Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers


13 Entries

…Only the tears of repentance are able to cleanse the soul. REF:St. Anthimos of Chios +1960

As the earth, long awaiting moistening and at last receiving it in abundance, suddenly is covered by tender and bright greenery, so also the heart, exhausted by dryness, and afterwards revived by tears, emits from itself a multitude of spiritual thoughts and feelings, adorned by the common flower of humility. The labor of weeping, being inseparable from the labor of prayer, requires the same conditions for success as prayer requires. Prayer needs patient, constant dwelling in itself; weeping requires the same. Prayer needs wearying of the body, and brings about exhaustion of the body; this exhaustion produces weeping, which must be born in the troubling and wearying of the body. Bishop (St.) Ignaty Brianchaninov, On Tears. Translation in OrthodoxLife, #5, 1969

BROTHER: What are fasting and prayer?

OLD MAN: Fasting is the subjugation of the body, prayer is converse with God, vigil is a war against Satan, abstinence is being weaned from meats, humility is the state of the first man, kneeling is the inclining of the body before the Judge, tears are the remembrance of sins, nakedness is our captivity which is caused by the transgression of the command, and service is constant supplication to and praise of God.

BROTHER: Are these able to redeem the soul?

OLD MAN: When internal things agree with external, and manifest humility appears in the hidden works which are from within, verily, a man shall be redeemed from the weight of the body. E. A. Wallis Budge, "The Paradise of the Holy Fathers," Seattle, St. Nectarios Press, 1984, pp. 263-264

God, the Word, made man for the salvation of our race, aware of the exceeding frailty and misery of our nature, hath not even here suffered our sickness to be without remedy. But like a skillful doctor, he hath mixed for our unsteady and sin loving heart the potion of repentance, prescribing this for the remission of sins. For after we have received the knowledge of the truth, and have been sanctified by water and the Spirit, and cleansed without effort from all sin and all defilement, if we should happen to fall into any transgression, there is, it is true, no second regeneration made within us by the Spirit through baptism in the water of the font, and wholly recreating us (that gift is given once for all); but, by means of painful repentance, hot tears, toils and sweats, there is a purifying and pardoning of our offences through the tender mercy of our God. For the fount of tears is also called baptism, according to the grace of the Master. St. John Damascene, Barlaam and Ioasaph

Greater than baptism itself is the fountain of tears after baptism, even though it is somewhat audacious to say so. For baptism is the washing away of evils that were in us before, but sins committed after baptism are washed away by tears. As baptism is received in infancy, we have all defiled it, but we cleanse it anew with tears. And if God in His love for mankind had not given us tears, those being saved would be few indeed and hard to find. St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step 7: On Joy-Making Mourning

In the beginning there are a great many battles and a good deal of suffering for those who are advancing towards God and afterwards, ineffable joy. It is like those who wish to light a fire; at first they are choked by the smoke and cry, and by this means obtain what they seek -- as it is said, 'Our God is a consuming fire' -- so we also must kindle the divine fire in ourselves through tears and hard work. Amma Syncletica

Lying is wiped out by the tortures of superiors; but it is finally destroyed by an abundance of tears. St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent,” (Boston: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), Step 12: On Lying

Many times, weeping conquers God, if one can say that; and He is truly overcome. For gladly is the Merciful One constrained by tears -- But tears of the spirit And not those caused by afflictions of the body. Indeed, we weep for the dead, and we cry out over blows, For the flesh is clay and is subject to never-ending flow of tears. Let us, then, lament from our hearts In the way in which the Ninevites in their contrition opened Heaven And were heeded by the Savior. Indeed, He received their repentance. St Romanos the Melodist - V. II, "On Repentance"

Satiety of the stomach dries the tear sprints, but the stomach when dried produces these waters. St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent," (Boston; Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1978), STEP 14: On That Clamorous Mistress, the Stomach

Thus should we weep for the forgiveness of our sins. The words of the bearer of the purple should convince us of this: 'Going they went and wept, casting their seed; but coming they shall come with joyfulness, carrying their sheaves (Ps. 125:6);' as well as the words of St. Isaac the Syrian: 'Moisten your cheeks with the tears of your eyes, that the Holy Spirit may abide in you, and cleanse the filth of your malice. Move your lord with your tears, that He may help you' (homily 68). St. Seraphim of Sarov

When you shed floods of tears during prayer, do not exalt yourself for this, as though you were above many others. It is that your prayer has received help from above, so that, having zealously confessed your sins, you may incline the almighty to mercy by your tears. "153 Texts on Prayer", St Nilus of Mt Sinai, "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. 127 - 135.

God is visiting you when tears come during prayer. Elder Amphilochios Makris -

What rain is for seeds tears are for those who are afflicted… REF:Saint John Chrysostom

Redeeming the Time

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