Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers


17 Entries

Whoever has God in his heart, has all goods. And he can’t bear to do sin! Whoever does not have God in his heart, has the devil. And he does all evils, and all sins. St Kosmas Aitolos

Always keep your mind collected in your heart. Theofan the Recluse

Do you not notice that our heart acts first in our life and in nearly all our knowledge? The heart sees certain truths (ideas) before the mind knows them. When knowledge is acquired, it happens thus:the heart sees at once, indivisibly, instantaneously; afterwards this single action of the sight of the heart is transmitted to the intellect and subdivided in the intellect into parts or sections, preceding and subsequent; the sight of the heart is analyzed in the intellect. The idea belongs to the heart and not to the intellect; that is, to the inner man, and not to the outer one. Therefore, to have the eyes of their understanding enlightened (Eph. 1:18) is a very important matter in acquiring all knowledge, but especially in that of the truths of faith and of the laws of morality." St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ, Part 1; Holy Trinity Monastery pgs.47-48)

God is at all times nearer to us than any man, nearer than garments, than air or light. . . I live through him in body and soul, I breathe through Him, I think, reason, purpose, talk, venture and act through Him. . . We must condition ourselves in such a way that nothing can displace Him in our thoughts and hearts, nothing, no obstacle of any sort, can obstruct His presence. . . But, when I sin, or when I have a predilection for something, then I am far away from Him, not in distance but in my heart ... then I am left without His grace. St. John of Kronstadt.

God reveals Himself to the humble, who live in accordance with virtue. Those who take up the wings of the imagination attempt the flight of Ikaros and have same end. Those who harbor fantasies do not pray; for he that prays lifts his mind and heart towards God, whereas he that turns to fantasies diverts himself. Those who are addicted to the imagination have withdrawn from God's grace and from the realm of Divine revelation. They have abandoned the heart in which grace is revealed and have surrendered themselves to the imagination, which is devoid of all grace. It is only the heart that receives knowledge about things that are not apprehended by the senses, because God, Who dwells and moves within it, speaks within it and reveals to it the substance of things hoped for. "Modern Orthodox Saints, St. Nectarios of Aegina", Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, Massachusetts., 1981., pp. 154-187

God the Holy Spirit has many abodes in this vast universe, but a pure human heart is the place in which He most delights to dwell. This is His true abode; all others are only His workshop. Blessed Bishop Nicolai Velimirovich, Homily On The Annunciation

Our heart constantly craves and seeks comforts and pleasures. It should find them in the inner order of things, by keeping and bearing in itself Him, in Whose image man has been created, Who is the very source of every comfort. But in our downfall, we fell away from God, preferring ourselves, we lost also our foothold in ourselves, and fell into the flesh; thereby we went outside ourselves and began to seek for joys and comforts there. Our senses became our guides and intermediaries in this. Through them the soul goes outside and tastes the things experienced by each sense. It then delights in the things which delight the senses; and out of all these together it builds the circle of comforts and pleasures, whose enjoyment it considers as its primary good. So the order of things has become inverted: instead of God within, the heart seeks for pleasures without and is content with them. Those who have listened to the voice of God...repent and lay down for themselves the law of re-establishing the original order of life, that is, of returning from without to within, and from within to God, in order to live in Him and by Him, and to have this as their first good, bearing within themselves the source of every comfort. Lorenzo Scupoli (Unseen Warfare: Chapter 21)

Our heart is like a mirror; as the objects of the outer world are reflected in an ordinary mirror, so ought the truth to be reflected with all exactitude in our hearts. St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ, Part 1; Holy Trinity Monastery, pg. 22

Our heart is like the darkened earth; the Gospel is like the sun, enlightening and giving life to our hearts. May the true sun of Thy righteousness shine in our hearts, O Lord! St. John of Kronstadt

Seat yourself before the Lord continually, keeping the memory of Him in your heart, lest having lingered outside His memory, you are unable to speak boldly when you enter in before Him, because boldness with God comes from constant conversing with Him and from much prayer. Our connection and continuance with men is through the body; but our connection and continuance with God is through the soul's recollection [Syriac:meditation] and the vigilance and sacred offering of frequent prayer. From long continuance in His recollection, a man is transported at times to astonishment and wonder. For, "The heart of them that seek the Lord shall rejoice." St. Isaac the Syrian, "The Ascetical Homilies,"

Seek god daily. But seek Him in your heart, not outside it. And when you find Him, stand with fear and trembling, like the Cherubim and the Seraphim, for your heart has become a throne of God. But in order to find God, become humble as dust before the Lord, for the Lord abhors the proud, whereas He visits those that are humble in heart, wherefore He says: "To whom will I look, but to him that is meek and humble in heart? "Modern Orthodox Saints, St. Nectarios of Aegina", Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, Massachusetts., 1981., pp. 154-187

The Saviour commanded: Enter thy closet and pray there to God your Father Which is in secret. This closet, according to the interpretation of St. Dimitri of Restov, signifies the heart. Consequently, the Lord's command obliges us to pray to God secretly, with the mind in the heart. This command extends to all Christians. Bishop Theophan the Recluse - Prayer of the Heart: the duty of those living in the world

The heart can change several times in one moment - to good or evil, to faith or unbelief, to simplicity or cunning, to love or hatred, to benevolence or envy, to generosity or avarice, to chastity or fornication. O, what inconstancy! O, how many dangers! O, how sober and watchful we must be! St. John of Kronstadt, My Life n Christ

The intellectual activity consisting of thought and intuition is called intellect, and the power that activates thought and intuition is likewise the intellect; and this power Scripture also calls the heart." St. Gregory Palamas (On Prayer and Purity of Heart no. 3, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 344)

The most important work in spiritual struggle is to enter the heart and there to wage war with Satan; to hate Satan, and to fight him by opposing his thoughts. If a man keeps his body outwardly free from lust and corruption, and yet inwardly commits adultery before God, by fornication in his thoughts, then is there no profit whatever in keeping the body pure. Nicephorus the Solitary (Profitable Discourse on Sobriety)

When we strive with diligent sobriety to keep watch over our rational faculties, to control and correct them, how else can we succeed in this task except by collecting our mind, which is dispersed abroad through the senses, and bringing it back into the world within, into the heart itself, which is the storehouse of all our thoughts? St. Gregory Palamas in The Art of Prayer

Whoever has God in his heart, has all goods. And he can’t bear to do sin! Whoever does not have God in his heart, has the devil. And he does all evils, and all sins.REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

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