Monday, October 30, 2017

We must be happy with what God gives us...( St. Silouan the Athonite )

A certain hunter greatly enjoyed roaming through forests and plains in search of wild game. One day while hunting, after walking for a long time up a high mountain, he became tired and sat to rest
on a large boulder. As he was sitting there, he noticed a flock of birds flying from one mountain
peak to another, and he thought, “Why didn’t God give wings to man, so he can also fly?”
At that moment, a humble hermit happened to be walking by that same area. Having perceived the hunter’s thoughts, he turned to him and said, “You are wondering why God did not give you wings? 

 Let’s say that He gives you wings; you will still not be satisfied but will say, ‘My wings are weak and with them I cannot ascend up to heaven to see what exists there.’ And if you are given wings strong enough to ascend into heaven, even then you will be unsatisfied and you will say, ‘I don’t understand what is happening here.’ And if you are granted such understanding, again you
will not be content, and you will question, ‘Why am I not an angel?’ And if they make you an angel, even then you will be displeased and you will say, ‘Why am I not a Cherubim?’ And if you were to become a Cherubim, then you will say, ‘Why doesn’t God allow me to govern Heaven?’ And if you are given authority to rule over Heaven, even then you will not be content, and
as someone else did [i.e. Lucifer] you will indignantly ask for more things. 
This is why you should always humble yourself and be happy with whatever is given to you, and then you will dwell with God.”
The hunter realized that the hermit had spoken
the truth, and he thanked God for sending this elder to correct him and teach him the way of

St. Silouan the Athonite

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Time is Money ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

Time is the currency with which we acquire eternity. The ancients would say, “time is money.”
Indeed, time is a currency of incalculable value. We do not need even one dollar to purchase eternity; all we need is one minute. How did the thief on the cross acquire Paradise? He did so with one minute. Actually, it took him less than a minute to confess Jesus Christ, to seek His mercy, and to utter with sincere repentance, “Remember me, O Lord, in Your Kingdom.” This is why the Apostle Paul exclaims, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil”(Eph. 5:15-16). Behold, the greatest purchase of all time! Let us rush to acquire Paradise. We have the means. It will be the best investment of our life, because Paradise is forever.
Ioasaf, who went on to become a saint of our Orthodox Church, was the son of the King of India. Saint Barlaam instructed him in the Christian faith and baptized him. One of the many things Righteous Barlaam taught him was the following:
“In a certain land, the citizens had the custom of electing as their king a foreigner who would come
to visit their city.
The unsuspecting visitor would accept their offer because he was unaware of their customs and practices. They would crown the visitor and enthrone him king for a certain period of time, only to dethrone him a short time later , without a warning and exile him to a desolate region. Since
they never revealed to the stranger that within
six months to a year they would strip him of his regal title and send him into exile, the visitor ruled the land assuming that he would reign forever,
until the end of his life. The thought of exile would never even cross his mind, and, unmindful
of the citizens’ intent to banish him, he never
prepared for such a calamity.
During one such trip to the city by a particular visitor, a good and virtuous citizen who saw
the foreigner approached him and told him in secret, “My fellow countrymen who dwell in this city are planning to make you a king. You should
realize, however, that after a short period of time they will exile you. So, now when you become king and while you have all the goods accessible to you, see to it that you send food, provisions,
and other useful items to that deserted region, so that when they banish you to that land you will
have them there waiting for you, and you will be able to live comfortably.”
“Oh! Thank you very much for telling me,”replied the guest.
Indeed, by following the advice of that good citizen, this man sent an abundance of provisions to the land of exile. And so, when the time came and the citizens banished him, he went their gladly
and henceforth lived comfortably, because he had sent many goods there beforehand.
“Similarly,” explained St. Barlaam to Ioasaph, “Man comes into this present life, and, fooled by the world, he believes that he will reign and live many years; death, however, appears unexpectedly
and sends him to eternity. The Church, as
another good citizen, comes to advise man and points out to him, “Look, you are not going to be here very long. You will depart for the next life which is eternal.
Make sure, now that you are here and capable, to do good works and send them there to the next life. Thus, when you die and the world ejects you from the earth, you will find these items there. God will repay you thousand times over, and you will henceforth live joyfully.”
The time of our present life is the opportunity to sow. Eternity is the time of harvest. Tell me what you sow, and I will tell you what you will reap. Do you sow faith, love, and tears of effort and repentance? You will reap the joy of eternal
Paradise. The Lord confirms this:
“You shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit
eternal life”(Mt. 19:29).

St. Paul also emphasizes this in his epistle to
the Corinthians: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2Cor. 4:17).

Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Never has there been such an age of false teachers . . ( Fr. Seraphim Rose )

“Never has there been such an age of false teachers as this pitiful twentieth century, so rich in material gadgets and so poor in mind and soul. Every conceivable opinion, even the most absurd, even those hitherto rejected by the universal consent of all civilized peoples — now has its platform and its own ‘teacher.’ A few of these teachers come with demonstration or promise of ‘spiritual power’ and false miracles, as do some occultists and ‘charismatics’; but most of the contemporary teachers offer no more than a weak concoction of undigested ideas which they receive ‘out of the air,’ as it were, or from some modern self-appointed ‘wise man’ (Or woman) who knows more than all the ancients merely by living in our ‘enlightened’ modern times. As a result, philosophy has a thousand schools, and ‘Christianity’ a thousand sects. Where is the truth to be found in all this, if indeed it is to found at all in our most misguided times?

In only one place is there to be found the fount of true teaching, coming from God Himself, not diminished over the centuries but ever fresh, being one and the same in all those who truly teach it, leading those who follow it to eternal salvation. This place is the Orthodox Church of Christ, the fount is the grace of the All-Holy Spirit, and the true teachers of the Divine doctrine that issues from this fount are the Holy Fathers of the Orthodox Church.”

Fr. Seraphim Rose

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Bear the offense in silence... ( St. Simeon the New Theologian )

He, who grieves sorely in his heart when dishonored or offended by others, ought to know from this that he bears within himself the ancient serpent. If he will bear the offense in silence, or will answer the one offending him with deep humility, then he has thereby weakened and crushed this serpent.
 St. Simeon the New Theologian

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Christian must be courteous to all. . . .( St. Nektarios )

A Christian must be courteous to all. His words and deeds should breath with the grace of the Holy Spirit, which abides in his soul, so that in this way he might glorify the name of God. He who regulates all of his speech also regulates all of his actions. He who keeps watch over the words he is about say also keeps watch over the deeds he intends to do, and he never goes out of the bounds good and benevolent conduct. The graceful speech of a Christian is characterized by delicateness and politeness. This fact, born of love, produces peace and joy. On the other hand, boorishness gives birth to hatred, enmity, affliction, competitiveness, disorder and wars.
St. Nektarios of Aegina