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Archive for the 'Teachings of Seraphim' Category

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Part 12. The Spiritual Peace

 

Nothing so aids the acquiring of internal peace as silence, and as much as is possible, continual discussion with oneself and rarely with others. A sign of spiritual life is the immersion of a person within himself and the hidden workings within his heart.

This peace, as some priceless treasure, did our Lord Jesus Christ leave his followers before His death, saying, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I nto you" (John 14:27).
The apostle also spoke this about it: "And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7); "Follow peace with all people, and holiness, without which nobody shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).

In this way, we must direct all our thoughts, desires and actions toward obtaining God’s peace, and always cry out with the Church: "Lord, you will ordain peace for us" (Is. 26:12).

It is necessary by all means to try to keep one’s spiritual peace, and not to become provoked by insults from others. To do this, it is necessary always to restrain oneself from anger, and by careful watch to guard the mind and heart from unclean waverings.

Insults from others must be borne without disturbance; one must train oneself to be of such a nature, that one can react to insults as if they did not refer to oneself. Such an exercise can bring serenity to our heart and make it a dwelling of God Himself.

We see an example of such a lack of malice in the life of St. Gregory the Miracle-Worker. A certain immoral woman demanded payment from him, purportedly for a sin committed with her. He, not in the least angry with her, humbly said to one of his friends: pay her the price which she demands, quickly. The woman became possessed as soon as she accepted the unrighteous payment. The bishop then prayed and exorcised the evil spirit from her.

If it is impossible not to become indignant, then at least restrain your tongue according to the words of the Psalmist: "I am so troubled that I cannot speak" (Psalm 77:4).

In this instance we can take as examples for ourselves St. Spyridon of Tremifunt and St. Ephraim the Syrian. The first bore an insult when he entered the palace by the demand of the Greek emperor: one of the servants present in the emperor’s chamber, taking him for a beggar, laughed at him, did not allow him to enter the chamber and even struck him on the cheek. St. Spyridon, being without malice, turned the other cheek to him, according the word of the Lord (see Matthew 5:39). The Blessed Ephraim, living in the desert, was once deprived of food in the following fashion. His pupil, carrying the food, accidentally broke the vessel on the way. Blessed Ephraim, seeing the pupil downcast, said to him: "Do not grieve, brother. If the food did not want to come to us, then we will go to it." And so the monk went, sat next to the broken vessel, and, gathering the food together, ate it. He was thus without malice!

In order to keep spiritual peace, it is necessary to chase dejection away from oneself, and to try to have a joyful spirit, according to the words of the most wise Sirach: "Sorrow has killed many, but there is no good in it".

In order to keep spiritual peace it is also necessary to avoid judging others in any way. Condescension towards your neighbor and silence protect spiritual peace. When a person is in such a state, then he receives Godly revelations.

In order not to lapse into judgment of others, it is necessary to be mindful of oneself, to refuse to receive any bad information from anyone and to be as if dead to others.

For the protection of spiritual peace it is necessary to enter into oneself more often and ask: Where am I? In addition, it is necessary to watch that the physical senses, especially sight, serve the inner person, not diverting the soul with mortal items, because the gifts of grace are received only by those who have inner workings and keep watch over their souls.

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Part 11. Patience and Humility

It is necessary always to be patient and to accept everything that happens, no matter what, with gratitude for God’s sake. Our life — is a minute compared to eternity. And for this reason "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).

Bear the insults of your enemy in silence, and open your heart only to the Lord. Try in any way possible to forgive those who humiliate you or take away your honor, by the words of the Gospel: "Of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again" (Luke 6:30).

When people curse us, we must consider ourselves unworthy of praise, imagining that if we were worthy, everyone would be bowing down to us. We must always, and before everyone, humble ourselves, according to the teachings of St. Isaac the Syrian: "Humble yourself and you will see the glory of God within yourself."

An excerpt from the teachings of Seraphim of Sarov of the 18th & 19th centuries. He was one of the most renowned Russian saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Seraphim extended the monastic teachings of contemplation, theoria and self-denial to the layperson.

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Part 10. Fasting

The leader of feats and our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, before setting out on the feat of redeeming the human race, fortified Himself with a lengthy fast. And all ascetics, proceeding to work for the Lord, armed themselves by fasting and did not set out on the path of the Cross without the feat of fasting. They measured the very success of their ascetism by their success in fasting.

Despite their fasting, and to the surprise of others, the holy fathers did not know weakness but always remained hearty, strong and ready for the task at hand. Illnesses were rare among them and their lives were extraordinarily prolonged.

During the time that the body of one fasting becomes thin and light, the spiritual life attains to perfection and reveals itself through miraculous manifestations. The spirit then performs its actions as if in a bodiless body. External feelings are as shut out, and the mind, renouncing the worldly, ascends to the heavenly and becomes completely immersed in the contemplation of the spiritual world. Yet not everyone can take upon himself strict rules of abstinence from everything, nor deprive himself completely of all that serves to relieve infirmities: "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it" (Matthew 19:12).

One should take enough food every day to strengthen the body, so that it can be a friend and helper to the soul in accomplishing virtues: otherwise it can happen that through the exhaustion of the body the spirit can weaken. On Wednesdays and Fridays, particularly during the four Lenten periods, follow the example of the Fathers and take food once a day — and the Angel of the Lord will affix himself to you.

An excerpt from the teachings of Seraphim of Sarov of the 18th & 19th centuries. He was one of the most renowned Russian saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Seraphim extended the monastic teachings of contemplation, theoria and self-denial to the layperson.

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Part 9. Penitence

 

One desiring salvation must always have a heart inclined towards penitence and contrition: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise" (Psalm 51:19). With such a contrite spirit a person can avoid without trouble all the artful tricks of the devil, whose efforts are all directed towards disturbing the spirit of a person.

By this disturbance he sows tares (i.e., weeds), according to the words of the Gospel: "Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? From where then did the weeds come? He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this’" (Matthew 13:27-28).

But when a person struggles to have a meek heart and to keep peace in his thoughts, then are all the wiles of the enemy powerless; for, where there is peace of thought, God Himself resides: "In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion" (Psalm 76:2). We offend the greatness of God with our sinning throughout our entire lives, and so must always humbly ask the Lord forgiveness for our sins.

An excerpt from the teachings of Seraphim of Sarov of the 18th & 19th centuries. He was one of the most renowned Russian saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Seraphim extended the monastic teachings of contemplation, theoria and self-denial to the layperson.

Click or Tap here to listen to or save this as an audio mp3 file

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Part 8. Non-Judgment and Forgiveness

 

It is not right to judge anyone, even if you have seen someone sinning and wallowing in the violations of God’s laws with your own eyes, as is said in the word of God: "Judge not, that you not be judged" (Mt. 7:1). "Who are you that you judge another man’s servant? to his own master he stands or falls. Yea, he shall be held up: for God is able to make him stand" (Rom. 14:4). It is much better always to bring to memory the words of the apostle: "Wherefore let him who thinks he stands take heed incase he falls" (1 Cor. 10:12).

One must not harbor anger or hatred towards a person that is hostile toward us. On the contrary, one must love him and do as much good as possible towards him, following the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ: "Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you" (Mt. 5:44). If then we will try to fulfill all this to the extent of our power, we can hope that God’s light will begin to shine in our hearts, lighting our path to the heavenly Jerusalem.

Why do we judge our neighbors? Because we are not trying to get to know ourselves. Someone busy trying to understand himself has no time to notice the shortcomings of others. Judge yourself — and you will stop judging others. Judge a poor deed, but do not judge the doer.

It is necessary to consider yourself the most sinful of all, and to forgive your neighbor every poor deed. One must hate only the devil, who tempted him. It can happen that someone might appear to be doing something bad to us, but in reality, because of the doer's good intentions, it is a good deed. Besides, the door of penitence is always open, and it is not known who will enter it sooner — you, "the judge," or the one judged by you.

An excerpt from the teachings of Seraphim of Sarov of the 18th & 19th centuries. He was one of the most renowned Russian saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Seraphim extended the monastic teachings of contemplation, theoria and self-denial to the layperson.

Click or Tap here to listen to or save this as an audio mp3 file

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You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
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Part 7. Mercy

It is necessary to be merciful to those wretched and wandering. The great light givers and Fathers of the Church took great care concerning this. In relation to this virtue we must try by all means to fulfil the following law of God: "Be merciful, as your Father also is merciful," and, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice" (Luke. 6:36; Matthew 9:13).

The wise heed these saving words, but the foolish do not heed them. For this reason the reward is also different, as is said: "He which sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully" (2 Corinthians 9:6).

Giving alms to those in need must be done with a spiritually kind disposition, in agreement with the teachings of St. Isaac the Syrian: "If you give anything to him who asks, may the joy of your face precede your alms, and comfort his sorrow with kind words."

An excerpt from the teachings of Seraphim of Sarov of the 18th & 19th centuries. He was one of the most renowned Russian saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Seraphim extended the monastic teachings of contemplation, theoria and self-denial to the layperson.

Click or Tap here to listen to or save this as an audio mp3 file

~

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

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