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Daily Scripture Readings, Troparion and Kontakion

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Selected quotes and teachings of the Holy Fathers

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Selected quotes from St. Peter of Damaskos

" 'Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy' (Matt. 5:7). The merciful person is he who gives to others what he has himself received from God, whether it be money, or food, or strength, a helpful word, a prayer, or anything else that he has through which he can express his compassion for those in need. At the same time he considers himself a debtor, since he has received more than he is asked to give."

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"When a person has acquired the habit of detachment , then he is granted access to the sixth stage of contemplation...At this stage one begins to look without passion on the beauty of created things...In this way, the intellect does not go above its true goal out of pride or self-esteem, thinking it understands things merely through its own power of thought; nor does it fall below its true goal, prevented by ignorance from obtaining perfection. It does not veer to the right through rejecting and hating created things, or to the left through mindless affection for them and attachment to them. It does not remain on the near side of its true goal because of its utter ignorance and sloth, nor trespass on its far side, lured by the spirit of meddlesomeness and senseless curiosity that arises from contempt or maliciousness. Rather, it accepts spiritual knowledge with patience, humility and the hope that is born of a deep faith. In this way, through its partial knowledge of things the intellect is led upwards towards divine love. But, even though it possesses some knowledge, it is aware that it is still ignorant; and this awareness keeps it in a state of humility. Thus through persistent hope and faith it reaches its goal, neither hating anything completely as evil, or loving anything beyond measure."

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"Scripture presents one aspect to most people, even if they think that they understand its meaning, and another to the person who has dedicated himself to continual prayer, that is, who keeps the thought of God always within him, as if it were his breathing...this is true even if in a worldly sense the person is ignorant and uneducated with regard to secular and merely human knowledge. God reveals Himself...to simplicity and humility, and not to those who engage in laborious study and superfluous learning. Indeed, God turns away from such learning if it is not allied to humility: as St. Paul says, it is better to be ignorant in speech rather than in spiritual knowledge (cf. 2 Cor. 11:6). Spiritual knowledge is a gift of grace, but skill in speaking is a matter of human learning, as are the other forms of worldly education: they do not contribute to the salvation of the soul."