Tag Archives: Spiritual Death

St. Nikolai Velimirovich: Only the foolish think that suffering is evil . . .

Icon of the Healing of the ParalyticOnly the foolish think that suffering is evil. A sensible man knows that suffering is not evil but only the manifestation of evil and healing from evil. Only sin in a man is a real evil, and there is no evil outside sin. Everything else that men generally call evil is not, but is a bitter medicine to heal from evil. The sicker the man, the more bitter the medicine that the doctor prescribes for him. At times, even, it seems to a sick man that the medicine is worse and more bitter than the sickness itself! And so it seems at times to the sinner: the suffering is harder and more bitter than the sin committed. But this is only an illusion – a very strong self-delusion. There is no suffering in the world that could be anywhere near as hard and destructive as sin is. All the suffering borne by men and nations is none other than the abundant healing that eternal Mercy offers to men and nations to save them from eternal death. Every sin, however small, would inevitably bring death if Mercy were not to allow suffering in order to sober men up from the inebriation of sin; for the healing that comes through suffering is brought about by the gracefilled power of the Holy and Life-giving Spirit.Book St Nikolai Homilies

+ St. Nikolai Velimirovich, “23. The Third Sunday After Easter: The Gospel on the Miracle at Bethesda John 5:1-16,” Homilies Volume 1: Commentary on the Gospel Readings for Great Feasts and Sundays Throughout the Year

St. Gregory of Palamas: Let us flee from those who reject patristic interpretations . . .

Icon of St. Gregory of Palamas“Let us flee from those who reject patristic interpretations and attempt by themselves to deduce the complete opposite. While pretending to concern themselves with the literal sense of the passage, they reject its godly meaning. We should run away from them more than we would from a snake, for when a snake bites it kills the body temporarily, separating it from the immortal soul, but when these evil men get their teeth into a soul, they separate it from God, which is eternal death for that soul. Let us escape as far as we can from such people, and take refuge with those who teach piety and salvation in accordance with the traditions of the Fathers.”

+ St. Gregory of Palamas, Homily 34, On the Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord and God and Savior Jesus

Apostolic Constitutions: . . . Wherefore care must be had to avoid destructive shepherds.

Jesus Good Shepherd 3Hear, O you bishops; and hear, O you of the laity, how God speaks: I will judge between ram and ram, and between sheep and sheep. And He says to the shepherds: You shall be judged for your unskilfulness, and for destroying the sheep. That is, I will judge between one bishop and another, and between one lay person and another, and between one ruler and another (for these sheep and these rams are not irrational, but rational creatures): lest at any time a lay person should say, I am a sheep and not a shepherd, and I am not concerned for myself; let the shepherd look to that, for he alone will be required to give an account for me. For as that sheep that will not follow its good shepherd is exposed to the wolves, to its destruction; so that which follows a bad shepherd is also exposed to unavoidable death, since his shepherd will devour him. Wherefore care must be had to avoid destructive shepherds.

+ Apostolic Constitutions II.XIX

St. Isidore of Pelusium: Just as the fishermen hide the hook with bait . . .

Icon of St. Isidore of PelusiumJust as the fishermen hide the hook with bait and covertly hook the fish, similarly, the crafty allies of the heresies cover their evil teachings and corrupt understanding with pietism and hook the more simple, bringing them to spiritual death.

+ St. Isidore of Pelusium (Letter to Timothy the Reader, PG, 78:252)

St. John of Karpathos: . . . How much more, then, will a Christian be heard when he prays to be delivered from spiritual death?

Jesus Gadarene DemonPharaoh entreated, saying: ‘May God take away from me this death’ (Exod.10:17), and he was heard. Similarly, when the demons asked the Lord not to cast them into the abyss, their request was granted (cf. Luke 8:31). How much more, then, will a Christian be heard when he prays to be delivered from spiritual death?

+ St. John of Karpathos, For the Encouragement of the Monks in India who had Written to Him: One Hundred Texts (69)

St. Justin Popovich: Only the gospel of Christ fully knows the mystery of sin and the problem of sin . . .

Icon of the Prodigal SonOnly the gospel of Christ fully knows the mystery of sin and the problem of sin and everything which hides within it. The prodigal son of the Gospel is the perfect example of the repentant sinner. The Gospel shows us that man, through his free will, can share his life with Earth and with Heaven, with Satan and with God, with paradise and with hell. Sin gradually strips man of everything divine in him, paralyzes his every divine inclination and desire, until it finally throws him into the bosom of Satan. And then man reaches the plight of grazing the swine of his master, the Devil. The swine are passions, which are always greedy and gluttonous. In such a life, the unfortunate man is nothing more than insane. In a shocking parable of the Gospel, the Lord says about the prodigal son, ‘he came to himself,’ (Luke 15:17) How did he come to himself? He came to himself through repentance. Through sin, man becomes mad, insane. Every sin, even the most seemingly insignificant one, is always an insanity of the soul. Through repentance, man comes to his senses becomes complete again, comes to himself. Then he cries out loud to God, runs to Him, and cries towards Heaven, ‘Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and in thy sight’ (Luke 15:21). And what is the heavenly Father doing? He is always infinitely merciful upon seeing His child in a state of repentance. He has compassion for him, runs, embraces him, and kisses him. He orders His heavenly hosts, the holy angels: ‘Bring forth the best robe and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this is My son who was dead, and is alive again; and he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.’ (Luke 16:22-24) And this is taking place for each and every one of us, and for the sake of every sinner who repents. Namely, joy and happiness is taking place in the heaven of the All-merciful Lord and God, and together with Him, all of the holy angels.Book St Justin Popovich Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ

+ St. Justin Popovich, From the preface to the book of Fr. Justin, Sinful Souls, Belgrade, 1968; quoted from Orthodox Faith & Life in Christ, “Select Writings of Fr. Justin”

St. Justin Popovich: . . . There is no passion, no sin for which the Lives of the Saints do not show how the passion or sin in question in conquered, mortified, and uprooted.

Icon of St. Justin Popovich“In the Lives of the Saints are shown numerous but always certain ways of salvation, enlightenment, sanctification, transfiguration, ‘christification,’ deification; all the ways are shown by which man conquers sin, every sin; conquers passion, every passion; conquers death; conquers the devil, every devil. There is a remedy there for every sin: from every passion─healing, from every death─resurrection from every devil─deliverance; from all evils─salvation. There is no passion, no sin for which the Lives of the Saints do not show how the passion or sin in question in conquered, mortified, and uprooted.”

+ St. Justin Popovich, Orthodox Faith & Life in Christ, “Introduction to the Lives of the Saints”

St. Justin Popovich: In them [the Lives of the Saints] it is clearly and obviously demonstrated . . .

Icon of St. Justin PopovichIn them [the Lives of the Saints] it is clearly and obviously demonstrated: There is no spiritual death from which one cannot be resurrected by the Divine power of the risen and ascended Lord Christ; there is no torment, there is no misfortune, there is no misery, there is no suffering which the Lord will not change either gradually or all at once into quite, compunctionate joy because of faith in Him. And again there are countless soul-stirring examples of how a sinner becomes a righteous man in the lives of the Saints: how a thief, a fornicator, a drunkard, a sensualist, a murderer, and adulterer becomes a holy man─there are many, many example of this in the Lives of the Saints; how a selfish egoistical, unbelieving, atheistic, proud, avaricious, lustful, evil, wicked, depraved, angry, spiteful, quarrelsome, malicious, envious, malevolent, boastful, vainglorious, unmerciful, gluttonous man becomes a man of God─there are many, many example of this in the Lives of the Saints

By the same token in the Lives of the Saints there are very many marvelous examples of how a youth becomes a holy youth, a maiden becomes a holy maiden, an old man becomes a holy old man, how an old woman becomes a holy old woman, how a child becomes a holy child, how parents become holy parents, how a son becomes a holy son, how a daughter becomes a holy daughter, how a family becomes a holy family, how a community becomes a holy community, how a priest becomes a holy priest, how a bishop becomes a holy bishop, how a shepherd becomes a holy shepherd, how a peasant becomes a holy peasant, how an emperor becomes a holy emperor, how a cowherd becomes a holy cowherd, how a worker becomes a holy worker, how a judge becomes a holy judge, how a teacher becomes a holy teacher, how an instructor becomes a holy instructor, how a soldier becomes  holy soldier, how an officer becomes a holy officer, how a ruler becomes a holy ruler, how a scribe becomes a holy scribe, how a merchant becomes a holy merchant, how a monk becomes a holy monk, how an architect becomes a holy architect, how a doctor becomes a holy doctor, how a tax collector becomes a holy tax collector, how a pupil becomes a holy pupil, how an artisan becomes holy artisan, how a philosopher becomes a holy philosopher, how a scientist becomes a holy scientist, how a statesman becomes a holy statesman, how a minister becomes a holy minister, how a poor man becomes a holy poor man, how a rich man becomes a holy rich man, how a slave becomes a holy slave, how a master becomes a holy master, how a married couple becomes a holy married couple, how an author becomes a holy author, how an artist becomes a holy artist. . .

— St. Justin Popovich, Orthodox Faith & Life in Christ, “Introduction to the Lives of the Saints”

St. Symeon: God said to Adam . . .

Icon of St. Symeon the New TheologianGod 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

 

St. Justin Popovich: Protestantism? Is is the loyal child of Papism. . . .

Icon of St. Justin Popovich“Protestantism? It is the loyal child of Papism. It went from one heresy to another over the centuries because of its rationalistic scholasticism, and it is continually drowning in the various poisons of its heretical errors. In addition, Papal haughtiness and ‘infallible’ foolishness reign absolutely within it, ruining the souls of its faithful. First of all each Protestant is an independent pope when it comes to matters of faith. This always leads from one spiritual death to another; and there is no end to  this ‘dying’ since a person can suffer countless spiritual deaths (in a lifetime).

Since this is the way things are, there is no way out of this impasse for the Papist-Protestantic Ecumenism with its pseudo-Church and its pseudo-Christianity without wholehearted repentance before the God-man Christ and His Orthodox Catholic Church. Repentance is the remedy for every sin, the medicine given to man by the only Friend of man (Christ).”Book St Justin Popovich Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ

+ St. Justin Popovich, “Humanistic Ecumenism,” Orthodox Faith & Life in Christ