon that puttest to flight terrible passions! O instruction that quenches the innate fire of the soul! The Word exercises an influence which does not make poets: it does not equip philosophers nor skilled orators, but by its instruction it makes mortals immortal, mortals gods; and from the earth transports them to the realms above Olympus. Come, be taught; become as I am, for I, too, was as ye are. These have conquered me--the divinity of the instruction, and the power of the Word: for as a skilled serpent-charmer lures the terrible reptile from his den and causes it to flee, so the Word drives the fearful passions of our sensual nature from the very recesses of the soul; first driving forth lust, through which every ill is begotten--hatreds, strife, envy, emulations, anger, and such like. Lust being once banished, the soul becomes calm and serene. And being set free from the ills in which it was sunk up to the neck, it returns to Him who made it. For it is fit that it be restored to that state whence it departed, whence every soul was or is.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users