Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

sin

15 Entries

First there is provocation; then a coupling with the provocation; then assent to it; then captivity to it; then passion,grown habitual and continuous. This is how the holy fathers describe the stages through which the devil gets the better of us." St. Philotheos of Sinai, Forty Texts on Watchfulness #34



I have forsaken the splendor of virtues by my own will through my sin.
But by Thy condescension, O Word of God,
I am clothed in that splendor again.
Thou didst not despise me, even when I was wounded
By evil passions.
And trampled on the way like a transgressor.
Thou didst keep me safe by Thy mighty strength.
Thou hast granted me Thy protection, O merciful Lord. Vespers of the fifth week of Great Lent

If, according to the scriptures, the cause of all that is involuntary lies in what is voluntary, no one is a man’s greater enemy than himself. 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

Run from places of sin as from the plague. For when fruit is not present, we have no frequent desire to eat it. St John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent", Step 3: On Exile or Pilgrimage (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978)

Sin, Gehenna, and death do not exist at all with God, for they are effects, not substances. Sin is the fruit of free will. There was a time when sin did not exist, and there will be a time when it will not exist. Gehenna is the fruit of sin. At some point in time it had a beginning, but its end is not known. Death, however, is a dispensation of the wisdom of the Creator. It will rule only a short time over nature; then it will be totally abolished. Satan's name derives from voluntary turning aside from the truth; it is not an indication that he exists as such naturally. The Ascetical Homilies of St. Isaac the Syrian

Sin, to one who loves God, is nothing other than an arrow from the enemy in battle. The true Christian is a warrior fighting his way through the regiments of the unseen enemy to his heavenly homeland. According to the word of the Apostle, our homeland is in heaven, and about the warrior he says: our warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, [against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spirits of wickedness under heaven (Eph. 6:12)]. St. Herman of Alaska, Little Russian Philokalia, Vol. III

The abstinent withdraws from gluttony, the uncovetous from covetousness, the silent from wordiness, the pure from attachment to sensory pleasures, the chaste from fornication, he who is content with what he has from love of money, the meek from agitation (anger), the humble from vanity, the obedient from objection, he who is honest with himself from hypocrisy; equally, he who prays withdraws from despair, the willing pauper from acquisitiveness, he who professes his faith from denying it, the martyr from idolatry – so you see that each virtue, performed even unto death, is nothing but withdrawal from sin; and withdrawal from sin is a natural action, not an action which could be rewarded by the kingdom. 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

We have diametrically opposite alternatives: either to refuse God - the very essence of sin - or to become sons of God. Because we are made in the likeness of God we naturally desire the divine perfection which is in our Father. And when we follow Him we are not submitting to the dictates of some extraneous power: we are merely obeying our own impulse to assimilate His perfection. 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect' (Matt. 5:48)." Archimandrite Sophrony (His Life is Mine, Chapter 8; SVS Press pg. 67)

We sin in thought, word, and deed. In order to become pure images of the Most Holy Trinity, we must strive that our thoughts, words, and deeds may be holy. Thought corresponds, in God, to the Father, the word to the Son, and the deed to the all-accomplishing Holy Spirit. St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part 1, Holy Trinity Monastery pgs. 72-73)

Where sin enters, there too enters ignorance; but the hearts of the righteous are filled with knowledge. "Instructions to Cenobites and Others", Abba Evagrius, "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," translated from the Russian text, "Dobrotolubiye," by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, eighth edition, (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 1981), pp. 115 - 116.

...it is impossible for a man to be freed from the habit of sin before he hates it, just as it is impossible to receive forgiveness before confessing his trespasses... Monks Callistus and Ignatius (Directions to Hesychasts no. 28, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg. 199)

Sin, to one who loves God, is nothing other than an arrow from the enemy in battle. The true Christian is a warrior fighting his way through the regiments of the unseen enemy to his heavenly homeland. According to the word of the Apostle, our homeland is in heaven; and about the warrior he says: 'our warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers.' St. Seraphim of Sarov, Letters, Little Russian Philokalia, V.3

After a person had turned away from God’s commandments and became subject to His condemnation, sin had enslaved him and like a narrow and deep abyss of bitterness, having pervaded inside, captured the soul to its very deepest recesses. Likewise, we can compare the sin within us as a large and leafy tree, whose roots stretch deep into the soil. Thus having entered our soul, sin had overwhelmed it to its deepest recesses, becoming a habit that begins in our childhood and with the years, grows ever stronger leads us toward the vile. REF:St Macarius the Great

Evil and sin set out from our own disposition. REF:Saint Basil the Great

Let us avoid sin, just as the horses avoid poisonous food. REF:Saint Basil the Great





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