Posts Tagged ‘Orthodoxy’


Third Homily on Prayer by St. Theophan The Recluse

February 6, 2008

Taken From

Third Homily on Prayer – St Theophan the

Delivered 29 November, 1864

I have explained to you briefly two aspects or two levels of prayer, namely: prayer which is read, when we pray to God with the prayers of others, and one’s mental prayer, where we ascend mentally to God through contemplation of God, dedicating all to God, and often crying out to Him from our hearts.[1]

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Mother’s Sayings 51 – 75

February 6, 2008

The Sayings (51 – 75)

From: Mother Gabriel, The Ascetic of Love, by Sister Gabriel, publisher

51. Our destination is to worship God and love our fellow-men.

52. We find happiness and peace only by living according to God’s Commandments.

53. The most essential act of Philanthropy is to speak well of our fellow-men.

54. I could not get worried, even if I tried. When we worry it is as if we say to God: “I do not agree. You don’t do things right”. Besides, this is sheer ingratitude.

55. To speak in the presence of Beauty is superfluous. It disturbs its harmony.

56. Through the invocation of the name of Christ, we batter our Ego.

57. It is the oil-lamp of our soul that must be always lighted, burning forever.

58. We are the first to feel the joy we give to others.

59. Better a prayer of the lips than no prayer at all.

60. Let God intervene between you and your purpose, instead of letting your purpose intervene between you and God.

61. The agony of dying is the effort made by the soul to free herself and run towards the Lord.

62. Correspondence is the only way that combines solitude and company.

63. Miracle is the normal course of events according to God’s Will. What we call a Miracle is only what is natural to God.

65. If we meet with an adversity, let us not ask who is to blame. Because the blame is only ours. We shall find the reason if we ask for it in our Prayer: perhaps we have not loved enough, or we have disobeyed another Commandment, or we have mishandled the situation, or we have moved faster than we should, or we have relied on the wrong person.

66. When we lose something, let us say: ‘In this manner, Lord, deliver me also from any evil thought I may have for my neighbour’.

67. Anxiety is for those who have no Faith.

68. Love is only on the Cross.

69. Human relationships become difficult when the “I” stands above the “You”.

70. God loves your enemies as much as He loves you.

71. Do you want to Pray? Prepare yourself to meet the Lord in secret.

72. By God’s Permission some people become instruments of the Power of Darkness for our own testing and progress.

73. You must not get upset, because a restless heart drives away all Help.

74. If one can live in the world and yet not mix with it – just as the oil and water do not mix in the oil-lamp – then he can live in God. He is in this world but not of this world.

75. We are all vessels, sometimes of Light and sometimes of Darkness. 


Mother’s Sayings 26-51

February 4, 2008

Mother Gabriel

The Sayings (26-50)

From: Mother Gabriel, The Ascetic of Love, by Sister Gabriel, publisher

26. A Christian must have reverence for the Mystery of Existence in everyone and everything.

27. To reach the state of non-existence, love and love and love until you identify yourself completely with the Other One, whoever this may be at the time. Then, at the end of the day you may ask yourself: Is there anything I want? No. Is there anything I wish ‘No. Is there anything I lack’ No… So, that’s it!

28. The spiritually advanced person is the one who has reached a state of "non-existence" and has deeply understood that whatever happens to him is either because God Wills it or because God Permits it.

29. True inner progress begins only when a person stops reading anything but the Gospel. It is only then that, united with God through the Jesus Prayer, he can hear God’s Will.

30. Never wish for anything but the Will of God and accept with love any trials that may come your way.

31. Never identify a person with the wrong way in which he is treating you, but see Christ in his heart.

32. Never ask: "Why has this happened to me" ‘When you see somebody suffering from gangrene or cancer or blindness, never say: "Why has this happened to him"’ Instead, pray God to grant you the vision of the other shore… Then, like the Angels, you will be able to see things as they really are: Everything in God’s plan. EVERYTHING.

33. A wise man said: If you are to live only for yourself, it would have been better if you had not been born.

36. A person’s most vulnerable spot is found in much talking and discussing.

37. To be meek is to wish never to have a guilty conscience.

38. When thoughts of passing judgement on another person cross your mind, pray God to take them away at once, so that you may love this person as He does. Then God will help you see your own faults. If Christ were visible, could you have such thoughts?

39. If you do not like somebody, think that you see Christ in that person. Then, you would not even dare utter a word of criticism.

40. We must love people and accept them in our hearts as God presents them to us. It has been thus ordained by the Lord Himself and by the Orthodox Tradition.

41. No one should become the servant of another man. We are only servants of God. ‘For ye are bought with a price’, says the Apostle (1Cor.6:20). Therefore, there should be no servility in human relations.

42. What we say remains in Eternity.

43. Only when you are perfected in Love can you reach the state of Dispassion (Apatheia).

44. Only those who act without true love face adversities.

45.The faculty of judgement (Krisis) comes naturally to man. Criticism (Katakrisis) and reproval spring from malice. Discernment (Diakrisis) is a gift from God and we should pray for it. It is essential to our protection and progress.

46. The life of the Church extends beyond moral discipline and religious duty. It is the transcendence of Morality to Spirituality.

47. An irresolute person does not participate in life.

48. When we must be helped, God will send someone to us. We are all fellow-travellers.

49. The voice of God is silence.

50. Whoever lives in the Past is like a dead man.Whoever lives in the Future in his imagination is naive, because the Future belongs to God. The Joy of Christ is found only in the Present, in the Eternal Present of God.


Second Homily on Prayer – St Theophan the Recluse

February 4, 2008

Second Homily on Prayer – St Theophan the Recluse
Delivered 22 November, 1864

Yesterday I showed you one method of establishing a prayerful spirit in yourselves [see homily 1], namely, how to pray in a way which corresponds to the meaning of the prayers. But this is only the beginning of the art (science) of prayer and it is necessary to go further. Consider the study of language, for example. First one studies words and phrases from books. But this is not sufficient, one must go further, and truly reach the point where he can correctly form phrases in the given language without the aid of the textbook. It is the same in the work of prayer. We get used to praying with prayer books, praying using prepared prayers given to us by the Lord and the Holy Fathers who were successful in prayer. But we should not stop at that, we need to continue on, and having accustomed ourselves to making petition to God for help with our minds and hearts, we must attempt to ascend to Him. We must strive to reach the point where our soul by itself begins speaking, so to speak, in a prayerful conversation with God and by itself ascends to Him and opens itself to Him and confesses what is in it and what it desires.

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First Homily on Prayer by St. Theophan The Recluse

January 30, 2008

Taken From

First Homily on Prayer – St Theophan the Recluse
Delivered 21 November, 1864

On the feast day of the Entrance into the Temple of the Most-holy Theotokos, I find it timely to give you instruction in prayer – the main work of the temple. A temple is a place of prayer and arena of prayer’s development. For us, entry into the temple is entry into a prayerful spirit. The Lord has the kindness to call our hearts His temple, where we enter mentally and stand before Him, ascending to Him like the fragrant smoke of incense. We are going to study how to attain this state.

Gathering in the temple, you pray, of course. And in praying here, you surely ought not abandon prayer at home. Therefore, it would be extraneous to speak to you about our duty to pray, when you already pray. But I do not think that it is extraneous in any way to give you two or three rules about how to pray, if not in the way of teaching, then simply as a reminder. The work of prayer is the first work in Christian life. If in everyday affairs the saying: “live and learn” is true, then so much more it applies to prayer, which never stops and which has no limit.
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The Three HierArchs

January 30, 2008


Feast Day January 30

Apolytikion in the First Tone

The three most great luminaries of the Three-Sun Divinity have illumined all of the world with the rays of doctrines divine and true; they are the sweetly-flowing rivers of wisdom, who with godly knowledge have watered all creation in clear and mighty streams: The great and sacred Basil, and the Theologian, wise Gregory, together with the renowned John, the famed Chrysostom of golden speech. Let us all who love their divinely-wise words come together, honouring them with hymns; for ceaselessly they offer entreaty for us to the Trinity.

Kontakion in the Second Tone

Receive, O Lord, the Sacred Heralds who preached God, the pinnacle of Teachers, unto the enjoyment of Your riches and rest. You have received their labors and their suffering as being above and beyond all fruitful offering. For You alone glorify Your Saints.


This common feast of these three teachers was instituted a little before the year 1100, during the reign of the Emperor Alexis I Comnenus, because of a dispute and strife that arose among the notable and virtuous men of that time. Some of them preferred Basil, while others preferred Gregory, and yet others preferred John Chrysostom, quarreling among themselves over which of the three was the greatest. Furthermore, each party, in order to distinguish itself from the others, assumed the name of its preferred Saint; hence, they called themselves Basilians, Gregorians, or Johannites. Desiring to bring an end to the contention, the three Saints appeared together to the saintly John Mavropous, a monk who had been ordained Bishop of Euchaita, a city of Asia Minor, they revealed to him that the glory they have at the throne of God is equal, and told him to compose a common service for the three of them, which he did with great skill and beauty. Saint John of Euchaita (celebrated Oct. 5) is also the composer of the Canon to the Guardian Angel, the Protector of a Man’s Life. In his old age, he retired from his episcopal see and again took up the monastic life in a monastery in Constantinople. He reposed during the reign of the aforementioned Emperor Alexis Comnenus (1081-1118).

Reading courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Apolytikion courtesy of Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Kontakion courtesy of Narthex Press


Mother’s Sayings 1-25

January 29, 2008

Mother Gabriel

The Sayings (1-25)

From: Mother Gabriel, The Ascetic of Love, by Sister Gabriel, publisher

1. Any place may become a place of Resurrection, if the Humility of
Christ becomes the way of our life.

2. You may sleep, as long as you are in a state of watchfulness.

3. There are some who stay awake for a few, and some who stay awake for

4. Orthodox spirituality is knowledge acquired through suffering rather
than through learning.

5. Do not wish for many things, whether they are within or out of
reach. Instead, take care to sanctify the little you have.

6. To learn how to love God: this is the one and only Education.

7. There is nothing cheaper than money.

8. Better Hell in this world than in the other.

9. It is not what we say, but what we live. It is not what we do, but
what we are.

10. I put on the Rasson (Monastic habit) and do not speak unless I am
asked. The Rasson speaks.

11. If you have love for all the world, the whole world is beautiful.

12. Someone said that a Christian is he who purifies love and
sanctifies work.

15. Our purpose should be to have the Paraclete* in our heart, even
when we have the… Parasite in our head.

16. We become a reflection of Heaven by saying: ‘Thy will be done on
Earth as it is in Heaven’.

17. He who loves is not aware of it, as he is not aware of his own

18. When doors are open in Heaven, they are also open on Earth.

19. When the mind is not distracted by worldly matters and remains
united to God, then even the ‘Good day’ that we say becomes a blessing.

20. By saying ‘no’ and by refusing, we forfeit our purpose.

21. We must not ‘exist’ in the presence of the other person, who is
God’s ‘image and likeness’.

22. In the early steps of our life we need the presence of someone we
love. As we advance, the One, God, fills us with His Love and Joy so
much that we no longer need anyone. The soul does this at the beginning
because she does not know yet Whom she loves, and thinks it is this or
that person.

23. Many times what God expects from us is the intention rather than
the act itself. Our readiness to follow His Commandment is enough for

24. Jesus Christ gave us the golden mean: both alone and with others.

25. When God created us, He gave us Life and breathed His Spirit into
us. This Spirit is Love. When love deserts us, we become as dead as
corpses. We are not alive any more.