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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sayings of the Holy Fathers:

"Christians therefore ought to strive continually, and never to pass judgment on anyone - no, not upon the harlot on the street, or upon open sinners and disorderly persons - but to regard all men with singleness of intention and purity of eye, so that it may become like a fixed law of nature to despise no one, to judge no one, to abhor no one, to make no distinctions between them. If you see a man with one eye, be not divided in your heart, but look upon him as if he were whole. If a man is maimed of one hand, see him as not maimed, the lame as straight, the palsied as whole. This is purity of heart, when you see sinners or sick people, to have compassion on them and be tender-hearted towards them. It happens sometimes that the saints of the Lord sit in theatres and behold the deceit of the world. According to the inner man they are conversing with God, while according to the outer man they appear to men as contemplating what goes on in the world."

St. Macarius the Great.

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"It is impossible not to realize that there must be a being superior to earthly objects, which is invisible but gives unto to their multiplicity, and orders their existence. If such a being did not exist and did not function, in what way could there be a mutual harmonization of heavy andlight bodies, of dry and wet, of round and square, of fire and frost, of sea and land, of sun and clouds? The nature of each of them is different from that of every other. A terrible discord would be inevitable! One is causing heat and the other cold, a heavy body sinks while a light one goes up, the sun give light and the clouds bring shadow... But in the universe there is no disorders, only order; no disharmony, only concord. So we need to reflect: there has always been the Lord to unite so many different elements and to make of them a complete harmony."

St. Athanasius the Great.

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A zealous man never achieves peace of mind. But he who is a stranger to peace is a stranger to joy. If, as it is said, peace of mind isperfect health, and zeal is opposed to peace, then the man who has a wrong zeal is ill with a grievous disease. Though you presume, O man,to send forth your zeal against the infirmities of other men, you have expelled the health of your own soul; be assiduous, rather, in labouring for your own soul's health. If you wish to heal the infirm, know that the sick are in greater need of loving care than of rebuke.Therefore, although you do not help others, you expend labour to bring grievous illness upon yourself. Zeal is not reckoned among men to be a form of wisdom, but as one of the illnesses of the soul, namely narrow-mindedness and deep ignorance. The beginning of divine wisdom is clemency and gentleness, which arise from greatness of soul and the bearing of the infirmities of men. For, he says, 'Let the strong bear the infirmities of the weak', and 'Restore him that has fallen in the spirit of meekness.' The Apostle numbers peace and patience among the fruits of the Spirit.

Saint Issac the Syrian