Saturday, July 14, 2018

Saint Paisios of Mount Athos.

Conscience is the first law of God, which He deeply carved in the hearts of the First Created, and conse­quently, each one of us takes it as a "photocopy" from his parents when he is born. Those who have managed to sensitize their conscience through the daily study of themselves, feel themselves estranged from this world; and, as a result, worldly people are dumbfounded by their discerning behaviour. Those, however, who do not examine their conscience, are neither benefited by spiritual study, nor by the advice of the Elders, nor are they even able to keep God's commandments, since they quickly become insensitive.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Such is the path set before us.
Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov.

Father Sophrony’s sister, Maria, in one of her letters, wrote about a certain young relative whose ungrateful attitude towards everyone was causing anxiety in the family, and this was Father Sophrony’s answer.

 I received your last letter not long ago. At the present moment I cannot even find where it is. But I will answer from memory. Of course, the first thing to write about is young peo­ple. I must say that in my lifetime I have very often met the phenomenon you write to me about. In this connexion I tried to remember my own conduct in the past: did I not behave in such a way?. In my childhood I did not understand what diffi­culties and sufferings raising us brought to my (our) parents. My mind acted with its focus rather on myself, on my future, on my needs, and not on how I could show gratitude towards my parents - father and mother - or other people who in one way or another helped me in my childhood and youth. Now I am thinking about those young people whom I have met, for whom I tried to do as much good as possible, to help them arrange their lives; I tried to foresee in my mind the potential difficulties they would have in the future and so on. And the majority of them understood nothing of this; some even thought that I needed something from them, and that was why I did them a good turn.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Conseils spirituels.
Mère Mariam Zacca.

Conseils spirituels prodigués par Mère Mariam (Zakka) higoumène du monastère de Saint Jean Baptiste à Douma au Liban. Ces conseils s’adressent à un groupe de jeunes laïcs orthodoxes du Liban. Certains pensent à la vie monastique. La question posée par l’un d’entre nous était la suivante : « Mère Mariam, j’ai un problème, je trouve que certains frères ne changent pas, bien que nous recevons un enseignement, que nous lisons les vies des Saints ainsi que les Écritures, je commence à avoir des doutes sur le bien-fondé de notre action…peux-tu me conseiller ?!. »

Mes bien-aimés vous vous réunissez pour vivre en Christ !. Pour être à Lui ! Vous êtes avec Lui et en Lui alors pourquoi perdre espoir ?!. Vous pensez que l’être humain change vite ?!…L’être humain n’est pas un appareil que l’on pourrait confier à un réparateur pour le remettre en marche et qu’il se mette à fonctionner selon nos souhaits, à notre image et selon nos conceptions et sans doute pas à l’image du Seigneur.
Ce qui est essentiel lors de vos réunions est la patience qui vient juste après l’amour évangélique.
Avoir de la patience envers ses proches est le « cinquième clou » enfoncé sur le côté du Seigneur, qui est à la fois notre Seigneur et le Seigneur de ceux qui l’ont cloué sur la croix de notre Salut.

Friday, June 22, 2018

The world is a teacher to lead us to Christ.
Fr.Dumitru Stăniloae.

Fr. Dumitru Staniloae is a Romanian theologian. His many works include commentaries on the Church Fathers, a Romanian translation of the Philokalia, and his masterpiece, in 1978, "The Orthodox Dogmatic Theology". Fr. Dumitru endured several years of imprisonment for his faith at the hands of Communists, after which he began to work for the Romanian Holy Synod and often traveled to international conferences to share his theological vision. He reposed in 1993 at the age of ninety.

On the road of our approach to God stands the world - we must pass through the understanding of it. Every man has a mission connected with the world. Everyone must know it according to the power given to him, in as much as knowledge can't come until the gaining of the virtues; everyone must develop beforehand a moral activity in relationship to the world. A mainly negative attitude toward the world frustrates salvation itself. The world is imposed on everyone as a stone for sharpening his spiritual faculties.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

De la Prière…
Saint Nil d’Ancyre.
33 citations choisies du livre “Traité de la Prière”.

1. Si l'on veut préparer un parfum exquis, la Loi prescrit de mélanger à parties égales l'encens diaphane, la cannelle, l'onyx et la myrrhe : c'est le quaternaire des vertus. Si elles sont en pleine mesure et bien en équilibre, l'esprit est à l'épreuve de toute défaillance.
2. L'âme purifiée par la plénitude des vertus établit l'esprit dans un ordre inébranlable, grâce auquel il peut obtenir la constance qu'il recherche.
3. La prière est un commerce de l'esprit avec Dieu. Il ne faut pas une médiocre constance à l'esprit pour sortir de soi et aller vers son propre Maître dans une quiétude sans défaillance, et pour converser avec lui sans intermédiaire.
4. Quand Moise voulut s'approcher du buisson ardent, il en fut empêché tant qu'il n'eut pas quitté ses chaussures. Et toi, qui veux voir celui qui dépasse toute pensée et tout sentiment, tu ne te dégagerais pas de toute notion sensible ?!...
5. Prie d'abord pour recevoir le don des larmes, afin d'amollir par tes pleurs la rudesse de ton âme ; puis tu obtiendras le pardon en confessant ton iniquité au Seigneur.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Blessed Surgeon’s faith and love.
Excerpts from the life of Saint Luke of Simferopol.

The faith.
When he arrived in Simferopol in 1946, Saint Luke had thought that his knowledge and experience in surgery would be in demand. However, a month-and-a-half passed before he received official per­mission to practice medicine. From 1946 on, he worked as a consultant at the Simferopol Hospital. He also assisted the Hospital for Invalids of the Great Patriotic War. Until the end of 1947, he gave reports and lectures to doctors and operated on patients and the wounded. Zhdanov (the official in charge of Russian Orthodox Church Affairs) characterized his medical activity as very active.
Archbishop Luke regularly attended meetings of the surgeons' associa­tion, in which civil doctors and surgeons participated. He would listen carefully to their reports and speeches and always introduced necessary corrections. According to Dr. G. F. Pyatidvernaya, during a meeting, one surgeon asked the archbishop: "How can you, such a specialist, a surgeon, believe in somebody whom you have never seen, in God?"

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Testimony of the Saints.
Archimandrite George Kapsani.

Father Georges Kapsani.
Archimandrite George, the former Abbot of St. Gregorios Monastery (1974-2014), was well known throughout the Orthodox world both as a theologian and spiritual father. He has written many books and articles on theology and the spiritual life. His works have been translated into many languages. He reposed in the Lord, the day of Pentecost, 8 June 2014. 

The Church is the place of our meeting with the Holy Trinity and the Epiphany where the fullness of Grace and the real gifts of the Spirit exist. Where everything is perfect, since "the divine Fathers put everything in its proper order". They were driven and guided by the authenticity of the omniscience of God and "having recollected all the science of the soul" have passed on to us authentically" the great mystery of piety". The real piety, not the fake, not the in­dividual piety according to everyone's personal opinion, but piety of the Church.

We, the Orthodox Christians, in our honorable struggle daily die according to the old man and go from admiration to admiration and from surprise to surprise. We act as such even when we take up our cross, each one personally his own, despite our human passions and weaknesses.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

“ Most Christians are not born”.
Metropolitan Georges Khodr.

A chosen selection from “Most Christians Are Not Born”, a chapter of a book entitled “And If I Told the Ways of Childhood” written by Metropolitan Georges Khodr, the former Metropolitan of Byblos, Batroun and Mount Lebanon, and translated by father Robert Arida.  
Metropolitan Georges uses the third person, “my friend”, and not the first person “I.” More than a literary technique, “my friend” expresses a spiritual posture which enables Metropolitan Georges to stand apart from himself which, paradoxically allows for the intimacy needed to speak openly about himself and the world.

For a long time hope lived, but then came the time of disillusions. It is not enough for men to realize that they are to repent. For knowing that their passions lead to a disastrous fate, they do not cease to nurse them. They fall again into the same sins [either] through weakness or delight. Truly, they have very little interest in God. Moreover, many have no interest in him whatsoever. And nothing indicates that the bearers of the message, i.e. “the stewards of God’s mysteries” should be more profoundly anchored in divine things.