Friday, March 31, 2006

Lenten Reflections

The ways of the Lord are not comfortable, but we were not created for comfort, but for greatness, for good.
Pope Benedict XVI

Repentance is the renewal of baptism.
Repentance is a contract with God for a second life.
Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort.
Repentance is self-condemning reflection, and carefree self-care.
Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair.
Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins.
Repentance is purification of conscience.
Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions.
Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach, and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness.

St John Climacus

Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.
St Thomas Aquinas, Two Precepts of Charity (1273)

No human being can take God as his Father unless he takes the Church as his mother.
St Cyprian

It is by warfare that the soul makes progress.
Abba John the Short

The goal of human freedom is not in freedom itself, nor it is in man, but in God. By giving man freedom, God has yielded to man a piece of His Divine authority, but with the intention that man himself would voluntarily bring it as a sacrifice to God, a most perfect offering.
St Theophan the Recluse

The knowledge of the Cross is concealed in the sufferings of the Cross.
St Isaac the Syrian

Veritas autem docendo persuadet non suadendo docet
(Truth persuades by teaching, but does not teach by persuading)
Tertullian, Adversus Valentinianos

I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, "What can get through from such snares?" Then I heard a voice saying to me, "Humility."
St Anthony the Great

He who really keeps account of his actions considers as lost every day in which he does not mourn, whatever good he may have done in it.
St John of the Ladder

Have patience with all things, but, first of all with yourself.
St Francis de Sales

It is our duty, therefore, to be faithful to God, pure in heart, merciful and kind, just and holy; for these things imprint in us the outlines of the Divine likeness, and perfect us as heirs of eternal life.
St Cyril of Alexandria

The way of humility is this: self-control, prayer, and thinking yourself inferior to all creatures.
Abba Tithoes

Worldly renown is naught but a breath of wind, which now comes this way and now comes that, and changes name because it changes quarter.
Dante, The Divine Comedy, Purgatorio Canto XI

He that has love is far from every sin.
St Polycarp

I am imperfect in many things, nevertheless I want my brethren and kinsfolk to know my nature so that they may be able to perceive my soul's desire.
St Patrick of Ireland

Remember your weakness, then you will be more cautious and you will not submit to the thoughts of pride and false glory.
Pope Shenouda III

When you pray to God in time of temptation do not say, "Take this or that away from me", but pray like this: "O Jesus Christ, sovereign Master, help me and do not let me sin against Thee. . ."
Abba Isaiah the Solitary

Many times have I spoken and regretted it, but silence I never regretted.
St Arsenios

When despondency seizes us, let us not give in to it. Rather, fortified and protected by the light of faith, let us with great courage say to the spirit of evil: "What are you to us, you who are cut off from God, a fugitive for Heaven, and a slave of evil? You dare not do anything to us: Christ, the Son of God, has dominion over us and over all. Leave us, you thing of bane. We are made steadfast by the uprightness of His Cross. Serpent, we trample on your head."
St Seraphim of Sarov

Prove your love and zeal for wisdom in actual deeds.
St Callistus Xanthopoulos

God has been very good to me, for I never dwell upon anything wrong which a person has done, so as to remember it afterwards. If I do remember it, I always see some other virtue in that person.
St Teresa of Avila

Even brute beasts and wandering birds do not fall into the same traps or nets twice.
St Jerome, Letter 54

If you are praised, be silent.
If you are scolded, be silent.
If you incur losses, be silent.
If you receive profit, be silent.
If you are satiated, be silent.
If you are hungry, also be silent.
And do not be afraid that there will be no fruit when all dies down; there will be! Not everything will die down. Energy will appear; and what energy!

St Feofil, the Fool for Christ

You cannot destroy the passions on your own, but ask God, and He will destroy them, if this is profitable for you.
St Anatoly of Optina

Even if an angel should indeed appear to you, do not receive him but humiliate yourself, saying, "I am not worthy to see an angel, for I am a sinner".
Apophthegmata Patrum

Is it not excessively ridiculous to seek the good opinion of those whom you would never wish to be like?
St John Chrysostom

It is better to eat meat and drink wine and not to eat the flesh of one's brethren through slander.
Abba Hyperechius

Humility is the only thing we need; one can still fall having virtues other than humility -- but with humility one does not fall.
Elder Herman of Mt Athos

Do not seek the perfection of the law in human virtues, for it is not found perfect in them. Its perfection is hidden in the Cross of Christ.
St Mark the Ascetic

The thief was on the cross and he was justified by a single word; and Judas who was counted in the number of the apostles lost all his labour in one single night and descended from heaven to hell. Therefore, let no-one boast of his good works, for all those who trust in themselves fall.
Abba Xanthias

You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.
St Augustine

You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.
St Thérèse of Lisieux


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