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ORTHODOX SAINTS BOOK 2003 FAVORITES
All of the following quotes are from the 2003 Daily Lives, Miracles and Wisdom of the Saints Fasting Calendar published by our friends at The Orthodox Calendar Company, Tom & Georgia Mitrakos www.livesofthesaintscalendar.com
JANUARY 7TH - ENDURE ACCUSATIONS WITH HUMILITY - St Isaac the Syrian
The man who endures accusations against himself with humility has arrived at perfection, and he is marveled at by the holy angels, for there is no other virtue so great and so hard to achieve.
JANUARY 1OTH - EMBRACE & LOVE ACCUSERS - St. Symeon the New Theologian
It is one thing neither to be stung nor angered by affronts and insults, nor by temptations and trials, and another to be pleased by them. It is one thing to pray for the people who do such things, and another to impress on one’s spirit the face of each one of them, and then, with tears of sincere love, to embrace them dispassionately as true friends without the least trace of dislike making its nest in the soul.
JANUARY 22ND - SELF CENTERED = UNFORGIVING - Archimandrite George Capsanis
As long as man lives self-centeredly, he cannot forgive his fellowmen. His offended ego does not allow him to. However, when repents and decides to place God in the center of his life, then he forgives those who distressed, harmed, and were unjust to him. We must put up a hard struggle in order to liberate our souls from resentment, because egoism tyrannizes our soul. For this reason the Lord taught just to seek forgiveness from God, on the condition that we forgive those who trespass against us.
FEBRUARY 11TH - GREATER PROGRESS = GREATER TEMPTATIONS - Saint Isaac the Syrian
Whenever in your path you find unchanging peace, beware: you are very far from the divine paths trodden by the weary feet of the saints. For as long as you are journeying in the way to the city of the kingdom and are drawing night the city of God, this will be a sign for you: the strength of the temptations that you encounter. And the nearer you draw nigh and progress, the more temptations will multiply against you.
FEBRUARY 15TH - TALKATIVENESS = DEATH - Saint Philotheos of Sinai
Nothing is more ruinous than talkativeness and more harmful; than an uncontrolled tongue; and nothing is more destructive and disorganizing to the treasure of the soul. For whatever we succeed in building in ourselves every day is destroyed by much talking, and what we collect together with great labor our soul dissipates again through this disease of the tongue.
MARCH 24TH - GREATER AFFLICTIONS = ON THE PATH TO GOD - Saint Isaac the Syrian
His path has been trodden from the ages and from all generations by the cross and by death. But how is it with you that the afflictions on the path seem to you to be off the path? Do you not wish to follow the steps of the saints? Or have your plans for devising some way of your own, and of journeying therein without suffering?
APRIL 6TH - OBEDIENCE & PATIENCE - Father Joachim of Saint Anne’s Skete on Mount Athos
On one particular night, he knocked on his door and was asked to wait. Being tried, Fr. Joachim rested his head on the door and waited. Either the Elder forgot he was there or he was testing him. He went to bed. On walking at midnight for matins, the Elder found him still waiting outside! “Why are you here at such an hour?” he asked. “When I knocked on the door yesterday, you told me to wait.”
APRIL 22ND - APPROACH GOD AS A BABY OR A BUG WOULD - Saint Isaac Syrian
When you fall down before God in prayers, become in your thought like an ant, like the creeping things of the earth, like a leech, and like a tiny lisping child. Do not say anything before Him with knowledge, but with a child’s manner of thought draw near God and walk before Him that you may be counted worthy of that paternal providence which fathers have for their small children.
APRIL 23RD - DON’T CONDEMN, ENDURE WEAKNESSES OF OTHERS HUMBLY - Elder Ephraim of Philothoeu, counsels from the Holy Mountain
Each person must bear the weaknesses of others. Who is perfect? Who can boast that he has kept his heart undefiled? Hence, we are all sick, and whoever condemns his brother does not perceive that he himself is sick, because a sick person does not condemn another sick person.
MAY 3RD - SILENCE, DON’T TALK - Elder Ephraim of Philothoeu, counsels from the Holy Mountain
Do not speak unnecessary words, my child, for they chill your soul’s divine zeal. Love silence, which gives birth to all virtues and fences in the soul so that the devil’s evil does not approach it “better to fall from a height than with the tongue.” The tongue does the greatest harm to man.
MAY 7TH - FULL AMOUR OF SCRIPTURE - Saint John Chrysostom
We, as if tossing in the midst of the sea, driven by a multitude of sins, always need the continuous and ceaseless aid of the scriptures. They [monastics] rest far from the battle, and so they do not receive many wounds; but you need more remedies. Your wife provokes you, for example, your son grieves you, and your servant angers you, your enemy plots against you, your friend envies you, your neighbor curses you, your fellow soldier trips you up, often a lawsuit threatens you, poverty troubles you, loss of your property gives you grief, prosperity puffs you up, misfortune depresses you, and many causes and compulsions to discouragement and grief, to conceit and desperation surround us on all sides, and a multitude of missiles falls from everywhere. Therefore we have a continuous need for the full armor of the scriptures.
MAY 10TH - PRAY HUMBLY, WITHOUT EXPECTATION - Saint Macarius of Optina
Pray simply. Do not expect to find in your heart any remarkable gift of prayer. Consider yourself unworthy of it. Then you will find peace. Use the empty cold dryness of your prayer as food for your humility. Repeat constantly: “I am worthy; Lord, I am not worthy.” But say it calmly, with out agitation.
MAY 18TH - INVOKE JESUS - Saint Anthony of Optina
No matter what misfortune might befall you, no matter what unpleasantness might occur, say, “I will endure this for Jesus Christ’s sake!” Just say that, and you will feel better, for the Name of Jesus Christ is powerful. Before it, all difficulties abate and demons disappear. Your annoyance and faintness of heart will abate when you repeat His most sweet Name. Lord, grant unto me to see my transgressions. Lord, grant unto me patience, magnanimity, and meekness.
MAY 19TH - PATIENCE = GREATER BENEFITS! - Saint Nilus of Mount Sinai
Do not grieve if you do not at once receive from God that which you ask. He wishes to benefit you still more by making you persist longer in your patient prayer before him. For what can be higher than to address one’s converse to God, and be in communion with him?
MAY 21ST - HARD LIFE NOW = BEAUTIFUL, ETERNAL LIFE LATER - Saint Basil the Great
The easy, undisciplined way of life leads to pleasure to be enjoyed now, not later. The way of salvation is hard in the present, but promises a beautiful future. The soul is confused and dithers in its calculations. It prefers pleasure when it is looking at the present; it chooses virtue when its eye is on eternity.
MAY 23RD - ENDURANCE IS PROOF OF GODLINESS - Saint Peter of Damascus
Endurance is like an unshakable rock in the winds and waves of life. However the tempest batters him, the patient man remains steadfast and does not turn back; and when he finds relief and joy, he is not carried away by self glory: he is always the same, whether things are hard and easy, and for this reason, he is proof against the snares of the enemy.
MAY 28TH - THORN IN FLESH - Elder Ephraim of Philotheou, Counsels from the Holy Mountain
If a trial benefited the Apostle Paul as he said: “A thorn in the flesh was given to me and angel of Satan to torment me, lest I be exalted above measure” how much more will trials benefit us if we bear them patiently?
JUNE 2ND - WANT WHAT GOD WANTS - Abba Nilus
Do not be always wanting everything to turn out as you think it should, but rather as God pleases; then you will be undisturbed and thankful in your prayer.
JUNE 7th - GUARD YOUR TONGUE OR NEVER ESCAPE DARKNESS! - Saint Isaac the Syrian
If you guard your tongue, my brother, God will give you the gift of compunction of heart so that you may see your soul, and thereby you will enter into spiritual joy. But if your tongue defeats you- believe me in what I say to you- you will never be able to escape from darkness. If you do not have a pure heart, at least have a pure mouth, as the blessed John said.
JULY 1ST - RESIST EATING, SLEEPING, FORCE NATURE - Father Kodratus of Karakallou
A Monk is he who wants to sleep and does not sleep who wants to eat and does not eat who wants to drink and does not drink. A Monk is distinguished by “continual forcing of nature.”
JULY 15TH - BODILY VS SPIRITUAL PLEASURE - Saint Gregory the Dialogist
Bodily pleasures, when we do not possess them, arouse in us a great desire for them; but as soon as we possess and devour them, our satisfaction turns to distaste. Spiritual pleasures, on the other hand, seem distasteful when not possessed but once we possess then, we desire them.
JULY 17TH - SUFFERING IS FROM GODS LOVE FOR US - Saint Macarius of Optina
None of your suffering has come by chance. Nothing can happen to us without our Lord’s consent; and His consent is not only wise, but always dictated by His love of us. Carefully examine your conscience and your life, and I am sure you will understand what I mean.
AUGUST 24TH - ONLY THROUGH TRIBULATION CAN YOU FIND GOD - Saint John of Kronstadt
Ought not the Christian, who looks for eternal peace and joy in heaven, to bear courageously and joyfully all sorrows, labor, sickness, Injustice, everything unpleasant, here? Indeed he ought. Otherwise, what would be the meaning of future rest and peace? What peace and rest here, without enduring anything? Where would God’s justice be? We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
AUGUST 31ST - MUST ALWAYS THINK OF OTHERS, NOT SELF - Saint John Chrysostom
We cannot be saved by seeking just our own individual salvation; we need to look first to the good of others. In warfare, the soldiers who take to flight to save his own skin brings disaster on himself as well as on the others, whereas the good solider who takes up arms on behalf of his comrades saves his own life along with theirs. Many of our brothers and sisters have fallen in this battle, wounded and covered with blood, with no one to care for them. There is no one to look after then, no layman, no priest, no friend, no brother, because we are all of us seeking our own individual salvation, and thereby spoiling our chance of attainting it.
SEPTEMBER 9TH - PRIDE IS LAST BATTLE - Saint John Cassian
Our last contest is against the spirit of pride. Albeit it is the last disease we have to fight and the closing member of the list, yet in time and origin it is first of all. It is a beast most savage, and fiercer than all the other: its worst temptations attack the perfect and it devours with its most deadly bites those who have all but reached the crown and sum of all virtues.
SEPTEMBER 13TH - PATIENCE, VIRTUE REQUIRES TOIL & WAIT - Saint Isaac the Syrian
If you should beseech God for a thing and He is slow to hearken to you speedily, do not grieve, for you are not wiser than God. This happens to you either because you are no worthy to obtain you request, or because the pathways of your heart do not accord with your petitions, or because you have not yet reached the measure wherein you could receive the gift you ask for. We must not rush onwards to great measures before the time, lest God’s gift be debased by our hasty reception of it. For anything that is quickly obtained is also easily lost, whereas everything found with toil is also kept with careful watching.
SEPTEMBER 17TH - SEEK UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR EVIL HEART - Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk
Therefore, recognize the evil that hides itself within you as a deadly poison, and you will hasten to be delivered from it. And the more you recognize it, the more zealously you will seek deliverance. The evil hidden in the human heart in conceit, self-will, envy, wrath, avarice, impurity, and every abominable thing.
SEPTEMBER 21 - LIFE OF A SAINT = IMITATE CHRIST - Saint Neilos the Ascetic
The Apostles received this way of life from Christ and made it their own, renouncing the world in response to His call, disregarding fatherland, relatives, and possessions. At once they adopted a harsh and strenuous way of life, facing every kind of adversity, afflicted, tormented, harassed, and naked, lacking even necessities; and family, they met death boldly, imitating their teacher faithfully in all things. Thus, through their actions they left behind a true image of the highest way of life.
OCTOBER 9TH - STILLNESS IS THE HIGHEST GOAL TO ATTAIN - Saint Isaac the Syrian
Do not compare those who work sign and wonders and mighty acts in the world with those who practice stillness with knowledge. Love the idleness of stillness above providing for the world’s starving and the conversion of a multitude of heathen to the worship of God. It is better for you to make peace with you soul, causing concord to reign over the trinity within you (I mean, the body, the soul, and the sprit), than by your teaching to bring peace among men at variance.
OCTOBER 17TH - KNOW THYSELF AS A SINNER - Saint Barsanuphius and John
To know one self to be a sinner, if we truly know this, then we will never contradict anyone, we will not quarrel with anyone. We will not become angry with anyone, and we will consider everyone as better as and more intelligent than we are. How can we arouse our heart against those who are better than we are?
OCTOBER 18TH -AVOID HASTE, OR SUFFER ENDLESSLY - Saint John of Kronstadt
Unfortunate is he who loves haste; he will meet with a multitude of annoying obstacles, and he will fume inwardly; through his desire for haste he will be irritated time without number.
OCTOBER 30TH - HIDE OTHERS FAULTS & OURS ARE HIDDEN - Sayings of the Desert Fathers
A brother questioned Abba Poemen, saying, “If I see my brother committing a sin, is it right to conceal it?” The old man said to him, “At the very moment when we hide our brother’s fault, God hides our own, and at the moment when we reveal our brother’s fault, God reveals ours too.”
NOVEMBER 7TH - FORSAKE ALL FOR CHRIST - Saint Kosmas Aitolos
Let them burn your body, let them fry it, let them take your property. Don’t worry. Let them have these, they are not yours anyway. You only have need of soul and Christ! These two, even if the entire world happens to fall on you, it cannot take these from you unless you give them up on your own.
NOVEMBER 9TH - DWELL ON GOD AND ANGELS GUIDE YOUR WAY - Saint Isaac the Syrian
The man who always goes to bed with rumination upon God has gained Him as his Chamberlain; and he who desires the fulfillment of God’s will, will have the angels of heaven as his guides. A man who fears sins will traverse a terrible passage without stumbling, and at a time of darkness he will find light before him and within himself. The Lord carefully watches the steps of the man who fears sins, and God’s mercy forestalls him when he slips.
NOVEMBER 13TH - LOOK TO GOD TO AVIOD TEMPTATION - Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk
Do not look at what other people are doing, but heed what the word of God teaches. Thus we shall avoid the temptations of the world.
NOVEMBER 21ST - PRIDE IS WORST OF ALL SINS - Saint John Cassian
There is not other vice which in this sort renders all the virtues of none affect, and so strips a man of every kind of justice and holiness as the disease of pride. It is like some universal and pestiferous plague, not content with maiming one limb or part of a man’s body, but it corrupts the whole man.
NOVEMBER 29TH - USE ANGER AGAINST OUR OWN SINFULNESS - Saint John Cassian
But we have a use for anger most properly planted within us, and for this use alone is it profitable and healthful for us to entertain it, namely, when we burn with wrathful indignation against the lustful motions of our own hearts, and are enraged to find that those things which we should be ashamed to do or to speak of before men have found admittance into the secret places of our minds.
DECEMBER 1ST - HUMILITY IS ONLY WAY TO PERFECTION - Saint John Cassian
It is then clear and plainly proved that no one can reach the goal of perfection and purity saved by means of true humility, which is first evidence before the brethren and offered also to God in the secret places of the heart, believing as he must that without God’s protection and help afforded to him at every moment, he can never attain at all to the perfection which he so desires, and towards which he do eagerly runs.
DECEMBER 3RD - KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS TAKEN BY FORCE - Father Philotheos Zervakos
The work which you do is spiritual, but forces yourself to study one or two chapter of the Holy Scripture, the lives of the Saints, patristic writings, and writings of the Holy Prophets, Apostles, and Teachers of the church. Also do not neglect your obligation to prayer and fasting and continence according to your strength, and especially forcefulness, because the kingdom of the heavens is taken by force and the forceful grab it.
DECEMBER 4TH - CRITICIZE NO ONE BUT YOURSELF - Father Philotheos Zervakos
Criticism is born of pride. The humble person does not criticize anyone except himself, because he knows that he does not have any appointment to judge and censure others. He furthermore has the command to see his own faults and not the faults of others.
DECEMBER 9TH - MOURN FOR IMPIOUS - Saint Kosmas the Aitilos
Be joyful and cheerful because you have the blessing to be pious Orthodox Christians. On the other hand, you must cry and mourn for the impious, the godless, and the heretics who walk in the darkness in the hands of the evil.
DECEMBER 11TH - PRIDE IS HIDDEN DEEP IN HEART - Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk
Pride is a most abominable sin, but hardly anyone recognizes it since it is hidden deep in the heart. Not knowing oneself is the beginning of ride. This ignorance blinds a man, and thus he becomes full of pride. Oh, that man would know himself! He would never become full of pride.
DECEMBER 27TH - OFFEND OTHERS = OFFENDING GOD - Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk
Be extremely careful not to offend anyone in word or deed, for it is a grave sin. When someone is offended, God, who loves the man, is also offended, for there can be no offending man without offending God. Whoever sins against man, also sins against God…when you offend your neighbor, straightway humble yourself before him and beg forgiveness of him with humility, lest you fall under God’s just condemnation.
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