Spiritual Solace



Paths of Repentance

Saint John Chrysostom (4th c.)

“The devil always flees from this sword of repentance. Have you sinned? Enter the Church and wipe away your sin! Is it not true that as many times as you fall walking down the road, that many times you get up? Do the same whenever you sin; repent for the sin. Do not despair! You have sinned a second time, repent a second time, lest, on account of idleness, you completely fall away from the hope of the goodness standing before you. If you are in deep old age and sin, enter the Church, repent! The Church is a hospital, not a court! It does not punish you for your sins, but forgives your sins!” (Homilies on Repentance)

“Do you want me to tell you the paths of repentance as well? They are many, diverse, distinct! And all lead to heaven! The first way of repentance is condemning sins. Therefore the prophet also says: I said: ‘I will confess my iniquity to the Lord‘; And Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of my sin (Psalm 31: 6). Therefore, condemn your sins too! This defense is sufficient before the Master! He who condemns his sins falls does not fall into the same sins as easily. Let your conscience punish you within yourself, so that you may not have it as an accuser before the judgment seat of the Lord! This is repentance! The best form.

But there is another way, not lesser than this: to bear no hatred for enemies, to control your anger, to forgive the sins of your fellows. We too will be forgiven in this way for what we have done wrong before the Lord. This is the second means of cleansing sins. If you forgive men their trespasses, says the Lord, your heavenly Father will also forgive you (Matthew 6:14).

Do you want to learn the third way of repentance? It is fervent prayer, done correctly, coming from the depth of your heart. Do you not remember the widow, how she subdued the unjust Judge (Luke 18, 2-8)? You, however, have a gentle, kind, loving Lord. The widow prayed against her enemies; you, however, do not pray against your enemies, but for their salvation.

And if you want to know the fourth way of repentance, I will speak to you of almsgiving. Almsgiving has great and unspeakable power! Nebuchadnezzar had committed all manner of sins, all iniquities. Daniel says to him: Redeem your sins through righteousness and your injustices through mercy to the poor (Daniel 4:24). Nothing can match this love of others! After committing thousands and thousands of sins, after committing so many transgressions, he is promised reconciliation with Him Whom he had offended, if he has mercy on his fellow humans.

Humility, then, is another way that erases sins just as well, as are all the ways mentioned above. The publican is our witness; he could not speak of any good deed. Instead of this, he showed humility and the heavy burden of his sins was lifted.

Behold, I have shown you five ways of repentance: first, the condemnation of sins; second, the forgiveness of the sins of our fellows; third, prayer; fourth, almsgiving; fifth, humility.

Do not be lazy! Walk on all these paths every day! The paths are easy! Do not give poverty as a pretext! Even if you were the poorest of the poor, you can forget anger, you can be humble, you can pray persistently, you can condemn your sins; poverty is not at all a hindrance. But why do I say that poverty is not a hindrance to all these things, when neither on the path of repentance in which you must give money—that is, almsgiving—poverty is not a hindrance to the fulfillment of the commandment! The two coins given by the widow show us this (Mark 12:42-44).” (On the Limited Power of the Devil)

 

“Be familiar with the good deed of the Ninevites, who, in so few days, repented of so many sins and erased them. At the same time, one must marvel at the mercy of God, for Whom such short repentance was enough for so many sins (Jonah 3). Therefore, you must not fall into despair, even if you have committed thousands of sins.” (Homily on Cheesefare Sunday)

 

“Your sin has a limit; but the cure has no limit. Your sin, however it may be, is a sin committed by a man; but God’s love for mankind is unspeakable. Take courage! Repentance overcomes sin! Imagine a spark that falls into the ocean! Can it stay lit? Can it be seen? No! Well, what the spark is in comparison to the ocean, that is sin in comparison to God’s love for men. But, better said, not even that. The ocean, no matter how big it is, still has limits. God’s goodness, however, is beyond limits.

I say this not to make you idle, but to make you more diligent.” (Homilies on Repentance)

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Essence of Christianity

Elder Dumitru Stăniloae (†1993)

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Repent!

„Repent, for The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4, 17).

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All the Mysteries of God are in the Orthodox Church

Elder Proclu (†2017)

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On Patience in Prayer

“Afflictions that come to us are the result of our own sins. But if we accept them patiently through prayer, we shall again find blessings.”

 

Saint Mark the Ascetic (5th6th century), On Those Who Think They are Made Righteous by Works.

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May the Entire Christian World Be a “Burning Bush” of Prayer!

Elder Sofian Boghiu

At Antim Monastery in Bucharest, not during the time of the Babylonian or the Egyptian captivity, but during the time of the Communist captivity, a spiritual life was preserved without interruption with the help of God. The services were continuous, especially the Divine Liturgy which is very beneficial for all of humanity. With all the threats hanging over our heads, the Divine Liturgy was done daily.

As you know, the communists came to power in 1945 and installed themselves with great boldness. They changed all of the ordinances that had existed up until then through a kind of societal “renewal,” which in fact would go on to pervert our Romanian and Orthodox Christian identity, it would go on to change it into hatred toward God and into unbelief. Moses once wanted to free his people from captivity in Egypt and for them to all go pray in the wilderness. But Pharaoh did not give them permission. (Exodus 5:1-5) Once the communists came to power, prayer was not really allowed here either. Many monasteries were greatly oppressed, at the same time as great disturbances and changes to the country’s ordinances took place.

[ continuare … ]

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“Words for times to come”

Academy Professor Virgil Cândea (d. 2007)

„During the terrible times that we are facing, without many spiritually guides, those who want to please God through a pure life, have only God Himself and the teachings of the Holy Fathers as guidance and teacher”. (Saint Paisios of Neamț).

What was the great starets referring to by „the terrible times that we are facing” in 1766, when he was writting the words of this motto? Was he referring to temporary circumstances, as the Tatar invasion in 1758, the riots from Iași, in 1759 and Bucharest, in 17641765? Did he forsee the Russo-Austro-Turkish War that was going to devastate Moldova and Vallachia between the years 17691774? Without doubt he was referring to a period that was in many ways terrible, but, mainly, he was considering the spiritual twilight of mankind. This twilight was foreseen by Holy Fathers from the earliest of times. [ continuare … ]

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„Inner purification is needed!”, Elder Sofian

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If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us

„This is the message wich we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is not darkness at all.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

(I John; 1, 510)

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How to make every day a holiday!

Therefore, we should hate even more the vanity of this world, we should wish to have virtues, to be spiritually rich through a great trade: prayers, tears, cleansing, enlightenment, dispassion, which are the fruits of the eternal life. And the food, the drinks, the garments and all the other things necessary to the body, should be embraced only as much as they are needed in order to live and keep the commandments of God. If we spend our time in this way, every day will be a holiday, and every day we’ll have joy and fearlessness of death. Even if tens of thousands of sorrows come upon us, there is no way that the good conscience can sink.

Saint Theodore the Studite (†826), The Small Catecheses

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