Friday, July 31, 2015
The truly intelligent man pursues one sole objective: to obey and to conform to the God of all. With this single aim in view, he disciplines his soul, and whatever he may encounter in the course of his life, he gives thanks to God for the compass and depth of His providential ordering of all things. For it is absurd to be grateful to doctors who give us bitter and unpleasant medicines to cure our bodies, and yet to be ungrateful to God for what appears to us to be harsh, not grasping that all we encounter is for our benefit and in accordance with His providence. For knowledge of God and faith in Him is the salvation and perfection of the soul.
Regarding the rest of mankind, you should pray for them unceasingly, for we can always hope that repentance may enable them to find their way to God. Give them a chance to learn from you, or at all events, from the way you behave. Meet their animosity with mildness, their high words with humility, and their abuse with your prayers. But stand firm against their errors; if they grow violent, be gentle instead of wanting to pay them back in their own coin. Let us show by our forbearance that we are brothers, and try to imitate the Lord.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
The human conscience is a gift of God. It is so mysterious and enigmatic in its immediateness and reality that nothing less than God could give it to man. In its most inner cell, the human conscience is God-conscience because in essence the conscience has been given as a divine gift to man. Man could not have a self-conscience, if this had never been given to him by God.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
A holy soul cares for his neighbor, either close at hand or far away. He cares where the homeless will spend the night, how the hungry will be fed, with what the naked will be clothed. He cares and he prays for the salvation of his neighbors: that their hearts may be filled with love towards God, that their minds may be directed towards God, that the wicked may turn from the paths of wickedness, that the hesitant may be confirmed in the Faith, that the firm may persevere, that the departed may behold the Face of God, that the living may be written in the Book of Life in the Kingdom of Light.
Those of you who have been Orthodox Thought readers for some time know that the persecution of the Christian populace of Kosovo (Serbia) is very close to my heart. Along with our brother in Christ, Fr. Nektarios Serfes of Boise, Idaho, I try to keep readers abreast of the difficulties in the province and provide a way of bringing relief to our brothers and sisters in Christ there.
The Decani Monastery Relief Fund is the means we use to make sure monies sent for relief make it to Kosovo and are fully utilized for those who are in significant hardship. The fathers of the Decani Monastery are God’s hands and feet who distribute funds to individuals and families who are oppressed. Sadly, conditions in the region continue to deteriorate.
Ariane Trifunovic Montemuro is a board member of the Fund and has prepared a short YouTube video as a reminder of Kosovo’s plight: https://youtu.be/ycBFeYbbmGc. As an artist, Ariane has prepared a poignant visual reminder of the desecration of Kosovo.
The aim of the desecration and personal oppression against Christians is to demoralize and destroy the Orthodox Christian population there. The struggle of Christians in the region is relentless, whether you hear about it in the news or not. This is what makes their situation particularly heavy. If you are willing to support those in hardship in Kosovo, our brethren in Christ, please consider Ariane’s offer at this time.
In Kosovo today, we are witnessing a consistent, slow but sure, modern day genocide of yet another Christian population, this one steeped in centuries of active Christian witness. What is happening there now is deplorable. However, those who care can bring relief and hope to those who struggle for faith and livelihood in Kosovo. Prayer is needed along with practical assistance.
Please give someone in Kosovo the strength to keep carrying a very heavy cross. Even our Christ received help to carry His cross from Simon the Cyrene on His approach to Golgotha. Do you feel compelled by God to take up Simon’s ministry for contemporary cross-bearers? Our spiritual kindred in Kosovo are among today’s cross-bearers. The opportunity to come alongside them and lift the cross is here and now, for Christ’s sake.
Visit the Decani Monastery Relief Fund site here: http://www.thedecanifund.org/ Donations can be made via Paypal or by check. I know Fr. Nektarios Serfes, DMRF president and am known by Bishop Teodosije of Decani Monastery. I recommend this philanthropic work without hesitation.
God reward you!
With heartfelt thanks,
Monday, July 27, 2015
My neighbor is a being with equal rights as myself, a man, like me, also made after the image of God, and as he is the same as I am I must love him as I love myself. Therefore, I must watch over him as over my own flesh and blood, behave lovingly, gently, and kindly to him, forgiving his thoughts as I should willingly forgive myself my own, as I long for forgiveness or indulgence from others toward my own weaknesses—that is, that other people should not even notice them, as though they did not exist, or that they should notice them gently, kindly, pleasantly and benevolently. St. John of Kronstadt
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Prayer together with almsgiving can furnish us with countless good things from above. They can quench the fire of sin in our souls and can give us great freedom. Cornelius had recourse to these two virtues and sent his prayers up to heaven. Because of these two virtues he heard the angel say, “Thy prayers and thy alms have gone up and been remembered in the sight of God,” Acts 10:4.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Monday, July 20, 2015
Some people by the word freedom understand the ability to do whatever one wants…People who have the more allowed themselves to come into slavery to sins, passions, and defilements more often than others appear as zealots of external freedom, wanting to broaden the laws as much as possible. But such a man uses external freedom only to more severely burden himself with inner slavery. True freedom is the active ability of a man who is not enslaved to sin, who is not pricked by a condemning conscience, to choose the better in the light of God’s truth, and to bring it into actuality with the help of the gracious power of God. This is the freedom of which neither heaven nor earth are restrict.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Boredom is the grandfather of despondency, and laziness is the daughter. In order to drive it away, exert yourself at work—do not be lazy at prayer. Then, boredom will pass and grace will come. And if you add patience and humility to this, you will spare yourself from much evil.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Acknowledge your sinfulness and pride and impatience, and humble yourself under the strong hand of God—accusing no one but yourself, and then you will see divine help: how God will calm you and cause the hearts of those that oppose you to be favorably disposed towards you.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
What I see around me would drive me insane if I did not know that no matter what happens, God will have the last word.
Give thanks to God for everything. Try to be manly. Pull yourself together a bit. Do you know what Christians are suffering in other countries? There are such difficulties in Russia! But here many exhibit indifference. There’s not enough disposition to kindness, love of devotion. You see, if we don’t begin to make war against evil, to expose those who tempt believers, then the evil will grow larger. If we throw aside fear then the faithful will be emboldened a bit. And those who wage war against the Church will have a harder time. In the past our nation lived spiritually, so God blessed her, and the saints helped us in miraculous fashion. And we were victorious against our enemies, who always outnumbered us. Today we continue to call ourselves Orthodox Christians, but we don’t live Orthodox lives.
Friday, July 10, 2015
A person should never make great leaps and bounds in the spiritual life. He should always move towards God progressively; little by little, but consistently. It is the middle way that is the royal path. +Elder Sergei of Vanves
Note: the above image is not the book being quoted from