The Shepherd, February 2008
FROM THE FATHERS
“OUR ROAD and journey of human life, even here on Earth, is extended from hell to paradise, from Satan to God. Within this also lies the immortality and the eternity of man. The unrepentant sin, even on this earth, becomes for man an unbearable torture, a hell with all its consequences: anger - one torment, pride - another torment, hatred - a third torment; avarice, wickedness, malice - hell, hell, hell. This is because within every sin lies Satan, and within him is hell. This always happens when a sin, any sin, dominates the soul of man. The salvation of the soul from these torments of hell is only one: through faith and repentance, the Life-giver and All-Merciful Lord Jesus Christ, Who overflows the soul with the eternal paradisiacal peace and immortal joy. Only thus can man find, through the Holy Spirit, his justification in Christ, his immortality, his eternity.”
St Justin (Popovic) of Chelije, + 1979 A.D.
"HATRED then is darkness. And it cannot happen that one who hates another will not first injure himself. Outwardly he is trying to injure another; inwardly he is destroying himself.… He is wounding his own soul who cherishes hate for another. And what will he do to the one he hates? What does he do to him? He steals his money. Does he steal his faith? He injures his good name. Does he injure his conscience? However he may harm him, he only harms him outwardly. But look how he harms himself. He who hates another man becomes the enemy of his own soul. But it is because he does not see the harm that he rages against another; and all the more dangerously for himself, because he does not see what he is doing to himself; for, raging against another he has lost the power of discretion. You raged against your enemy, and raging you robbed him, but you have become evil. There is a great difference between a person robbed and one who is evil. He has lost his money; you have lost your integrity of soul. See if you can find out which has suffered the greater loss. He lost something that will perish; you have become someone who will perish!”
Blessed Augustine of Hippo, + 430 A.D.
“LET US be convinced beyond a doubt of this unfailing truth: God cares indefatigably for a monk and for every Orthodox Christian who surrenders himself heart and soul to the service of God and to the will of God. He keeps him, builds and trains his soul, and prepares him for a blessed eternity. All the sorrows and sufferings caused us by people never come to us except with God’s permission for our essential good. If these sorrows and troubles were not absolutely necessary for us, God would never allow them. They are indispensable, in order that we may have occasion to forgive our neighbours and so receive forgiveness of our own sins. They are indispensable, in order that we may discern the providence of God watching over us, and acquire a living faith in God. Such a living faith makes its appearance in us when we learn from numerous experiments that it is the all-powerful hand of God that always delivers us from our troubles and difficult circumstances, and not our skill or ingenuity. They are indispensable, in order that we may acquire love for our enemies, for it is love that finally purifies the heart of the poison of malice and makes it capable of loving God and of receiving that special, abundant grace from God.”
Saint Ignatius (Brianchaninov) of Stavropol & the Caucasus,
+ 1867 A.D.
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