God's command concerning false images forbids, in essence, eyes looking upon evil, not good - causing harm instead of help.
God did not, on account of His foreknowledge of the evil that would result from man’s creation, leave man uncreated; for it was better to bring back sinners to original grace by the way of repentance and physical suffering than not to create man at all. The raising up of the fallen was a work befitting the Giver of life, Who is the wisdom and power of God; and for this purpose He became man.
God is closer to us than any person, at all times; closer than my clothing, closer than air, closer than my wife, father, mother, daughter, son, or friend. As in an ocean, every drop of water is connected with other drops of water and surrounded by them, or as in the air, every part is surrounded by others and united by them, so likewise we earthly inhabitants are surrounded by God from all sides, and the pure in heart among us or those who are being cleansed are united with Him, and are everywhere with Him.
No one is saved alone. He who is saved is saved in the Church, as a member of her, and in union with all her other members. If anyone believes, he is in the communion of faith. If he loves, he is in the communion of love. If he prays, he is in the communion of prayer.
...one who is concerned for his salvation should by no means ask questions in order to obtain knowledge only, for knowledge puffeth up (I Cor. 8:1), as the Apostle says. But to ask concerning the passions, and concerning how one should pass his life, that is, how to be saved, is most fitting; for this is necessary and leads one to humility. And humility is a shortened path to salvation, for it has been said: I was humbled and the Lord saved me (Ps. 114:6).
For we are taught through this example [of Peter's denial of Jesus] not to slacken in God's service by inconsiderately dwelling on our own infirmities. We are, rather, to trust in him who is able to make all of us strong, and we are to boast in God's miraculous works and favor shown to us who were beyond hope.
The man who endures accusations against himself with humility has arrived at perfection. He is marvelled at by the holy angels, for there is no other virtue so great and so hard to achieve.
On The Cross. Truly this symbol is thought despicable; but it is so in the world's reckoning, and among men; in Heaven and among the faithful it is the highest glory. Poverty too is despicable, but it is our boast; and to be cheaply thought of by the public is a matter of laughter to them, but we are elated by it. So too is the Cross our boast. And what is the boast of the Cross? That Christ for my sake took on Him the form of a slave, and bore His sufferings for me the slave, the enemy, the unfeeling one; yea, He so loved me as to give Himself up to a curse for me. What can be comparable to this?
The Lord has complete consideration for nature created by Him, and for its laws, which are the product of His infinite, most perfect wisdom; and therefore He usually realizes His will through the means of nature and her laws, as, for example, when He punishes people, or blesses them.
Each Christian, especially a priest, should follow in example the goodness of the Lord, that everyone should be invited to partake of the Lord's food at your table. The miser is an enemy of the Lord.
If God is slow in answering your request, or if you ask but do not promptly receive anything, do not be upset, for you are not wiser than God.
Many saw with their eyes through the icons things which God had performed and were changed heavenward. Such is the necessity for our beloved icons.
Rarely is emphasis devoted to holding Scripture above the Church, as the witness of Scripture is this: to know and to love God - our Creator; to love our fellow man; and to be fully the Church.
Christian! Remember and constantly bear in mind and in your heart the great words of the Lord's Prayer: 'Our Father, Who art in the Heavens.' Remember Who our Father is. God is our Father, our Love: who are we? We are His children, and among ourselves, brothers; in what manner of love ought children to live among themselves, having such a Father? Our life is that of love - yes, love. And where there is love, there is God, and where there is God, there is all-good.
The lives and praises of the saints are like the stars in brilliance. Because of their number, we do not know the names of all the saints; still, they amaze us by their radiant majesty, as do the stars, which while fixed in their position in the heavens, illumine all that is below, being seen by the Indians, yet not concealed from the Scythians, shining upon the land and guiding by their light those at sea. Similarly, the radiance of the saints, though their relics be entombed in sepulchers, is not bounded by the ends of this earth here below. Therefore, we marvel at their lives and are amazed at how God has glorified them that please Him.
As there is one God and one Lord, so also true dignity is expressed by oneness in the image of the One Principle. And so, the one Church, which heresies make an effort to cut into many, is likened by oneness unto the nature of the One. We call the ancient Catholic Church one according to her essence, according to our concept of her, according to her origin and preeminence.
Many who disdained icons through the heresy of iconoclasm themselves fell away from Christ Himself. For that which is done to the image passes on to him who is depicted.
If you do not experience in yourself the influence of the evil spirit, you will not know and you will not value as you should the goodness shown to you by the benevolence of the Holy Spirit; not having known the spirit that destroys, you also will not know the Life-Giving Spirit. Only because of the opposites of good and evil, of life and death, can we understand the one and the other... Glory to God, the Wise and All-Good that He permits the spirit of evil and death to tempt us and cause us suffering. Otherwise, how could we begin to value the consolation of grace, the consolation of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Life-Giver!
Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him and do not fret, for within man's anger hides foolishness.
When mind and heart are united in prayer and the soul is wholly concentrated in a single desire for God, then the heart grows warm and the light of Christ begins to shine and fills the inward man with peace and joy. We should thank the Lord for everything and give ourselves up to His will; we should also offer Him all our thoughts and words, and strive to make everything serve only His good pleasure.
The best time for reading the Word of God is in the morning. Lives of Saints after the mid-day meal, and Holy Fathers before going to sleep. Thus you can take up a little bit each day. During such occupations, you should continually keep in mind the main goal -- impressing the truth on yourself and awakening the spirit.
The more a person descends into humility, the more progress he makes and the more he succeeds.
Yesterday I was crucified with Christ; Today I am glorified with Him. Yesterday I died with Him, today I am made alive with Him. Yesterday I was buried with Him, today I am raised with Him. Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us.
I beg and implore you to go to the (Orthodox) Church. It is in all the power and glory of God! Like a ship with many masts, sails and a great helm. It is steered by the Holy Spirit. Its good helmsman are the doctors of the Church. The archpastors are the successors of the Apostles. But your chapel is like a small rowing-boat without rudder and oars; it is secured to the ship of our Church, and floats behind it. The waves wash over it, and it would have certainly gone down if it had not been secured to the ship.
Let us become divine for His sake, since for us He became man. He assumed the worse, that He might give us the better. He became poor, that by His poverty we might become rich. He accepted the form of a servant, that we might win back our freedom, He came down that we might be lifted up. He was tempted, that through Him we might conquer. He was dishonored, that He might glorify us. He died, that He might save us. He ascended, that He might draw to Himself us, who lie prostrate, having fallen into sin. Let us give all, offer all, to Him who gave Himself; A ransom and reconciliation for us.