Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

synergy

19 Entries

The grace of God has a difficult time trying to enter into the impure heart. REF:St. Anthimos of Chios +1960



...God in His wisdom, power and compassion knows how to change for the better the lapses we suffer as a result of our freely-willed perversion. St. Gregory Palamas (Topics of Natural and Theological Science no. 54, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 372)

...a man who wishes to act rightly receives from God the power to act, no matter where he is - whether in the world or in a silent retreat." St. Simeon the New Theologian (On Faith, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg. 150)

...we have never achieved anything good on our own, but all good things are ours from God by grace, and come as it were from nothingness into being. For 'what do you have which you did not receive?' asks St. Paul - receive, that is, freely from God; 'and if you received it, why do you boast as if you had not received it' (I Cor. 4:7), but had achieved it by yourself? Yet by yourself you cannot achieve anything, for the Lord has said: 'Without Me, you can do nothing' (John 15:5)." St. Peter of Damascus (Book 1: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia Vol. 3 pg. 176)

A man by himself working and toiling at freedom from sinful desires achieves nothing. But if he plainly shows himself to be very eager and earnest about this, he attains it by the addition of the power of God. God works together with willing souls. But if the person abandons his eagerness, the spirit from God is also restrained. To save the unwilling is the act of one using compulsion; but to save the willing, that of one showing grace. 190 AD St. Clement of Alexandria Salvation of the Rich Man chap. 21)

Cleanse thy vessel, that thou mayest receive grace more abundantly. For though remission of sins is given equally to all, the communion of the Holy Ghost is bestowed in proportion to each man's faith. If thou hast labored little, thou receivest little; but if thou hast wrought much, the reward is great. Thou art running for thyself, see to thine own interest. First Catechetical Lecture Of Our Holy Father Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem, To Those Who Are To Be Enlightened, Delivered Extempore At Jerusalem, As An Introductory Lecture To Those Who Had Come Forward For Baptism

For he lieth not who said, that to them that love God all things work together for good. God is lavish in beneficence, yet He waits for each man's genuine will: therefore the Apostle added and said, to them that are called according to a purpose[7]. The honesty of purpose makes thee called: for if thy body be here but not thy mind, it profiteth thee nothing. Procatechesis, Or, Prologue To The Catechetical Lectures Of Our Holy Father, Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem

God leaves a man to himself when he does something foreign to his spiritual state. St Dorotheos of Gaza

Grace has been given mystically to those who have been baptized into Christ; and it becomes active within them to the extent that they actively observe the commandments. Grace never ceases to help us secretly; but to do good - as far as lies in our power - depends on us. St. Mark the Ascetic, Philokalia, Vol. 1

Human effort is profitless...without help from above, but no one receives such help unless he himself chooses to make an effort. We need always both things, we need the human and the divine, ascetic practice and spiritual knowledge, fear and hope, inward grief and solace, fearfulness and humility, discrimination and love." St. Peter of Damascus (Book 1: A Treasury of Divine Knowledge, The Philokalia Vol. 3 pgs. 167-168)

The laborer's toil can accomplish nothing without the help of God. For a farmer, when he has expended all his efforts in tilling the soil, would not then be able to attribute the produce of his fields and his abundant yield to his own toil, which he often saw was useless, if adequate rainfall and a quietly peaceful winter had not played their part. For we have frequently seen fruit already ripe and perfectly mature snatched as it were out of the hands of those holding it, and a continual intense effort conferring nothing on the toilers, because it was not assisted by the Lord's guidance. St. John Cassian, The Conferences

These are the things which befall someone who approaches God: first temptation, then tribulation, then toil, despondency, nakedness, sufferings, anguish, contempt; in these the endurance and testing of believers is manifested; and in all these the person who gives himself wholeheartedly to God’s direction, and submits to his will, triumphs completely.

For God only asks of us a perfect intention, and he himself will give us the strength and grant us the victory; as it is written, He is the champion of all who hope in him. And again he says, The Lord is near to all who call upon him in truth. He will do the will of those who fear him and will listen to their supplication and will save them. St Ephrem the Syrian, 'To the Monks in Egypt", 2nd Exhortation. An invitation to right conduct, http://web.ukonline.co.uk/ephrem/egypt1-10.htm



Two factors are involved in man's salvation: the grace of God and the will of man. Both must work together, if salvation is to be attained.

Repentance is a Mysterion through which he who repents for his sins confesses before a Spiritual Father who has been appointed by the Church and has received the authority to forgive sins, and receives from this Spiritual Father the remission of his sins and is reconciled with the Deity, against Whom he sinned.

Repentance signifies regret, change of mind. The distinguishing marks of repentance are contrition, tears, aversion towards sin, and love of the good. "Modern Orthodox Saints, St. Nectarios of Aegina", Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, Massachusetts., 1981., pp. 154-187



Understand this, that the more you struggle and endure in serving the Lord, so much your mind and thoughts become limpid. For our Lord Jesus Christ has said, Every branch in me which [does not] bear fruit, I prune it, that it may bear more fruit. Only want to be saved; because the Lord loves and co-operates with those who are pressing forward to find salvation St Ephrem the Syrian, 'To the Monks in Egypt", 10th Exhortation, http://web.ukonline.co.uk/ephrem/egypt1-10.htm

When people go to the Lord with a firm resolve, He never allows them to fall back completely. He sees their weakness and works with them to help. He stretches out His hand of power from on high and draws them to Himself. His assistance is at the same time open, yet secret, conscious, yet unconscious, until such time as we have climbed right up the ladder and drawn close to Him. Then we will be made one in the All and forget all the things of earth, and be with God, whether in body our out of it I do not know. There we shall be fellow citizens, enjoying the good things that cannot be described. St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapter


When people go to the Lord with a firm resolve, He never allows them to fall back completely. He sees their weakness and works with them to help. He stretches out His hand of power from on high and draws them to Himself. His assistance is at the same time open, yet secret, conscious, yet unconscious, until such time as we have climbed right up the ladder and drawn close to Him. Then we will be made one in the All and forget all the things of earth, and be with God, whether in body our out of it I do not know. There we shall be fellow citizens, enjoying the good things that cannot be described. St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Practical and Theological Chapters


Remember that by your own power you will gain nothing. Always call upon the Lord Jesus Christ for help in all situations. Then, your praiseworthy attitude will be aided by God's Might, which curtails all sin - All wiles of the demons. If you overcome some sinful influence, do not credit yourself, you will again fall into the same sins. Abbot Nikon


Divine aid on the one hand our will on the other hand bring victory against the devil. REF:Saint Basil the Great


When effort on our part is absent, then God’s help also stops. REF:Saint John Chrysostom






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