Feast Day: March 5th


The Life of Saint Nikolai: …

+


Prayers

O golden-tongued preacher proclaiming the Risen Christ, everlasting guide of the cross-bearing Serbian people, resounding harp of the Holy Spirit, and dear to Monastics who rejoice in you, pride and boast of the Priesthood, teacher of repentance, master for all nations, guide of those in the army of Christ as they Pray to God, Holy Nikolai teacher in America and pride of the Serbian people, with all the Saints, implore the only Lover of mankind to grant us peace and joy in His Heavenly Kingdom!

Troparion: Loving thy homeland thou didst sojourn as a patriot to secure aid for God’s suffering children, and as a new Chrysostom thou didst preach to those in darkness the rediscovery of the foundational Rock, Christ the Lord, in the Eternal Homeland of God’s Kingdom. Thy pastoral love for all, O Confessor Nikolai, was purified in captivity by the godless, demonstrating thy commitment to the truth and thy people; therefore, O venerable Bishop, thou hast attained the crown of Eternal Life.


God is our friend

+

“Concern yourself only that you have God for a friend and do not be afraid of anything. Behold, He is your only friend Who loves you without change.”

“Do not worry, you are not alone. The one who does not know God is alone, even if he has half the world as a friend.”

“Oh, my brethren, Christ is truly always with us, as a light that is ever present to the eyes of those who look, But, to our loss, if the eyes of our Soul are closed, then the light seeks in vain to encounter the pupil of our eye! Oh, what sorrow and grief is ours when we are not with Christ! He comes to meet us – do we go to meet Him? He desires to be with us – do we desire to be with Him? If we desire consolation, we must be with Him every day to the end of our lives. O Lord, our only Consoler, do not leave us! To Thee be Glory and praise forever.”

“If you empty your Soul of self, the Living God will fill you.”

“Blessed are they in whom the works of God are made manifest; who feel them, and use them for their Soul’s salvation.”

“During the war, one fearful soldier was sent to scout. Everyone knew his fearfulness and laughed when they found out where his foreman was sending him. Only one soldier did not laugh. He went up to his comrade to support and encourage him. But he answered him: “I will die, the enemy is very close!” “Don’t be afraid, brother: the Lord is even closer, the good comrade answered him. And these words, like a big bell, rang in the soul of that soldier, and rang until the end of the war. And once a timid soldier returned from the war, he was awarded many orders for courage. So his good word transformed: “Do not be afraid: the Lord is even closer!””

“Nineteen centuries filled with His Glory, Miracles, Power, Grace, Mercy, Saints, and Martyrs! And there are still imbeciles who ask: ‘Where is God?'”

“God gave people the word “love” so that they could call their relationship to Him by this name. When people misuse this word to refer to their relationship with earthly things, it loses its meaning.”

“Do not blot out but strengthen in my consciousness the memory of the glory that I had when I was entirely with You and entirely in You, before time and temporal illusions.”

“Only someone who sleeps in Your heart knows rest. Only someone who plows before Your feet will enjoy the fruit of his labours.”


Christ

+

“By His Resurrection, Christ conquered sin and death, destroyed Satan’s dark kingdom, freed the enslaved human race and broke the seal on the greatest mysteries of God and man.”

“The Lord was born in a cave to show that the whole world is one dark cave, which He alone can illumine. The Lord was born in Bethlehem – and Bethlehem means ‘the House of Bread’ to show that He is the only Bread of Life worthy of true men.”

“Truth is not a thought, not a word, not a relationship between things, not a law. Truth is a Person.”

“Although a mother, out of her great love and sorrow, always has tears to shed, she takes her remaining tears with her when she herself goes down into the grave. The Lord Jesus, though, shed all His tears for His children, to the last drop – and all His blood to the last drop. Never, O sinner, will more precious tears be shed for you, neither living nor dead. Never will a mother, or wife, or children, or homeland, pay more for you than Christ the Saviour paid.”

“And they said among themselves: “Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the Sepulchre?” This was the subject of the Myrrh-bearing Women’s conversation as they climbed up to Golgotha, looking for nothing unexpected. The women’s weak hands where not strong enough to roll the stone away from the Tomb’s entrance, for it was very great. Those poor women! They did not remember that the labour to perform which they were hastening so zealously to the Tomb had already be performed during the Lord’s Earthly life. At Bethany, at supper in the house of Simon the Leper, a woman had poured precious spikenard over Christ’s head. The Omniscient Lord said at the time about this woman: “In that she hath poured this ointment on My body, she did it for My burial” (Matthew 26:12).” He had a clear foreknowledge that His Body would, in death, receive no other anointing. You may ask: then why did Providence allow these devout women to be so bitterly disappointed? To buy precious myrrh, to come fearfully through the dark and sleepless night to the tomb and not to perform that loving act for which the had sacrificed so much? But did Providence not reward their efforts in an incomparably richer way, in giving – in place of the dead body – the Living Lord.”

“The Father was revealed to the sense of hearing; the Spirit was revealed to the sense of sight, and in addition to these, the Son was revealed to the sense of touch. The Father uttered His witness about the Son, the Son was Baptized in the water, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove hovered above the water. When John the Baptist witnessed and said about Christ, “Behold, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29), and when John immersed and Baptized the Lord in the Jordan, the mission of Christ in the world and the path of our Salvation was shown. That is to say: The Lord took upon Himself the sins of mankind and died under them [immersion] and became alive again [the coming out of the water]; and we must die as the old sinful man and become alive again as cleansed, renewed and regenerated. This is the Saviour and this is the path of Salvation.”

“Why did the Lord take only three disciples on Tabor and not all? Because Judas was not worthy to behold the Divine Glory of the Teacher, Whom he will betray and the Lord did not want to leave him [Judas] alone at the foot of the mountain so that the betrayer would not, by that, justify his betrayal. Why was our Lord transfigured on a mountain and not in a valley? So as to teach us two virtues: love of labor and godly-thoughts. For, climbing to the heights required labor and height represents the heights of our thoughts, i.e., godly-thoughts. Why was our Lord Transfigured at night? Because, the night rather than the day is more suitable for PraYer and godly-thoughts and because the night, by its darkness, conceals all the beauty of the Earth and reveals the beauty of the starry Heavens. Why did Moses and Elijah appear? In order to destroy the error of the Jews, as though Christ is one of the Prophets; Elijah or Jeremiah or some other that is why He appears as a King above the Prophets and that is why Moses and Elijah appear as His servants. Until then, our Lord manifested His Divine power many times to the disciples but, on Mount Tabor, He manifested His Divine nature. This vision of His Divinity and the hearing of the Heavenly witness about Him as the Son of God, should serve the disciples in the days of the Lord’s passion, in strengthening of an unwavering faith in Him and His final victory.”

“These three witnesses represent three main virtues: Peter – Faith, for he was the first to confess his faith in Christ as the Son of God; James – Hope, for, with faith in the promise of Christ, he was the first Apostle to lay down his life for the Lord, being slain by the Jews; John – Love, for he reclined on the bosom of the Lord and remained beneath the Cross of the Lord until the end. God is not called the God of many but rather the God of the chosen. “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6).”

“His Resurrection is the proof of Eternal Life and the announcement of Eternal Life to all of mankind. His Resurrection drives away from us all confusion, gloom and sadness. His Resurrection instills serenity, courage and goodwill into the Souls of men.”

“Indeed, brethren, Christ is better than the world. The world gives little and takes all. The world offers decay and takes away life. Christ, however, seeks little and gives all. Brethren, Christ is our one and only true friend. O Resurrected Lord Christ, help us to renounce rubbish, to renounce decay, and grant us Eternal Life.”


Panagia

+

“O Queen of Heavenly beauty, embrace my heart with motherly caring.”

“From among the few words of the Holy Virgin and Bride of God that are recorded in the Gospel, this is a precious teaching. Indeed, it is the only teaching that she gave to men during the time of her life on Earth. “Do whatever He says” – as though she were saying, “He knows everything. He can do all things. He loves you all. Therefore, do not consider the implications, but hearken to Him and obey Him.”

“Saint Theophylact of Ohrid says that Zacharias “was outside himself and possessed by God” when he led the Virgin into the Holiest place in the Temple, beyond the second curtain – otherwise, his action could not be explained.”


Prayer

+

“Anoint my heart with the oil of Your mercy, my most Merciful Lord.”

“O Lord, my hope in despair. O Lord, my strength in weakness. O Lord, my light in darkness. Place just one finger on my forehead and I shall be raised.”

“Why should we Pray,” grumble my neighbours, “when God knows what we need beforehand?” But I sadly answer them: “That is true, God knows-that you need nothing except Him alone. At the door of your Soul He is waiting to come in.4 Through prayer the doors are opened for the entrance of the majestic King. Does not one of you say to the other at your door: ‘Please enter’?

“What a man thinks and feels as he Prays to God is more important to God than the words his tongue forms. The tongue is capable of delusion, but the heart does not delude: it shows a man as he is – black or white”

“It is a fact that the Eternal God listens to us – corruptible as we are – more than we listen to Him.”

“Brethren, we cannot here on Earth implore a greater good from God than the Grace of God. If we were to receive the entire universe as a gift, that gift would be less than the Grace of God.”

“Expand and deepen your Soul with Prayer, and you will begin to cry over the mystery of the world bitterly and vehemently. Make your heart prayerful, together with your Soul and your mind, and they will become inexhaustible fountainheads of tears for all mankind.”

“Where Prayer is absent, pride is present.”

“A drop of Prayer is worth more than a sea of worrying.”

“For if God does not for a moment tire of giving us good things, how can we tire of thanking Him for these good things?”

“Above all things you should think of God because God thinks of you before all.”

“Prayer is incense, that ceaselessly censes my Soul and raises it toward You.”

“Do you know what the words “To You, Lord” mean? At the end of any ektene, when appealing to the Praying people to completely surrender to the Lord, a Deacon or Priest says, “Let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God!” And the Praying people answer, “To You, Lord!” These words are very important. They can be applied in any life situation. When you are in good health and successful at work, raise up your heart and say, “It is thanks to You, Lord!” When people respect and praise you, say to yourself, do not deserve this, praise is not to me, but to You, Lord!” When you send your children to school, or they go to work, or join the army, then bless them and say “I commend my children to Your care – to You, Lord!” When people envy you or a friend betrays you, do not lose heart or hold any grudges, but say, “I leave all this to Your righteous judgment – to You, Lord!” When you are following the coffin, escorting the dearest person to his final resting place, walk bravely as if you are carrying a gift to your best Friend, and say, “I bring this beloved Soul to You, Lord!” When the dark clouds of demonic temptations, sorrows and sicknesses gather over you, do not despair, but say, “For help and mercy, I turn to You, Lord!” When the Angel of death stands beside your bed, do not be afraid of him, for he is your friend, but say goodbye to this world and say, I commend my repentant Soul into Your hands, Lord!”

“Prayer was ordained for us by God, not in order for Him to find out what we need – He knows even before we are conceived what we are going to need at every moment of our life – but in order for our Souls to grow, expand, ripen and be exalted under the beams of Prayer. If He does not fulfill our Prayers immediately, that means that He does not want things to happen to us the way we want them, but the way He wants them to. In that case, He is wanting and preparing something for us that is much greater and better than what we are asking for in Prayer. Therefore, we should end each Prayer with the humble words, ‘Father, Thy will be done, not mine.'”


Life

+

“Journey freely with God within you; you will not lose the way, and you will not be left without shelter.”

“I prescribe fasting for my tongue, to break itself of the habit of idle chatter and to speak reservedly only those words that clear the way for You to come.”

“Help me, my God, to conquer the world within myself: and I shall easily conquer the world outside me.”

“All of us who walked towards the Kingdom of Light and Eternal Life are obliged to keep watch daily and see what sort of garments are Soul is clothed in. Let us look at those men and women who daily dress up, change clothes, decorate themselves, groom themselves and adorned themselves in order to physically look as nicely as they can. We ought to apply that much care and even more than that on the clothing of our Soul. They look at themselves in the Mirror. Our Mirror is Jesus Christ.”

“We are either fools to the world because of Christ, or fools to Christ because of the world.”

“The human Soul without Him becomes hell; a people without Him becomes a pack of famished and ravening wolves; a school without Him becomes a poison- factory of folly; a workshop without Him becomes a place of grumbling and hatred. Hospitals and prisons without Him become dark caverns of despair!”

“Our religion is founded on Spiritual experience, seen and heard as surely as any physical fact in this world. Not theory, not philosophy, not human emotions, but experience.”

“All that you lose in the name of God, you keep. All that you keep for your own sake, you loose. All that you give in the name of God, you will receive with interest. All that you give for the sake of your own glory and pride, you throw into the water. All that you receive from people as from God will bring you joy. All that you receive from people as from people will bring you worries.”

“Let your heart never be afraid of the size of evil before your eyes. The size of thy God is above every size. You’ll win for sure, only trust in God and love God.”

“Moments of happiness are given to you only in order to leave you longing for time happiness in the bosom of the ever happy Lord; and ages of unhappiness are given to you, to waken you out of the drowsy dream of illusions. O Lord, Lord, my only happiness, will You provide shelter for Your injured pilgrim?”

“Pride is a wide-open window out of which all the virtues and good works are blown. Nothing makes us so empty towards people and so unworthy before God as pride.”

“If my Soul has no open windows, no mud can be thrown into it.”

“Salvation of the Soul is the only meaning of all the labors of man on Earth.”

“The dead feel our presence in their graves, they feel our prayers and our sacrifices and love for them. And we will soon feel it, on that side of the grave, and will be grateful for those who remember us and Pray for us to God.”

“If you become rich, consider whether or not you could worthily bear poverty. If you are happy, imagine how you could worthily meet unhappiness. When people praise you, think how you might worthily bear insult. And, all your life, think how you might worthily meet death.”

“Truly terrifying is the abyss of those who are in love with the events that are dragging them downward.”

“We must keep in mind that whatever we do, openly or in secret, we do in the presence of our Guardian Angel.”

“If we weave by day and undo at night, nothing gets woven. If we build by day and destroy by night, nothing is ever built. If we Pray to God and do evil before Him, then nothing is woven, and a house for our Soul is not built.”

“You ask if sins of the mind are dangerous? As a Monk you know this best. You know that one of the Holy Fathers has said that the essence of Monasticism is the cleansing of the mind of evil thoughts. You also know that the Church lists three types of sin: in deed, in word, in thought…. Evil thoughts are the seed of every evil. From that seed sprout sinful words, sinful desires and sinful deeds. Remember Christ’s second parable about the sower (the wheat and the tares)… So therefore, keep watch over yourself. Close your eyes more often and, as Saint Nikitas Stithatos said, “examine the thoughts sailing on the sea of the mind””

“Whoever desires life, must nourish himself with life.”

“Cast the world out of yourself, my heart, and then observe how feeble it is. And then observe yourself, and you will feel unheard-of power. The world seems powerful to us only when we serve it as its slave.”

“The Apostles of God taught others that which they themselves fulfilled in their own lives. When they had food and clothing, they were content. Even when it happened that they had neither food nor clothing, they were content, for their contentment did not emanate from outside but from within.”

“The walls that stand between you and truth and loom up before you like colossal mountains, which you have been trying to cross by running to the point of exhaustion, are your own creation and are more fragile than the white foam on the lake. If only you could open your eyes wide enough not to see them. Truly, the existence of these walls depends upon your seeing them. If you did not wish to see them, they would not exist.”

“Just as people do not enter a war in order to enjoy war, but in order to be saved from war, so we do not enter this world in order to enjoy this world, but in order to be saved from it. People go to was for the sake of something greater than war. So we also enter this temporal life for the sake of something greater: for Eternal Life. And as soldiers think with joy about returning home, so also Christians constantly remember the end of their lives and their return to their Heavenly fatherland.”

“Man’s intellect can never rise to Heaven without God as a guide; and it cannot speak of what it has not seen, but must first ascend and see it.”

“Does peace kill? Yes, Godless peace kills. Does prosperity destroy? Yes, prosperity without God and contrary to the laws of God can destroy. O my brethren, the Christian teaching is the only reasonable teaching about peace and prosperity. All else is madness and foolishness.”

“God and the devil are found at opposite poles. No one can turn his face to God who has not first turned his back on sin. When a man turns his face to God, all of his paths lead to God. When a man turns his face away from God, all of his paths lead to perdition. When a man finally rejects God by word and in his heart, he is no longer fit to do anything that does not serve for his complete destruction, both of his Soul and of his body.”

“If I am called to defend myself, I will be silent, if I am called to defend the truth, I will speak.”


Suffering

+

“By His suffering Our Lord eased our suffering. He endured the greatest of pain and emerged as the Victor. That is why He can encourage us in our lesser sufferings.”

“The path is thorny, but there are roses in Paradise; Sufferings are bitter, but Christ is sweet.”

“What does it mean to take up your cross? It means the willing acceptance, at the hand of Providence, of every means of healing, bitter though it may be, that is offered. Do great catastrophes fall on you? Be obedient to God’s Will, as Noah was. Is sacrifice demanded of you? Give yourself into God’s hands with the same faith as Abraham had when he went to sacrifice his son. Is your property ruined? Do your children die suddenly? Suffer it all with patience, cleaving to God in your heart, as Job did. Do your friends forsake you, and you find yourself surrounded by enemies? Bear it all without grumbling, and with faith that God’s help is at hand, as the Apostles did.”

“Blessed is the man who uses his sufferings, knowing that all suffering in this brief life is loosed on men by God in His love for mankind, for the benefit and assistance of men. In His Mercy, God looses suffering on men because of their sins – by His Mercy and not His justice. For, if it were by His justice, every sin would inevitably bring death, as the Apostle says: “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1: 15). In place of death, God gives healing through suffering. Suffering is God’s way of healing the Soul of its sinful leprosy and its death.”

“God allows proud people to be humbled and brought low when they think that they’re secure in their own strength.”

“Why is it that much is said and written about the sufferings of Holy men and women? Because the Saints, alone, are considered Victors. Can anyone be a victor without conflict, pain, and suffering? He who does not engage in combat for the sake of Christ, either with the world, with the devil or with one’s self, how can he be counted among the soldiers of Christ?”

“To be constantly persecuted is a distinguishing mark of the True Faith and of the Orthodox Church.”

“All the troubles of life on earth will seem like a drop of salt water in a fresh water river when compared to life in Paradise: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what the heart of man has not conceived – God has prepared for those who love Him.'”

“Do not ever succumb to the insane thought that God has abandoned you. God knows exactly how much one can endure and, according to that, measures the sufferings and pains of everyone.”

“Those who clothe themselves with patience will see victory and the glory of God. For those who love the Lord, even the straitest and narrowest path is more than wide enough. The greatest pain is a light yoke and the most violent death a joyous wedding service.”

“If your entire life passed smoothly and without worry, then weep for yourself. For the Gospel and the experience of the people, with one accord assert that no one has, without great suffering and pain, left behind any great and beneficial work on Earth or was glorified in the Heavens. If, however, your earthly sojourn is completely adorned with sweat and tears to attain justice and truth, rejoice and be exceedingly glad for truly great is your reward in the Heavens.”

“Just a little longer, brethren, and our journey will end. Sustain us just a little longer, O Conqueror of death.”

“Only the foolish think that suffering is evil. A sensible man knows that suffering is not evil but only the manifestation of evil and healing from evil. Only sin in a man is a real evil, and there is no evil outside sin. Everything else that men generally call evil is not, but is a bitter medicine to heal from evil. The sicker the man, the more bitter the medicine that the doctor prescribes for him. At times, even, it seems to a sick man that the medicine is worse and more bitter than the sickness itself! And so it seems at times to the sinner: the suffering is harder and more bitter than the sin committed. But this is only an illusion – a very strong self-delusion. There is no suffering in the world that could be anywhere near as hard and destructive as sin is. All the suffering borne by men and nations is none other than the abundant healing that eternal Mercy offers to men and nations to save them from eternal death. Every sin, however small, would inevitably bring death if Mercy were not to allow suffering in order to sober men up from the inebriation of sin; for the healing that comes through suffering is brought about by the Grace-filled power of the Holy and Life-giving Spirit.”


Repentance

+

“Repentance is the abandoning of all false paths that have been trodden by men’s feet, and men’s thoughts and desires, and a return to the new path: Christ’s path. But how can a sinful man repent unless he, in his heart, meets with the Lord and knows his own shame? Before little Zacchaeus saw the Lord with his eyes, he met Him in his heart and was ashamed of all his ways.”

“Notice the way in which Zacchaeus confessed his sin. He did not say: “Lord, I am a sinful man!”, or “Avarice is my sickness!” No; but, showing the fruits of repentance, he thus confessed his sin and his sickness: “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor.” is not this a clear confession that riches are his passion? “And if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” Is not this a clear confession that his riches were acquired in a sinful manner? He did not, before this, say to the Lord: “I am a sinner, and I repent.” He confessed this silently to the Lord in his heart, and the Lord silently received his confession and repentance. It is of more importance to the Lord that a man acknowledge and confess his sickness and cry for help in his heart than with this tongue, for the tongue is capable of deception, but the heart is not.”

“If your heart has been softened either by repentance before God or by learning the boundless love of God towards you, do not be proud with those whose hearts are still hard. Remember how long your heart was hard and incorrigible.”

“No sin, no matter how many times repeated, is greater then God’s Mercy.”

“Falsehood separates us from God, and only falsehood…. False thoughts, false words, false feelings, false desires-behold the assemblage of falsities that lead to nonexistence, illusions, and the repudiation of God.”

“A Priest is walking down a lonely road on a hot day when suddenly out of the bushes jumps a wild looking man with a gun. The man says to the priest, “I have killed 99 men, and you will be the 100th.” The Priest says to the him, I am ready to die; but please before you shoot me, give me a little water to drink. I am so thirsty. The murderer is confused for a moment, and then directs the Priest at gun point to his hovel in the bushes where he gives the Priest a cup of water to drink. As the Priest is drinking the water, the murderer dies of a heart attack. The Angels from Heaven come to escort the Soul of this murderer to Heaven, but the demons contest with them. “This man murdered 99 men and committed many other smaller sins. His Soul belongs to us.” But the Angels answer the demons,” But he also did two great deeds for the Gospel of Christ which outweigh all his sins. First he confessed his 99 murders to a Priest and second he gave water to the thirsty. No sin, no matter how many times repeated, is greater than the Mercy of God.”

“When you trust other people, you are weak, but when you trust in God you are strong. Cleave to God and all His strength will be with you. Confess your weakness before Him and He will send you His all-powerful Grace.”

“Contemplate the miraculous withering of the unfruitful fig tree (Matthew 21: 19)… How my life too, which has many leaves- bodily cares, desires and thoughts – but is without Spiritual fruit.”

“Repentance is the abandoning of all false paths, and a return to the new path: Christ’s path.”

“To the superficial and the guilty it is more comfortable to bathe in the shallow pool of human thought than in the dangerous depths of Christ.”

“And when he was still far away, his father saw him and had compassion; and, running, fell on his neck and kissed him. So the love of God is limitless and perplexing! What his patience was to the sinner until now, so are His forgiveness and His joy. As soon as the sinner repents and enters the path leading to God, God is already in a hurry to meet him, receives him, falls on his neck, kisses him. Great is the joy of the mother, who sees the correction of the son; great is the joy of the shepherd who has found the missing sheep; great is the joy of the woman who has found the lost drachma; but all this cannot be compared with the joy of God, when the sinner repents and returns to God. As soon as repentance begins in our hearts, although we are still far away from God, God already sees us and, more quickly than the sunshine rushing into the dark Earth, goes to meet us. In meeting the new man, which through repentance is conceived in us! The Heavenly Father hurries to our aid, stretches out His hands and supports us so that we do not fall back again into the pit of a demon on the pork field, into the country of famine. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you, says the apostle James (James 4: 8). Oh, help is speedy! O blessed hands! If we have not yet extinguished the last spark of conscience and reason, we should be ashamed before such a love of God, we must as soon as possible repent and hurry with our lowered eyes and ascended hearts into the arms of our offended Parent.”


Relationships

+

“If you can help a person – help, if you cannot help – Pray, if you do not know how to Pray – think about the person in a good way! And this will already be a help, because godly thoughts are also a weapon!”

“Do not be vengeful; do not return evil for evil. The evil from your neighbour is sufficient. If you return evil for evil to him, you will double the evil in the world. If you do not return evil for evil to him, he can still burn out his evil through repentance. Thus, you will reduce evil in the world through patience and forgiveness. Do not be vengeful; do not return evil for evil. “But wait on the Lord,” He sees and remembers and, in your time, even you and your evil doer will know that God sees and remembers. You ask yourself: What have I done in that I have not returned evil for evil? You have done the wisest deed that you could do in the given situation; you have relinquished your struggle to the One Stronger than yourself and the Stronger will victoriously fight for you. If you enter into battle with the evil doer you might be defeated. But God cannot be defeated. Therefore, relinquish your struggle to the Victorious and Undefeated One and patiently wait. Learn from a small child. If someone attacks a child in the presence of his parents, the child does not return the attack by attacking but rather looks at his parents and cries. The child knows that his parents will protect him. How is it that you do not know what a little child knows? Your Heavenly Parent is constantly beside you. That is why, do not be vengeful; do not return evil for evil rather look at your Parent and cry. Only in this way will you guarantee victory for yourself in conflict with evil men. O Almighty Lord Who said: “Vengeance is Mine” (Romans 12:19, Hebrews 10:30), protect us from the unrighteous ones by Your almighty hand and restrain us from vengeance. Counsel us by Your Holy Spirit that the greater heroism is to endure rather than to avenge.”

“Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except himself.”

“Hiding your virtue and someone else’s flaw is the main spiritual wisdom.”

“When a person speaks to you, do not think about his body, do no look at his body, but look into his soul, check his soul, live into his soul and then you will understand him. And when you talk to a person, do not think about your own body or his, but think about your soul and his soul, repeating to yourself: “This is the soul that speaks to the soul, communicates with the soul.” And then you will feel the presence of God between you. And you will be understood and understand.”

“Do not put dirt on the one who has started cleansing himself but help him to be clean.”

“Love sacrifices itself, and does not feel that the sacrifice is giving but rather receiving.”

“Do good to those who wish to argue with you, and you will win the argument. One deed of compassion will bring the madman to his senses and will pacify the embittered man more quickly than many hours of conversation.”

“A good or bad word that we say about a person, even if said in the greatest secrecy, is felt by the whole universe and by the Creator of feelings.”

“A good deed is a miracle that makes two hearts happy.”

“Love your neighbour, because that will save you from the love of self that can destroy you.”

“People look beautiful only among people. This man seems beautiful to a person. And no one else in the world notices the beauty of man. Nature does not notice beautiful people. Animals, plants and other creatures feel only… Kindness.”

“Marriage is a great and wonderful mystery, one of the greatest mysteries of God’s dispensation. A pure and honourable marriage, in the fear of God, is indeed a vessel of the Holy Spirit.”

“Seven brothers were ill in one hospital. One recovered from his illness and got up and rushed to serve his other brothers with brotherly love, to speed their recovery. Be like this brother. Consider all men to be your brothers, and sick brothers at that. And if you come to feel that God has given you better health than others, know that it is given through mercy, so in health you may serve your frailer brothers.”

“What is the use of man in all his worldly learning, if he can not forgive his neighbour with one insulting word or glance?”

“The body can neither love nor hate. A body can not love a body. The ability to love belongs to the Soul. When the Soul loves the body, it is not love, but desire, passion. When the Soul loves the Soul not in God, it is either rapture or pity. When the Soul in God loves the Soul, regardless of appearance (beauty, ugliness), this is love. And in love there is life.”

“Absolutely nothing will help us if we are not lenient toward the weaknesses of men and forgive them. For how can we hope that God will forgive us if we do not forgive others?”

“Friendship is more necessary for the Soul than for the body. When you’re sad, the thought of a friend brings a smile to your face. On your death-bed, the presence of a friend beautifies the face of death. Friendship is always the life-giving breath of the Angel who accompanies us through life, who raises us when we fall and who inspires us when our strength fails.”

“Time and space make way for love.”


Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

+

Enemies have driven me into Your embrace more than friends have.

Friends have bound me to Earth, enemies have loosed me from Earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.

Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world. Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath Your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my Soul.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world.

They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself.

They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments.

They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself.

They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish.

Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a dwarf.

Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background.

Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they have prevented me with an iron hand.

Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they have wakened me from sleep.

Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they have demolished it and driven me out.

Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and have stretched out my hands to the hem of Your garment.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly against me:

so that my fleeing to You may have no return;

so that all hope in men may be scattered like cobwebs;

so that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my Soul;

so that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins, arrogance and anger;

so that I might amass all my treasure in Heaven;

ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life.

Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except himself.

One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies, but cruel friends.

It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies.

Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and enemies.

A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand. But a son blesses them, for he understands.

For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life.

Therefore he freely steps among them and Prays to God for them.