Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers


5 Entries

'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.' Now I know that in many passages of the Divine Scripture holy men call the Divine Power merciful; as does David in the Psalms, Jonas in his prophecy, and the great Moses frequently in the Law. If, therefore, the term 'merciful' is suited to God, what else does the Word invite you to become but God, since you ought to model yourself on the property of the Godhead? For if the Divinely inspired Scripture calls God merciful, and if the Divinity is truly blessed, then it should be clear how the following is to be understood. It means that if a man is merciful, he is deemed worthy of the Divine Beatitude, because he has attained to that which characterized the Divine Nature. St. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Beatitudes

After first calling blessed those who gain imperishable wealth because of their poverty in spirit, God, Who alone is blessed, next make those who grieve partakers of His own blessedness, saying, `Blessed are those who grieve, for they will be consoled' (Mt. 5:4). Why did Christ thus join grief to poverty? Because it always coexists with it. But while sorrow over worldly poverty induces the soul's death, grief over poverty embraced in God's name induces the `saving repentance that `saving repentance that is not to be regretted' (2Cor. 7:10). The first kind of poverty, being unsought, is followed by unwished-for grief; the second, being freely embraced, is followed by grief freely embraced. Because the grief here called blessed is linked with the poverty embraced in God's name, necessarily issuing from it and depending on it as its cause, it too possesses a spiritual and voluntary character. St. Gregory Palamas, To the Most Rev. Nun Xenia. Philokalia, Vol. IV

For this reason the Lord calls blessed those who are opposed to worldly possessions, saying: `Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' Why to the words, `Blessed are the poor,' does He add, `in spirit'? So that by this would be shown that He considers blessedness to be the humility of the soul. Why did He not say, blessed are the poor-spirited - and thus would be demonstrated the humility of thinking - but rather He says, `poor in spirit'? By this He wants to teach us that bodily poverty is also a blessedness, in that through this one can receive the kingdom of heaven, when it is done for the sake of the humility of the soul. This is the case when bodily poverty is united with the humility of the soul and when it is for the person the principle of the humility of the soul. Having called blessed `those poor in spirit,' He demonstrated in a wonderful way what are the root and cause of the visible poverty of the saints - that is, their spirit. St. Gregory Palamas, Treatise on the Spiritual Life

There are many people in the world who are poor in spirit, but not in the way that they should be; there are many that mourn, but for some financial loss or the death of their children; many are gentle, but towards unclean passions; many hunger and thirst, but only to seize what does not belong to them and to profit from injustice; many are merciful, but towards their bodies and the things that serve the body; many are pure in heart, but for the sake of self-esteem; many are peacemakers, but by making the soul submit to the flesh; many are persecuted, but as wrongdoers; many are reviled, but for shameful sins. Only those are blessed who do or suffer these things for the sake of Christ and after His example. St. Maximos the Confessor (Third Century on Love no. 47)

117. To him who hungers after Christ grace is food; to him who is thirsty, a reviving drink; to him who is cold, a garment; to him who is weary, rest; to him who prays, assurance; to him who mourns, consolation. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

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