Tag Archives: Speech

St. Nikolai: On the Prayer of the Publican (I)

Icon Publican and the Pharisee 3Why does it say: he prayed with himself? Why not aloud? Because God listens more carefully to what his heart says than his lips. What a man thinks and feels as he prays to God is more important to God than the words his tongue forms. The tongue is capable of delusion, but the heart does not delude: it shows a man as he is – black or white.

+ St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican: “The Gospel on True and False Prayer,” Homilies: Commentary on the Gospel Readings for Great Feasts and Sundays Throughout the Year, Volume I

St. Dionysius: On Speech About Teachings

DionyisusDo not imagine this a victory, holy Sopatros, to have denounced [Tit. 3:9] a devotion, or an opinion, which apparently is not good. For neither—even if you should have convicted it accurately—are the (teachings) of Sopatros consequently good. For it is possible, both that you and others, whilst occupied in many things that are false and apparent, should overlook the true, which is One and hidden. For neither, if anything is not red, is it therefore white, nor if something is not a horse, is it necessarily a man. But thus will you do, if you follow my advice, you will cease indeed to speak against others, but will so speak on behalf of truth, that every thing said is altogether unquestionable.

+ St. Dionysius the Areopagite, Letter VI to Sopatros ─ Priest, The Works of Dionysius the Areopagite

St. Gregory Nazianzen: But as the old Confusion of tongues was laudable, when men who were of one language in wickedness and impiety . . .

Icon of St. Gregory the Theologian“But as the old Confusion of tongues was laudable, when men who were of one language in wickedness and impiety, even as some now venture to be, were building the Tower; for by the confusion of their language the unity of their intention was broken up, and their undertaking destroyed; so much more worthy of praise is the present miraculous one. For being poured from One Spirit upon many men, it brings them again into harmony. And there is a diversity of Gifts, which stands in need of yet another Gift to discern which is the best, where all are praiseworthy.”

+ St. Gregory Nazianzen, Oration on Pentecost

St. John of Kronstadt: You are angry with your neighbor, you despise him, do not like to speak peaceably . . .

ArguingYou are angry with your neighbor, you despise him, do not like to speak peaceably and lovingly to him, because there is something harsh, abrupt, careless, unpleasant to you in his character, in his speech, in his manners—because he is more conscious of his dignity than perhaps is necessary; or because he may be somewhat proud and disrespectful; but you yourself, your neighbor’s physician and teacher, are more guilty than him.

“Physician, heal thyself.” Teacher, teach yourself.

Your own malice is the bitterest of all evils. Is it then possible to correct malice by means of evil? Having a beam in your own eye, can you pull out the mote from the eye of another?

Evil and faults are corrected by good, by love, kindness, meekness, humility, and patience.

+ St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ [paperback]  or  [hardback]

You don’t need a Kindle device to read the Kindle version of this book, which is available a very reduced cost. Try Amazon’s FREE Kindle Cloud Reader app for your computer, phone, or tablet.

St. Dorotheos of Gaza: The Fathers tell us taht a man gains possession of the fear of God . . .

Icon of St. Dorotheos of Gaza“The Fathers tell us that a man gains possession of the fear of God by keeping the thought of death before his mind and remembering eternal punishment, by examining himself each evening about how he has passed the day and each morning about how he has passed the night; by never giving rein to his tongue and by keeping in close and continual touch with a man possessed of the fear of God, as his spiritual director.

A brother once said to one of the elders, ‘What shall I do, Father, that I may learn to fear the Lord?’ And he said, ‘Go and become a disciple of a man possessed of the fear of the Lord.’ We chase away from us the fear of the Lord by the fact that we do just the opposite; we do not keep before us the thought of death, or punishment, nor do we attend to our own condition, or examine how we spend our time, but we live differently and are occupied with different things, pandering to our liberty, giving way to ourselves, self-indulgence – this is the worst of all, this is perfect ruin.

What chases away the fear of the Lord as effectively as indulging our fancies? …. And when he was asked again, ‘Is it so very dangerous?’ he said, ‘Yes, there is nothing more dangerous than self-indulgence. It prepares the ground for all the vices because it chases out from the soul the fear of God.'”

— Saint Dorotheos of Gaza

St. Thalassios the Libyan: Whether we think, speak, or act . . .

Icon of St. Thalassios the Libyan“Whether we think, speak or act in a good or an evil manner depends upon whether we cleave inwardly to virtue or to vice.”

+ St. Thalassios the Libyan, “On Love, Self-Control and Life in Accordance with the Intellect,” 3.3, The Philokalia: The Complete Text (Vol. 2)

St. John Chrysostom: Let us always guard our tongue . . .

Icon of St. John Chrysostom“Let us always guard our tongue; not that it should always be silent, but that it should speak at the proper time.”

— St. John Chrysostom

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk: Let thy mind fast from vain thoughts . . .

Icon of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk“Let thy mind fast from vain thoughts; let thy memory fast from remembering evil; let thy will fast from evil desire; let thine eyes fast from bad sights: turn away thine eyes that thou mayest not see vanity; let thine ears fast from vile songs and slanderous whispers; let thy tongue fast from slander, condemnation, blasphemy, falsehood, deception, foul language and every idle and rotten word; let thy hands fast from killing and from stealing another’s goods; let thy legs fast from going to evil deeds: Turn away from evil, and do good.”

— St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

St. Nektarios: A Christian must be courteous to all. . . .

Icon of St. Nektarios“A Christian must be courteous to all. His words and deeds should breath with the grace of the Holy Spirit, which abides in his soul, so that in this way he might glorify the name of God. He who regulates all of his speech also regulates all of his actions. He who keeps watch over the words he is about say also keeps watch over the deeds he intends to do, and he never goes out of the bounds good and benevolent conduct. The graceful speech of a Christian is characterized by delicateness and politeness. This fact, born of love, produces peace and joy. On the other hand, boorishness gives birth to hatred, enmity, affliction, competitiveness, disorder and wars.”

— St. Nektarius of Aegina, The Path to Happiness, 7

St. John of Kronstadt: A man who is wrathful . . .

Photo of St. John of Kronstadt“A man who is wrathful with us is a sick man; we must apply a plaster to his heart – love; we must treat him kindly, speak to him gently, lovingly. And if there is not deeply-rooted malice against us within him, but only a temporary fit of anger, you will see how his heart, or his malice, will melt away through your kindness and love – how good will conquer evil. A Christian must always be kind, gracious, and wise in order to conquer evil by good.”

–St. John of Kronstadt, “My Life in Christ”