Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

purity

42 Entries

There is no other manner of purification and sanctification than noetic prayer. This filled paradise with Holy people. REF:Elder Amphilochios of Patmos +1970



'The pure of heart will see God,' according to the Lord's infallible word (Mt. 5:8), according to his capacity, receiving as much as his mind can sustain; yet the infinite and incomprehensible nature of the Godhead remains beyond all understanding. For 'the magnificence of His glory,' as the Prophet says (Ps. 144-5), has no end, and as we contemplate Him He remains ever the same, at the same distance above us. The Great David enjoyed in his heart those glorious elevations as he progressed from strength to strength; and yet he cried to God: Lord, 'Thou art the most High,' forever and ever (Ps. 82:19). And by this I think he means that in all the infinite eternity of centuries, the man who runs towards Thee constantly becomes greater as he rises higher, ever growing in proportion to his increase in grace. 'Thou,' indeed, 'art the most High,' abiding forever, and canst never seem smaller to those who approach Thee, for Thou art always to the same degree higher and loftier than th! e faculties of those who are rising. St. Gregory of Nyssa, Sermon on the Canticles in From Glory to Glory

'The pure of heart will see God,' according to the Lord's infallible word (Mt. 5:8), according to his capacity, receiving as much as his mind can sustain; yet the infinite and incomprehensible nature of the Godhead remains beyond all understanding.

For 'the magnificence of His glory,' as the Prophet says (Ps. 144-5), has no end, and as we contemplate Him He remains ever the same, at the same distance above us.

The Great David enjoyed in his heart those glorious elevations as he progressed from strength to strength; and yet he cried to God: Lord, 'Thou art the most High,' forever and ever (Ps. 82:19). And by this I think he means that in all the infinite eternity of centuries, the man who runs towards Thee constantly becomes greater as he rises higher, ever growing in proportion to his increase in grace. 'Thou,' indeed, 'art the most High,' abiding forever, and canst never seem smaller to those who approach Thee, for Thou art always to the same degree higher and loftier than the faculties of those who are rising. St. Gregory of Nyssa, Sermon on the Canticles in From Glory to Glory.



2. For the method of godliness consists of these two things, pious doctrines, and virtuous practice: and neither are the doctrines acceptable to God apart from good works, nor does God accept the works which are not perfected with pious doctrines. Catechetical Lectures Of Our Holy Father, Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem - Lecture Iv: On The Ten[1] Points Of Doctrine

A guileless spirit is one which has no badness within it. Badness is a characteristic of the evil one, who seeks by means of wickedness to divert man from the path of virtue and from God. Consequently, great carefulness and effort are needed in order that there might reign in the soul a guileless and pure spirit. Modern Orthodox Saints Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene of Lesvos., by Constantine Cavarnos., INSTITUTE FOR BYZANTINE AND MODERN STUDIES., Belmont, Massachusetts., 1990., pp. 145-155

A pure soul is one freed from passions and constantly delighted by divine love. St. Maximos the Confessor (First Century on Love no. 34)

As a blacksmith can do nothing without the help of fire, however skilled he may be in wielding his tools, so a man should do everything he can on his side to purify his heart, using virtues as tools for this purpose; but without fire of the Spirit, everything he does will remain inactive and useless for his aim, for by itself what he does is powerless to cleanse the soul of its dirt and foulness." St. Simeon the New Theologian (Practical and Theological Precepts no. 82, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pgs. 115-116)

As, for a man who loves life and his body, and is attached to lusts and the world, parting from these objects of his love is death; so for the lover of purity, of the incorporeal God and of virtue even a short separation of his heart from them is true death. St. Symeon the New Theologian (Practical and Theological Precepts no. 99, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg. 120)

BROTHER: What is purity of soul?

OLD MAN: Remoteness from anger and from the error of the remembrance of evil things, and being weaned from the bitter nature, and reconciliation with our enemies, and peace which is beyond troubling, and simplicity of love which is above this world; with these things is the inner man cleansed, and he puts on Christ and is redeemed. E. A. Wallis Budge, "The Paradise of the Holy Fathers," Seattle, St. Nectarios Press, 1984, pp. 266-267



BROTHER: Who is the pure habitation?

OLD MAN: He who is destitute of the good things of the body, and who rejoices in the love of his neighbors in the love of God; for spiritual relaxation is produced in proportion as need rules over the soul. E. A. Wallis Budge, "The Paradise of the Holy Fathers," Seattle, St. Nectarios Press, 1984, pp. 264-265



Bodily purity is primarily attained through fasting, and through bodily purity comes spiritual purity. Abstinence from food, according to the words of that son of grace, St. Ephraim the Syrian, means: 'Not to desire or demand much food, either sweet or costly; to eat nothing outside the stated times; not to give oneself over to gratification of the appetite; not to stir up hunger in oneself by looking at good food; and not to desire one or another sort of food. The Prologue from Ochrid - by St. Nikolai Velimirovich (Volume 4, p 338):

Every man who loves purity and chastity becomes the temple of God. St. Ephrem the Syrian

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

He is great who remains free from passion when touched. But greater is he who remains unwounded by the sense of sight, and who, by meditation on the beauty of Heaven, has conquered the fire caused by sight. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 15: On Incorruptible Purity and Chastity, to Which the Corruptible Attain by Toil and Sweat

He who fights this adversary by bodily hardship and sweat is like one who has tied his foe with a string. But he who opposes him by temperance, sleeplessness and vigil is like one who puts a yoke on him. He who opposes him by humility, freedom from irritability and thirst is like one who has killed his enemy and hidden him in the sand. And by sand, I mean humility, because it produces no fodder for the passions, but is mere earth and ashes. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 15: On Incorruptible Purity and Chastity, to Which the Corruptible Attain by Toil and Sweat

He who has acquired purity of heart has conquered fear. But a man who is still in process of purification, at times is conquered by fear, and at times conquers it. A man, however, who does not strive at all after purity, is either for ever sunk into a state of insensibility and, being a friend of passions and demons and filled with vanity and conceit, 'think(s) himself to be something, when he is not' (Gal. 6:3); or he is a slave, delivered into the hands of fear and, being of a childish mind, trembles and is afraid, where for those who fear God there is no fear or trembling. St. Simeon the New Theologian (Practical and Theological Precepts no. 50, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pgs. 107-108)

If I prayed to God that all men should approve of my conduct, I should find myself a penitent at the door of each one, but I shall pray instead that my heart may be pure towards all. Amma Sarah

Indeed, who was ever able to grasp Christ or His Spirit perfectly without first purifying himself? Chastity is the exercise which from childhood prepares the soul for glory by making it attractive and lovable, and with ease brings this adornment for her to the next world untried. It holds up great expectations as the reward for small toil and renders our bodies immortal. It is only fitting then that all should gladly praise and esteem chastity above all other things; some, because by practicing virginity been emancipated from that condemnation, `Earth thou art, and unto earth thou shalt return.'

`The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?' Paul's words are thoroughly persuasive and flowed from Christ's side; that is what we share in.' He has called it a cup of blessing, because when we have it in our hands we praise Christ in wonder and astonishment at His unspeakable gift, by blessing Him for pouring out this very cup to free us from error; and not only for pouring it out but also for allowing us all to share in it. So Christ is saying to of irrational beasts; let is be My altar with My Blood.' What could be more awesome, what more profoundly loving that that? St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on 1 Cor. 24:1-2



Indeed, who was ever able to grasp Christ or His Spirit perfectly without first purifying himself? Chastity is the exercise which from childhood prepares the soul for glory by making it attractive and lovable, and with ease brings this adornment for her to the next world untried. It holds up great expectations as the reward for small toil and renders our bodies immortal. It is only fitting then that all should gladly praise and esteem chastity above all other things; some, because by practicing virginity they have been espoused to the Word: others, because by chastity they have been emancipated from that condemnation, `Earth thou art, and unto earth thou shalt return.' St. Methodius, The Symposium: A treatise on Chastity

It is evident that unbelief is an evil offspring of an evil heart; for the guileless and pure heart everywhere discovers God, everywhere discerns Him, and always unhesitatingly believes in His existence. When the man of pure heart looks at the World of Nature, that is, at the sky, the earth, and the sea and at all things in them, and observes the systems constituting them, the infinite multitude of stars of heaven, the innumerable multitudes of birds and quadrupeds and every kind of animal of the earth, the variety of plants on it, the abundance of fish in the sea, he is immediately amazed and exclaims with the Prophet David: "How great are Thy works, O Lord! In wisdom Thou made them all." Such a man, impelled by his pure heart, discovers God also in the World of Grace of the Church, from which the evil man is far removed. The man of pure heart believes in the Church, admires her spiritual system, discovers God in the Mysteria, in the heights of the theology, in the light of the Divine revelations, in the truths of the teachings, in the commandments of the Law, in the achievements of the Saints, in the very good deed, in every perfect gift, and in general in the whole of the creation. Justly then did the Lord say in His Beatitudes of those possessing purity of the heart: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. "Modern Orthodox Saints, St. Nectarios of Aegina", Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, Massachusetts., 1981., pp. 154-187

Like a flaming pillar in the deepest darkness, so is the coming of God among men. The news of this coming began with an angel and a maiden, with a conversation between heavenly and earthly purity. When an impure heart converses with a pure one, there is strife. When an impure heart converses with a pure one, there is strife. Only when a pure heart converses with a pure one is there joy, peace and a great wonder St. Nicolai Velimirovich, HOMILY ON THE ANNUNCIATION

One of the old men said, "It is written concerning Solomon that he loved women, but every male loveth the females, and we must restrain and draw onwards our nature by main force to purity. St. Theognostus

Purity means that we put on the angelic nature. Purity is the longed-for house of Christ and the earthly heaven of the heart. Purity is a supernatural denial of nature, which means that a mortal and corruptible body is rivaling the celestial spirits in a truly marvellous way. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 15: On Incorruptible Purity and Chastity, to Which the Corruptible Attain by Toil and Sweat

Satiety in food is the father of fornication; but affliction of the stomach is an agent of purity. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 14: On That Clamorous Mistress, the Stomach

Someone told me of an extraordinarily high degree of purity. He said: "A certain man (NOTE: St. Nonnus, Bishop of Heliopolis), on seeing a beautiful woman, thereupon glorified the Creator; and from that one look, he was moved to the love of God and to a fountain of tears. And it was wonderful to see how what would have been a cause of destruction for one was for another the supernatural cause of a crown." If such person always feels and behaves in the same way on similar occasions, then he has risen immortal before the general resurrection. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 15: On Incorruptible Purity and Chastity, to Which the Corruptible Attain by Toil and Sweat

Striving to attain perfect purity, it is needful to bear the labors of repentance both in soul and body, harmoniously and in equal measure. When the mind is granted such grace that it can enter upon its struggle against passions without self-pity or self-indulgence, it receives suggestions, directions and comforts of the Spirit, with Whose help it can successfully repulse from the soul all impure impacts that come from the lusts of the heart. Combining with the mind or the spirit of man, this Spirit helps a man in his decision strictly to fulfill the commandments he has learned, by directing him to repulse from the soul all passions, both those which mix with it from the side of the body and those of its own, which exist in it independently of the body. He teaches a man to keep the body in order - the whole of it, from head to foot; eyes - to look with purity; ears - to listen in peace (or to peaceful things) and not to take pleasure in gossip, slander and criticism; tongue - to say only what is good, weighing every word, and allowing nothing impure or passionate to become mixed with its speech; hands - to be moved primarily for lifting in prayer and for acts of mercy and generosity; stomach - to be kept within suitable bounds in food and drink, allowing only as much as is needful to support the body, not letting lust and gluttony lead it beyond that measure; feet - to walk righteously, according to the will of God, aiming at the service of good deeds. In this way the whole of the body becomes accustomed to every good and, submitting to the power of the Holy Spirit, gradually changes, so that in the end it begins to participate, in a certain measure, in the qualities of the spiritual body, which it is to receive at the resurrection of the just. St Anthony the Great, "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, (London: Faber and Faber, 1954), pp. 41-44

Such then is the first blessedness: blessed are those who are pure [blameless] in the way, not a random way, uncertain and full of error, but a way in which we `walk in the law of the lord' ...But we must not merely enter into this way; we must continue in it to the end. In fact, when we are `in the way,' we have not yet attained the destination ...The blessed Paul says, `Not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect: but I follow after, so that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.' So he still walks, but he walks `forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus' (Phil. 3:12-14). And what is the way, whereon all mankind which treads it is , the Lord has taught, saying, `I am the Way' (Jn. 14:6). St. Hilary of Poitiers, in Epilogue III of The Lament of Eve by JohannaManley

The divine light illumines the pure heart and the pure intellect, because these are susceptible to receiving light; whereas impure hearts and intellects, not being susceptible to receiving illumination, have an aversion to the light of knowledge, the light of truth; they like darkness... God loves those who have a pure heart, listens to their prayers, grants them their requests that lead to salvation, reveals Himself to them and teaches the mysteries of the Divine nature. "Modern Orthodox Saints, St. Nectarios of Aegina", Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, Massachusetts., 1981., pp. 154-187

The good Lord shows His great care for us in that the shamelessness of the feminine sex is checked by shyness as with a sort of bit. For if the woman were to run after the man, no flesh would be saved. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 15: On Incorruptible Purity and Chastity, to Which the Corruptible Attain by Toil and Sweat

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)

The right practice of abstinence is needful not only to the mortification of the flesh but also to the purification of the mind. For the mind then only keeps holy and spiritual fast when it rejects the food of error and the poison of falsehood. St. Leo the Great

The rule and limit of absolute and perfect purity is to be equally disposed towards animate and inanimate bodies, rational and irrational. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 15: On Incorruptible Purity and Chastity, to Which the Corruptible Attain by Toil and Sweat

There are some who maintain that a human being cannot be free from slavery to the flesh, much less from that of thoughts and lustful sensations; that is, this would be an unnatural condition. But God has made the law, and He knows better than we, what is possible and what is impossible for us; therefore, the achievement of purity of body and heart is possible for man. God has made the law, and He is the Creator of nature: therefore, purity of heart is not contrary to human nature. It is unnatural to "fallen" nature; it was natural in oui original nature, and can become "natural" again by renewal. It can be cultivated and acquired. On Purity by Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov

There is a passionate person more passionate than the passionate, and he will even confess his pollutions with pleasure and enjoyment. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 15: On Incorruptible Purity and Chastity, to Which the Corruptible Attain by Toil and Sweat

Therefore, if we wish our prayers to penetrate not only the heavens but even what is above the heavens, we should make an effort to draw our mind, purged of every earthly vice and cleansed of all the dregs of the passions, back to its natural lightness, so that its prayer might ascend to God, unburdened by the weight of any vice. St. John Cassian, The Conferences

We who have been granted the bath of eternal life do good works not for the sake of reward, but to preserve the purity which was given us. St. Mark the Ascetic, "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," trans. by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 1981), pp. 86 - 90

When through self-control we have purified our body, and when through divine love we have made our incensive power and our desire incentives for virtue, and when we offer to God our intellect cleansed by prayer, then we will possess and see within ourselves the grace promised to the pure in heart (cf. Matt. 5:8). St. Gregory Palamas (Those Who Practice a Life of Stillness no. 2, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg.333

You know that evil entered into us through the transgression of the commandments. Hence it is obvious that by keeping them, evil departs from us. But without the doing of the commandments we should not even aspire or hope for purity of soul, because at the very outset we do not walk on the path that leads us to purity of soul. Do not say that God can give us the grace of purity of soul even without our keeping the commandments. Epistle to Abba Symeon in The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the

A pure heart is one which perhaps has no natural propulsion towards anything in any manner whatsoever. when in its extreme simplicity such a heart has become a writing-tablet beautifully smoothed and polished, God comes to dwell in it and writes there his own laws. St. Maximos the Confessor (580-662) , Second Century on Theology, number 80.

It seems to me that having a pure heart is not simply a matter of not being swept away by passion, it also involves avoiding any inclination of mind to whatever is evil or profane, and having within oneself one thing alone: recollection of God in irrepressible love. When nothing external interrupts our contemplation, our eye can see God purely in pure light. St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters.

The sign of purity is: to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep; to be in pain with the sick and in anguish with the sinners; to rejoice with the repentant and to participate in the agony of those who suffer; to criticize no man and, in the purity of one's own mind, to see all men as good and holy. Fr Justin Popovich, Faith and Life in Christ

A person can be raised up above the earth by two wings, one is simplicity and the other is purity of heart. You must be simple in your actions and pure in your thoughts and feelings. With a pure heart you'll seek God and with simplicity you'll find Him and be glad. A pure heart passes through Heavens gate with ease. Elder Amphilochios Makris - http://agrino.org/cyberdesert/makris.htm





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