The Precious Pearl

The enjoyment of this present life, though it seems to give delight and sweetness, is well thrust from us. At the very moment of its being it ceases to be, and for our joy repays us with sorrow sevenfold. Its happiness and its sorrow more frail than a shadow, and, like the traces of a ship passing over the sea, or a bird flying through the air, quickly disappear. But the hope of the life to come which the Christians preach is certain and quite sure; howbeit in this world it has tribulation, whereas our pleasures now are short-lived, and in the beyond they only win us correction and everlasting punishment without release. For the pleasures of life are temporary, but its pain eternal; while the Christians labors are temporary but their pleasure and gain immortal. Therefore, right it is to exchange the corruptible for the incorruptible.

- St. John of Damascus

Holiness in life

It is not necessary that you live the way I do. But in order to become happier than you are keep these rules:

– think of God at least as much as you think of men
– fear God at least as much as you fear men
– honor God at least as much as you honor men
– pray to God at least as much as you entreat men
– hoping God at least as much as you hope in men
– ask God for help as least as much as you ask men
– fulfill God’s law at least as much as you fulfill the law of men
– be thankful to God at least as much as you are thankful to men
– glorify God at least as much as you glorify men!

- St. Nikolai Velimirovich (From an anonymous Egyptian hermit)

He’s awaiting us!

God is very rich! And He’s awaiting us! … He waits for us to ask! Anyone who wants to acquire the gift of prayer, must keep silent and pray. We speak so much about prayer. That’s one thing that cannot be discussed but practiced. A deep silence is a deep prayer…Every moment is a time [in eternity] and every sigh can become a prayer. We must not cease to pray, even with the mind.

- Elder Arsenie Papacioc

On temptations

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.

- St. Maximos the Confessor

On Confession

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The longer we go on without confessing, the worse it is for us, the more entangled we become in the bonds of sin, and therefore the more difficult it is to give account. We ought to confess our sins more frequently, in order to strike and scourge the sins by the open avowal of them, and in order to feel a greater loathing of them.

- St. John of Kronstadt

There is a sin…

There is a sin which is always ‘unto death’ (I Jn. 5:16): the sin for which we do not repent. For this sin even a saint’s prayers will not be heard.

- St. Mark the Ascetic, from “The Philokalia”

Adorn yourself with truth…

Adorn yourself with truth, try to speak truth in all things; and do not support a lie, no matter who asks you. If you speak the truth and someone gets mad at you, don’t be upset, but take comfort in the words of the Lord: Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of truth, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 5:10).

- St. Gennadius of Constantinople, The Golden Chain, 26,2

On charity

If we do not have love we are deprived of everything. For nothing attracts God so much as charity. And nothing enrages God so much, as for us to be uncharitable.

- St. John Chrysostom

God always helps

God always helps. He always comes in time, but patience is necessary. He hears us immediately when we cry out to Him, but not in accordance with our own way of thinking.

- Elder Joseph the Hesyhast

The Holy Spirit is love

The Holy Spirit is love. He gives the soul the strength to love enemies. Anyone, however, who does not love his enemies, does not know God

- Elder Siluan

On forgiveness

If you forgive few things, He forgives you few! If you forgive many things, He forgives you many!

- St. John Chrysostom

I reverence even two or three praying…

'For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them' (Mt. 18:20). I reverence even two or three praying together, for in accordance with the Lord's promise He Himself is in the midst of them.

- From St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 317)

What is humility?

A hermit was asked, “What is humility?” He said, “It is if you forgive a brother who has wronged you before he is sorry.”

There is no prayer so quickly heard…

There is no prayer so quickly heard as the prayer whereby a man asks to be reconciled with those who are wroth with him. For when he charges himself with the offence, this prayer is immediately answered.

- St. Isaac the Syrian

On sin

Sin, having deprived the wretched soul of all the supernatural blessings, strips it also of the natural ones, for it takes away the keenness of the mind, the light and discrimination of reason, the tenderness and perception of the heart, the peace of thoughts and of conscience, and the purity of all the powers. It even weakens the body and defiles the senses.

- St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite