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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

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Thursday, 19 July 2012

SAINT SILOUAN ON LOVE & ADVICE FROM SAINT SERAPHIM




The soul cannot know peace unless she prays for her enemies. The soul that has learned of God’s grace to pray, feels love and compassion for every created thing, and in particular for mankind, for whom the Lord suffered on the Cross, and His soul was heavy for every one of us.

The Lord taught me to love my enemies. Without the grace of God we cannot love our enemies. Only the Holy Spirit teaches love, and then even devils arouse our pity because they have fallen from good, and lost humility in God.

I beseech you, put this to the test. When a man affronts you or brings dishonor on your head, or takes what is yours, or persecutes the Church, pray to the Lord, saying: “O Lord, we are all Thy creatures. Have pity on Thy servants and turn their hearts to repentance,” and you will be aware of grace in your soul. To begin with, constrain your heart to love enemies, and the Lord, seeing your good will, will help you in all things, and experience itself will show you the way. But the man who thinks with malice of his enemies has not God’s love within him, and does not know God.

If you will pray for your enemies, peace will come to you; but when you can love your enemies – know that a great measure of the grace of God dwells in you, though I do not say perfect grace as yet, but sufficient for salvation. Whereas if you revile your enemies, it means there is an evil spirit living in you and bringing evil thoughts into your heart, for, in the words of the Lord, out of the heart proceed evil thoughts – or good thoughts.

The good man thinks to himself in this wise: Every one who has strayed from the truth brings destruction on himself and is therefore to be pitied. But of course the man who has not learned the love of the Holy Spirit will not pray for his enemies. The man who has learned love from the Holy Spirit sorrows all his life over those who are not saved, and sheds abundant tears for the people, and the grace of God gives him strength to love his enemies.

Understand me. It is so simple. People who do not know God, or who go against Him, are to be pitied; the heart sorrows for them and the eye weeps. Both paradise and torment are clearly visible to us: We know this through the Holy Spirit. And did not the Lord Himself say, “The kingdom of God is within you”? Thus eternal life has its beginning here in this life; and it is here that we sow the seeds of eternal torment. Where there is pride there cannot be grace, and if we lose grace we also lose both love of God and assurance in prayer. The soul is then tormented by evil thoughts and does not understand that she must humble herself and love her enemies, for there is no other way to please God.

What shall I render unto Thee, O Lord,
for that Thou hast poured such great mercy on my soul?
Grant, I beg Thee, that I may see my iniquities,
and ever weep before Thee,
for Thou art filled with love for humble souls,
and dost give them the grace of the Holy Spirit.


O merciful God, forgive me. Thou seest how my soul is drawn to Thee, her Creator.  Thou hast wounded my soul with Thy love, and she thirsts for Thee, and wearies without end, and day and night, insatiable, reaches toward Thee,
and has no wish to look upon this world, though I do love it, but above all I love Thee, my Creator, and my soul longs after Thee.




O my Creator, why have I, Thy little creature, grieved Thee so often?
Yet Thou hast not remembered my sins.

Glory be to the Lord God that He gave us His Only-begotten Son
for the sake of our salvation.
Glory be to the Only-begotten Son that He deigned
to be born of the Most Holy Virgin, and suffered for our salvation,
and gave us His Most Pure Body and Blood to eternal life,
and sent His Holy Spirit on the earth.

O Lord, grant me tears to shed for myself,
and for the whole universe,
that the nations may know Thee and live eternally with Thee.
O Lord, vouchsafe us the gift of Thy humble Holy Spirit,
that we may apprehend Thy glory

THE LIFE OF ST SILOUAN THE ATHONITE(click)


  SPIRITUAL COUNSELS OF ST SERAPHIM OF SAROV


    He who loves himself cannot love God. But he who, for love of God, does not love himself, loves God.


    A man who has taken upon himself to travel the path of internal mindfulness must have above all the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom. Upon his mind there must always be engraved these words of the prophet: Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice in Him with trembling (Ps. 2:11).


    Those who have truly decided to serve the Lord God should practice the remembrance of God and uninterrupted prayer to Jesus Christ, mentally saying: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, by the prayers of the Mother of God, have mercy on me a sinner; or one may have recourse directly to the Most Holy Mother of God, praying: Most Holy Mother of God, save us; or one may repeat the angelic greeting: Rejoice, Mother of God, Virgin... By such exercises in preserving oneself from dispersion and keeping peace of conscience one may draw near to God and be united to Him. For in the words of St. Isaac the Syrian: Without uninterrupted prayer we cannot draw near to God" (Homily 69).


    When at prayer in church it is profitable to stand with closed eyes in internal mindfulness, and to open your eyes only when you become downcast, or when sleep should weigh you down and incline you to doze; then you should fix your eyes upon an icon and the candle burning before it.


    Why one must always strive not to give oneself up to dispersion of thoughts: for through this the soul turns away from remembrance of God and love of Him through the working of the devil, as St. Macarius says: the whole concern of our enemy is this, to turn our thought away from remembrance of  God,


    We should thank the Lord for everything and give ourselves up to His will; we should likewise offer Him all our thoughts, words, and strive to make everything serve only His good pleasure.


    One should always endure any trial for the sake of God with gratitude. Our life is a single minute in comparison with eternity; and therefore, according to the Apostle, the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18).


      Let us love humility and we shall see the glory of God.


      We should do works of mercy with a good disposition of soul, according to the teaching of St. Isaac the Syrian (Homily 80): If you give to one who asks, let the joy of your countenance precede your gift, and comfort his sorrow with good words.


      With one's neighbor one should behave kindly, giving not even the appearance of offending. When we turn away from a man or offend him, it is as though a stone were laid on the heart.


      One must strive to encourage the spirit of a disturbed or desponding man by a word of love.


      It is the mark of a wise soul when a man plunges his mind within himself and has activity in his heart. Then the grace of God overshadows him, and he is in a peaceful state, and by means of this also in a most peaceful state: peaceful, that is, with a good conscience; and most peaceful, for the mind beholds within itself the grace of the Holy Spirit, according to the word of God: And His place is in peace (Ps. 75:3).


    More than anything else one should adorn oneself with silence; for St. Ambrose of Milan says: I have seen many being saved by silence, but not one by talkativeness. And again one of the Fathers says that silence is the mystery of the future age, while words 


(From the Little Russian Philokalia; St. Herman Press)



(From the Little Russian Philokalia; St. Herman Press)
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