Orthodox Thought for the Day


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Desiring God's blessings without effort

Just as the blessings promised by God are unutterably great, so their acquisition requires much hardship and toil undertaken with hope and faith.  This is clear from Christ’s words, He who does not hate father and mother, brothers and sisters, wife and children, and even his own soul, cannot be a disciple of Mine, Luke 14:26.  Most people are so lacking in intelligence as to want to attain the great and inconceivable blessing of the Kingdom of God, and to inherit eternal life and reign with Christ forever, while living according to their own desires, or rather, according to him who sows within them clearly noxious vanities. 

Some might question the meaning of Bible verse Luke 14:26 above.  My understanding has always been that the expression is used to indicate the  intensity of devotion one should have toward God in comparison with earthly kinship.  This verse does not refer to literal hating of family members.     

St. Kyril wrote thus, “Some perchance may say, Lord, dost Thou despise the laws of natural affection?  Shall we then make those enemies who are members of the same household?  This is not what the Savior means.  It is plain by what He said that He permits us to love, but not more than we do Him.  For He demands for Himself our chief affection and that very justly.  For the love of God in those who are perfect in mind has something in it superior both to the honor due to parents and to the natural affection felt for children…”

Set aside an unrepentant life

Since the Word of God though His descent to us has brought the kingdom of heaven close to us, let us not distance ourselves from it by leading an unrepentant life. Let us rather flee the wretchedness of those who sit `in darkness and the shadow of death' (Isa. 9:2). Let us acquire the fruits of repentance: a humble disposition, compunction and spiritual grief, a gentle and merciful heart that loves righteousness and pursues purity, peaceful, peace-making, patient in toil, glad to endure persecution, loss, outrage, slander and suffering for the sake of truth and righteousness. For the kingdom of heaven or, rather, the King of heaven - ineffable in His generosity - is within us (cf. Luke 17:21); and to Him we should cleave through acts of repentance and patient endurance, loving as much as we can Him Who so dearly has loved us.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Not hearers of the Word only

Merely to hear the word of God saves no one and is instead a condemnation.  After hearing, one must do. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Our needs and God's provision

It is God, Who is merciful and grants everyone what he needs, Who is building him up when He gives him more than he needs; in doing so He shows the abundance of His love for men and teaches him to give thanks.  When He does not grant him what he needs, He makes him compensate for the thing he needs through the working of the mind and teaches him patience. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Harken to the humility of the Publican

Even if you are not what you should be, you should not despair.  It is bad enough that you have sinned; why in addition do you wrong God by regarding Him in your ignorance as powerless?  Is He, who for your sake created the great universe that you behold, incapable of saving your soul?  And if you say that this fact, as well as His incarnation, only makes your condemnation worse, then repent; and He will receive your repentance, as He accepted that of the prodigal son (cf.Luke 15:20) and the prostitute (cf. Luke 7:37-50).  But if repentance is too much for you, and you sin out of habit even when you do not want to, show humility like the publican (cf. Luke 18:13): that is enough to ensure your salvation.  For he who sins without repenting, yet does not despair, must out of necessity regard himself as the lowest of creatures, and will not dare to judge or censure anyone.  Rather, he will marvel at God’s compassion, and will be full of gratitude towards his Benefactor, and so may receive many other blessings as well.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Surrender your way to peace

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 fulfill 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.


On God's justice

Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in the things concerning you.  And if David calls Him just and upright, His Son revealed to us that He is good and kind.  ‘He is good,’ He says, ‘to the evil and to the impious.’  How can you call God just when you come across the Scriptural passage on the wage given to the workers?...How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son who wasted his wealth with riotous living, how for the compunction alone which he showed, the father ran and fell upon his neck and gave him authority over all his wealth?  Where, then, is God’s justice, for while we are sinners Christ died for us! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On understanding God's nature

The man who chooses to consider God an avenger, presuming that in this manner he bears witness to His justice, accuses Him of being bereft of goodness.  Far be it, that vengeance could ever be found in that Fountain of love and Ocean brimming with goodness!  The aim of His design is the correction of men; and if it were not that, we should be stripped of the honor of our free will, perhaps He would not even heal us by reproof. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

God forces no one

We all receive God’s blessings equally.  But some of us, receiving God’s fire, that is, His word, become soft like beeswax, while the others like clay become hard as stone.  And if we do not want Him, He does not force any of us, but like the sun, He sends His rays and illuminates the whole world, and he who wants to see Him, sees Him, whereas the one who does not want to see Him, is not forced by Him.  And no one is responsible for this privation of light except the one who does not want to have it.   

God created the sun and the eye.  Man is free to receive the sun’s light or not.  The same is true here.  God sends the light of knowledge like rays to all, but He also gave us faith like an eye.  The one who wants to receive knowledge through faith, keeps it by his works, and so God gives him more willingness, knowledge and power. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Observe your thoughts

Observe your thoughts, and beware of what you have in your heart and your spirit, knowing that the demons put ideas into you so as to corrupt your soul by making it think of that which is not right, in order to turn your spirit from consideration of your sins and of God. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Spiritual medicine when under trials

The best medicine for our every trial or tribulation is the greater trial of our fellow human beings, particularly when we compare it with our own trial and distinguish the great difference and the great love that God shows us in allowing only a minor trial for us.  Then we will thank God; we will feel the other's greater pain and we will pray from the heart for God to help them. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Orthodox Saint Valentine

Please see the February 13, 2012 blog entry for details about this dear Saint.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

When tested by a trial

When tested by some trial, you should try to find out not why or through whom it came, but only how to endure it gratefully, without distress or rancor.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Please see the February 10, 2012 entry on this site for the commemoration of this great Saint.

Made in God's image, worthy of love

Love every man in spite of his falling into sin.  Never mind the sins, but remember that the foundation of the man in the same—the image of God. 

God's forgiveness of our sins

If, in the case of one human being who has done wrong to another, God in His grace has commanded that we should be forgiving to the offender seventy times seven, how much more will God forgive the person who offers up supplication for his sins? 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

On starting afresh

Abba Moses asked Abba Sylvanus, “Can a person lay a new foundation every day?”  The old man replied, “If you work hard, you can lay a new foundation every moment.”

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

No greater love than this

There is no greater love than that a man lays down his life for his neighbor.  When you hear someone complaining and you struggle with yourself and do not answer him back with complaints; when you are hurt and bear it patiently, not looking for revenge; then you are laying down your life for your neighbor. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Love is the heart of Christian faith

You believe that God is one.  You do well.  The demons also believe, and they tremble, (James 2:19)

They alone know how to believe in God who love God, who are Christians not only in name, but also in action and [way of] life, because without love faith is empty.  With love, it is the faith of a Christian—without love, the faith of a demon. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

On mercy and compassion

Ever let mercy outweigh all else in you.  Let our compassion be a mirror where we may see in ourselves that likeness and that true image which belong to the Divine nature and Divine essence.  A heart hard and unmerciful will never be pure. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Wise as serpents, harmless as doves

The Lord Himself says, Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  According to commentaries, the wisdom of the serpent consists of the fact that when a serpent is attacked, it first of all protects its head; similarly, in times of misfortune and difficult circumstances, the Christian must, first of all, protect his faith.  Secondly, the wisdom of the serpent consists of the fact that when it wants to shed its old skin, it slithers into a tight space, otherwise it will not be able to shed its skin.  Likewise with the Christian, if he wishes to shed himself of the ‘old man,’ must take the narrow path, according to the Gospel teaching.  The harmlessness of the dove consists in gentleness and forgiveness of offenses, vexations and similar things.