Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers


6 Entries

Anytime there are temptations and troubles, there are also laurels of victory," the pious elder Gerasimos would say to Hieromonk Ioakim Spetiersis, and then he would add: "If it were possible to find a monastery filled with angels, and they placed you as one of the brothers in it, still you would not be saved, because no one would bother you, and you would be living an easy life and this saying would be suited to your situation: 'In your lifetime you received your good things'. An Athonite Gerontikon

As we consider our own selves and come to know our misfortune and wretchedness, we shall have reason enough to be humble. We are born naked and with a cry. We live in calamity, misfortune, and sins. We die with fear, disease, and sighing. We are buried in the earth and return to the earth. There it is not evident where the rich man lies, where the poor, where the noble and where the lowly, where the master and where the servant, where the wise and where the foolish. There they are all made equal, for they all return to the earth. Why, then, should earth and corruption be conceited? St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, Journey to Heaven

Imitating the uncompassionate rich man in his foolishness, I rejoice with delight, as one immersed in the pleasures and passions. And though seeing my mind ever lying, like Lazarus, at the gates of repentance, O Lord, I insensibly pass it by, leaving it starving and ailing and cankered by the passions. Wherefore, I am guilty of the gehenna of fire, from which do Thou deliver me, O Master, Who alone art plenteous in mercy. Stichera from Monday Vespers of the Sixth Week of Lent

The rich man, who was being condemned for the enormity of his sins, Probably thought: 'I have sinned greatly, But what is the reason For my being roasted here in the fire without any pity?' When the Lord, Who knows all, hears these words, He revealed to the sinner the cause of his punishment. For while he was in Hades he looked on high, And he saw Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham. Then he recognized the man who formerly was poor, and was amazed as he saw The one whom he scorned on earth, while he enjoyed himself and did not cry: 'Have pity, Lord.' St Romanos the Melodist - On Dives and Lazarus

Think of actors: they wear masks, they dress up. One looks like a philosopher while not being one; another seems to be a king but is no king; another appears to be a doctor and has not the faintest idea how to cure the sick; another pretends to be a slave despite being free; still another plays the part of a teacher yet does not know even how to write. They do not appear as they are, they appear to be something else. The philosopher is a philosopher only because of his abundant but false wig, the soldier is a soldier just because he sports a military uniform. These disguises help to create an illusion, to hide the reality.

The world is a theater too. The human condition, richness, poverty,power, subjection are merely the pretenses of actors.

But when the day is done and the night falls (which, however, we ought to call day: it is night for sinners and day for the just),when the play is over, when we all find ourselves confronted with our own actions and not with our riches or dignity or the honors we have had or the power we have wielded, when we are asked to give an account of our lives and our works of virtue, ignoring both the feats of our opulence and the humility of our need, when we areasked: "Show me your deeds!" then the disguises will fall and we shall see who is truly rich and who is truly poor. St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Lazarus

Wealth and life have passed; just as the chaff blown by the storm, Or the smoke driven by the wind are not visible, Just so my breath, suddenly Snuffed out, is not dispersed like empty air. Life is only a shadow for every mortal; there is no release In my end, for I have sinned grievously. But the souls of the just are in the hands of God, And the lash does not draw near their habitation. Therefore, now I shall cry out to Abraham to propitiate God, So that Lazarus may be sent to me -- Lazarus whom I know who cries: 'Have pity, Lord.' St Romanos the Melodist - On Dives and Lazarus

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