Seraphim Danckaert is Director of Mission Advancement at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He holds an M.Div. from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and is a Ph.D. candidate in theology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Meaningful spiritual guidance is not always easy to find, especially nowadays. St. Paul reminds us: “For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers,” (1 Corinthians 4:15).
Yet, within the Church, God has called forth true spiritual fathers in all epochs and places. These fathers, like St. Paul before them, beget us anew through the Gospel, and call us to salvation in Christ Jesus.
Although they can never substitute for flesh-and-blood relationships, the writings of the Church Fathers provide us with a tremendous treasure trove of spiritual guidance.
To benefit most fully one needs to read the Fathers broadly and deeply. Even so, small quotations, especially in the age of the internet, help to pique interest and inspire greater curiosity. Here are five quotes that we’ve shared on the OCN Facebook page recently. Judging by the massive number of likes, each of these pearls of wisdom spoke to many people — and are likely to help you as well.
1. St. John Chrysostom on Scripture
“The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts.”
2. St. Nektarios of Aegina on Faith
“Christian religion is not a certain philosophic system, about which learned men, trained in metaphysical studies, argue and then either espouse or reject, according to the opinion each one has formed. It is faith, established in the souls of men, which ought to be spread to the many and be maintained in their consciousnesses.”
3. Elder Cleopa of Sihastria on the Cross
“Do not do anything without signing yourself with the sign of the Cross! When you depart on a journey, when you begin your work, when you go to study, when you are alone, and when you are with other people, seal yourself with the Holy Cross on your forehead, your body, your chest, your heart, your lips, your eyes, your ears. All of you should be sealed with the sign of Christ’s victory over hell. Then you will no longer be afraid of charms, evil spirits, or sorcery, because these are dissolved by the power of the Cross like wax before fire and like dust before the wind.”
4. St. John of Kronstadt on the Saints
“What does the daily invocation of the saints signify — of different ones each day, during the whole year, and during our whole life? It signifies that God’s saints — as our brethren, but perfect — live, and are near us, ever ready to help us, by the grace of God. We live together with them in the house of our Heavenly Father, only in different parts of it. We live in the earthly, they in the heavenly half; but we can converse with them, and they with us. God’s saints are near to the believing heart, and are ready in a moment to help those who call upon them with faith and love.”
5. St. Seraphim of Sarov on Christian Homes
“Neither do walls or rich furniture make a home. Millionaires in magnificent mansions may never know a home. But where there are good relationships, where love binds the family together and to God, there happiness is always to be found. For good relationships are heaven anywhere.”
Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+.