Wisdom From the Optina Fathers

Pearls of Wisdom From the Optina Fathers

If someone takes part in idle talking, he cannot live attentively; but is continually dissipated. From not talking, silence is born; from silence, prayer — for how can one who is fragmented pray? Be attentive to yourself; the attentive life is the goal....
St. Barsanuphius
When you notice the faults of others and have proud thoughts when in their presence, you must answer these demonic thoughts [with words like]: I am worse than everyone; and even if it is [said] without feeling, you should say it nevertheless.
St. Barsanuphius
A dissipated (carnal, fragmented) life is a great spiritual tragedy. It produces an especially horrible effect on those who allow themselves this dissipation, having begun with an attentive life. A pious Christian must conduct his life with great attention to himself and watchfulness. “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation (Mark 14:38),” said the Lord.
St. Nikon
For one who is proud, asking forgiveness is very difficult. Satan is also not capable of this, and hates to ask forgiveness.
St. Anatoly
Against impure thoughts, use the spiritual sword: the name of Jesus. You must offer repentance to the Lord, and you must not hide anything from your spiritual father. Wounds that are exposed heal quickly.
St. Joseph
From now on, let us strive firmly not to divide the path of Christ into various branches; but to combine them into one main branch: to love the Lord with our whole soul and to maintain peace and holiness with everyone — not thinking foolishly or suspiciously about anyone.
St. Ambrose
If you show mercy in some way to someone, for this you will obtain mercy. If you suffer along with those that suffer, which does not seem to be a great thing, you will be numbered among the martyrs. If you forgive someone who offends you, ... not only will all your sins be forgiven, but you will become a [child] of the Heavenly Father. If you pray from your heart - even a little bit - for your salvation, you will be saved. If you do not condemn a sinner, for this you will receive salvation. If you reproach yourself before God for the sins felt by your conscience, for this you will be justified. If you confess your sins before God, for this there is forgiveness and reward. If you sorrow for your sins, or feel compunction, or weep, or sigh, then you sighs are not hidden from Him; for St. Symeon [the New Theologian] says that not even a tear drop - nor a part of that drop - are hidden from Him.
St. Moses
The Lord cares for the Salvation of your soul more than you think. He will save you if you just turn to Him with humility and hope, and do even what seems to be a little. The Lord God greatly values even the little, if it is done for His sake.
St. Moses
Goodness is not confirmed without trial. Every Christian is tested by something: one by poverty, another by illness, a third by various thoughts, a forth by some calamity or humiliation, while another by various doubts. And, through this, firmness of faith, hope and love of God are tested.
St. Ambrose
Do not despair when you experience severe trials: these are necessary for the instructions in the spiritual life. Strive to find blame in yourself, but do not blame any of your neighbors.
St. Macarius
Wherever there is obedience, humility, and struggling, the demons can never take a person captive. If you would be simple hearted like the Apostles, would not conceal your human shortcomings, would not pretend to be especially pious, if you would walk free from hypocrisy, then this is the path. While it is easy, not everyone can find it or understand it. This path is the shortest way to salvation and attracts the grace of God. Unpretentiousness, guilelessness, frankness of soul - this is what is pleasing to the Lord, who is lowly of heart. “Except ye become children, ye shall never enter the Kingdom of God” (Mt. 18:13).
St. Leonid of Optina
As soon as you condemn someone, say to yourself, “Thou hypocrite, first remove the beam out of thine own eye (Matt. 7:5).” The beam in the eye is pride. The Pharisee has all the virtues, but he was proud; but the Publican, however, had humility, and was better
St. Ambrose

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