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Author Topic: Pre-Modern Church Fathers (8th to 18th Centuries)  (Read 6601 times) Average Rating: 5
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #45 on: September 03, 2012, 08:21:14 PM »

You know that fervent penitence accompanied by tears that spring from the depth of the heart will melt and burn up the filth of sin like a fire and make pure the soul that has been defiled. In addition, penitence through the visitation of the Spirit generously imparts an abundant flow of light to the soul, whereby it is filled with mercy and good fruits (James 3:17). I pray, therefore, fathers and brethren, let us use fasting both during this third week of Lent and in those that follow, as we daily add fervor to fervor and zeal to zeal, until we arrive at the Sunday of Easter with souls and bodies alike resplendent.

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian, The Discourses, 12, 2
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« Reply #46 on: December 28, 2012, 12:33:47 AM »

What shall I say about the belly, the queen of the passions? If you can deaden or half-deaden it, do not relent. It has mastered me, beloved, and I worship it as a slave and vassal, this abettor of the demons and dwelling-place of the passions. Through it we fall and through it--when it is well-disciplined--we rise again.

-- St. Gregory of Sinai (d. 1346), On Prayer: Seven Texts, 6 (Source)
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« Reply #47 on: December 28, 2012, 09:24:23 PM »

Everyone who has experience can only laugh at the contradictions of the inexperienced; for they have learnt not through words but effort, and the experience which indicates the pains they take. It is effort which brings the useful fruits, and challenges the sterile views of the lovers of disputation and ostentation.

-- St. Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), The Triads (Source)
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« Reply #48 on: December 29, 2012, 02:10:07 PM »

Then, you will say, if a living man has the dispositions you mention in his soul, and yet does not partake of the holy mysteries, will he nevertheless receive the sanctification which the sacrament gives? Not in all cases; only when it is physically impossible for him to receive the elements, as it is for the dead. Such was the case of the solitaries who lived in the desert, or in caves and grottoes in the mountain-side, and could not avail themselves of priest or altar. Christ gave them this sanctification in an invisible manner. We know this because they had life, which they could not have had without partaking of the sacrament, for Christ himself said: "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." Another proof is the fact that God sent angels to several of these men with the sacrament.

-- St. Nicholas Cabasilas (d. c. 1391), Commentary on the Divine Liturgy, 42
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« Reply #49 on: December 30, 2012, 06:06:23 PM »

Are you ignorant of ancient things? Do you fear your fathers? Do you truly examine their doctrine? Recently (the second generation has not yet passed), Leo [III, pope of [Old] Rome, 795-816], another renowned man who was adorned with miracles, removed all pretext for heresy from everyone. Because the Latin language, frequently used by our holy Fathers, has inadequate meanings which do not translate the Greek language purely and exactly, and often render false notions of the doctrines of the Faith, and because it is not supplied with as many words that can interpret the meaning of a Greek word in its exact sense, that God-inspired man conceived an idea (the idea being conceived not only because of what we have just said, but also because of that heresy [the Filioque] now openly proclaimed without restraint, but then only being hinted at in the city of [Old] Rome). He decreed that the people of [Old] Rome should recite the sacred Symbol of Faith in the Greek tongue. Through these divinely inspired plans, he supplemented and redressed the inadequacy of the Latin tongue and expelled from the pious the suspicion of a difference in faith, pulling up by the roots the pollution then growing in the provinces of [Old] Rome.

In the city of [Old] Rome, he posted notices and decrees that the sacred Symbol of Faith be recited in the same Greek tongue with which it had been first proclaimed according to the authoritative utterance of the Synods, even by those who used Latin in the mystical and sacred rites. Not only for [Old] Rome did he decree it, but also throughout the provinces which deferred to the high priesthood and rule of [Old] Rome. He sent sermons and synodical letters that everyone think and do the same, and he ensured the immutability of the doctrine by anathemas. This practice was reverently maintained not only during his reign, but also during that of the praise-worthy Benedict, that gentle and forbearing man (as was befitting the office of archbishop) who was radiant with ascetical practices and who succeeded him to that arch-episcopal throne.

-- St. Photius the Great (d. 893), Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit, 87-88
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« Reply #50 on: December 30, 2012, 06:12:11 PM »

Thank you !  Back again !  Cheesy
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« Reply #51 on: January 01, 2013, 05:48:22 AM »

"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness." (Gal. 6:1) Many of the Galatians imagined that they were rebuking sinners, when in fact, out of love for power, they were justifying their own passions. Therefore Paul instructs them, If a man be overtaken, that is, if he be seized and assaulted by a demon, ye which are spiritual, restore him. Do not punish him, but correct him in the spirit of meekness. He did not say, “in meekness,” but in the spirit of meekness, implying that the gentle correction of sinners is pleasing to the Spirit and is a gift of the Spirit.

-- St. Theophylact of Ohrid (d. c. 1108), Commentary on Galatians (Source)
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« Reply #52 on: January 02, 2013, 04:36:58 PM »

Let us have love for God and for our fellow men. Then God comes and brings us joy and implants the eternal life in our hearts, and we fare well in this life and also go to Paradise, there to rejoice forever.

-- St. Cosmas of Aetolia (d. 1779), Source
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« Reply #53 on: January 03, 2013, 02:04:44 PM »

First I will say this, that whatever the Law says, it says to those under the Law. The ancient commandments should not be imposed on those under grace. If they were, we would keep the Sabbath, and be circumcised; many things contrary to our faith would follow. But we must understand these things only as a fore-shadowing. The apostle says that the Law is a shadow but not the true image of the realities.

-- St. Theodore the Studite (d. 826), Second Refutation of the Iconoclasts, 36 (Source)
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« Reply #54 on: January 05, 2013, 04:31:08 AM »

The truly humble man never ceases to reproach himself, even when the whole world attacks and insults him. He acts in this way, not simply in order to attain salvation as it were passively by enduring with patience whatever befalls him, but in order to press forward actively and deliberately to embrace the sufferings of Christ. From these sufferings he learns the greatest of all the virtues, humility: the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit, the gateway to the kingdom of heaven, that is to say, to dispassion. He who passes through this gateway comes to God; but without humility his road is full of pain and his effort useless.

-- St. Peter of Damascus (d. c. 12th century), Twenty-Four Discourses: Discourse 10, On Humility
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« Reply #55 on: January 06, 2013, 03:41:36 PM »

If you are having a meal with your brethren, eat unhesitatingly of what is presented to you, whatever it may be. If, however, you have been told not to eat fish or some other food, and it is offered to you, should the person who gave you the order be close at hand, go to him and request him to let you partake; but should he not be present, or if you know that he would not give his permission, and at the same time you do not wish to offend your hosts, tell him what you have done after you have eaten, and ask his forgiveness. If you are unwilling to do either of these things, it is better for you not to visit your brethren. For in this way you will be the gainer in two respects: you will escape the demon of self-esteem, and at the same time spare them offence and distress. If the foods offered to you are on the rich side, keep to your rule; yet even in this case it is better to take a little of everything. In short, when you are invited somewhere, apply the principle laid down by St Paul: 'Eat all that is set before you without raising questions of conscience' (cf. i Cor. 10:25).

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), One Hundred and Fifty-Three Practical and Theological Texts, 148
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« Reply #56 on: January 07, 2013, 02:32:57 PM »

If through humility and prayer you have been initiated into the spiritual knowledge of God, this means that you are known by God and enriched by Him with an authentic knowledge of His supernatural mysteries. If you are tainted with conceit, you have not been so initiated, but are governed by the spirit of this material world. Thus, even if you imagine that you know something, in fact you know nothing about things divine in the way you ought to (cf. 1 Cor. 8:2). If, however, you love God and regard nothing as more precious than love for God and for your fellow being, you will also know the depths of God and the mysteries of His kingdom in the way that someone inspired by the Holy Spirit must know them.

-- St. Nikitas Stithatos (d. c. 1090), On Spiritual Knowledge, Love and the Perfection of Living: One Hundred Texts, 80
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« Reply #57 on: January 09, 2013, 03:33:11 AM »

I will add this from my own small experience. When you sit in stillness, by day or by night, free from random thoughts and continuously praying to God in humility, you may find that your intellect becomes exhausted through calling upon God and that your body and heart begin to feel pain because of the intense concentration with which you unceasingly invoke the name of Jesus, with the result that you no longer experience the warmth and joy that engender ardor and patience in the spiritual aspirant. If this is the case, stand up and psalmodize, either by yourself or with a disciple who lives with you, or occupy yourself with meditation on some scriptural passage or with the remembrance of death, or with manual labor or with some other thing, or give your attention to reading, preferably standing up so as to involve your body in the task as well.

-- St. Gregory of Sinai (d. 1346), On Stillness: Fifteen Texts, 9
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« Reply #58 on: January 10, 2013, 08:02:32 AM »

But when you hear that other path of life called 'broad', do not suppose it to be free of sorrow, for in fact it is filled with many oppressive misfortunes. He calls it 'broad' and 'wide' because there are many who pass along it (cf. Matt. 7:13), each bearing a heavy load of the rubbish of this fleeting material life. But yours is a narrow path, O virgin, not even wide enough for two together. None the less, many at first embroiled in the world have renounced it on the death of their spouses, emulating your supernatural way of life and choosing to journey along your path so as to share in its rewards.

-- St. Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), To the Most Reverend Nun Xenia
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« Reply #59 on: January 11, 2013, 03:36:44 PM »

To give free rein to the senses is to shackle the soul, to shackle the senses is to liberate it. When the sun sets, night comes; when Christ leaves the soul, the darkness of the passions envelops it and incorporeal predators tear it asunder. When the visible sun rises, animals retreat into their lairs; when Christ rises in the heaven of the praying mind, worldly preoccupations and proclivities abscond, and the intellect goes forth to its labor - that is, to meditate on the divine - until the evening (cf. Ps. 104:19-23). Not that the intellect limits its fulfillment of the spiritual law to any period of time or performs it according to some measure; on the contrary, it continues to fulfill it until it reaches the term of this present life and the soul departs from the body. That is what is meant in the Psalms when it is said, 'How I have loved Thy law, O Lord; it is my meditation all the day long' (Ps. 119:97) - where 'day' means the whole course of one's present life.

-- St. Theoliptos, Metropolitan of Philadelphia (d. 1322), On Inner Work in Christ And the Monastic Profession
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« Reply #60 on: January 13, 2013, 02:00:56 PM »

One of the brethren asked Abba Agathon which is the better, bodily asceticism or the guarding of our inner state. The elder replied: 'Man is like a tree: bodily asceticism is the leaves, the guarding of our inner state the fruit. Since, according to the Scriptures, "every tree that fails to produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire" (Matt. 3:10), it is clear that all our efforts should be devoted to producing the fruit, that is, to keeping watch over our intellect. But we also need the shelter and canopy of the leaves - bodily asceticism.' How astonishing it is that this saint denounced those who fail to learn how to keep watch over the intellect and who boast only of their bodily asceticism: every tree, he said, which does not produce fruit - by which is meant keeping watch over the intellect - but only has leaves, that is, bodily asceticism, is cut down and thrown into the fire. How terrible, father, is your verdict.

-- Nikiphoros the Monk (d. 13th century), On Watchfulness and the Guarding of the Heart
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« Reply #61 on: January 14, 2013, 12:39:00 PM »

And the Lamb of God not only did this, but was chastised on our behalf, and suffered a penalty He did not owe, but which we owed because of the multitude of our sins; and so He became the cause of the forgiveness of our sins, because He received death for us, and transferred to Himself the scourging, the insults, and the dishonour, which were due to us, and drew down on Himself the apportioned curse, being made a curse for us. And what is that but the price of our souls? And so the oracle says in our person: "By his stripes we were healed," and "The Lord delivered him for our sins," with the result that uniting Himself to us and us to Himself, and appropriating our sufferings, He can say, "I said, Lord, have mercy on me, heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee".

-- St. Nicholas Cabasilas (d. c. 1391), Source
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« Reply #62 on: January 15, 2013, 10:34:02 PM »

I also accept every God-inspired book of the Old and New Testaments as well as the biographies and divine writings of all the holy fathers, teachers, and ascetics... In addition, I acknowledge that the monastic life is lofty and exalted, even angelic, pure of every sin on account of its perfect way of life. It is clear that the monastic life must be ordered according to the ascetic rules of the holy Basil the Great and not by half measures so that some in one place choose some rules and let others go.

-- St. Theodore the Studite (d. 826), Testament (Source)
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« Reply #63 on: January 17, 2013, 10:08:39 PM »

Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the sake of you salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off, my beloved soul, holy repentance, contrition of heart and penance for your sins. Putting them off year after year, month after month, day after day, you will not at all desire with your whole heart to repent, and you will not find one to have compassion on you.

O with what torture you will then begin to repent without success. Having the opportunity today to do some good deed, do not put off until tomorrow, my beloved soul, holy repentance, because you do not know what today will bring forth or what misfortune might happen to you this night. For you do not know what the day or night will bring, whether a long life stands before you or not, or if you will suddenly and unexpectedly receive a miserable and speedy death.

-- St. Paisius Velichkovsky (d. 1794), Source
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« Reply #64 on: January 21, 2013, 07:31:54 PM »

Anathema to those who spurn the teachings of the holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church, taking as a pretext and making their own the arguments of Arius, Nestorius, Eutyches, and Dioscorus, that unless we were evidently taught by the Old and New Testaments, we should not follow the teachings of the holy Fathers and of the holy Ecumenical Synods, and the tradition of the Catholic Church.

-- 7th Ecumenical Council, Session 1 (Source)
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« Reply #65 on: January 22, 2013, 09:25:23 PM »

Many doubt whether the things that are said about the blessed Gerald are true, and some think that they are certainly not true but fantastic. Others, as though seeking excuses for their sins, extol him indiscreetly, saying that Gerald was powerful and rich, and lived well, and is certainly a saint. They strive indeed to excuse their luxurious lives by his example. It seemed to me therefore that I ought to reply a little to these according to my ability. For I too, formerly, hearing the fame of his miracles, was nevertheless in doubt, and for this reason chiefly, that stores get about here and there, through I know not what channels, and are then gradually discredited as empty. Now with the others, now alone, I carefully investigated what each one said and whether they agreed, silently pondering if his life was one in which miracles frequently occured. Having learned how religiously he lived and that God had shown this man to be in His grace by many signs, I could no longer doubt of his sanctity. I marvel rather, that in this age of ours, when charity has almost entirely grown cold, and the time of Antichrist is at hand, the miracles of the saints should not cease, but He is mindful of the promise, that He makes by Jeremiah: "I will not turn away from doing good to [my people]" (Jes. 32:40)

-- St. Odo of Cluny (d. 942), The Life of Saint Gerald of Aurillac (Source)
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« Reply #66 on: January 22, 2013, 11:00:34 PM »

"And should we fall, we should not despair and so estrange ourselves from the Lord's love. For if He so chooses, He can deal mercifully with our weakness. Only we should not cut ourselves off from Him or feel oppressed when constrained by His commandments, nor should we lose heart when we fall short of our goal. Rather, let us learn that a thousand years in the sight of the Lord are but a single day, and a single day is as a thousand years (cf. Ps. 90:4). Let us be neither hasty nor tardy, and let us always be ready to make a new start. If you fall, rise up. If you fall again, rise up again. Only do not abandon your Physician, lest you be condemned as worse than a suicide because of your despair. Wait on Him, and He will be merciful, either reforming you, or sending you trials, or through some other provision of which you are ignorant."

-- St. Peter of Damaskos (p.233, The Philokalia, Vol.3)
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« Reply #67 on: January 23, 2013, 10:46:22 AM »

Tell me now, worthy friend, what I ask of thee,
Tell me where thou dost dwell who art snatched away?
With what souls has thy lot been appointed thee?
Hast risen to the regions celestial?
Hast thou attained to the things thou hopedst for?
Hast thou found an abode in the shining light?
O tell me Where the choirs of the living make melody,
As the shout of their triumph goes up to the Lord,
Their Alleluia.

-- St. Theodore the Studite (d. 826), Hymn For the Burial of a Monk (Source)
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« Reply #68 on: January 24, 2013, 07:19:55 PM »

After Vespers, and late at night, especially on long dark nights, the saint used to leave his cell and go the round of the monk's cells. If he heard anyone saying his prayers, or making genuflections, or busy with his own handiwork, he was gratified and gave thanks to God. If, on the other hand, he heard two or three monks chatting together, or laughing, he was displeased, rapped on the door or window, and passed. on. In the morning he would send for them and, indirectly, quietly and gently, by means of some parable, reprove them. If he was a humble and submissive brother he would quickly admit his fault and, bowing low before St. Sergius, would beg his forgiveness. If, instead, he was not a humble brother, and stood erect thinking he was not the person referred to, then the saint, with patience, would make it clear to him, and order him to do a public penance. In this way they all learned to pray to God assiduously; not to chat with one another after Vespers, and to do their own handiwork with all their might; and to have the Psalms of David all day on their lips.

-- St. Sergius of Radonezh (d. 1392), The Life, Acts and Miracles of our Revered and Holy Father Abbot Sergius (Source)
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« Reply #69 on: January 26, 2013, 05:54:02 PM »

And also, far and wide, as we said before, more than should be are lost and perjured through the breaking of oaths and through violations of pledges, and through various lies; and non-observances of church feasts and fasts widely occur time and again. And also there are here in the land Gods adversaries, degenerate apostates, and hostile persecutors of the Church and entirely too many grim tyrants, and widespread despisers of divine laws and Christian virtues, and foolish deriders everywhere in the nation, most often of those things that the messengers of God command, and especially those things that always belong to Gods law by right. And therefore things have now come far and wide to that full evil way that men are more ashamed now of good deeds than of misdeeds; because too often good deeds are abused with derision and the Godfearing are blamed entirely too much, and especially are men reproached and all too often greeted with contempt who love right and have fear of God to any extent.

St. Wulfstan II of York (d. 1023), The sermon of the Wolf to the English
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« Reply #70 on: January 27, 2013, 04:18:11 PM »

Hence she is the treasury and overseer of the riches of the Godhead. For it is an everlasting ordinance in the heavens that the inferior partake of what lies beyond being, by the mediation of the superior, and the Virgin Mother is incomparably superior to all. It is through her that as many as partake of God do partake, and as many as know God understand her to be the enclosure of the Uncontainable One, and as many as hymn God praise her together with Him. She is the cause of what came before her, the champion of what came after her and the agent of things eternal. She is the substance of the prophets, the principle of the apostles, the firm foundation of the martyrs and the premise of the teachers of the Church . She is the glory of those upon earth, the joy of celestial beings, the adornment of all creation. She is the beginning and the source and root of unutterable good things; she is the summit and consummation of everything holy.

-- St. Gregory Palamas (d. 1359), A Homily on the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary
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« Reply #71 on: January 27, 2013, 05:09:21 PM »

"If someone seeks for success and pleasure, comfort and glory in this world, then he loves the wisdom of this world. But if someone struggles for what is contrary to these things - if he suffers, practices self-control, and endures all kinds of afflictions and disgrace for the kingdom of heaven - then he loves the wisdom of God. The first longs to attain material benefits, secular learning and secular power, and often suffers on this account; but the second shares the sufferings of Christ. Thus the first places all his hopes in the things of this world, desiring to possess them even though they are transitory and hard to come by; while the second is hidden from the 'eyes of the foolish', as Holy Scripture puts it (Wisd.3:2), but is clearly revealed in the world to come, when everything hidden is disclosed."

-- St. Peter of Damaskos (p. 274, The Philokalia, Vol. 3)
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« Reply #72 on: January 27, 2013, 05:53:06 PM »

“For he created all things that they might be: and he made the nations of the earth for health: and there is no poison of destruction in them, nor kingdom of hell upon the earth.” (Wisdom of Solomon 1:14) This verse shows that God is the author of good things - not of the bad, thus he is a righteous judge, who rightly vindicates foul acts and sins. We do not sin by necessity when we transgress, but through the perverse volition which proceeds from the nature (quality) of free will. We know God to be the righteous and good creator of our human substance and of both internal and external senses, so that all that pertains to nature comes from him, and all that is against nature does not come from him. Sin is against nature and it is from it that death and all things that belong to it arise. With these evils man vested himself when, stripped of his faith and obedience, the devil turned him away from the Law of God through his promises, and he bound to himself all the seeds of his posterity by the condition transmitted to the offspring.

Rabanus Maurus, Abbot of Fulda, Commentary on the Book of Wisdom I, 3 (Patrologia Latina 109, col. 676-677)   
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« Reply #73 on: January 27, 2013, 05:56:30 PM »

Rabanus Maurus

Thank you! Smiley
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« Reply #74 on: January 27, 2013, 07:11:38 PM »

We must not despair about anybody, as long as the patience of God leads him to repent, since God desires not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live (Ez. 33:11). He is a pagan today: how do you know whether he won’t become a Christian tomorrow? He is an infidel Jew today: what if tomorrow he believes in Christ? He is a heretic today: what if tomorrow he follows the catholic truth? He is a schismatic today: what if tomorrow he embraces the catholic peace? What if these whom you see in any sort of error and you condemn as totally hopeless, before they end this life, repent and find true life? Whoever spoke any words, in all his life in this body – whatever its length, be it with his mouth or only in thought, with an impenitent heart, against the remission of sins that is in the Church, spoke against the Holy Spirit.

Thus, if the Father, the Son and the Spirit forgive sins, why is that unforgivable impenitence said to be blasphemous to the Spirit only, as if he who is bound by the sin of this impenitence seemed to oppose the very gift of the Holy Spirit by which remission of sins is possible? Among others, these things are said to stress the inseparable operation of the Trinity. When the Father is said to do something, it must not be understood that he works without the Son and the Holy Spirit; when the Son does something, it is not without the Father and the Holy Spirit; when the Holy Spirit acts, it is not without the Father and the Son. This is well known to those who believe rightly or to those who strive to understand as they can. It was said of the Father that “he does the works”, because the origin of works is from him from whom the existence of the cooperating Persons originates: the Son is born from him, and the Holy Spirit principally proceeds from him, who begat the Son, with whom he has the same Spirit in common.

This is why the Lord Jesus cast out demons by the Spirit; not that he wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this by himself and he would have needed the Spirit to come to his aid because he was not strong enough for the deed. But the spirit divided in itself was conveniently expelled by that Spirit, whom the Father and the Son have undivided in himself in common. So also the sins, because they are not forgiven outside the Church, needed to be remitted in that Spirit in whom the Church is gathered as one.

So, if somebody regrets his sins outside the Church, but his heart is impenitent for such a great sin that is alien to the Church of God, what use is his penitence to him, if he says this one word against the Holy Spirit, through which he excludes himself from the Church, who received this gift so that the remission of sins be done in it through the Holy Spirit? Although this remission is the work of the Trinity, it is understood to belong peculiarly to the Holy Spirit.        

For him who opposes this gift, so that he does not ask for penitence through it, but contradicts it impenitently, his sins become irremissible; not any sin in particular, but the despised or opposed remission of sins. Thus is the Holy Spirit spoken against, when one never comes from the dissipation to the congregation, which received the Spirit to forgive sins.  

--Rabanus Maurus (d. 856), Commentary on the Wisdom of Sirach V, 1 (PL 109, col. 903-905)
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« Reply #75 on: January 28, 2013, 06:01:49 PM »

^If you post another one of those I promise to shine your boots for a month!  Grin
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« Reply #76 on: January 28, 2013, 06:08:15 PM »

Those who have broken the bonds of worldly sense-perception are free from all servitude to the senses: they live solely in the Spirit, communing with Him, impelled by Him, and brought through Him in some measure into union with the Father and the Logos who are one in essence with Him; and so they become a single spirit with God, as St. Paul says (cf. 1 Cor. 6:17). Not only are they exempt from the dominion of the demons but they actually fill them with terror, since they share in the divine fire and are in fact called fire.

St. Nikitas Stithatos (d. 11th century), On the Practice of the Virtues: One Hundred Texts, 20
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« Reply #77 on: January 29, 2013, 04:00:49 AM »

“Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it. And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman.” (Gen. 2:21-22) That woman was made from man’s rib must be believed to have happened thus for the very power [of his desire to be] united with her (propter ipsius coniunctionis vim). That the bone extracted was replaced by flesh while he was sleeping was done for the sake of a higher mystery. This was to signify that sacraments of salvation were to come out from the rib of Christ who fell asleep by dying on the Cross: blood and water, from which the Church would be built as a spouse for him. 

Had it not been for the type of such great a sacrament in the creation of woman, what need was there for Adam to be asleep, so that God could take the rib from which he made the woman, since he could have done the same with Adam being awake and without causing him pain? Why was it necessary that, when the bone taken from man’s rib was built into the woman, the bone be replaced not by bone, but by flesh, if not to signify that Christ became weak for the sake of the Church, whereas the Church would be strengthened through him?   

For the sake of the same mystery, Scripture employed a symbolic word, not saying that God “made” or “fashioned” or “created” as with all his other creatures, but that “the Lord God built (aedificavit) the rib which he took from Adam into a woman”, as if speaking not of a human body, but of a house: which (house) we are, if only we keep the faith and the glory of hope strong until the end. Thus was it fit that the origin of mankind proceed through God’s aid, so as to bear witness through corresponding symbols to the redemption which was to come at the end of the world (in fine saeculi) by the same Creator.

We must know there is no way to attain the summit of contemplation, unless we cease from the oppression of exterior preoccupations. We never behold ourselves, so as to know that there is reason which rules, and another animal/psychic part (aliud animale) which is being ruled, unless, returning to the secret of silence, we fall asleep from all exterior disturbance. This silence of ours Adam signified well by being asleep, from whose rib the woman proceeded instantly – through this everyone is carried off (rapitur) to understand what he bears inside himself, when he shuts the invisible eyes of the mind, and then distinguishes within himself that which must rule manly and that which must be subjected as weaker, so that there be a part that can rule as man and another to be ruled as woman. 
   
--Rabanus Maurus (d. 856), Commentary on Genesis I, 14 (PL 107, col. 484-485)                   

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« Reply #78 on: January 30, 2013, 05:56:08 PM »

 Grin
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« Reply #79 on: January 30, 2013, 06:04:02 PM »

We believe to be members of the Catholic Church all the Faithful, and only the Faithful; who, forsooth, having received the blameless Faith of the Saviour Christ, from Christ Himself, and the Apostles, and the Holy Œcumenical Synods, adhere to the same without wavering; although some of them may be guilty of all manner of sins. For unless the Faithful, even when living in sin, were members of the Church, they could not be judged by the Church. But now being judged by her, and called to repentance, and guided into the way of her salutary precepts, though they may be still defiled with sins, for this only, that they have not fallen into despair, and that they cleave to the Catholic and Orthodox faith, they are, and are regarded as, members of the Catholic Church.

-- Pat. Dositheus II of Jerusalem (d. 1707), Confession of Dositheus (Source)
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« Reply #80 on: January 31, 2013, 03:21:57 PM »

The immersion into water, and specifically a triple immersion, and also a triple coming out of the water was not instituted arbitrarily or accidentally, but as the image of the Resurrection of Christ on the third day. "The water," says blessed Basil, "has the symbolic meaning of death, and accepts the body as into a coffin." How then, do we liken ourselves to the One Who descended into hell, imitating His burial through baptism? The bodies of those who are baptized in water are buried, in a certain sense. Consequently, baptism mystically represents the laying aside of bodily cares, by the word of the apostle: "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" (Col. 2: 11)."

St. Cyril, in his commentary on the above words, says: "Thus, with the help of these signs you have represented the three-day burial of Christ because, as our Saviour was in the heart of the earth three days and three nights, so in the first coming up from the water you symbolized the first day of His sojourn under the earth, and through your immersion, you symbolized the night. For, as one who walks in the night sees nothing, and he who walks during the day does so in light, so you, having immersed yourself in water saw nothing, as if you saw nothing in the night, and having come forth from the water, you see everything as in daylight. You were both dead and then born. So the salvific water was for you both a coffin and a mother. Although we neither actually die, nor get buried, nor are we nailed to the cross, but only simulate this symbolically, we, however, do indeed achieve salvation. Christ was truly crucified, truly buried, and truly resurrected. He granted all this to us, so that we, in imitating His passions, would become partakers of them and indeed would achieve salvation.

Archbp. Nikiphor of Slovania (18th century), Source
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« Reply #81 on: February 01, 2013, 06:38:32 PM »

Most of us do not realize that all evil thoughts are but images of material and worldly things. Yet if we persist in watchful prayer, this will rid our mind of all such images; it will also make if conscious both of the devices of our enemies and of the great benefit of prayer and watchfulness. 'With year eyes you will see how spiritual sinners are recompensed; you yourself will see spirituality and understand', says David the divine poet (cf. Ps. 91:8).

-- St. Hesychios the Priest (d. 9th century ), On Watchfulness and Holiness: Written for Theodoulos, 154
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« Reply #82 on: February 03, 2013, 01:39:06 AM »

This is the image of the Saviour who, with the position of his limbs, makes sacred for us the most salubrious, gentle and loving form of the Cross, so that by believing in his Name and obeying his commandments we may obtain eternal life thanks to his Passion. However, every time we raise our eyes to the Cross, let us remember the one who died for us to save us from the powers of darkness, accepting death to make us heirs to eternal life.

-- Rabanus Maurus (d. 856), Source
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« Reply #83 on: February 06, 2013, 12:28:01 PM »

It is fitting, however, that in whatever way, be it in corrupt or in language of perfect grammar, that mankind praise the author of all things, Who gave them the instrument of the tongue to sound the word of His praise among themselves, Who seeks in us not the worship of polished words but the pious mood of thought, the piling up of works in pious labor, not useless lip-service.

-- Otfrid of Weissenburg (d. c. 870), Letter to Liudbert
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« Reply #84 on: February 08, 2013, 07:40:33 PM »

The whole praise and blessedness of the saints consists of these two elements--their orthodox faith and praiseworthy life, and the gift of the Hoy Spirit and His spiritual gifts. A third point follows on them. When a man lives rightly, as a friend of God, with orthodox faith, and when God bestows His gifts on him and glorifies him through the gift of the Spirit, there follows the praise of the whole Church of the faithful and on the part of all its teachers and their pronoucnement of his blessedness.

-- St. Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), Discourse 10: Perfect Holiness, 2 (Source)
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« Reply #85 on: February 10, 2013, 07:41:58 PM »

Now, those who do not rise--through the reason endowed in nature and in the Holy Scriptures--to the hypostatic Logos of God, those who do not love Him "through whom all things were made" (Jn. 1:3), as most of the worldly philosophers do not, all of these people act contrary to the Creator's purpose in nature and in the Holy Scripture. And according to the wise and most insightful Kallistos, the thought of such people has lost its natural tendency and has become unnatural. This has occured because they use the means as ends in themselves, and the causes as results, and they love the gifts more than the Giver and the creatures more than the Creator, as St. Augustine has said. Since creation was not created for itself, but for the vision and glory of its Creator, it is not proper that it should be seen and admired for its own sake, but rather for the sake of its Creator. It is the same with the mirror which one does not look at for its own sake, but for the sake of the one reflected in it.

-- St. Nikodemus of the Holy Mountain (d. 1809), A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel (Source)
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« Reply #86 on: February 12, 2013, 03:16:57 PM »

For I begin to think from whence such things [characteristics] [come] to it [the stone] and I realise that they are naturally present in it without the participation of any creature, whether visible or invisible. Soon, with reeason leading, I am introduced above all things to the cause of all things. [It is] from this [cause] that place and order, number and species and genus, goodness and beauty and essence, and other gifts and grants are distributed to all.

-- Johannes Scotus Eriugena (d. c. 877), Expositions on the Celestial Hierarchy (Source)
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« Reply #87 on: February 14, 2013, 06:44:28 AM »

O living Spirit, O falling of God-dew,
O Grace which dost console us and renew,
O vital light, O breath of angelhood,
O generous ministration of things good,
Creator of the visible, and best
Upholder of the great unmanifest
Power infinitely wise, new boon sublime
Of science and of art, constraining might,
In whom I breathe, live, speak, rejoice, and write,
Be with us in all places, for all time!

-- Manuel Phile (d. 1345), To the Holy Spirit (Source)
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« Reply #88 on: February 16, 2013, 01:20:17 PM »

At length, when the blessed Rupert knew by divine revelation that his death was at hand, he said to Blessed Erendruda, whom he had called to him: "My beloved sister, my private conversation is to you; I pray that you will tell none of this, as I have told you a secret. It has pleased God to show me my departure from this Earth, and now I ask, Lady Sister, that you pray for my soul when God sees fit to call it to His peace." The holy virgin responded with tears: "If it is true as you say, master, arrange that I die before you do!" The bishop said to her: "Sister, most dear one! You should not wish to hasten to an inopportune death, nor to choose your exit while sin is great. Our end has not been fixed in our wishes, but in divine providence." The holy virgin prostrated herself at the feet of the priest and begged him: "Father, master, I ask you to remember that you have led me here from my own country, and now you wish to leave me a poor orphan. I ask only one thing of you, that if I am not worthy to depart before you or with you, at least intercede as a witness with God that I may be worthy of the passing wished for!" The most holy priest Rupert granted these requests, and when for a long time they had joined in talk sweetly about eternal life, and they had wept together, they said a final sad farewell.

-- Life of St. Rupert of Salzburg (d. 710), Source
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« Reply #89 on: February 18, 2013, 09:36:40 PM »

Patience is a heavenly gift, a gift from the Heavenly Father... With patience, and love for your fellow men, you become a victor in life's continual trials.

When there is no patience, all goodness in the soul is quickly suppressed and sin grows.

Patrience adorns the soul with diamonds which are not of the earth but belong to the Jerusalem that is above.

Patience increases obedience to the Divine words that have been written, are being written, and will be written.

-- St. Raphael Of Lesvos (d. 1463), Source
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