Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

conscience

11 Entries

Whenever you want to subdue your high and proud thoughts, examine your conscience carefully: Have you kept all the commandments? Have you loved your enemies and been kind to them in their misfortunes? Have you counted yourself to be an unprofitable servant and the worst of all sinners? If you find you have done all this, do not therefore think well of yourself as if you had done everything well but realize that even the thought of such things is totally destructive. Abba Or, The Sayings of the Desert Fathers.



Of course, one can always act "wrong" even on a clear conscience! But even that is not a fatal mistake as long as one's mind and heart remain open and one keeps first things first. REF:Fr Seraphim Rose, "Letters"

But nothing causes such exceeding grief as when anyone, lying under the captivity of sin, calls to mind from where he has fallen, because he turned aside to carnal and earthly things, instead of directing his mind in the beautiful ways of the knowledge of God.

So you find Adam concealing himself, when he knew that God was present and wishing to be hidden when called by God with that voice which wounded the soul of him who was hiding: 'Adam, where art thou?' That is to say, Why do you hide yourself? Why are you concealed? Why do you avoid Him Whom you once longed to see?

A guilty conscience is so burdensome that it punishes itself without a judge, and wishes for covering, and yet is bare before God. St. Ambrose of Milan, Concerning Repentance



Do not disregard your conscience, which always counsels you of the best. It puts before you divine and angelic advice; it frees you from the hidden stains of your heart, and will make you the gift of free speech with God at the time of your departure. St. Maximus the Confessor, The Four Centuries on Charity

When God created man, He breathed into him something divine, as it were a hot and bright spark added to reason, which lit up the mind and showed him the difference between right and wrong. This is called the conscience, which is the law of his nature. This is compared to the well which Jacob dig, as the Fathers say, and which the Philistines filled up. That is, to this law of conscience adhered the patriarchs and all the holy men of old before the written law, and they were pleasing to God. But when this law was buried and trodden underfoot by men through the onset of sin, we needed a written law, we needed the holy prophets, we needed the instruction of our Master, Jesus Christ, to reveal it and raise it up and bring to life through the observance of the Commandments that buried spark. Dorotheos of Gaza, Discourses and Sayings

Conscience in men is nothing else but the voice of the omnipresent God moving in the hearts of men, as He Who alone Is and has created everything, the Lord knows all as Himself - all the thoughts, desires, intentions, words, and works of men, present, past, and future. However far in front I may let my thoughts, my imagination, run He is there before me and I ever inevitably finish my course in Him, ever having Him as the witness of my ways. 'His eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men' (Jer 32:19). 'Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?' (Ps 139:7). St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ, Part 1; Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 80)

There is nothing more burdensome and grievous then when conscience accuses us in anything, and there is nothing dearer then calmness and approval of the conscience. St Maxim the Confessor

Brethren, let us therefore try to guard our conscience, while we are in the world, without provoking it to censure us about anything, without trampling upon it in any way, even something insignificant, since you know that, from those small things, we also come to despise the great ones. Abba Dorotheos, Practical Teaching on the Christian Life.

62. Initially grace arouses the conscience in a divine manner. That is how even sinners have come to repent and so to conform to God's will. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

71. Rain cannot fall without a cloud, and we cannot please God without a good conscience. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

185. Do not be double-tongued, saying one thing when your conscience says another. For Scripture places such people under a curse (cf. Si. 28:13). REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779





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