Spiritual Quotes

Featured Quote:    

 'The key to spiritual progress is, therefore, evangelical love for one’s enemies. This is first of all – something very simple, but very difficult – the refusal to judge, the refusal to assert oneself in despising or condemning others. Only such an attitude of mind brings detachment and peace. The rest is secondary.

        - Olivier Clement 


Archived Quotes:


A Prayer for Today
St. Isaac the Syrian (613-700 CE)

Lord Jesus Christ, King of kings,
You have power over life and death.
You know even things
that are uncertain and obscure,
and our very thoughts and feelings
are not hidden from you.
Cleanse me from my secret faults,
for I have done wrong and you saw it.
You know how weak I am,
both in soul and body.
Give me strength, O Lord, in my frailty
and sustain me in my sufferings.
Grant me a prudent judgment, dear Lord,
and let me always be mindful of Your blessings.
Let me retain until the end, Your grace that
has protected me until now. Amen


The Son is 'Life' (Jn. 14:6) because He is 'Light', constituting and giving reality to every thinking being. 'For in Him we live, move and exist' (Acts 17:28) and there is a two-fold sense in which He breathes into us (cf. Gen. 2:7; Jn. 20:22); we are filled, all of us, with His breath, and those who are capable of it, all those who open their mind's mouth wide enough, with His Holy Spirit.

       - Gregory of Nazianzus

If our thoughts are kind, peaceful, and quiet, turned only to the good, then we also influence ourselves and radiate peace all around us - in our family, the whole country, everywhere. This is true not only here on earth, but in the cosmos as well. When we labor in the fields of the Lord, we create harmony. Divine harmony, peace, and quiet spread everywhere.

       - Elder Thaddeus of Vitnovica

How torturous is the 'churchly' language one must speak in church - the tone, style, habit. It is all artificial; there is a total absence of a simple human language. With what a sigh of relief one leaves this world of cassocks, and kissing and church gossip. As soon as one leaves, one sees: wet bare branches, fog which floats over fields, trees, homes. Sky. Early dusk. And it all tells an incredibly simple truth.

      - Fr. Alexander Schmemann

The secret essence of the soul that knows the truth is calling out to God: Beloved, strip me of the consolations of my complacent spirituality. Plunge me into the darkness where I cannot rely on any of my old tricks for maintaining my separation. Let me give up on trying to convince myself that my own spiritual deeds are bound to be pleasing to you. Take all my juicy spiritual feelings, Beloved, and dry them up, and then please light them on fire. Take my lofty spiritual concepts and plunge them into darkness, and then burn them. Let me only love you, Beloved. Let me quietly and with unutterable simplicity just love you.

       - St. John of the Cross (translated by Mirabai Starr)

Thus says the Lord, the one who created you, who formed you: "Do not be afraid, for I have delivered you. I have called you by your name, and you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overcome you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. You are precious in my sight, and I love you. Do not be afraid -- for I am with you."

       (Isaiah 43:1-6)

Listen to your life. Listen to what happens to you, because it is through what happens to you that God speaks. It's in language that's not always easy to decipher, but it's there, powerfully, memorably, unforgetably

      - Frederick Buechner

Christianity is a lifestyle - a way of being in the world that is simple, non-violent, shared, and loving. However, we made it into an established "religion" (and all that goes with that) and avoided the lifestyle change itself. One could be warlike, greedy, racist, selfish, and vain in most of Christian history, and still believe that Jesus is one's "personal Lord and Savior" . . . The world has no time for such silliness anymore. The suffering on Earth is too great.

           - Richard Rohr

Whenever we’re led out of normalcy into sacred, open space, it’s going to feel like suffering, because it is letting go of what we’re used to. This is always painful at some level. But part of us has to die if we are ever to grow larger (John 12:24). If we’re not willing to let go and die to our small, false self, we won’t enter into any new or sacred space.

           - Richard Rohr

In the language of his place and time, Christ spoke of the mode of existence and life "according to truth" as the "kingdom of heaven." He preached that those who guide us toward this "mode" are not pious religious people, those who find satisfaction in being virtuous, those who shore up their ego by keeping some kind of law. Those who guide us are people who have lost all confidence in their own selves, people who expect no personal reward whatsoever, and only thirst to be loved even if they don't deserve it - despised sinners: tax collectors, robbers, prostitutes, and prodigals.

          - Christos Yannaras

We are in need of straightforward, direct, and approachable forms of spirituality that are firmly grounded in the ancient wisdom traditions of our ancestors, while at the same time fully embracing the modern wisdom of both psychology and science.

              - Adyashanti

The Trinity -- and it's generative effect, love -- is the true 'theory of everything.' Everybody is searching for this unifying theory lately. Triune love, it seems to me, is the resolution piece that helps us understand, to let go, and stand secure in the world..."

              - Rohr and Morrell, from THE DIVINE DANCE

When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

              - Leviticus 19:33-34

In the aftermath of Jesus and his cross, we should never again define God's sovereignty or supremacy by analogy to the kings of this world who dominate, oppress, subordinate, exploit, scapegoat and marginalize. Instead, we have migrated to an entirely new universe, or, as Paul says, "a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17) in which old ideas of supremacy are subverted.

             - Brian McLaren

Do we think we can follow Christ only when it pleases us or matches our opinions? That is not so. It's all or nothing. Are there some areas in our lives that are exempt from the Gospel? Of course not, so we mustn't fool ourselves. Something has to give and that something is our opinions and personal gripes, our likes and dislikes, our fears and desires. "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind," says St. Paul and if that doesn't mean the transformation of everything in our minds that isn't holy, isn't compassionate, isn't like Christ himself, then I don't know what it means. We grow into Christ by subtraction, not by addition. Opening our hearts to him, we let go of all things that have no place in his kingdom of peace, joy and love.

              - Fr. Antony

"Every morning about four hundred men come to Mott Street to be fed. The radio is cheerful, the smell of coffee is a good smell, the air of the morning is fresh and not too cold, but my heart bleeds as I pass the lines of men in front of the store which is our headquarters...It is hard to say, matter-of-factly and cheerfully, 'Good morning.' ...One felt more like taking their hands and saying, 'Forgive us -- let us forgive each other! All of us who are more comfortable, who have a place to sleep, three meals a day, work to do -- we are responsible for your condition. We are guilty of each other's sins. We must bear each other's burdens. Forgive us and may God forgive us all!"

              - Dorothy Day

Christ, who approached prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners, can hardly be the teacher of those who are afraid to soil their pristine garments, who are completely devoted to the letter, who live only by the rules, and who govern their whole life according to rules.

              - St. Maria of Paris

"The soul leaves all surface appearances, not only those that can be grasped by the senses but also those which the mind itself seems to see, and it keeps going deeper until by the operation of the spirit it penetrates the invisible and incomprehensible, and it is there that it sees God. The true vision and the true knowledge of what we seek consists precisely in not seeing, in an awareness that our goal transcends all knowledge...

              - St. Gregory of Nyssa

Our real journey in life is interior;
It is a matter of growth, deepening,
and of an ever greater surrender
to the creative action of love and grace
in our hearts.
Never was it more necessary to respond
to that action.

              - Thomas Merton

And increasingly - you know this and so do I - we're losing the youth everywhere...they are not interested in having more fears and guilt laid upon them. They are not interested in more sermons and exhortations. But they are interested in learning about love. How can I be happy? How can I live? How can I taste the wonderful things that the mystics speak of?

             - Anthony DeMello

"When you reach a state of harmony within yourself and become friends with yourself, then, simultaneously, your environment, Heaven and Earth, will become your friends. For such a person there are no enemies, no ‘impure’ people. Everything is pure to those who are pure."

"Do you realize that our best friend is ourselves? We don’t have a closer and more intimate friend than ourselves…So the first person you must befriend is yourself. You will then be able to see yourself with great love and compassion."

             - Fr. Maximos quoted in THE INNER RIVER 

"The vast majority of human beings have always had very concrete and childlike minds, and there are levels at which even the most highly intelligent people are still children. To get an abstract, universal or spiritual truth into the understanding of a child one must make it concrete, and the best way to do so is to illustrate it with a story. Because God intends the gift of union and its realization for all men, and not merely for an esoteric elite, he therefore embodies the gift in a story, a mythos, which is acted out in real life—in Palestine under the governership of Pontius Pilate.”

            - Alan Watts , BEHOLD THE SPIRIT

Allow me to explain the good news my religion proclaims," said the preacher. The master was all attention. "God is love. And God loves and rewards us forever if we observe God's commandments. "If?" said the master. "Then the news isn't all that good is it?"

            - Antony de Mello

Everything will eventually settle into order, but if we keep just endlessly reiterating what has been said long ago, more and more people will drift away from their faith...not because everything that was stated before is erroneous, but because the approach and language being used are all wrong. Today's people and the time they live in are different; today we think differently. I believe one must become rooted in God and not be afraid of thinking and feeling freely."

             From The Wheel, "The Problem of Fear, A Reflection on the Words of Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh", issue 4, Winter 2016

All the weaknesses we find in ourselves and all the things that upset us, we tend to try and push aside and get rid of. But we cannot do this. We have to accept that 'this is me' and allow grace to come and heal it all. That is the great secret of suffering, not to push it back but to open the depths of the unconscious..."

             - Fr. Bede Griffiths

The presence of God as the Eternal Now is a truth which, at least in part, should be able to penetrate our consciousness with ease. God has made it that way out of love. When this is understood it is obvious that walking, eating, sitting, washing and working are done in God, and may therefore be done in a contemplative way, to the glory of God, and thus done constitute the real translation of liturgy into life."

             - Alan Watts, BEHOLD THE SPIRIT

The Fifth Beatitude that was spoken in the Sermon on the Mount is, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Matt. 5:7). It is possible that no other commandment of Christ is needed more in our epoch than this commandment of mercy, of charity.
We live in the era of ideologies which in their attempt to be all-encompassing exist in continuous strife, and this strife fills the world with fear and hatred. We live in a world where mercy and charity are exiled, and that that is perhaps the most frightening thing about it, the sign of its dehumanization.

How often it is told about Christ in the Gospels that He had compassion on them, that He was merciful to them!

             - Fr. Alexander Schmemann

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered

          - Warsan Shire

It is a risky thing to pray, and the danger is that our very prayers get between God and us. The great thing in prayer is not to pray, but to go directly to God. If saying your prayers is an obstacle to prayer, cut it out. Let Jesus pray. Thank God Jesus is praying. Let him pray in you.

The best way to pray is: stop. Let prayer pray within you, whether you know it or not. This means a deep awareness of your true inner identity...

There are no levels. Any moment you can break through into the underlying unity which is God's gift in Christ. In this end, Praise praises. Thanksgiving gives thanks. Jesus prays. Openness is all."

           - Thomas Merton

Benedict of Nuria teaches that the "Fear of God is always before our eyes." We are to come to see the beauty and glory of God everywhere. Then, bowing down before it in our hearts, we will live in its aura. In us, around us, before us -- this awareness of God is a slowly consuming process. But an ever clearer one. So the seeker's life is a gradual sinking into the consciousness of God..."

          - Sister Joan Chittister

In love did He bring the world into existence; in love does He guide it during this its temporal existence; in love is He going to bring it to that wondrous transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the great mystery of Him who has performed all these things; in love will the whole course of the governance of creation be finally comprised. And since in the New World the Creator’s love rules over all rational nature, the wonder at His mysteries that will be revealed then will captivate to itself the intellect of all rational beings whom He has created so that they might have delight in Him, whether they be evil or whether they be just."

              - St. Isaac of Syria

In prayer we discover what we already have. You start from where you are and you deepen what you already have, and you realize you are already there. We have everything but we don't know it and don't experience it. Everything has been given us in Christ. All we need is to experience what we already possess

            - Thomas Merton

Created man cannot become a son of God and a god by grace through deification, unless he is first through his own free choice begotten in the Spirit by means of the self-loving and independent power dwelling naturally in him.

            - St. Maximos the Confessor

I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers...There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.

            - Thomas Merton's realization as he stood at the corner of Walnut and Fourth in Louisville, KY (1958).

It seems to me, and I am personally convinced, that the Church must never speak from a position of strength…It ought not to be one of the forces influencing this or that state. The Church ought to be, if you will, just as powerless as God himself, which does not coerce but which calls and unveils the beauty and the truth of things without imposing them. As soon as the Church begins to exercise power, it loses its most profound characteristic which is divine love [i.e.] the understanding of those it is called to save and not to smash…"

            - Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

We must start to meet: people must meet people; we are all human beings. Before being Christians or Jews or Muslims, before being Americans or Russians or Africans, before being generals or priests, rabbis or imams, before having visible or invisible disabilities, we are all human beings with hearts capable of loving."

           - Jean Vanier, 2015 Winner of the Templeton Prize

Finally, the importance of apophatic...theology, underlining the mystery and transcendence of God even while affirming the divine presence and immanence, dictates a reluctance to define or pontificate on matters of ethical importance. The deeper conviction always is that the truth can never be objectified or exhausted, while each human person is also uniquely created in the image of God, never able to be reduced to anything less than a mystery."

                 - Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Well, what we do is pick and choose things out of the Bible that conform to our fears. It's not a matter of obeying the Bible -- it's about obeying the gospel. The gospel is about God's saving love that wants to restore all of humanity to full communion. To reach back to an ancient text that has now been corrected by the revelation of God in Jesus Christ is simply a bad maneuver and methodology and theologically irresponsible.  Those texts are not the determinative  texts. The texts that are determinative are those that talk about the love of God that has been shown to us in Jesus. We can't compromise that.  

                 - Walter Bruggemann

"Now the virgin is returning…
A new human race is descending from the heights of heaven…
The birth of a child, with whom the iron age of humanity will end and the golden age begin…
Under your guidance, whatever vestiges remain of our ancient wickedness,
Once done away with, shall free the earth from its incessant fear…
For your sake, O child, the earth, without being tilled,
Will freely pour forth its gifts…
Your very cradle shall pour forth for you
Caressing flowers. The serpent too shall die…
Assume your great honors, for the time will soon be at hand,
Dear child of the gods, great offspring of Jove!
See how it totters – the world’s vaulted might,
Earth, and wide ocean, and the depths of heaven,
All of them, look, caught up in joy at the age to come."
                  - Vergil, Fourth Ecologue

"An old man was asked, 'How can I find God?' He said, 'In fasting, in watching, in labors, in devotion, and, above all, in discernment. I tell you, many have injured their bodies without discernment and have gone away from us having achieved nothing. Our mouths smell bad through fasting, we know the Scriptures by heart, we recite all the Psalms of David, but we have not that which God seeks: charity and humility.'"

                 - The Desert Fathers

"If you cannot be merciful, at least speak as though you are a sinner. If you are not a peacemaker, at least do not be a troublemaker. If you cannot be assiduous, at least in your thought be like a sluggard. If you are not victorious, do not exalt yourself over the vanquished. If you cannot close the mouth of a man who disparages his companion, at least refrain from joining him in this."

                - St. Isaac the Syrian

"When we are coming to church what are we looking for? Fish in the desert? No, we are looking for that hidden "inward meditation" of the heart which unites us to Christ...The same thing happens in the church where you are mystically and sacramentally united with Christ. In and through your inner meditation on these things they will become a reality...In order to find Him strive to enter into that hidden, inner meditation and you'll see that He'll come of His own accord. You'll see the heavy stone roll away from your heart and He Himself will rise!"

                - Elder Aimilianos, THE WAY OF THE SPIRIT

"There are two paths that lead to God: the hard and debilitating path with fierce assaults against evil, and the easy path of love. There are many who chose the hard path and 'shed blood in order to receive Spirit' until they attained great virtue. I find the shorter and safer route is the path of love.

That is, you can make a different kind of effort: to study and pray and have your aim to advance in the love of God and of the Church. Do not fight to expel darkness from the chamber of your soul. Open a tiny aperture for the light to enter, and the darkness will disappear. The same holds true for our passions and desires. Do not fight them, but transform them into strengths by showing disdain for evil."

Do not choose negative methods to correct yourselves. There is no need to fear the devil, hell or anything else. These things provoke a negative reaction...The object is to live, to study, to pray and to advance in love...

               - Elder Porphyrios, WOUNDED BY LOVE, p. 136

"Unconditional" by Jennifer Welwood

Willing to experience aloneness, 
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear, 
I meet the warrior who lives within;

                Read the entire poem at the author's website »

When your intellect in its great longing for God gradually withdraws from the flesh and turns away from all thoughts that have their source in your sense-perception, memory or soul[mind]-body temperament, and when it becomes full of reverence and joy, then you may conclude that you are close to the frontiers of prayer [meditation].

              - Evagrius "On Prayer [Meditation]" from The Philokalia Vol. 1

O Great Spirit, help me always to speak the truth quietly, to listen with an open mind when others speak, and to remember the peace that may be found in silence.

              - Cherokee Prayer

The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance. Like music also, it is fulfilled in each moment of its course. You do not play a sonata in order to reach the final chord, and if the meaning of things were simply in ends, composers would write nothing but finales.

            - Alan Watts

But most of all, Christianity teaches us that God is love, that God loved the world and so should we – a notion that I find difficult to square with retreating into a remote community waiting for the world to burn. I actually am hopeful about Christianity’s place in modern life, and seeing the brutality, violence, and indifference to suffering all around us, I can’t help but think the message of Jesus will retain it’s power. But that hope is premised on living in the world, not apart from it, while also letting go of apocalyptic rhetoric and the acute sense of persecution so many Christians feel. One of my favorite passages comes from a letter written by the novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder, where he argued that “The revival in religion will be a rhetorical problem — new persuasive words for defaced or degraded ones.” I’m far more interested in that project, in finding ways to think and talk about Christianity, as well as live it, that avoid the well-worn tropes of American religious life, than I am in waiting out the supposed new Dark Ages.

            - Andrew Sullivan

Christianity without compassion is only a religion and religion without compassion, as we have seen over and over again in history, and are seeing now in living color on our television sets, gives birth to the greatest of evils.

             - Fr. Antony

You may call God love, you may call God goodness. But the best name for God is compassion.

             - Meister Eckhart

Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians - you are not like him.

             - Mahatma Gandhi

To believe something because you are "supposed to believe it" and not because it is true, seems to me to be not only immoral, but actual treachery. To believe something that has been proved erroneous and decidedly untrue, simply because it is "tradition," surely is an act of treachery and amoralism.

             - Vladika Lazar

When people say that God is one, they think it means that He is not two, three, four or ten. That is, they enumerate God. But God cannot be counted. So in this sense it cannot be said that God is one. If you count Him, then you limit Him. God is not one in the numerical sense that we say, for example, that this book is one. There is nothing like God and no number like Him.

           - Metropolitan Georges Khodr

"The love of God, unutterable and perfect, flows into a pure soul the way light rushes into a transparent object.
The more love that it finds, the more it gives itself: so that, as we grow clear and open, the more complete the joy of heaven is.
And the more souls who resonate together, the greater the intensity of their love, and, mirror-like, each soul reflects the other.

           - Dante

"Our attitude towards evil must be freed from hatred, and has itself need to be enlightened in character...Satan rejoices when he succeeds in inspiring us with diabolical feelings to himself. It is he who wins when his own methods are used against himself...A continual denunciation of evil and its agents merely encourages its growth in the world - a truth sufficiently revealed in the Gospels, but to which we are persistently blind."

          - Berdayev, Freedom and the Spirit, p. 182

"It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion--its message becomes meaningless."

          - Abraham Heschel

"Do you fast? Then feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, visit the sick, do not forget the imprisoned, have pity on the tortured, comfort those who grieve and who weep, be merciful, humble, kind, calm, patient, sympathetic, forgiving, reverent, truthful and pious, so that God might accept your fasting and might plentifully grant you the fruits of repentance."

           - Saint John Chrysostom

"The goal of fasting is inner unity."  

           - Thomas Merton

"To be alive spiritually man must have union with God and must be conscious of it. Apart from this union his religious life will be an empty drudgery, a mere imitation of true spirituality."

              - Alan Watts, BEHOLD, THE SPIRIT

"The problem for and the function of religion in this age is to awaken the heart. When the clergy do not or cannot awaken the heart, that tells us that they are unable to interpret the symbols through which they are supposed to enlighten and spiritually nourish their people.  When, instead, the clergy talk of ethical and political problems, that constitutes a betrayal of the human race. The substitution of social work, or heavy involvement in regulating the intimate decisions of family life, has nothing to do with the real calling of the clergy to open to their people the dimensions of the meaning of the Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus. These latter constitute a system of symbols that works perfectly."

             - Joseph Campbell

"You may have practical ethics and that kind of thing, but there is no spirituality in any aspect of our Western civilization.  Our religious life is ethical, not mystical. The mystery has gone and society is disintegrating as a result."

            - David Kudler

"The problem for and the function of religion in this age is to awaken the heart. When the clergy do not or cannot awaken the heart, that tells us that they are unable to interpret the symbols through which they are supposed to enlighten and spiritually nourish their people.  When, instead, the clergy talk of ethical and political problems, that constitutes a betrayal of the human race. The substitution of social work, or heavy involvement in regulating the intimate decisions of family life, has nothing to do with the real calling of the clergy to open to their people the dimensions of the meaning of the Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus. These latter constitute a system of symbols that works perfectly."

            - Joseph Campbell

"The faith passes, so to speak, through a distiller and becomes ideology. And ideology does not beckon [people]. In ideologies there is not Jesus: in his tenderness, his love, his meekness. And ideologies are rigid, always. Of every sign: rigid. And when a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought… For this reason Jesus said to them: ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge.’ The knowledge of Jesus is transformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge, because these close the door with many requirements.

... The faith becomes ideology and ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people, distances, distances the people and distances  the Church from the people. But it is a serious illness, this of ideological Christians. It is an illness, but it is not new, eh? Already the Apostle John, in his first Letter, spoke of this. Christians who lose the faith and prefer the ideologies. His attitude is: be rigid, moralistic, ethical, but without kindness. This can be the question, no? But why is it that a Christian can become like this? Just one thing: this Christian does not pray. And if there is no prayer, you always close the door."

The key that opens the door to the faith is prayer.... When a Christian does not pray, this happens. And his witness is an arrogant witness.... He who does not pray is arrogant, is proud, is sure of himself. He is not humble. He seeks his own advancement. Instead, when a Christian prays, he is not far from the faith; he speaks with Jesus."

          - Pope Francis

"You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgment. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil."

          - St Seraphim of Sarov

"Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody's business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy."

          -Thomas Merton

"We see the water of a river flowing uninterruptedly and passing away, and all that floats on its surface, rubbish or beams of trees, all pass by. Christian! So does our life. . .I was an infant, and that time has gone. I was an adolescent, and that too has passed. I was a young man, and that too is far behind me. The strong and mature man that I was is no more. My hair turns white, I succumb to age, but that too passes; I approach the end and will go the way of all flesh. I was born in order to die. I die that I may live. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom!"

          - St. Tikhon of Voronezh

As Girard writes in Hidden Things, "I hold the truth is not an empty word, or a mere 'effect' as people say nowadays. I hold that everything capable of diverting us from madness and death, from now on, is inextricably linked with this truth."

According to Girard, the Bible shows that violence does not come from God; rather, God sympathizes with victims. Seen this way, the incarnation incarnates God in the person of Jesus, in order to become himself a victim. God's only earthly throne is a cross. His only "revenge" on his enemies is unconditional compassion and forgiveness.

This view is the opposite of satisfying the blood lust of an angry god modeled on the pagan deities and the theological theories of atonement. Rather, the Incarnation and Christ's murder points to the futility of violence and to the path of salvation through all encompassing empathy. Christ, in Girard's view, was not the ultimate sacrifice but a rebuke by God of sacrificing anyone for anything... including some concept of "truth."

Rather than demanding some sort of justice, Christ sets the example of turning the other cheek. "Forgive them," he asks for his killers.

            – Frank Schaeffer

No where does Jesus command us to rule like autocrats forcing our views, morals and doctrines on anyone. If his kingdom were of this world, then he would have done so. In fact, he resisted this temptation in the wilderness when Satan showed him all the kingdoms of earth and offered them to him to rule and we must also resist it. Because His kingdom is not of this world He teaches the opposite way - the way of self-sacrifice even to the point of death.  If we follow him, then we will not make demands on our neighbors.  We do so out of fear and desire, the two surest signs that we have not yet understood the Gospel.

            – Fr. Antony

Do not ever close your mind or allow it to be closed. St. Gregory of Nyssa says that "sin is the failure to grow." Question, explore, think deeply, discover. The narrower the mind the easier it is be fooled and to be controlled. The best definition of Orthodoxy is from Fr. Alexander Elchaninov in THE DIARY OF A RUSSIAN PRIEST, "Orthodoxy is the element of absolute freedom."

            – Fr. Antony

"You must allow yourself to approach silently nearer and nearer to yourself: the past, the present and the future in this moment of silence... all the waters of your life which flow away and run out and which are collected in the one basin of a heart aware of itself."

            – Fr. Antony

"This 'closing off' that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy ... The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone! ...

We all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there."

            – Pope Francis

The prayer of the faithful is, "Lord, show me my delusion." The prayer of the faithless is, "Lord, give me what I want."  It is the faithless that become extremists, not the faithful.

            – Fr. Antony

"I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, 'Well, I've had it with humanity.'

But I was wrong. I don't know what's going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here's what I DO know. If it's one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, 'The good outnumber you, and we always will.'"

          – Patton Oswalt. (via facebook)

"Poor, faithful Martha, driven by her meticulous conscience and forced to fulfill all the 'shoulds' and 'oughts' of life, is resentful of her sister, who is free of these compulsions. But Mary's soul draws her to Jesus and opens her to the world of the spirit. Jesus himself is sensitive to both of them, uniquely in touch with the souls of both because he is in touch with his own."

           - John Sanford

Not only should we observe moderation with food, but we must also abstain from every other sin so that just as we fast with our stomach, we should fast with our tongue. Likewise, we should fast with our eyes; i.e. not look at agitating things, not allow your eyes freedom to roam, not to look shamelessly and without fear. Similarly, arms and legs should be restrained from doing any evil acts. 

          - Abba Dorotheus of Gaza

Prayer, fasting, vigils, and all other Christian practices, however good they may be in themselves, certainly do not constitute the aim of our Christian life: they are but the indispensable means of attaining that aim. For the true aim of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God. As for fasts, vigils, prayer and almsgiving, and other good works done in the name of Christ, they are only the means of acquiring the Holy Spirit of God. Note well that it is only good works done in the name of Christ that bring us the fruits of the Spirit.

           - St. Seraphim of Sarov

"And increasingly - you know this and so do I - we're losing the youth everywhere. They hate us; they are not interested in having more fears and guilt laid on them. They're not interested in more sermons and exhortations. But they are interested in learning about love. How can I be happy? How can I live? How can I taste the marvelous things that the mystics speak of?"

           - Anthony DeMello

We must, on the one hand, be humble and open to our spiritual teachers and the church, but, on the other hand, this must be balanced by a deep respect for our own integrity and path of awakening. One without the other produces the unwholesome fruit of  either oppression or pride. A spiritual father who would deny the freedom of son or daughter has only his own interests at heart.

           - Fr. Antony Hughes

"When the eye is unobstructed, the result is sight. When the ear is unobstructed, the result is hearing. When the mind is unobstructed the result is truth. When the heart is unobstructed, the result is joy and love."

            - Anthony DeMello

The one who thinks it is necessary to pray with words believes God is not quite sure what to do and must be told. The one who prays in silence is quite sure that God does not need to be told and is happier listening than instructing.

            - Fr. Antony

"We are rarely presented with an authentically fulfilling trajectory for our desires... If we are created for infinite satisfaction, we really only have three choices about what to do with our desire in this life: We will become either a stoic, an addict, or a mystic. The stoic squelches desire out of fear, while the addict attempts to satisfy his desire for infinity with finite things, which, of course, can’t satisfy. That’s why the addict wants more and more and more. The mystic, on the other hand - in the Christian sense of the term - is the one who is learning how to direct his desire for infinity toward infinity,"

            - Christopher West, whose new book is Fill These Hearts.

"Remember! – It is Christianity TO DO GOOD always – even to those who do evil to us. It is Christianity to love our neighbour as ourself, and to do to all men as we would have them Do to us. It is Christianity to be gentle, merciful, and forgiving, and to keep those qualities quiet in our own hearts, and never make a boast of them, or of our prayers or of our love of God, but always to shew that we love Him by humbly trying to do right in everything. If we do this, and remember the life and lessons of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and try to act up to them, we may confidently hope that God will forgive us our sins and mistakes, and enable us to live and die in Peace."

            - Charles Dickens

"It is high time that we realized that it is pointless to praise the light and preach it if nobody can see it. It is much more needful to preach the art of seeing." 

            - Carl Jung

"Use few words or none when you pray.  Imitate God as He speaks.
When was the last time God spoke to you in solliloquies?
When we learn a language we do so by imitation and repetition.
The language of heaven is silence.
Imitate that.
Repeat that."

            -Fr. Antony Hughes

"This is criterion by which the Church is to be judged, not by the forms of its doctrine or ritual, but by the reality of the reality of the love which it manifests."

            - Bede Griffiths

The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life. That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ -- all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself -- that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness -- that I myself am the enemy who must be loved -- what then? As a rule, the Christian's attitude is then reversed; there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering; we say to the brother within us "Raca," and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide it from the world; we refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves.

            - Carl Jung

At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our life, which is inaccessable to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us.

            - Thomas Merton (1915 - 1968)
              Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false Self. We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves.

            - Thomas Merton

It is good to learn to pray without words, with the breath and the beating of our hearts, for silence is the perfect prayer. Silence is the language of God. We learn his language as we do other languages, through listening intently and practicing what we hear.

              - Fr. Antony

There is a stranger in us - a naked, needy, hungry portion of ourselves - unwanted and neglected whom we must embrace.  In this way, we welcome Christ into our lives, for he is the Unwanted One, "the least of the brethren" within us, the Samaritan.  By embracing what is unwanted in us we embrace Him and in this way we become whole.  We reach out, but it is the Despised One in use who actually saves.  (Isaiah 53:3)

              - Fr. Antony

I would so much rather be wrong than unmerciful.

              - Fr. Antony

There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as moral indignation, which permits envy or to be acted out under the guise of virtue.

             - Erich Fromm

Remember, moral outrage is a form of confession. Because we hate most in others what we fear most in ourselves. Moral grief is not moral outrage. Moral grief is an expression of co-suffering love. Not howling, shrieking, screaming, waving arms and dancing around a stage, spewing hate and malice, as if in the name of God.

            - Archbishop Lazar

Love does not depend on time, and the power of love continues always. There are some who believe that the Lord suffered death for love of man but because they do not attain to this love in their own souls it seems to them that it is an old story of bygone days. But when the soul knows the love of God by the Holy Spirit she feels without a shadow of doubt that the Lord is our Father, the closest, the best and dearest of fathers, and there is no greater happiness than to love God with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our minds, according to the Lord's commandment, and our neighbor as ourself. And when this love is in the soul, everything rejoices her; but when it is lost sight of man cannot find peace, and is troubled, and blames others as if they had done him an injury, and does not realize that he himself is at fault – he has lost his love for God and has accused or conceived hatred for his brother.

            - St. Silouan the Athonite  

Dear God, please reveal to us your sublime beauty, that is everywhere, everywhere, everywhere, so that we will never again feel frightened.

             - St. Francis of Assisi

Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.
             - Meister Eckhart

Some people prefer solitude. They say their peace of mind depends on this.
Others say they would be better off in church.
If you do well, you do well wherever you are. If you fail, you fail wherever you are.
Your surroundings don't matter. God is with you everywhere -- in the market place as well as in seclusion or in the church.
If you look for nothing but God, nothing or no one can disturb you.
God is not distracted by a multitude of things.
Nor can we be.

            - Meister Eckhart

To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, “I no longer hold your offense against you.” But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the “offended one.” As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, worse, pull them as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God.

               - Henri Nouwen

He took our flesh and our flesh became God, since it is united with God and forms a single entity with him. For the higher perfection dominated, resulting in my becoming God as fully as he became man.
               - St. Gregory Nazianzen

Love never hates anyone, never reproves anyone, never condemns anyone, never grieves anyone, never abhors anyone, neither faithful nor infidel nor stranger nor sinner nor fornicator, nor anyone impure, but instead it is precisely sinners, and weak and negligent souls that it loves more, …, imitating Christ Who called sinners, and ate and drank with them.

               - Abba Ammonas

Our nature is to worship, but unless that element is directed towards God it becomes "a senseless impersonal force, carrying us away in its momentum. It becomes a search for ecstasy - no matter what kind - achieved through destruction...The worshipful integraton of nature in the person is inverted in a hellish imprisonment of the individual in nature." 

                  - Olivier Clement

"The Doctor of our souls has placed the remedy in the hidden regions of the soul." 

                  - St. John Cassian

"We prepare the ground for our prayer when we shed something which is not Christ's, which is unworthy of him, and only the prayer of one who can, like St. Paul say, 'I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me,' is real Christian prayer." 

                  - Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

“Then Christ will say to us, 'Come you also! Come you drunkards! Come you weaklings! Come you depraved!' And he will say to us, 'Vile creatures, you in the image of the beast and you who bear his mark. All the same, you come too!' And the wise and prudent will say, 'Lord, why are you welcoming them? And he will say, 'O wise and prudent, I am welcoming them because not one of them has ever judged himself worthy. And he will stretch out his arms to us, and we shall fall at his feet, and burst into sobs, and then we shall understand everything, everything! Lord, your kingdom come!”

                    - Dostoevsky, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

There is harm not only in trying to gain wealth but also in excessive concern with even the most necessary things.
It is not enough to despise wealth, but you must also feed the poor and, more importantly, you must follow Christ.

                  - St. John Chrysostom

Do not regard the feelings of a person who speaks to you about his neighbor disparagingly, but rather say to him: “Stop, brother! I fall into graver sins every day, so how can I criticize him?' In this way you will achieve two things; you will heal yourself and your neighbor with one plaster. This is one of the shortest ways to the forgiveness of sins; I mean, not to judge. `Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.”

                  - St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent

"In love did God bring the world into existence; in love is God going to bring it to that wondrous transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the great mystery of the one who has preformed all these things; in love will the whole course of the governance of creation be finally comprised."

                  - St. Isaac of Syria

Nature rebels when the arrogant human mind endeavors to tame its boundless forces endowed by the Creator in its seemingly insignificant and inactive elements. In considering from a spiritual perspective the grievous natural phenomena that plague our planet repeatedly and successively in recent times, we appreciate and acknowledge the belief that these are inseparable from the spiritual and ethical deviation of humanity. The signs of this deviation – such as greed, avarice, and an insatiable desire for material wealth, alongside an indifference toward the poverty endured by so many as a result of the imbalanced affluence of the few – may not be clearly related to the natural occurrences in the eyes of scientists. Yet, for someone examining the matter spiritually, sin disturbs the harmony of spiritual and natural relations alike. For, there is a mystical connection between moral and natural evil; if we wish to be liberated from the latter, we must reject the former.

                   - His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of the GOA

The Perfect Person's Rule of Life:  The perfect person does not only try to avoid evil. Nor does he do good for fear of punishment, still less in order to qualify for the hope of a promised reward. The perfect person does good through love.  His actions are not motivated by desire for personal benefit, so he does not have personal advantage as his aim. But as soon as he has realized the beauty of doing good, he does it with all his energies and in all that he does.  He is not interested in fame, or a good reputation, or a human or divine reward.  The rule of life for a perfect person is to be in the image and likeness of God.

                    - St. Clement of Alexandria

"Love all God's creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything.  If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things." 

                    - Fyodor Dostoevsky

"True faith, then, is an unconditional orientation of the whole person toward the will of God. God does not punish man for his sins and sinfulness in this life, or even in the life to come. We forge our own destiny. That which we call "hell" is our own creation. We may experience it already in this life and, by our own choices, experience the fullness of it in the age to come. God has set as the destiny of all people; immortality, participation in the glory of the Godhead, the joy of the all-embracing Divine Love. God has set this as our destiny and not only taught us how to attain to it, but in Christ has made it clearly possible for us to arrive at it. Because of his sins, man always falls short of this destiny, but because of Christ Who, as true human, arrived at this destiny and attained to it for all mankind, (Rm.5:12) we can inherit it anyway by choosing to strive for a life in Christ (Rm. 3:24-30)."

                     - Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, from "The Neurobiology of Sin"

"Let us go forth in peace" is the last commandment of the Liturgy. What does it mean? It means, surely, that the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy is not an end but a beginning. Those words, "Let us go forth in peace," are not merely a comforting epilogue. They are a call to serve and bear witness. In effect, those words, "Let us go forth in peace," mean the Liturgy is over, the liturgy after the Liturgy is about to begin.

This, then, is the aim of the Liturgy: that we should return to the world with the doors of our perceptions cleansed. We should return to the world after the Liturgy, seeing Christ in every human person, especially in those who suffer. In the words of Father Alexander Schmemann, the Christian is the one who wherever he or she looks, everywhere sees Christ and rejoices in him. We are to go out, then, from the Liturgy and see Christ everywhere."

                    - Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia

"The efforts of some religious bodies to manipulate the civil government in order to have it legislate their doctrines and moral concepts into civil law is nothing else but sinful egoism, self-centredness and self-love. It is therefore the very opposite of true morality and it has no place for Orthodox Christians. Our greatest moral obligation is to develop an unselfish love for God, our neighbour, and the realisation that all of mankind is our neighbour and each one of those human beings is the image and likeness of the living God."

                     - Archbishop Lazar Puhalo

"It seems to me, and I am personally convinced, that the Church must never speak from a position of strength. [These are shocking words.] It ought not to be one of the forces influencing this or that state. The Church ought to be, if you will, just as powerless as God himself, which does not coerce but which calls and unveils the beauty and the truth of things without imposing them. As soon as the Church begins to exercise power, it loses its most profound characteristic which is divine love [i.e.] the understanding of those it is called to save and not to smash…"

                        - Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, quoted from Fr. Robert Arida's excellent article "On the Cross of our Lord" (www.holytrinityorthodox.org).

There are many ways of describing the distinctiveness of Orthodoxy, as against both the Roman Catholic and Protestant versions of Christianity. One way is nicely summed up in a statement by Paul Evdokimov, a lay member of the St. Serge school who did not move to America (he played a courageous role during the German occupation of France, among other things helping Jews to escape from the Nazis). Evdokimov suggests that Western Christianity sees the relationship between God and man as taking place in a courtroom - God is the judge, man is guilty, sentence must be pronounced, Christ takes the sentence upon himself, which allows God to forgive man. The entire transaction is judicial and penitential. By contrast, Eastern Christianity sees the relationship as taking place in a hospital - man is sick, sin is just part of the sickness, Christ is the victor over every part of this sickness (including death, which is the culmination of the sickness). The transaction between God and man is not judicial but therapeutic. It seems to me that this is a much more compassionate view of the human condition and its redemption.

                  - Peter Berger is a Lutheran theologian, respected Sociologist, University Professor at Boston University and Director of its Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs.

"...every day we should stand in awe of Him, as He is with us, and do what is pleasing before Him. If we are unable now to perceive Him with our physical eyes, we can, if we are watchful, see Him continuously with the eyes of our understanding, and not just see Him, but reap great benefits from Him. This vision destroys all sin, demolishes all evil, and drives away everything bad. It gives birth to purity and dispassion, and bestows eternal life."

                     - St. Gregory Palamas

"What does God want me to do?...The answer was: God is not interested in where you are or what you do...He is interested only in the quality and quantity of the love you give.  Nothing else. Nothing else."

                     - Mother Gavrilia

"God is truth and light. God’s judgment is nothing else than our coming into contact with truth and light. In the day of the Great Judgment all men will appear naked before this penetrating light of truth. The ‘books’ will be opened. What are these ‘books’? They are our hearts. Our hearts will be opened by the penetrating light of God, and what is in these hearts will be revealed. If in those hearts there is love for God, those hearts will rejoice in seeing God’s light. If, on the contrary, there is hatred for God in those hearts, these men will suffer by receiving on their opened hearts this penetrating light of truth which they detested all their life.

So that which will differentiate between one man and another will not be a decision of God, a reward or a punishment from Him, but that which was in each one’s heart; what was there during all our life will be revealed in the Day of Judgment. If there is a reward and a punishment in this revelation – and there really is – it does not come from God but from the love or hate which reigns in our heart. Love has bliss in it, hatred has despair, bitterness, grief, affliction, wickedness, agitation, confusion, darkness, and all the other interior conditions which compose hell."

                   - St. Symeon the New Theologian

"God is everywhere.  There is no place God is not...You cry out to Him, 'Where art Thou, my God?'  And He answers, "I am present, my child! I am always beside you.'  Both inside and outside, above and below, wherever you turn, everything shouts, 'God!'  In Him we live and move. We breathe God, we eat God, we clothe ourselves with God.  Everything praises and blesses God.  All of creation shouts His praise. Everything animate and inanimate speaks wondrously and glorifies the Creator.  Let every breath praise the Lord!"

                   - Joseph the Hesychast 78th Letter

Everything comes down to our relationship with the Triune God – the God of love. All is based on love and freedom. On the unconditional love of God, and the freedom we have to respond to that love with love. Love to all people, whether they are non-Christians and non-believers. Respect for all. Love for all. Witness to this truth of love. This is what our faith is about. This is true Orthodoxy.

                   - Archbishop Anastasios

Christ manifested Himself to the world; He filled it with light and joy; He sanctified the waters and diffused His light in the souls of men.

                  - St. Proclus

As a magnifying glass concentrates the rays of the sun into a little burning knot of heat that can set fire to a dry leaf or a piece of paper, so the mystery of Christ in the Gospel concentrates the rays of God’s light and fire to a point that sets fire to the spirit of man. … Through the glass of His Incarnation He concentrates the rays of His Divine Truth and Love upon us so that we feel the burn, and all mystical experience is communicated to men through the Man Christ.

                 -  Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

"The friend of silence comes close to God." 

                 - St. John Climacus

"Good moral actions are not enough.  Everything in us, from the very depths, must be cleansed and reordered..."

                 -  Thomas Merton

"I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, The Astonishing Light of your own Being." 

                 - Hafiz

"Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name."

                 -  Thomas Merton

"You say to me 'Show me your God.' I answer you, 'Everything you see in your heart that might sadden God, remove.'"

                 - St. Augustine

"For perfect hope is achieved on the brink of despair, when instead of falling over the edge, we find ourselves walking on air."

                - Thomas Merton

"Life is not accomplishing some special work but attaining to a degree of consciousness and inner freedom which is beyond all works and attainments."

                - Thomas Merton

"The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation."

                - Simone Weil

"The same powerful Scripture text that brings a loving person to even greater love will be mangled and misused by a fearful or egocentric person.  This is surely what Jesus means when he talks about the one who has being given more and those who have not losing what little they have." (Matthew 13:12)


"To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect on me is to live on the doorstep of hell. Selfishness is doomed to frustration centered as it is upon a lie.  To live exclusively for myself, I must make all things bend themselves to my will as if I were a god." 

                  - Thomas Merton

The creation of the world is not only a process which moves from God to humanity. God demands newness from humanity; God awaits the works of human freedom. 

               - Nicholas Berdyaev

"If a man sins and denies it, saying, 'I have not sinned,' do not correct him, or you will destroy any intention he might have of changing. If you say, 'Do not be cast down, my brother, but be careful about that in the future,' you will move his heart to repent."

              - Abba Poemen, sayings of the Desert Fathers

"The all-important aim in Christian meditation is to allow God's mysterious and silent presence within us to become more and more not only a reality, but the reality in our lives; to let it become that reality which gives meaning, shape and purpose to everything we do, to everything we are."  

            - Fr. John Main, WORD INTO SILENCE

"The central idea of the Eastern Fathers was that of theosis, the divinization of all creatures, the transfiguration of the world, the idea of the cosmos and not the idea of personal salvation...Only later Christian consciousness began to value the idea of hell more than the idea of the transfiguration and divinization of the world...The Kingdom of God is the transfiguration of the world, the universal resurrection, a new heaven and a new earth."

           - Taken from "Salvation and Creativity: Two Understandings of Christianity." Nicholas Berdyaev

"Arrogance and fanaticism cause the hardening of positions taken and entrenchment can only lead to a dead end."

            - His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW I

Unless we look at a person and see the beauty there is in this person, we can contribute nothing to him. One does not help a person by discerning what is wrong, what is ugly, what is distorted. Christ looked at everyone he met, at the prostitute, at the thief, and saw the beauty hidden there. Perhaps it was distorted, perhaps damaged, but it was beauty none the less, and what he did was to call out this beauty.

           - Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Every one of us is in the image of God, and every one of us is like a damaged icon. But if we were given an icon damaged by time, damaged by circumstances, or desecrated by human hatred, we would treat it with reverence, with tenderness, with broken-heartedness. We would not pay attention primarily to the fact that it is damaged, but to the tragedy of its being damaged. We would concentrate on what is left of its beauty, and not on what is lost of its beauty. And this is what we must learn to do with regard to each person as an individual, but also - and this is not always as easy - with regard to groups of people, whether it be a parish or a denomination, or a nation. We must learn to look, and look until we have seen the underlying beauty of this group of people. Only then can we even begin to do something to call out all the beauty that is there. Listen to other people, and whenever you discern something which sounds true, which is a revelation of harmony and beauty, emphasize it and help it to flower. Strengthen it and encourage it to live.

          - Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

"One critical thing Jesus taught was that controlling the world is not just impossible but inherently sinful. Our task as Christians is to control no one but ourselves and to love all. Our main weapon must always be example, not control."

           - Fr. Antony

True spirituality is not a search for perfection, a way into the "next world" or power to control; it is a search for union with God in this present moment.

           - Fr. Antony

"But what is the difference between poetic words and words inspired by God? A profound inner sensation comes down from the Holy Spirit to the heart. This sensation works in one’s entire being, even to the extremities of the senses and opens one to others. It connects words to action. It comes from God and opens a heart of flesh to others.

"Here I ask myself, 'Why did you come here, brother? What is your calling? What does the Church ask from you, one so wretched and weak?' The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a sacrifice for many (Matthew 20:28).

"I came, then, to serve my Church first of all, and the whole world, that is, every person I find along my way. I serve and I will give of myself unto death so that there will be no distance between speaking and doing, so that the people will never again say, 'there is a chasm between us and the leaders' and word spread that the Church is far from her people. I know very well that our people are good and that they want from us today to go to them, to seek them out wherever they are, to search out the lost and return them joyfully to the fold. They hunger and thirst for the Word of God."

         - Metropolitan Ephraim.  From his address at his consecration (2009)

"Faith that does not grow and change is dead. Faith that leaves our most cherished assumptions unchallenged is self-delusion."

         - Fr. Antony Hughes

It is said of Abba Macarius the Great that he became a god on earth because just as God protects the world, so Abba Macarius protected others. He would hide the faults he saw as if he had not seen them, and the faults he heard as if he had not heard them.

         - Sayings of the Desert Fathers

A brother who had sinned was expelled from the church by the priest. Whereupon Abba Bessarion rose and went with him, saying, 'I too am a sinner.'

         - Sayings of the Desert Fathers

"Orthodoxy is the element of absolute freedom." (Fr. Alexander Elchaninov) God has created us to be as free as He is free. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom." What does it say about those who would take that freedom away and we who are so ready to give it up?

         - Fr. Antony Hughes

"...the need to overawe people and demand obedience from them is powerful and seductive. It is a part of that world that the kingdom of heaven is not of."

“The main theme of the Bible is the restoration of humanity and, through humanity, of the whole of creation to its original harmony.” 

        - Bede Griffiths

“Remember God more often than you breathe.” 

        - St. Gregory Nazianzen

“It is not enough to say prayers: we must become, be prayer, prayer incarnate. All of life, each act, each act, every gesture, even the smile of the human face, must become a hymn of adoration, an offering, a prayer.  One should offer not what one has but what one is.” 

        - Paul Evdokimov

"We are impermanent beings, we all share the same life of pain and happiness: we all belong to one vast family. Life is short, so why poison existence?  Why create more suffering?"

      - Fr. Jean-Yves Leloup

"And you - who are you to pretend to pray? Don't even speak of the prayer of the heart until you have learned to meditate like a mountain. Ask that stone how it prays. Then come back to me when you know how to pray as hard and deeply as the Earth and all its stones."

      - Fr. Seraphim of Athos

"Our concern is the Church as idea, as institution, as an organization, as a teaching. Our concern is the services and the choir, the social and cultural groups and the religious instruction and church-tourism and so forth. It is not that these questions aren’t sometimes important. But there is one thing needful: the purification of the heart and the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. This is a deviation from the essence of the matter that keeps those who are considered believers-- most pastors and flock equally-- pagans, worshipping themselves, seeking their own glory. They are only concerned with their own power and their own reputation and their own honor. They are satisfied with only the outward form of the worship of God. What is sought in any case, in the understanding of the people, is not change of heart but rather some practices and the keeping some obligations and giving lip service. In what pertains to the exterior of the church, today, it is sometimes, but not always, gleaming by worldly standards, souls graze in their own impurities and lack of awareness. Is this not the ideal church the devil desires and lords over? A worldly church, ritualistic, like a museum, a nominal Christianity but without Christ and without holiness and without truth and without Spirit and without new life, filled with the thoughts of the world and the concerns of the world! Is this not the church that most people receive today and for which they work? The devil has succeeded in making people think that this is the true and desirable church of modernity!

This is exactly a church against Christ! And we, without our attention to holiness, are building it contentedly, persistently and continuously!"
            Archimandrite Touma (Bitar)
            Abbot of the Monastery of St. Silouan the Athonite Douma
            Sunday July 19, 2009

"If you wish to attain to true knowledge of the Scriptures, hasten to acquire first an unshakeable humility of heart. That alone will lead you, not to the knowledge that puffs up, but to that which enlightens, by the perfecting of love." 

            - St. John Cassian, Conferences, XIV, 10

We can only meet God in the present moment. This is an area where God chooses to place limits on His own power. We choose whether or not to live in the present moment. Because we can encounter God only in that present moment, whenever we live in the past or in the future, we place ourselves beyond His reach.

             - Archmandrite Meletios Webber

To abandon the struggle for private happiness, to expel all eagerness of temporary desire, to burn with passion for eternal things--this is emancipation, and this is the free man's worship... United with his fellow-men by the strongest of all ties, the tie of a common doom, the free man finds that a new vision is with him always, shedding over every daily task the light of love.

          - Bertrand Russell, A Free Man's Worship

Those who do not co-suffer with those who live in great pain are suffering from the most fatal of spiritual illnesses ... Mercilessness.

          - Elder Paisios the New, of Mt Athos

Truth and leniency always go together. If you want to separate truth from leniency, separate them for you, for your own self! But then, know it, you will hear truth without leniency!

          - Archimandrite Joel Giannakopoulos

"We must take time, take pains, have a plan, form spiritual habits, if we are to keep our souls alive; and now is the time to begin. A man to whom religion is a reality, and who knows what is meant by "the practice of salvation," keeps his balance, because the living center of his life is spiritual. He cannot be upset, not shaken. The same hard knocks come to him as to others, but he reacts to them by the central law of his life. He suffers deeply, but he does not sour. He knows frustration, but he goes right on in his kindness and faith. He sees his own shortcomings but he does not give up, because a power rises up from his spiritual center and urges him to the best,

          - Joseph Fort Newton.



— Come, O true light!
— Come, O eternal life!
— Come, O hidden mystery!
— Come, O indescribable treasure!
— Come, O ineffable thing!
— Come, O inconceivable person!
— Come, O endless delight!
— Come, O unsetting light!
— Come, O true and fervent expectation of all those who will be saved!
— Come, O rising of those who lie down!
— Come, O resurrection of the dead!
— Come, O powerful one, who always creates and re-creates and transforms by your will alone!
— Come, O invisible and totally intangible and untouchable!
— Come, O you who always remain immobile and at each moment move all, and come to us, who lie in hades, you who are above all heavens.
— Come, O desirable and legendary name, which is completely impossible for us to express what you are or to know your nature.
— Come, O eternal joy!
— Come, O unwithering wreath!
— Come, O purple of the great king our God!
— Come, O crystalline cincture, studded with precious stones!
— Come, O inaccessible sandal!
— Come, O royal robe and truly imperial right hand!
— Come, you whom my wretched soul has desired and does desire!
— Come, you who alone go to the lonely for as you see I am lonely!
— Come, you who have separated me from everything and made me solitary in this world!
— Come, you who have become yourself desire in me,who have made me desire you, the absolutely inaccessible one!
— Come, O my breath and life!
— Come, O consolation of my humble soul!
— Come, O my joy, my glory, and my endless delight!
— I thank you that you have become one spirit with me, without confusion, without mutation, without transformation, you the God of all; and that you have become everything for me, inexpressible and perfectly gratuitous nourishment, which ever flows to the lips of my soul and gushes out into the fountain of my heart, dazzling garment which burns the demons, purification which bathes me with these imperishable and holy tears, that your presence brings to those whom you visit.
— I give you thanks that for me you have become unsetting light and non-declining sun; for you who fill the universe with your glory have nowhere to hide yourself.
— No, you have never hidden yourself from anyone but we are the ones who always hide from you, by refusing to go to you; but then, where would you hide, you who nowhere find the place of your repose?
— Why would you hide, you who do not turn away from a single creature, who do not reject a single one?
— Today, then, O Master, come pitch your tent with me; until the end, make your home and live continually, inseparably within me, your servant, O most-kind one, that I also may find myself again in you, at my departure from this world and after my departure may I reign with you, O God who are above everything.
— O Master, stay and do not leave me alone, so that my enemies, arriving unexpectedly, they who are always seeking to lessen my soul, may find you living within me and that they may take flight, in defeat, powerless against me, seeing you, O more powerful than everything, installed within my essence in the home of my poor soul.
— Yea, O Master, just as you remembered me, when I was in the world and, in the midst of my ignorance, you chose me and separated me from this world and set me before your glorious face, so now keep me, sealed within my essence, by your dwelling within me, forever upright, resolute; that by perpetually seeing you, I, the dying flesh, may live; that by possessing you, I, the beggar, may always be rich, richer than the wealthy; that by eating you and by drinking you, by putting you on at each moment, I go from delight to delight in inexpressible blessings; for it is You, who are all good and all glory and all delight and it is to you, holy, consubstantial, and life-creating Trinity that the glory belongs, you whom all faithful venerate, confess, adore, and serve in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages.

— Amen.

                - Saint Symeon, the New Theologian (949-1022 CE)

On Pride: This sickness is most dangerous when it succeeds in looking like humility. When a proud man thinks he is humble his case is hopeless.

               - Thomas Merton

On Fear: We have nothing to fear unless we are afraid of love.

               - Fr. Antony Hughes

"People should not worry as much about what they do but rather about what they are. If they and their ways are good, then their deeds are radiant. If you are righteous, then what you do will also be righteous. We should not think that holiness is based on what we do but rather on what we are, for it is not our works which sanctify us but we who sanctify our works."

               - Meister Eckhart - Dominican theologian, writer and mystic.

"Each of us is called to cultivate an inner garden in which the Divine Word may grow and flourish."

               - St John of the Cross

"It is a fair trade and an equal exchange: to the extent that you depart from things, thus far, no more and no less, God enters into you with all that is his, as far as you have stripped yourself of yourself in all things. It is here that you should begin, whatever the cost, for it is here that you will find true peace, and nowhere else."

                - Talks of Instruction: Meister Eckhart - Dominican theologian, writer and mystic.

"Someone who declares himself as being an atheist can be, potentially, much more closer to God than I who appears to be, and I'm God's representative. The borders between good and evil are found in our heart. It depends from which one our heart takes its force from each time."

              - His Beatitude Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Durrës, and All Albania

"But the greatest of these is love" (I Corinthians 13:13), since that is the very name of God Himself (I John 4:8).

Love is the very banishment of every sort of contrariness, for love thinks no evil.

Fear shows up if ever love departs, for the man with no fear is either filled with love or is dead in spirit.

            - St. John of the Ladder

This was the very purpose of creation - that each unique, individual being should participate in its own way in the divine Being, should realize its eternal 'idea' in God, should 'become' God by participation, God expressing himself through that unique being.

            Bede Griffiths, Return to the Center, P. 42

In his (Christ's) surrender on the cross all the pain and agony of mankind was concentrated at a single point, and passed through from death to immortality, There is no pain of any creature from the beginning to the end of time which was not 'known' at this point and thus transmuted. To know all things in the Word is thus to know all the suffering of the world transfigured by the resurrection, somehow reconciled and atoned in eternal life.

It was God's purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things on heaven and things on earth'.

            Bede Griffiths

"Previously, I wanted everything to go my way, but seeing that nothing was done as I wanted, I began to wish that everything be done as it is done; so it was that everything started to be done as I wanted."

            - Elder Joseph of Optino  

One who has found love feeds on Christ every day and at every hour and he becomes immortal thereby. For Jesus said, ‘Whoever eats this bread that I shall give him shall never see death' (cf. John 6.58). Blessed is he who eats the bread of love that is Jesus.  For whoever feeds on love, feeds on Christ...as John bears witness saying, ‘God is love' (I John 4.8). Therefore one who lives in love receives from God the fruit of life. He breathes, even in this world, the air of resurrection...Love is the Kingdom...Such is the ‘wine to gladden the heart of man' (Psalm 104.15). Blessed is he who drinks of this wine...the sick have drunk of it and become wise.

           - St. Isaac if Syria, Ascetic Treatises, 73

Is it not true that Christ draws near with love to those who turn away from him?  That he struggles with them, begs them not to scorn his love, and if they show only aversion and remain deaf to his appeals, becomes himself their advocate?

          - Dionysius the Areopagite, Letter 8, To Demophlius

It can happen that when we are at prayer some brothers come to see us.  Then we have to choose either to interrupt our prayer or to sadden our brother by refusing to answer him.  But love is greater than prayer. Prayer is one virtue among others, whereas love contains them all.

          - St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, 26th Step 43

Abba Theodore of Pherme asked Abba Pambo, ‘Give me a word to live by.' And with great reluctance he said to him, ‘Go, Theodore and have compassion on all. Compassion allows us to speak freely to God.'

         - Sayings of the Desert Fathers, Pambo, 14 (PG 65,371)

I don't fear the questions any more. I know that they are all part of the process of coming to union with God and refusing to make an idol of anything less. The point is that during that difficult time I didn't try to force anything. I simply lived in the desert believing that whatever life I found there was life enough for me. I believed that God was in the darkness. It is all part of the purification process and should be revered. It takes away from us our paltry little definitions of God and brings us face-to-face with the Transcendent. It is not to be feared. It is simply to be experienced. Then, God begins to live in us without benefit of recipes and rituals, laws, and "answers"—of which there are, in the final analysis, none at all.

         - Sister Joan Chittister

No one is forgotten.  It is a lie, any talk of God that does not comfort you.

         - Meister Eckhart

If a man's heart does not condemn him (I John 3:21) for having rejected a commandment of God, or for negligence, or for accepting a hostile thought, then he is pure of heart and worthy to have Christ say to him, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

        - St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic, The Philokalia

The reason that we have both good and wicked thoughts together is not, as some suppose, because the Holy Spirit and the devil dwell together in our intellect, but because we have not yet consciously experienced the goodness of the Lord.  As I have said before, grace at first conceals its presence in those who have been baptized, waiting to see which way the soul inclines; but when the whole man has turned toward the Lord, it then reveals to the heart its presence there with a feeling words cannot express.

       - St. Diadochos of Photiki, The Philokalia

"Created man cannot become a son of God and god by grace through deification, unless he is first through his own free choice begotten in the Spirit by means of the self-loving and independent power dwelling naturally in him."

       - Philokalia, St. Maximos the Confessor 

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depth of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in the eyes of the Divine.  If only they could all see themselves as they really are.  If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed....I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.

     - Thomas Merton

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. (I Cor. 6:12)~ The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.  

To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.  

    - Thomas Merton

 The nature of things is measured by the interior disposition of the soul; that is, the kind of person one is will determine what he thinks of others. He who has attained to genuine prayer and love no longer puts things into categories. He does not separate the righteous from sinners, but loves all equally, and does not judge them, just as God gives the sun to shine and the rain to fall both on the just and the unjust.

   - St. Nikitas Stethatos

The one who is perfect in love and has reached the summit of detachment knows no distinction between one's own and another's, between faithful and unfaithful, between slave and freeman, or indeed between male and female. But...having risen above the tyranny of the passions and looking to the one nature of men he regards all equally and is equally disposed toward all. For in him there is neither Greek nor Jew, neither male nor female, neither slave nor freeman, but Christ is everything and in everything.

   - St Maximus the Confessor


Titus 1:15

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.

S. T. Georgiou writes in his excellent book MYSTIC STREET: MEDITATIONS ON A SPIRITUAL PATH,  "The same energy expended in self-absorption can be reapplied toward developing a great spiritual body that will never decay or die. While self-centeredness leads to an existence disconnected from Creator and creation, a theocentric life is infinitely inclusive. (p. 141)

Love exudes from beings who are deeply interconnected and intensely sharing life; their energy is like the sun, which radiates in all directions equally. Shadows and darkness do not exist in their presence; there is only light, and a kind of timeless quality, effected throught the generation of Agape, which is forever. (p. 67)   S. T. Georgiou

"…from the things you hear against someone you should not believe anything, and out of what you see believe half. And not even half for many pretend to be fools. Do not judge anyone."

    Fr. Dionysius of Mt. Athos
    An Athonite Gerontikon p. 351   

"…Prayer begins on God’s part as a secret call to stand before Him. We then carry it as a free response in our yearning to speak with Him. Afterward, prayer assumes its divine purpose as an act of repentance and purification. It subsequently attains its ultimate goal as a sacrifice of love and humility that prepares us for fellowship with God…Prayer is the condition in which we discover our own divine image, on which the stamp of the Holy Trinity is impressed."

    Fr. Matthew the Poor
    Orthodox Prayer Life: The Interior Way, p. 23

"Detachment from things does not mean setting up a contradiction between ‘things’ and ‘God’ as if God were another thing and as if creatures were His rivals. We do not detach ourselves from things in order to attach ourselves to God, but rather we become detached from ourselves in order to see and use all things in and for God."

    Fr. Thomas Merton
    New Seeds of Contemplation, p. 23     

"The nature of things is measured by the interior disposition of the soul; that is, the kind of person one is will determine what he thinks of others. He who has attained to genuine prayer and love no longer puts things into categories. He does not separate the righteous from sinners, but loves all equally, and does not judge them, just as God gives the sun to shine and the rain to fall both on the just and the unjust."

    St. Nikitas Stethatos
    from the Philokalia

To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are corrupted.
   - The Epistle of St. Paul to Titus 1:15

On Being Like Christ:     

  Be persecuted, rather than be a persecutor.
  Be crucified, rather than be a crucifier.
  Be treated unjustly, rather than treat anyone unjustly.
  Be oppressed, rather than be an oppressor.
  Be gentle rather than zealous.
  Lay hold of goodness, rather than justice.

      - St. Isaac the Syrian
        The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian, p. 246

What is it to be a fool for Christ?  It is to control one's thoughts when they stray out of line.  It is to make the mind empty and free...

  - St. John Chrysostom

It is therefore essential to let the 'heart-spirit' settle like calm water.  Then it becomes a tranquil lake in which the sky is reflected, in which the face of Christ can be seen.

      - Olivier Clement, THE ROOTS OF CHRISTIAN MYSTICISM, P 167

"...the soul, if it is not emptied of foreign thoughts cannot reflect God in contemplation."

    - Sayings of the Desert Fathers

More than all things love silence: it brings you a fruit that tongue cannot describe. In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent.  But then there is born something that draws us to silence.  May God give you an experience of this 'something' that is born of silence.  If you only practice this, untold light will dawn on you in consequence...after a while a certain sweetness is born in the heart of this exercise and the body is drawn almost by force to remain in silence.

   - St. Isaac of Syria

Learning to be silent is far more difficult and far more important than learning to recite prayers.

  - Patriarch Bartholomew

The saints are what they are, not because their sanctity makes them admirable to others, but because the gift of sainthood makes it possible for them to admire everybody else.

   - Thomas Merton  

Is it not true that Christ draws near with love to those who turn away from him?  That he struggles with them, begs them not to scorn his love, and if they show only aversion and remain deaf to his appeals, becomes himself their advocate?
 - Dionysius the Areopagite, Letter 8, To Demophlius

Our God...is a consuming fire. And if we, by love, become transformed into Him and burn as He burns, His fire will be our everlasting joy. But if we refuse His love and remain in the coldness of sin and opposition to Him and to other men then will His fire (by our own choice rather than His) become our everlasting enemy, and Love, instead of being our joy, will become our torment and our destruction.

- Thomas Merton

As a grain of sand weighed against a large amount of gold, so, in God, is the demand for equitable justice weighed against his compassion. As a handful of sand in the boundless ocean, so are the sins of the flesh in comparison with God's providence and mercy. As a copious spring could not be stopped up with a handful of dust, so the Creator's compassion cannot be conquered by the wickedness of creatures.

- St. Isaac of Syria

Do not say that God is just...David may call him just and fair, but God's own Son has revealed to us that he is before all things good and kind. He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked (Luke 6.35). How can you call God just when you read the parable of the labourers in the vineyard and their wages? 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong...I choose to give to this last as I give to you...do you begrudge my generosity?' (Matthew 20.13)

Likewise how can you call God just when you read the parable of the prodigal son who squanders his father's wealth in riotous living, and the moment he displays some nostalgia his father runs to him, throws his arms round his neck and gives him complete power over all his riches? It is not someone else who has told this about God, so that we might have doubts. It is his own Son himself. He bore this witness to God. Where is God's justice? Here, in the fact that we were sinners and Christ died for us ...

O the wonder of the grace of our Creator! O the unfathomable goodness with which he has invested the existence of us sinners in order to create it afresh!...Anyone who has offended and blasphemed him he raises up again...Sin is to fail to understand the grace of the resurrection. Where is the hell that could afflict us? Where is the damnation that could make us afraid to the extent of overwhelming the joy of God's love? What is hell, face to face, with the grace of the resurrection when he will rescue us from damnation, enable this corruptible body to put on incorruption and raise up fallen humanity from hell to glory?...Who will appreciate the wonder of our Creator's grace as it deserves?...In place of what sinners justly deserve, he gives them resurrection. In place of the bodies that have profaned his law, he clothes them anew in glory...See, Lord, I can no longer keep silent before the ocean of thy grace. I no longer have any idea how to express the gratitude that I owe to thee...Glory be to thee in both the worlds that thou hast created for our growth and delight, guiding us by the path of they majestic works to the knowledge of they glory!

- St. Isaac of Syria

When a sunbeam falls on a transparent substance, the substance itself becomes brilliant, and radiates light from itself. So too Spirit-bearing souls, illumined by Him, finally become spiritual themselves, and their grace is sent forth to others. From this comes knowledge of the future, understanding of mysteries, apprehension of hidden things, distribution of wonderful gifts, heavenly citizenship, a place in the choir of angels, endless joy in the presence of God, becoming like God, and, the highest of all desires, becoming God.

St. Basil the Great


On Passions:

It does not lie within our power to decide whether or not the passions are going to harass and attack the soul. But it does lie within our power to prevent impassioned thoughts from lingering within us and arousing the passions to action. The first of these conditions is not sinful, inasmuch as it is outside our control; where the second is concerned, if we fight against the passions and overcome them we are rewarded...

- St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic, THE PHILOKALIA


Fr."The next day John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and he said, 'Behold the Lamb of God!' The two disciples heard John and they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, 'What do you seek?' They said, 'Rabbi, where are you staying?' He said, 'Come and see.' They came and saw . . . and stayed with Him"

(John 1:38ff)

Christians love one another.

They never fail to help widows; they save orphans from those who would hurt them. If a man has something, he gives freely to the man who has nothing. If they see a stranger, Christians take him home and are happy, as though he were a real brother.

They don't consider themselves brothers in the usual sense, but brothers instead through the Spirit of God. And if they hear that one of them is in jail, or persecuted for professing the name of their redeemer, they all give him what he needs. If it is possible, they bail him out. If one of them is poor and there isn't enough food to go around, they fast several days
to give him the food he needs.

This is really a new kind of person.
There is something divine in them.

From a report given by a pagan official,
Aristides, to the Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD),
who was seeking justification to outlaw Christianity.

"In a world full of so much ugliness, liturgy should be a rest for the soul, a repose where the soul can breathe.

Beauty is not aestheticism. It is not an aim in itself. It is a glimpse of God's glory. We shouldn't stay with a glimpse . . . because people are thirsting for beauty and for what they rigthly feel is behind beauty: the glory of God revealed to us.

Heaven opens in liturgy. Beauty in liturgy costs time, love, care, commitment. We must take time for preparing the liturgy, looking for the beauty of the flowers, the songs, the space, the incense, the candles. All this has nothing to do with pure aestheticism, but it is an expression of love.

The faithful can tell whether or not there is the love of God in a church. My experience is that wherever you have a beautiful liturgy, people come. People are attracted, and rightly. We should not say that this is only a superficial attraction.

Beauty is one way to God. It should never be separated from goodness and truth. Beauty without goodness is not beauty; so love for the poor has to be cultivated together with love for beauty -- and, of course, with love for the truth."

by Archbishop Christoph Schonborn of Vienna

"Through the fall our nature was stripped of divine illumination and resplendence. But the Logos of God had pity upon our disfigurement, and in His compassion He took our nature upon Himself. On Tabor He manifested it to His elect disciples clothed once again most brilliantly. He showed what we once were and what we shall become through Him in the age to come -- if we choose to live our present life, as far as possible, in accordance with His ways."

St. Gregory Palamas.