Tag Archives: Light and Darkness

Elder Thaddeus on Love, Hate, and Kindness

Human KindnessIt seems that we do not understand one thing: it is not good when we return the love of those who love us, yet hate those who hate us. We are not on the right path if we do this. We are the sons of light and love, the sons of God, his children. As such we must have His qualities and His attributes of love, peace, and kindness towards all.

+ Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives

 

St. Sebastian Dabovich: I have heard people say that there are no demons or devils. . . . .

Temptation Christ in Wilderness“I have heard people say that there are no demons or devils. . . . . the Devil surely will not reveal himself to people who do not believe ; for, should he do so, they might believe, and that would be against his own sly, diabolical policy, as he would have all in the dark, so terrible is his enmity against the Eternal Source of Light and Treasure of Goodness—God Almighty.”

+ St. Sebastian Dabovich,  The Lives of Saints: With Several Lectures and Sermons [hard-copy book] | [read online], “Sunday for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity”

Aposticha, Vespers on the evening of the Sunday of the Last Judgement: Through greed we underwent the first stripping . . .

Icon Expulsion from Paradise 2Through greed we underwent the first stripping, overcome by the bitter tasting of the fruit, and we became exiles from God. But let us turn back to repentance and, fasting from the food that gives us pleasure, let us cleanse our senses on which the enemy makes war. Let us strengthen our hearts with the hope of grace, and not with foods which brought no benefit to those who trusted in them. Our food shall be the Lamb of God, on the holy and radiant night of His Awakening: the Victim offered for us, given in communion to the disciples on the evening of the Mystery, who disperses the darkness of ignorance by the Light of His Resurrection.

— Aposticha, Vespers on the evening of the Sunday of the Last Judgement, Lenten Triodion, p. 166

St. John of Kronstadt: Sermon on the Nativity of Jesus Christ (Part 5)

Icon of St. John of Kronstadt“Human nature is deified for the sake of the boundless compassion of the Son of God; and its sins are purified; the defiled are sanctified. The ailing are healed. Upon those in dishonour are boundless honour and glory bestowed. Those in darkness are enlightened by the Divine light of grace and reason.”

+ St. John of Kronstadt, Sermon on the Nativity of Jesus Christ

Read Full Sermon at Pravoslavie

From the Russian text appearing in Chapter 2 of “Solntse Pravdy: O Zhizni i Uchenii Gospoda Nashego, Iisusa Khrista” [“The Sun of Righteousness: On the Life and Teaching of Our Lord, Jesus Christ”], by Protopriest [Saint] Ioann [John] (Sergiev) of Kronstadt, pp. 4-6. Translated into English by G. Spruksts.

St. Seraphim of Viritsa: There will come a time when corruption and lewdness among the youth . . .

Icon of St. Seraphim of Vyritsa“There will come a time when corruption and lewdness among the youth will reach the utmost point. There will hardly be any virgin youth left. They will see their lack of punishment and will think that everything is allowable for them to satisfy their desires. God will call them, however, and they will realize that it will not be possible for them to continue such a life. Then in various ways they will be led to God… That time will be beautiful. That today they are sinning greatly, will lead them to a deeper repentance. Just like the candle before it goes out, it shines strongly and throws sparks; with its light, it enlightens the surrounding darkness; thus, it will be the Church’s life in the last age. And that time is near.”Book St Seraphim of Viritsa

+ St. Seraphim of Viritsa, Life-Miracles-Prophecies of Saint Seraphim of Viritsa: The New Saint of Orthodox Russian Church 1866-1949

St. Nikolai Velimirovich: Why are Vigil Lamps Lit Before Icons?

Why are vigil lamps lit before icons?

1. Because our faith is light.  Christ said: I am the light of the world (John 8:12).  The light of the vigil lamp reminds us of that light by which Christ illumines our souls.

2. In order to remind us of the radiant character of the saint before whose icon we light the vigil lamp, for saints are called sons of light (John 12:36, Luke 16:8).

3. In order to serve as a reproach to us for our dark deeds, for our evil thoughts and desires, and in order to call us to the path of evangelical light; and so that we would more zealously try to fulfill the commandments of the Saviour: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works” (Matt. 5:16).

4. So that the vigil lamp would be our small sacrifice to God, Who gave Himself completely as a sacrifice for us, and as a small sign of our great gratitude and radiant love for Him from Whom we ask in prayer for life, and health, and salvation and everything that only boundless heavenly love can bestow.

5. So that terror would strike the evil powers who sometimes assail us even at the time of prayer and lead away our thoughts from the Creator. The evil powers love the darkness and tremble at every light, especially at that which belongs to God and to those who please Him.

6. So that this light would rouse us to selflessness. Just as the oil and wick burn in the vigil lamp, submissive to our will, so let our souls also burn with the flame of love in all our sufferings, always being submissive to God’s will.

7. In order to teach us that just as the vigil lamp cannot be lit without our hand, so too, our heart, our inward vigil lamp, cannot be lit without the holy fire of God’s grace, even if it were to be filled with all the virtues.  All these virtues of ours are, after all, like combustible material, but the fire which ignites them proceeds from God.

8. In order to remind us that before anything else the Creator of the world created light, and after that everything else in order: And God said, let there be light: and there was light (Genesis 1:3).  And it must be so also at the beginning of our spiritual life, so that before anything else the light of Christ’s truth would shine within us.  From this light of Christ’s truth subsequently every good is created, springs up and grows in us.

May the Light of Christ illumine you as well!

Bridegroom Matins: Judas loves money with his mind. . . .

Icon of Betrayal of ChristJudas loves money with his mind.
The impious one moves against the Master.
He wills and plans the betrayal.
Receiving darkness, he falls from the light.
He agrees to the price and sells the priceless one.
A payment for the deeds the wretch gains hanging and a terrible death.
From his lot deliver us, O Christ God, granting remission of sins to those who celebrate Thine immaculate passion with love.

+ Kathisma Hymn (Tone 8) of Bridegroom Matins of Holy Tuesday

Canon of St. Andrew: I have passed my life ever in night . . .

Icon of JesusI have passed my life ever in night, for the night of sin has
been to me thick fog and darkness; but make me, O Savior,
a son of the day. [Ephesians 5:8]

+ The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, Mon 5.1
Text of the Canon

St. Porphyrios: . . . All beings turn towards Him, albeit unconsciously. . . .

Icon of St. Porphyrios“Man seeks joy and happiness in heaven. He seeks what is eternal far from everyone and everything. He seeks to find joy in God. God is a mystery. He is silence. He is infinite. He is everything. Everyone possesses this inclination of the soul for heaven. All people seek something heavenly. All beings turn towards Him, albeit unconsciously.

Turn your mind towards Him continually. Learn to love prayer, familiar converse with the Lord. What counts above all is love, passionate love for the Lord, for Christ the Bridegroom. Become worthy of Christ’s love. In order not to live in darkness, turn on the switch of prayer so that divine light may flood your soul. Christ will appear in the depths of your being. There, in the deepest and most inward part, is the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is within you [Luke 17:21].”

— St. Porphyrios, Wounded by Love

St. Theophan the Recluse: Whoever enters on the true path of pleasing God . . .

Icon of St. Theophon the Recluse“Whoever enters on the true path of pleasing God, or who begins with the aid of grace to strive toward God on the path of Christ’s law, will inevitably be threatened by the danger of losing his way at the crossroads, of going astray and perishing, imagining himself saved. These crossroads are unavoidable because of the sinful inclinations and disorder of one’s faculties which are capable of presenting things in a false light — to deceive and destroy a man. To this is joined the flattery of Satan, who is reluctant to be separated from his victims and, when someone from his domain goes to the light of Christ, pursues him and sets every manner of net in order to catch him again — and quite often he indeed catches him.”Book St Theophan The Path to Salvation

— St. Theophan the Recluse, The Path to Salvation: A Manual of Spiritual Transformation