Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers

wisdom

19 Entries

A true lover of wisdom is he who, through natural things, has learnt to know their Creator, and from the Creator has understood natural things and things Divine; and such as knows not from teaching only but from experience. Or: a perfect lover of wisdom is he who has perfected himself in the moral, natural and Divine love of wisdom, or rather in love of God. St. Gregory of Sinai (Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no.127)



A wise man, whether teaching or learning, only wishes to learn or teach those things which are useful. St. Maximos the Confessor (First Century on Theology no. 28)

A wise man, whether teaching or learning, only wishes to learn or teach those things which are useful. St. Maximos the Confessor(First Century on Theology no. 29)

BROTHER: How does wisdom dwell in man?

Old Man: Now when a man hath gone forth to follow after God with a lowly mind, grace bestoweth itself upon him, and his conduct becomes strengthened in the spirit, and when he hateth the world he becomes sensible of the new conduct of the new man, which is more exalted than the impurity of the human abode; and he mediates in his mind on the humility of the rule of the life which is to come, and he becomes a man of greater spiritual excellence. E. A. Wallis Budge, "The Paradise of the Holy Fathers," (Seattle, St. Nectarios Press, 1984), pp. 262-263



If someone seeks for success and pleasure, comfort and glory in this world, then he loves the wisdom of this world. But if someone struggles for what is contrary to these things - if he suffers, practices self-control, and endures all kinds of affliction and disgrace for the kingdom of heaven - then he loves the wisdom of God. The first longs to attain material benefits, secular learning and secular power, and often suffers on this account; but the second shares the sufferings of Christ. Thus the first places all his hopes in the things of this world, desiring to possess them even though they are transitory and hard to come by; while the second is hidden from 'the eyes of the foolish', as Holy Scripture puts it (Wisd. 3:2), but is clearly revealed in the world to come, when everything hidden is disclosed. St. Peter of Damaskos (Conscious Awareness in the Heart)

Just as soul and body combine to produce a human being, so practice of the virtues and contemplation together constitute a unique spiritual wisdom, and the Old and New Testament together form a single mystery. St. Maximos the Confessor(Fourth Century of Various Texts no. 90)

The origin and consummation of every man's salvation is wisdom, which initially produces fear but when perfected gives rise to loving desire. Or, rather, initially and providentially wisdom manifests itself for our sakes as fear, so as to make us who aspire to wisdom desist from evil; but ultimately it exists in its natural state for its own sake as loving desire, so as to fill with spiritual mirth those who have abandoned all existing things in order to dwell with it. St. Maximos the Confessor(Third Century of Various Texts no. 60)

The spirit of wisdom is ascension towards the Cause of the higher spiritual principles inherent in the commandments, and union with it. Through this ascension and union we are initiated, in so far as this is possible for human beings, simply and through unknowing into those inner divine principles of created beings, and in different ways we present to men, as if from a spring welling up in our heart, the truth which resides in all things. St. Maximos the Confessor(Third Century of Various Texts no. 39)

There are four forms of wisdom: first, moral judgment, or the knowledge of what should and should not be done, combined with watchfulness of the intellect; second, self-restraint, whereby our moral purpose is safeguarded and kept free from all acts, thoughts and words that do not accord with God: third, courage, or strength and endurance in sufferings, trials and temptations encountered on the spiritual path; and fourth, justice, which consists in maintaining a proper balance between the first three. These four general virtues arise from the three powers of the soul in the following manner: from the intelligence, or intellect, come moral judgment and justice, or discrimination; from the desiring power comes self-restraint; and from the incensive power comes courage. St. Peter of Damaskos(A Treasury of Divine Knowledge: Book 1)

To those who do not long for it, wisdom is fear, because of the loss which they suffer through their flight from it; but in those who cleave to it, wisdom is loving desire, promoting an inner state of joyous activity. For wisdom creates fear, delivering a person from the passions by making him apprehensive of punishment; and it also produces loving desire, accustoming the intellect through the acquisition of the virtues to behold the blessings held in store for us. St. Maximos the Confessor(Third Century of Various Texts no. 61)

True wisdom is gazing at God. Gazing at God is silence of the thoughts. Stillness of mind is tranquillity which comes from discernment. St. Isaac the Syrian, Homily 64

Wisdom is a unity contemplated indivisibly in the various virtues which arise from it; and it is perceived in a single form in the operations of the virtues. Again, it appears as a simple unity when the virtues which issued from it are reintegrated with it. This happens when we, for whose sake wisdom has produced from itself each individual virtue, are drawn upwards towards it by means of each virtue. St. Maximos the Confessor(Third Century of Various Texts no. 44)

Wisdom operates in a fourfold manner in the intellect... It activates sound understanding in the form of light, courage as clear-sighted power and ever-moving inspiration, self-restraint as a power of sanctification and purification, and justice as the dew of purity, joy-inducing and cooling the arid heat of the passions. St. Gregory of Sinai(On Commandments and Doctrines no. 85)

The mind that realizes it's own weakness has discovered whence it might enter upon salvation and draw near to the light of knowledge and receive true wisdom which does not pass away with this age." St. Gregory Palamas

To those who do not long for it, wisdom is fear, because of the loss which they suffer through their flight from it; but in those who cleave to it, wisdom is loving desire, promoting an inner state of joyous activity. For wisdom creates fear, delivering a person from the passions by making him apprehensive of punishment; and it also produces loving desire, accustoming the intellect through the acquisition of the virtues to behold the blessings held in store for us. St. Maximos the Confessor.

True wisdom is gazing at God. Gazing at God is silence of the thoughts. Stillness of mind is tranquillity which comes from discernment. St. Isaac the Syrian in the Sebastian Brock translation of Homily 64:

The reception of wisdom is normally accomplished through keeping the commandments, for God does not grant it before receiving our good works. As someone versed in true godliness said: "If thou desirest wisdom, keep the commandments, and the Lord God will supply thee with it. The Second Century of St. John of Karpathos, A Supplement to the Philokalia

206. Wisdom is not only to perceive the natural consequence of things, but also to accept as our due the malice of those who wrong us. People who go no further than the first kind of wisdom become proud, whereas those who attain the second become humble. REF:Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779

There are four forms of wisdom: first, moral judgment, or the knowledge of what should and should not be done, combined with watchfulness of the intellect; second, self-restraint, whereby our moral purpose is safeguarded and kept free from all acts, thoughts and words that do not accord with God; third, courage, or strength and endurance in sufferings, trials and temptations encountered on the spiritual path; and fourth, justice, which consists in maintaining a proper balance between the first three. These four general virtues arise from the three powers of the soul in the following manner: from the intelligence, or intellect, come moral judgment and justice, or discrimination; from the desiring power comes self-restraint; and from the incensive power comes courage. REF:St. Peter of Damaskos,"The Four Virtues of the Soul", from G. E. H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Bishop Kallistos Ware, "The Philokalia: Vol. III," (London: Faber and Faber, 1984), pp. 100 - 101





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