Tag Archives: Judging

Desert Fathers: A dog is better than I am . . .

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dog's_Love.jpg Book Sayings of the Desert Fathers“A dog is better than I am, for he has love and does not judge.”

+ St. Xanthias, The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

 

St. John Damascene: These eight passions should be destroyed as follows . . .

Icon of St. John of Damascus“These eight passions should be destroyed as follows: gluttony by self-control; unchastity by desire for God and longing for the blessings held in store; avarice by compassion for the poor; anger by goodwill and love for all men; worldly dejection by spiritual joy; listlessness by patience, perseverance and offering thanks to God; self-esteem by doing good in secret and by praying constantly with a contrite heart; and pride by not judging or despising anyone in the manner of the boastful Pharisee (cf. Luke 18 : 11–12), and by considering oneself the least of all men. When the intellect has been freed in this way from the passions we have described and been raised up to God, it will henceforth live the life of blessedness, receiving the pledge of the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Cor. 1 : 22). And when it departs this life, dispassionate and full of true knowledge, it will stand before the light of the Holy Trinity and with the divine angels will shine in glory through all eternity.”

+ St. John Damascene, “On the Virtues and the Vices” from The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Joseph of Optina: Prayer is food for the soul. Do not starve the soul, it is better to . . .

St. Joseph of Optina“Prayer is food for the soul. Do not starve the soul, it is better to let the body go hungry. Do not judge anyone, forgive everyone. Consider yourself worse than everyone in the world and you will be saved. As much as possible, be more quiet.”

+ St. Joseph of Optina: Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Moses of Optina: If at some time you show mercy to someone . . .

Pic of St. Moses of Optina“If at some time you show mercy to someone, mercy will be shown to you.
If you show compassion to one who is suffering (and of course, this is not a great deed) you will be numbered among the martyrs.
If you forgive one who has insulted you, then not only will all your sins be forgiven, but you will be a child of the Heavenly Father.
If you pray from all your heart for salvation – even a little – you will be saved.
If you rebuke yourself, accuse yourself, and judge yourself before God for your sins, with a sensitive conscience, even for this you will be justified.
If you are sorrowful for your sins, or you weep, or sigh, your sigh will not be hidden from Him and, as St. John Chrysostom says, ‘If you only lament for your sins, then He will receive this for your salvation.'”

+ St. Moses of Optina

St. Dorotheos: A man can know nothing about the judgments of God. . . .

Icon of St. Dorotheos of Gaza“A man can know nothing about the judgments of God. He alone is the one who takes account of all and is able to judge the hearts of each one of us, as He alone is our Master. Truly it happens that a man may do a certain thing which seems to be wrong out of simplicity, and there may be something about it which makes more amends to God than your whole life; how are you going to sit in judgment and constrict your own soul? And should it happen that he has fallen away, how do you know how much and how well he fought; how much blood he sweated before he did it? Perhaps so little fault can be found in him that God can look on his action as if it were just, for God looks on his labor and all the struggle he had before he did it, and has pity on him. And do you know this, and what God has spared him for? Are you going to condemn him for this and ruin your own soul? And how do you know what tears he has shed about it before God? You may well know about the sin but do you not know about the repentance?”

— St. Dorotheos of Gaza, Discourses and Sayings

St. Gennadius of Constantinople: To judge sins is the business of one who is sinless . . .

Icon of St. Gennadius“To judge sins is the business of one who is sinless, but who is sinless except God? Who ever thinks about the multitude of his own sins in his heart never wants to make the sins of others a topic of conversation. To judge a man who has gone astray is a sign of pride, and God resists the proud. On the other hand, one who every hour prepares himself to give answer for his own sins will not quickly lift up his head to examine the mistakes of others.”

— St. Gennadius of Constantinople, The Golden Chain, 53-55

St. Ambrose of Optina: If someone offends you . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of Optina“If someone offends you, don’t tell anyone about it except your elder, and you will be peaceful. Bow to everyone, paying no attention whether they respond to your bow or not. You must humble yourself before everyone and consider yourself the worst of all. If we have not committed the sins that others have, perhaps this is because we did not have the opportunity – the situation and circumstances were different. In each person there is something good and something bad; we usually see only the vices in people and we see nothing that is good.”

+ St. Ambrose of Optina, Living Without Hypocrisy: Spiritual Counsels of the Holy Elders of Optina

St. Silouan: Christ prayed for those that crucified Him . . .

Icon of St. Silouan the Athonite“Christ prayed for those that crucified Him: ‘Father, count not this sin against them; they know not what they do.’ Archdeacon Stephen prayed for those who stoned him so that the Lord would not judge this sin against them. And so we, if we wish to retain grace, must pray for our enemies. If you do not find pity on a sinner who will suffer in flames, then you do not carry the grace of the Holy Spirit, but rather an evil spirit; and while you yet live, you must free yourself from his clutches through repentance.”

— St. Silouan the Athonite

St. Maximos the Confessor: Almost every sin is committed for the sake of sensual pleasure . . .

Icon of St. Maximos the Confessor“Almost every sin is committed for the sake of sensual pleasure; and sensual pleasure is overcome by hardship and distress arising either voluntarily from repentance, or else involuntarily as a result of some salutary and providential reversal. ‘For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged; but when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, so that we should not be condemned with the world.’ (1 Cor. 11:31-32).'”

+ St. Maximos the Confessor, Four Hundred Texts on Love 2.41, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. Augustine: Believe that others are better than you . . .

Icon of St. Augustine of Hippo“Believe that others are better than you in the depths of their soul, although outwardly you may appear better than they.”

— St. Augustine