“There are some wild swallows that build their nests on the very high external walls of the monasteries. However they are so wild and when they see a human being they fly like airplanes and leave. And yet when the Elder was once praying on the balcony a swallow approached and sat on his shoulders!… A certain brother mentioned the following to me: when a person with the cooperation of grace rediscovers the state of Adam before the fall, the animals recognize the state and run to him like they used to do with Adam. This has happened to many saints. It seems that the Elders pure prayer greatly pacified this wild bird.”
~Elder Arsenios the Cave-dweller
It is better not to be born than to misuse life.
The sun sees everything and keeps silent; the foolish man knows nothing and still talks.
Why does God send suffering to the best of His children? Because the weak cannot endure it.
The tears of the weak are accusations of the strong; the tears of the poor are accusations of the rich; the tears of the righteous will be transformed into diamonds under the throne of God.
A king asks another king: How many people do you govern? But if God speaks to a king, he asks: How many people are you helping?
St. Nikolai Velimirovich
~ Serbian Light
“Christ is the summit of desire; there is nothing higher. All sensible things lead to satiety but with God there is no satiation. He is everything. God is the summit of desire. No other joy, no other beauty, nothing else can rival Him. What is higher than the highest? Love for Christ is something else. It is without end, without satiety. It gives life; it gives strength; it gives health; it gives, gives and gives. And the more it gives the more the person wishes to fall in love. Human love and passion by contrast may be destructive and even drive a person mad.”
~Wounded by Love
“If the official churches have had no other merit but that they have preserved Christ as the treasury of the world, yet they are justified thereby. Even if they have solely repeated through all the past centuries “Lord! Lord!” still they stand above the secular world. For they know at least who the Lord is, whereas the world does not know.
Churches may disappear, but The Church never will. For not churches are the work of Christ, but the Church. Moreover, if the Church disappears, as an institution, the essence of the Church cannot disappear. It is like rivers, sea and water: when rivers disappear into the sea, the sea remains, and if the sea disappears into steam, water still remains.”
St. Nikolai Velimirovich
~Agony of the Church
“Among spiritual writings you should read especially those addressed to people living in the world, or which give the ABCs of spiritual life—such as St. John of Kronstadt’s ‘My Life
in Christ’, St. Nikodemos’ ‘Unseen Warfare’, the Lives of Saints in general, and Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov’s ‘The Arena’ (this book, while addressed to novices, is suitable for
laymen insofar as it gives in general the ABCs of spiritual life as applied to modern times). To help your spiritual growth and remind you of spiritual truths, it would be good to keep a journal (the hardbound record books sold in stationery stores are good), which would include excerpts from the writings of spiritual books which you find especially valuable or applicable to you, and perhaps comments of your own inspired by reading and reflection, including brief comments on your own shortcomings which you need to correct. St. John of Kronstadt found this especially valuable…”
Fr. Seraphim Rose
“For sorcery to work one must give the devil rights over oneself. In other words one must provide some serious occasion and be personally unprepared through repentance and Confession. One who goes regularly to Confession is immune to sorcery even if it’s piled on him by the shovelful. For when someone has confessed and his heart is pure the sorcerers cannot cooperate with the devil to do him harm.”
“Guard your heart!” These words were spoken in the past by experienced ascetics. Father John of Kronstadt says the same thing in our days: “The heart is refined, spiritual and heavenly by nature. Guard it. Do not overburden it; do not make it earthly; be temperate to the utmost in food and drink, and in bodily pleasures in general. The heart is the temple of God. If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy (I Corinthians 3:17).” Spiritual experience in ancient times and spiritual experience in our time is identical, under the condition that the confession of faith is identical. The heavenly knowledge to which the ascetics of old attained does not differ from the heavenly knowledge to which the ascetics of today attain. For, as Christ is the same today and tomorrow, so it is with human nature. The main thing is: the human heart is the same; its thirst and its hunger are the same; and nothing is able to satisfy it but the glory, power and riches of God.
Saint Nikolai Velimirovich
~Prologue of Ohrid reflection
“Man cannot escape God’s eye even as regards the smallest things, even in the most secret places for God is present everywhere. He cannot lie to God without God knowing that he is lying. So when a person confesses he must tell the confessor the full truth about his deeds, thoughts, and feelings, hiding nothing. Such confession is essential for one’s spiritual health and progress. It is a most important means of inner purification.”
~ My Elder Joseph the Hesychast
“Turn your mind towards Him continually. Learn to love prayer, familiar converse with the Lord. What counts above all is love, passionate love with the Lord for Christ the Bridegroom. Become worthy of Christ’s love. In order not to live in darkness turn on the switch of prayer to the divine light and flood your soul. Christ will appear in the depths of your being. They are in the deepest and most inward part is the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is within you. Prayer is made only with the Holy Spirit. It teaches the soul how to pray.”
~Wounded by Love
“The Old Testament says: “My spirit will not remain with man because they are flesh.” This applies today. Sodom burned just like a nuclear bomb. Christ does not tolerate such sins. Everywhere the sins of the flesh are worshipped. There is no repentance. The Venerable Mary of Egypt repented… We must think about what Christ has prepared for us, in the good good Paradise, after the Second Coming. Now we go to the narthex of Paradise, but it cannot enter the mind of man what the good good Paradise is like. All light! All fragrance! Joy unspeakable! Blessedness! Nothing will grow old! Christ wants everything new in His Kingdom. Nothing odd. My mother died at 95 years old and I see her in Paradise at thirty years old.”
(Elder Ephraim of Arizona