This Martyr lived during the reign of Claudius II (268-270). She was from Pisidia of Cilicia and was the only daughter of a certain priest of the idols. On being orphaned by her mother, she was handed over to a certain woman who instructed her in the Faith of Christ. When she was fifteen years old, she was apprehended by the ruler of Olmbrius, and when asked her name, homeland, and faith, she answered: “My name is Marina; I am the offspring of the Pisidia; I call upon the Name of my Lord Jesus Christ.” Because of this she endured bonds, imprisonment, and many whippings, and was finally beheaded in the year 270. Saint Marina is especially invoked for deliverance from demonic possession.
- Info taken from Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA
O Lord, You who steadied the hand of Peter as he began to sink on the stormy sea, if you are with me, no one is against me. Grant to me the shield of faith and the mighty armor of the Holy Spirit to protect me and guide me to do Your will. The future I put into Your hands, O Lord, and I follow You to a life in Christ. Amen.
When you are ill, say “Blessed are those who discover the purpose set by God in the things that God brings upon us for our advantage. God is bringing this sickness for the sake of the soul’s good health.”
- The Wisdom of St Isaac of Syria, 17; ed. S. Brock, pp. 2, 3.
Repeat to yourself every day and as often as you can: ‘O Lord, have mercy on all those who will appear before You today.’ For every hour, every second, thousands of men leave this world and their souls appear before the Lord, and no one knows how many of them leave this earth in isolation, sadness, and anguish, with no one to take pity on them or even care whether they live or die. And so your prayer for such a man will rise to the Lord from the other end of the earth, although he may never have heard of you or you of him. But his soul, as it stands trembling before the Lord, will be cheered and gladdened to learn that there is someone on earth who loves him. And the Lord’s mercy will be even greater to both of you, for, however great your pity for the man, God’s pity will be much greater, for He is infinitely more merciful and more loving than you are.
— Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov: “Teachings of the Elder Zosima”
Self-accusation before God is something that is very necessary for us; and humility of heart is extremely advantageous in our lives, above all at the time of prayer. For prayer requires great attention and needs a proper awareness, otherwise it will turn out to be unacceptable and rejected, and `it will be turned back empty’ to our bosom.
What toil we must endure, what fatigue, while we are attempting to climb hills and the summits of mountains! What, that we may ascend to heaven! If you consider the promised reward, what you endure is less. Immortality is given to the one who perseveres; everlasting life is offered; the Lord promises His Kingdom.
We accept only those teachings that nourish our self-love and ego and help us follow our own way, the way of sin. We fight against anything that comes in contrast with our goals, anything that rebukes the futility of our erroneous path. We fight truth because we follow the teachings that we ourselves have created or that we have heard from others; the ones that are in agreement with our desire, to live well in this temporary life.
Whatever is in agreement with our goals and the path that we have chosen we regard as true. We unquestionably accept it and project it as grounds for defending our own convictions and the mistaken teachings we follow, which do not agree with what Christ taught and for which we know deep in our heart are incorrect.
- Excerpt from “Teachings of Saint Luke of Crimea”
A young monk said to Abba Sisoes: “Abba, what should I do? I fell.” The elder answered: “Get up!” The monk said: “I got up and I fell again!” The elder replied: “Get up again!” But the young monk asked: “For how long should I get up when I fall?” “Until your death,” answered Abba Sisoes. “For a man heads to his judgment either fallen or getting back up again.”
Don’t worry too much about how spiritually poor you are, God sees that, but for you it is expected to trust in God and pray to Him as best you can, never to fall into despair and to struggle according to your strength. If you ever begin to think you are spiritually “well off” then you can know for sure that you aren’t! True spiritual life, even on the most elementary level, is always accompanied by suffering and difficulties. Therefore you should rejoice in all your difficulties and sorrows.
When we pray and God delays in hearing (our prayer), He does this for our benefit, so as to teach us longsuffering; wherefore we need not become downcast, saying: ‘We prayed, and were not heard.’ God knows what is profitable for a man. Rejoice in the Lord, leave off all your cares, and pray for me, O my beloved brother, one in spirit (with me).
The fruits of the earth are not brought to perfection immediately, but by time, rain and care; similarly, the fruits of men ripen through ascetic practice, study, time, perseverance, self-control and patience.
When you are depressed, bear in mind the Lord’s command to Peter to forgive a sinner seventy times seven (cf. Mt. 18:22). And you may be sure that He Who gave this command to another will Himself do very much more.
In your opinion, what foreighn languages are needed for someone that wants to help in spreading of Christianity (and as I am Christian Orthodox I would say specifically Orthodoxy) apart from English? I would say French or Spanish, that are spoken in many countries of the world..
Will I be saved or not? Am I living in a way that is pleasing to God, or not? Am I acting according to God’s righteousness? I do not know. God alone knows whether He forgives my sins, or not; whether He will call me to be with Him and will write my name in the Book of Life, or not. What can I say, a wretched sinner who has nothing? The only thing that I have is my Savior, my God, my Joy; I have nothing else in this life. God the Angels, the soul - this is the only reality unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Do not do anything without signing yourself with the sign of the Cross! When you depart on a journey, when you begin your work, when you go to study, when you are alone, and when you are with other people, seal yourself with the Holy Cross on your forehead, your body, your chest, your heart, your lips, your eyes, your ears. All of you should be sealed with the sign of Christ’s victory over hell. Then you will no longer be afraid of charms, evil spirits, or sorcery, because these are dissolved by the power of the Cross like wax before fire and like dust before the wind.
Enter eagerly into the treasure-house that lies within you, and you will see the treasure-house of heaven: for the two are the same, and there is but one singe entry to them both. The ladder that leads to the Kingdom is hidden within you, and is found in your own soul. Dive into yourself and in your soul you will discover the rungs by which to ascend.
Man is caught up in a struggle between darkness and light, between corruption and incorruption, between death and life, and thus between hell and God. In such a predicament, man falls and rises and falls again. And this is why, even though Christ “presented Himself living,’ He also established within the Church the mystery of repentance and the sacrament of confession so that man can constantly enjoy the right to assume, to make his own, the life of God…
Every time I visit your blog, my heart is beating so fast, and I feel closer to God, to Virgin Mary and all the Saints. I love Orthodoxy, and I plan to convert one day, when I will be older :] Thank you very much! PS. Are there any other Orthodox Christian blogs on tumblr to follow?
Hello dear friend!
Your message is so beautiful! Thanks for your kind words, they mean a lot to me. :)
Yes, there are many other Christian Orthodox blogs to follow! Just click here. Also, if you want, you can check out my new Orthodox blog. It’s just a photoblog full of Orthodox stuff: monasteries, monks/nuns, churches, icons etc :)
Do not regard the feelings of a person who speaks to you about his neighbor disparagingly, but rather say to him: “Stop, brother! I fall into graver sins every day, so how can I criticize him?” In this way you will achieve two things: you will heal yourself and your neighbor with one plaster. This is one of the shortest ways to the forgiveness of sins; I mean, not to judge. ‘Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.’ (Luke 6:37)
Some suffer much from poverty and sickness, but are not humbled, and so they suffer without profit. But one who is humbled will be happy in all circumstances, because the Lord is his riches and joy, and all people will wonder at the beauty of his soul.
Whoever will not love his enemies cannot know the Lord and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit teaches us to love our enemies in such way that we pity their souls as if they were our own children.
Temptations come on some people for the cleansing of previous sins, on other for the beautification of their current perfection, and on yet others, as preparation for things to come, except temptations, which are for the increase of a man’s faith and virtue, as it was with Job.
Abba Poemen said of Abba John the Dwarf that he had prayed God to take his passions away from him so that he might become free from care. He went and told an old man this; ‘I find myself in peace, without an enemy,’ he said. The old man said to him, ‘Go beseech God to stir up warfare so that you may regain the affliction and humility that you used to have, for it is by warfare that the soul makes progress.’ So he besought God and when warfare came, he no longer prayed that it might be taken away, but said, ‘Lord, give me strength for the fight.’