Tag Archives: Reward

St. Ambrose of Optina: If you do good . . .

Icon of St. Ambrose of OptinaIf you do good, you must do it only for God. For this reason you must pay no attention to the ingratitude of people. Expect a reward not here, but from the Lord in heaven. If you expect it here — it will be in vain and you will endure deprivation.

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

St. John Cassian: The apostle notes four types of prayer . . .

Icon of St. John Cassian“The apostle notes four types of prayer. ‘My advice is that first of all supplication should be offered up for everyone, prayers, pleas, and thanksgiving’ (I Tim. 2:1)… A supplication is a plea or petition made on account of present and past sin by someone who is moved by contrition to seek pardon. In prayers we offer or promise something to God. The Greek term means ‘vow’… Third comes pleas. We usually make them for others when we ourselves are deeply moved in spirit. We offer them for those dear to us or when we beg for peace in the world… Fourth are thanksgivings. Unspeakably moved by the memory of God’s past kindnesses, by the vision of what He now grants or by all that He holds out as a future reward to those who love Him, the mind gives thanks. In this perspective richer prayers are often uttered. Looking with purest gaze at the rewards promised to the saints, our spirit is moved by measureless joy to pour out wordless thanksgiving to God.”

— St. John Cassian (The Conferences, Conf. Nine sects. 9, 11, 12, 13, 14)

St. John of Kronstadt: . . . rejoice in your sufferings, thanking God . . .

Icon of St. John of Kronstadt“When you are subjected to the malicious and furious violence of the passions, and to the harassments of the Devil, during the fulfillment of various works for God, accept these sufferings as sufferings for the name of Christ, and rejoice in your sufferings, thanking God; for the Devil is preparing you, without knowing it himself, the most shining crowns from the Lord.”

— St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ

St. Mark the Ascetic: . . . Both are mistaken.

Icon of St. Mark the Ascetic“Some without fulfilling the commandments think that they possess true faith. Others fulfill the commandments and then expect the kingdom as a reward due to them. Both are mistaken.”

— St. Mark the Ascetic, On Those who Think that They are Made Righteous by Works, 18

St. John of Kronstadt: What hinders you from fulfilling Christ’s commandments? . . .

“What hinders you from fulfilling Christ’s commandments?

The flesh and the world: that is, pleasant food and drink which men like, in which they delight both in thought and in fact, which make the heart gross and hard—a partiality for elegant dress and adornment, or for distinctions and rewards; if the dress or adornments are made of very beautiful coloured and delicate materials, then care and anxiety arise how to avoid staining or soiling them, or getting them dusty or wet, whilst care and anxiety how to please God in thought, word, and deed vanish and the heart lives for dress and adornment, and becomes entirely engrossed in these things, ceasing to care about God and being united to Him; if such is the case with a priest, then he neglects praying for his people, and becomes not soul-loving, but money-loving and ambitious, seeking not the men themselves, but that which appertains to them, that is, money, food, drink, their favour, their good opinion and good word, and flattering them.

Therefore fight against every worldly enticement, against every material enticement that hinders you from fulfilling Christ’s commandments, love God with all your heart, and care with all your strength for the salvation of your own soul, and the souls of others, be soul-loving.”

— St. John of Kronstadt

Clement of Alexandria: The perfect person does not only try to avoid evil. . . .

The perfect person does not only try to avoid evil. Nor does he do good for fear of punishment, still less in order to qualify for the hope of a promised reward.

The perfect person does good through love.

His actions are not motivated by desire for personal benefit, so he does not have personal advantage as his aim. But as soon as he has realized the beauty of doing good, he does it with all his energies and in all that he does.

He is not interested in fame, or a good reputation, or a human or divine reward.

The rule of life for a perfect person is to be in the image and likeness of God.

+ Clement of Alexandria

St. John of Kronstadt: “I believe in one Holy Catholic, and Apostolic Church.” . . .

Icon of St. John of Kronstadt“‘I believe in one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.’ Do you believe that all Orthodox Christians are members of one and the same body, and that therefore we must all ‘keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” must care for one… another, help one another? Do you believe that the saints are likewise members of the one body of Christ – that is, of the Church, and are our brethren, interceding for us before God in heaven? Do you respect every Christian, as a member of Christ, as His brother according to human nature? Do you love everybody as yourself, as your own flesh and blood? Do you generously forgive offenses? Do you help others in need, if you yourself have means? Do you teach the ignorant? Do you turn the sinner from the error of his ways? Do you comfort those who are in affliction? Faith in the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church inspires, obliges you to do all this; and for all this you are promised a great reward from the Head of the Church – our Lord Jesus Christ.”

+ St. John of Kronstadt

St. Mark the Ascetic: Unless a man gives himself entirely to the Cross . . .

Cross_in_Church_of_the_Holy_Sepulchre“Unless a man gives himself entirely to the Cross, in a spirit of humility and self-abasement; unless he casts himself down to be trampled underfoot by all and despised, accepting injustice, contempt and mockery; unless he undergoes all these things with joy for the sake of the Lord, not claiming any kind of human reward whatsoever – glory or honor or earthly pleasures – he cannot become a true Christian.”

+ St. Mark the Ascetic, “Letter to Nicolas the Solitary”, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 1)

St. Isaac the Syrian: If you practice an excellent virtue . . .

St. Isaac of Syria“If you practice an excellent virtue without perceiving the taste of its aid, do not marvel; for until a man becomes humble, he will not receive a reward for his labor. Recompense is given, not for labor, but for humility.”

— St. Isaac the Syrian