Wisdom for the day – St. John of Kronstadt

“We ought to have the most lively spiritual union with the heavenly inhabitants, with all the saints, apostles, prophets, martyrs, prelates, venerable and righteous men, as they are all members of one single body, the Church of Christ, to which we sinners also belong, and the living Head of which is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

This is why we call upon them in prayer, converse with them, thank and praise them.

It is urgently necessary for all Christians to be in union with them, if they desire to make Christian progress; for the saints are our friends, our guides to salvation, who pray and intercede for us.”

St. John of Kronstadt

Wisdom for the day – St. John of Kronstadt

Our life is child’s play, only not innocent, but sinful, because, with a strong mind, and with the knowledge of the purpose of our life, we neglect this purpose and occupy ourselves with frivolous, purposeless matters.

And thus our life is childish, unpardonable play.

We amuse ourselves with food and drink, gratifying ourselves by them, instead of only using them for the necessary nourishment of our body and the support of our bodily life.

We amuse ourselves with dress, instead of only decently covering our body and protecting it from the injurious action of the elements.

We amuse ourselves with silver and gold, admiring them in treasuries, or using them for objects of luxury and pleasure, instead of using them only for our real needs, and sharing our superfluity with those in want.

We amuse ourselves with our houses and the variety of furniture in them, decorating them richly and exquisitely, instead of merely having a secure and decent roof to protect us from the injurious action of the elements, and things necessary and suitable for domestic use.

We amuse ourselves with our mental gifts, with our intellect , imagination, using them only to serve sin and the vanity of this world–that is, only to serve earthly and corruptible things–instead of using them before all and above all to serve God, to learn to know Him, the all-wise Creator of every creature, for prayer, supplication, petitions, thanksgiving and praise to Him, and to show mutual love and respect, and only partly to serve this world, which will some day entirely pass away.

We amuse ourselves with our knowledge of worldly vanity, and to acquire this knowledge we waste most precious time, which was given to us for our preparation for eternity.

We frequently amuse ourselves with our affairs and business, with our duties, fulfilling them heedlessly, carelessly, and wrongfully, and using them for our own covetous, earthly purposes.

We amuse ourselves with beautiful human faces, or the fair, weaker sex, and often use them for the sport of our passions.

We amuse ourselves with time, which ought to be wisely utilized for redeeming eternity, and not for games and various pleasures.

Finally, we amuse ourselves with our own selves, making idols out of ourselves, before which we bow down, and before which we expect other to bow down.

Who can sufficiently describe and deplore our accursedness, our great, enormous vanity, the great misery into which we voluntarily throw ourselves?

What answer shall we give to our immortal King, Christ our God, Who shall come again in the glory of His Father to judge both the quick and the dead, to declare the secret thoughts of all hearts, and receive from us our answer for every word and deed.

O, woe, woe, woe to us who bear the name of Christ, but have none of the spirit of Christ in us; who bear the name of Christ, but do not follow the teaching of the Gospel!

Woe to us who ‘neglect so great salvation’! Woe to us who love the present fleeting, deceptive life, and neglect the inheritance of the life that follows after the death of our corruptible body beyond this carnal veil!

St. John of Kronstadt

Wisdom for the day – Abbot Tryphon

Orthodoxy is not a religion by which we can attain salvation in the privacy of our own home, for our faith is a communal faith, whereby we participate in the Body of Christ in a corporate way.

It is in this life that we must participate in the communal life of the Church, for after death there is no treatment for that which separates us from God.

There is no repentance after this life, because all people share the same end.

Each of us is destined to see the Glory of God at the Second Coming of Christ.

Protopresbyter John Romanides tells us,

“All people will see the Glory (Uncreated Light) of God, and from this viewpoint they have the same end. Everyone, of course, will see the Glory of God, but with one difference:

The saved will see the Glory of God as a most sweet and never-setting Light, whereas the damned will see the same Glory of God as a consuming fire that will burn them.”

Our laziness, and our misplaced priorities, keep us from the Divine Mysteries, and deprive our soul of the healing grace that comes with an encounter with the Living God. As the Hospital of the Soul, the Church has been established by Christ Himself as that place wherein we receive the cure, so that we may bask in the Eternal Banquet that awaits us in the after life.

By depriving ourselves of the grace filled Mysteries in this life, that are only found within the life of the Church, we separate ourselves from the very treatment that ensures eternal bliss in the next life.

Abbot Tryphon

Wisdom for the day – Thaddeus of Vitovnica

“When we talk to our fellow men and they tell us about their troubles, we will listen to them carefully if we have love for them.

We will have compassion for their suffering and pain, for we are God’s creatures; we are a manifestation of the love of God.”

Thaddeus of Vitovnica

Wisdom for the day – Elder Sophrony

The following is an excerpt from Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov), We Shall See Him as He Is, trans. Rosemary Edmonds (Platina, CA: St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2006).

The event he discusses took place when he was an art student in Paris.

And lo, on Easter Saturday, in 1924 perhaps, the Light visited me after I had taken communion, and I felt it like the touch of Divine Eternity on my spirit. Gentle, full of peace and love, the Light remained with me for three days. It drove away the darkness of non-existence that had engulfed me. I was resurrected, and in me and with me the whole world was resurrected. The words of St John Chrysostom at the end of the Easter Liturgy struck me with overwhelming force: ‘Christ is risen and there are no dead in the grave’. Tormented hitherto by the spectre of universal death, I now felt that my soul, too, was resurrected and there were no more dead . . . If this is God, then quickly let me abandon everything and seek only union with Him.

After this experience, Elder Sophrony tried out the Orthodox theological school in Paris. But deciding that even this was not enough, he left to become a monk on the Holy Mountain, where he lived for about twenty years.