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Modern Church Fathers

Ainnir

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Elder Thaddeus, from Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives
All quotes from chapter 16
(And please forgive me if I'm duplicating.)

"Until a person is illumined by the Holy Spirit, fear is always present.  Afterwards there is no fear.  Such a soul has compassion for everyone; he understands that all creation suffers because of the Fall of man.  Such a person is always ready to weep for all and to pray for all."  #56

"Often the Lord allows the enemy to surprise us, and we wonder: what has happened to us?  The Lord permits these things to happen in order that we might realize we are nothing and the trust we place in ourselves is nothing.  We must learn to never ascribe any merit to ourselves."  #62

"If we loved the Lord with all of our heart we would never fall into sin as long as we lived, for he would be with us.  He is the power by Whose flame every unclean thing and every sin is burned.  Nothing unholy would ever enter our hearts.  #64

"We must leave everything to the Lord.  he will take care of everything in the world.  Our thoughts should not become involved in these worldly matters.  If we let them do that, we will always be at war with the world, fighting with words and thoughts, and we will no have peace.  At the end of our earthly life it will turn out that we have become accustomed to constant arguments!"  #66

"Great temptations (suffering) come before or after the good that the Lord gives us.  This happens so that the soul may not be filled with pride."  #70

"The Lord permits many disappointments, sorrows, and misfortunes to befall us in this earthly life in order that we might stop placing our trust in the world, which harms us so much, and that we might realize that He alone is the Source of all comfort, peace, and stillness."  #89
 

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At first sight there seems to be nothing wrong about an intrusive thought, but soon it diverts the mind from prayer and then stirs up confusion. The rejection of all intrusive thoughts, however apparently good, is therefore essential, and equally essential is it to have a mind pure in God... But should an intrusive thought approach, there is no cause to be troubled... Put your trust in God and dwell in prayer... We must not be troubled, because that rejoices the enemy... Pray, and the intrusive thought will leave you... This is the way of the Saints.

-- St. Silouan (quoted in: St. Sophrony, The Monk of Mount Athos, pp. 105-106)

[all ellipses in the referenced text]
 

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The first thing we need to remember is that the Philokalia is not Holy Scripture, a divinely inspired revelation, but the writings of saints, who are people after all.

-- St. Maria of Paris (Mother Maria Skobtsova: Essential Writings, p. 50)
 

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I hope to meet her one day.
 

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Think as little as possible about external ascetic feats. Although they are necessary, they are nothing but a scaffolding inside which the building is erected. They are not the building itself; the building is in the heart. Turn all your attention, then, on what is to be done in the heart.

-- St. Theophan the Recluse
 

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The general meaning of the mysteries is the union of God with the creature, and the most comprehensive mystery is the union of God with the whole of creation. This is a mystery that contains everything, and there is absolutely no part of reality not contained within it. This union begins with the very act of creation and is destined to find its fulfillment through the movement of creation toward that state in which “God is all in all” (1 Cor 15:28). Is there anyone who can explain the meaning and the depth of this union, the way in which the Word of God is present within the reasons of created things and the way He is at work, sustaining and governing them toward their goal of complete union with Him?

-- Dumitru Staniloae, The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Vol. 5, p. 3
 

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The heart infected with anger and incapable of the Gospel commandment of love for enemies must be healed with those medicines indicated by the Lord--one must pray for one's enemies without condemning them, one must not speak evil of them, one mus say only good things about them and do good to them as much as possible. These actions extinguish hatred when it inflames the heart and keep it constantly reined in and weakened. But the full rooting out of anger from the heart is only done by the workings of divine grace.

-- St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, The Field: Cultivating Salvation
 

Dominika

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Many times, Jesus in the Holy Bible before He does a miracle He lets the person insist on asking... and this indicates that prayer has another purpose not just fulfilling requests.
Prayer is important because it waters the human soul.
Prayer is the pathway of divine blessings to human's life.
He who prays is a person that transfigures*, not just asks and begs...
Prayer makes us think with Christ and gain Christ's mind.
Prayer lifts us from our bestial nature to the human, spiritual, angelic nature.
As Saint Dionysius the Areopagite says: the person who prays is like a sailing person on a boat and sea waves tossing him, but he throws the rope of prayer to the land and pulls the rope till he reaches the harbor of salvation.
Prayer is more than requesting things of God...
Prayer is glorifying, prayer is thanksgiving.
The one who prays from heart knows that God deserves from us more than requesting and listing our needs...


Source originally in Arabic with English subtitles (Orthodox Teaching of the Elders) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8h-mpv0gZms


*the term in Arabic has deeper menaing, it means to be discovered by yourself in light.
 

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Man's freedom is indissolubly linked with his obligations. Man's freedom is not a claim, but a duty, not so much what he demands as what is demanded of him. Man must be free. God demands and expects this of him.

-- Nicholas Berdyaev
 

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"It’s a very important work to preserve ourselves from despair... Despair is not for a Christian. Despair is only for a man who is attached to the material."

- Archimandrite Justin (Parvu)

https://orthochristian.com/132881.html
 

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According to my feeling, my pan-feeling, what is now important for you and most important for you is: to make your mind prayerful. So that every thought, subsequently and by its own, turns into a prayer, ends up in a prayer. A prayerful mind as a clear and pure well-spring will always send and pour out pure and holy thoughts: Godly-thoughts, Christly-thoughts. For a Christ-yearning toiler the following ideal is achievable even here on earth: every single thought should be ended with and perfected by God, Christ the Lord--the God-man (Theanthropos). For this purpose one should pray with a prayer rope, in the beginning repeating short prayers such as: 1) The all-merciful Lord, bestow a prayerful disposition on me a sinner, 2) The all-merciful Lord, teach me how to pray, 3) Lord, give me a prayerful attitude towards the world. Such and similar prayers should be sent up to the Most-Holy Theotokos, to one's favorite saints, especially to St. John Chrysostom (Golden-mouthed). One should particularly dwell on the prayer that gladdens and warms one's heart.

-- St. Justin Popovich (Notes on Ecumenism, p. 39)
 

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As the diseased body needs to be protected from winds, cold, harmful food, and drink, so does the diseased soul need to be protected from all sides. When we preserve our virtues from being damaged by the praise of men, we also must preserve them from the evil that resides in us, which is our “left hand.” (Matt. 6:3) We must not become distracted by vain thoughts and fantasies, with the joy and pleasure that vanity brings after the doing of a good deed, because this will take away the fruits of virtue.

-- St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, The Field: Cultivating Salvation
 

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One of the most basic problems for theologians today is knowing how to discern between the holy Tradition of the Church... and the human traditions which express Revelation only imperfectly and, very often, which even oppose and obscure it... the Orthodox must do a it of rethinking and reflecting themselves. If the truth which they are conscious of possessing is really Catholic truth, it must of course be valid for all men, all times and all countries. It must be capable of supplying an answer to the very real problems raised by Western Christians during the centuries which have elapsed since the separation. It must face the challenge of the modern world. In order to make their message meaningful, the Orthodox must learn to live these problems from inside, not externally...

-- Fr. John Meyendorff, (quoted in: Discerning the Signs of the Times: The Vision of Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, p. 16) [ellipses and italics in source text]
 

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“Blessed are the meek,” said the Saviour, “for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5) What is this “earth”? After the fall, God called Adam “earth,” and in Adam, He has called me “earth” as well. “For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”(Gen. 3:19) Since I am dust and earth, I no longer have authority over this earth. Various passions have stolen it from me, especially the horrible anger that controls me and gives me pleasure. I even have no power of myself. Meekness returns this power to me and gives me authority over my inheritance, my “earth,” which is my self, my body, my blood, and my passions. “The meek shall inherit the earth, and shall be refreshed in the multitude of peace.” (Ps. 36:6)

-- St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, The Field: Cultivating Salvation
 

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If it was only at Pentecost that the Apostles fully recognized Christ as God, that was because it was only in the Ascension of Christ that the Spirit which rests upon him and shines forth from him as God was poured out upon him completely as man. This is why Scripture never speaks of seeing the Spirit for his own sake, nor even of the vision of the Spirit in general--apart from the times when he showed himself symbolically as a dove, as tongues of fire, or as a cloud--but instead speaks only of seeing Christ "in the Spirit". Scripture speaks of "receiving" the Spirit, but not of seeing the Spirit. For the Spirit is only the spiritual light in which Christ is seen, as objects are seen in material life. And just as we cannot say that we see the material light, only other objects in it, in the same way we do not say that we "see" the Spirit, but Christ in or through the Spirit. The Spirit is the milieu in which Christ is "seen", the "means" by which we come to know him and to lay hold of and experience the presence of Christ. As such, the Spirit enters the system of our perceptual subjectivity. He is the power which imprints itself upon and elevates this subjectivity. In this sense the Spirit also "shines forth" through spiritual men, the saints.

-- Fr. Dumitru Staniloae, Theology and the Church, p. 24
 

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..............
 
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[Saint] Justin [Popovich] points to the central importance of this personal relationship with the Bible: “The Saint Evangelist [John] called the whole of his Gospel a testimony, personal testimony of all that he experienced as an Apostle and a personal companion of Lord Jesus Christ, and especially as the disciple ‘whom Jesus loved most.’ The Gospel is personal, a testimony based on the personal experience. There is nothing fictional or unempirical: everything is empirical, concrete, experienced.” This personal experientiality of the gospel as the only true guideline is the basis for its probity and validity. John the Evangelist testifies to what his eyes saw and what he experienced. Thus, according to Justin, every human being is ”a living, walking Gospel” of Christ, and everyone by his own life in the church, as the body of Christ, writes a new gospel of Christ.

-- Vladimir Cvetkovic, The Gospel according to Saint Justin the New: Justin Popovic on Scripture
 

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The collection of Old and New Testament books, which the Church acknowledges as hers, are called by the name of Holy Scripture. But there are no limits to Scripture; for every writing which the Church acknowledges as hers is Holy Scripture. Such pre-eminently are the Creeds of the General Councils, and especially the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. Wherefore, the writing of Holy Scripture has gone on up to our day, and, if God pleases, yet more will be written. But in the Church there has not been, nor ever will be, any contradictions, either in Scripture, or in tradition, or in works; for in all three is Christ, one and unchangeable.

-- Alexei Khomiakov, The Church is One
 

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There are in a sense two forms of apostolic succession in the life of the Church. First, there is the visible succession of the hierarchy, the unbroken series of bishops in different cities... Alongside this, largely hidden, existing on a "charismatic" rather than an official level, there is secondly the apostolic succession of the spiritual fathers and mothers in each generation of the Church--the succession of the saints, stretching from the apostolic age to our own day, which St Symeon the New Theologian called the "golden chain"...

-- Met. Kallistos (Ware), quoted in: St Symeon the New Theologian: On the Mystical Life, the Ethical Discourses, v. 3, p. 20
 

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John the Baptist and our Lord Jesus Christ both begin their preaching with exactly the same words: 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand' (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). Such is the starting-point of the Good News — repentance. Without repentance there can be no new life, no salvation, no entry into the kingdom.

-- Met. Kallistos (Sobornost, 1980, v. 2, issue 1)
 

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And every time we say 'no' to the Gospel we are refusing to be a person in the full sense of the word.

-- Met. Anthony Bloom, Courage to Pray, p. 19
 

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...the Orthodox Church, in its nature and its dogmatically unchanging constitution is episcopal and centred in the bishops. For the bishop and the faithful gathered around him are the expression and manifestation of the Church as the Body of Christ, especially in the Holy Liturgy: the Church is Apostolic and Catholic only by virtue of its bishops, insofar as they are the heads of true ecclesiastical units, the dioceses. At the same time, the other, historically later and variable forms of church organisation of the Orthodox Church: the metropolias, archdioceses, patriarchates, pentarchias, autocephalies, autonomies, etc., however many there may be or shall be, cannot have and do not have a determining and decisive significance in the conciliar system of the Orthodox Church. Furthermore, they may constitute an obstacle in the correct functioning of the conciliar principle if they obstruct and reject the episcopal character and structure of the Church and of the Churches. Here, undoubtedly, is to be found the primary difference between Orthodox and papal ecclesiology.

-- St. Justin the New (Popovich)
 

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But as divine grace increases its presence in the warrior, so temptations multiply, and their intensity is proportionate to this state. In this bitter struggle where the adversaries and their operations are supranatural (on the one hand Grace, and on the other Satan the tempter), I must confess with fear that it requires an iron will and the courage of a true warrior. In this tug-of-war, each side pulls the warrior's will violently towards itself, and 'who is wise and will keep these things, and will understand the mercies of the Lord?' (Hos. 14:9 LXX)

-- The Elder Joseph the Hesychast (1897-1959): Struggles - Experiences - Teachings
 

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Have you forgotten the Lord’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, “if it be possible let it pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt!”? (Matt. 26:39) Any expression of obedience towards the venerable divine will that does not have love for Him as its basis risks remaining a human action – or, to put it better, a human failing.
 

Dominika

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God, I ask You not to free me from the live sufferings, but I ask You that in those suffering You do not leave me.

Serbian patriarch Pavle (+2009)

Source
 

Dominika

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“Many think that the saints are far from us. But they are far from those who distance themselves from them, and very close to those keep the commandments of Christ and have the grace of the Holy Spirit. In the heavens, all things are moved by the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is on earth too. He lives in our Church. He lives in the Mysteries. He is in the Holy Scriptures. He is in the souls of the faithful. The Holy Spirit unites all things, and therefore the saints are close to us. And when we pray to them, then the Holy Spirit hears our prayers, and our souls feel that they are praying for us.”

+ Saint Silouan the Athonite +
Source
 

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The habit of vigilance over the self protects one from an absent way of life, especially in the midst of loud worldly pleasures that surround one from every side. The attentive man remains alone within himself even in the midst of a crowd.

-- St. Ignatius Brianchaninov
 
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