ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY now, in the heart of Great Lent

Photo:  Confession—Priest and Penitent

A certain monk told me that when he was very sick, his mother said to his father, "How our little boy is suffering. I would gladly give myself to be cut up into pieces if that would ease his suffering." Such is the love of God for people. He pitied people so much that he wanted to suffer for them, like their own mother, and even more. But no one can understand this great love without the grace of the Holy Spirit. 
St. Silouan of Mt. Athos

If your heart has been softened either by repentance before God or by learning the boundless love of God towards you, do not be proud with those whose hearts are still hard.  Remember how long your heart was hard and incorrigible.
Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic

While a wound is still new and warm, it is easy to heal.  Old wounds carelessly left to fester are not easily healed, but require much effort, cutting, medications, and cauterizations.  With time, many wounds become intractable, but with God, everything is possible (Matthew 19: 26).  The later the repentance, the more arduous it becomes.
St. John Climacus; 7th century.

This is your main rule:  be simple in all your thoughts, feelings, words, behavior, and your relations with people.  Being simple means not in any way allowing artificiality, and behaving before people as before God.
Archbishop Seraphim of Bogucharsk

If you are constantly angry and complaining, that is indicative of a proud soul.   Humble yourself; reproach yourself; and the Lord is powerful to give you comfort and to help you.
St Anatoly of Optina

He whose will and desire in conversation is to establish his own opinion, even though what he says is true, should recognize that he is sick with the devil’s disease.
          St. John Climacus; 7th century

The eyes of the Lord traverse the earth searching for souls ripe for repentance so that he can draw near to them.  Many have sought, and continue to seek Jesus, each with his own reason.  There is one who comes to the Lord asking, “tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me” (Luke 12: 13).  There is one who seeks Jesus, as Herod did, to witness one of His signs and wonders (Luke 23:8). Then there is the multitude who, having been filled, wait for the Lord at the foot of the mountain; but these the Lord passed by (Luke 7:36-50).  Then there are those such as the Samaritan woman whom the Lord approaches even when they do not consciously seek Him (John 4).  Amongst all these different types of people, the Lord responds only to those who sought repentance or were ready to receive it.
St. Kyrillos VI, Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria

Guard sacredly and strictly our Orthodox Faith, both in its canons and in its dogmas.  Do not adapt your faith to your life, but your life to the Faith.
Archbishop Seraphim of Bogucharsk

All chapters copyright © 2017 by author N. M.; inquiries c/o St. George’s Church, P.O. Box 38, Edenton, NC.  (252) 482-2006.
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