+ St. Ambrose of Optina, quoted from Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina
Many accuse modern technology for all the woes in the world.
Is technology really to blame, or those who create technology and use it?
Is a wooden cross to blame if somebody crucifies someone on it?
Is a hammer to blame if a neighbor breaks his neighbors skull?
Technology does not feel good or evil.
The same pipes can be used for drinking water or the sewer.
Evil does not come from unfeeling, dead technology, but from the dead hearts of people.
+ St. Nikolai Velimirovich, From the Complete Works of Bishop Nikolai [in Serbian], Book 12, p. 23. Translated from the Serbian by Marija Miljkovic.
The sensible man, taking into account the remedial effect of the divine prescriptions, gladly bears the sufferings which they bring upon him, since he is aware that they have no cause other than his own sin. But when the fool, ignorant of the supreme wisdom of God’s providence, sins and is corrected, he regards either God or men as responsible for the hardships he suffers.
+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 2.46, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)
God said to Adam: In the day that thou eatest of it (that is, of the forbidden tree) thou wilt die the death (Gen. 2:17) ─ that is the death of the soul. This happened immediately: Man was stripped of the garment of immortality; God said nothing more than that decree, nor did anything special happen after that. God, foreseeing that Adam was to sin, and desiring to forgive him if he repented, did not say anything more than the above. But Adam refused to acknowledge his sin and did not repent even when he was accused by God; for he said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me ─ she deceived me (Gen. 3:12).
O Woe to his blinded soul! Saying this, he as it were said to God: “Thou Thyself are guilty, because the woman whom Thou gavest me hast deceived me.” This very same thing I myself now suffer, wretched and miserable, when I do not desire to be humbled, and to say with my whole soul that I myself am guilty of my perdition. But on the contrary I say: “That person over there inspired me to do or say this. He advised me and knocked me off the path.” Woe is my poor soul which speaks such words filled with sin! O most shameless and irrational words of a shameless and irrational soul!
— St. Symeon the New Theologian, Homily 66
“He who wants to overcome the spirit of slander, should not ascribe the blame to the person who falls, but to the demon who suggests it. For no one really wants to sin against God, even though we do all sin without being forced to do so.”
+ St. John Climicus, Step 10.5, Ladder of Divine Ascent
Oh, Brethren, what is the result of pride? Oh, see what humility can do? What was the need for all these sufferings? For, if from the beginning Man had humbled himself, obeyed God, and kept the commandment he would not have fallen.
Again, after his fall, God gave him an occasion to repent and to receive mercy but he kept his stiff-neck held high. He came to him and said “Adam, Where are you?” instead of saying “What glory you have left and what dishonor you have arrived at?” After that, He asked him “Why did you sin? Why did you transgress the commandment?” By asking these questions, He wanted to give him the opportunity to say, “Forgive me.” However, he did not ask for forgiveness. There was no humility, there was no repentance, but indeed the opposite.
He answered, “The woman whom You gave to be with me” (Gen 3:9-12), he did not say, “the woman deceived me,” but “The woman whom You gave to me,” as if he wanted to say: “This catastrophe has come upon me because of You.” So it is, brethren, since Man is not accustomed to blame himself. He does not hesitate to consider even God as the cause of evil.
Then God came to the woman and said to her, “Why did you not keep the commandment?” as if He wanted to say, “At least you, say forgive me, so as to humble your soul and to receive mercy.” Again, there was no request for forgiveness. She also answered, “The serpent deceived me,” (Gen 3:13) as if she wanted to say, “If the serpent sinned, where is my mistake?”
Why did you act in this way, you pitiable ones? Make a bow of repentance, recognize your fault, be sorry for your nakedness. Neither one of them could blame himself, neither of them had the least bit of humility.
— St. Dorotheus
+ St. Anthony the Great, said to Abba Poeman
The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection
“When a trial comes upon you unexpectedly, do not blame the person through whom it came but try to discover the reason why it came, and then you will find a way of dealing with it. For whether through this person or through someone else you had in any case to drink the wormwood of God’s judgments.”
+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 2.42, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)
“May your actions never be unworthy of your words, may it not happen that, when you preach in church, someone might say to himself: ‘Why does he therefore not act like this?’. How could a teacher, on a full stomach, discuss fasting; even a thief can blame avarice; but in the priest of Christ the mind and words must harmonize.”
+ St. Jerome