That God may forgive us, let us forgive men.                

We are all on this earth as temporary guests.       

Prolonged fasting and prayer is in vain            

Without forgiveness and true mercy.

God is the true Physician; sins are leprosy.

Whomever God cleanses, God also glorifies.

Every merciful act of men, God rewards with mercy.

He who returns sin with sin perishes without mercy.

Pus is not cleansed by pus from infected wounds,

Neither is the darkness of the dungeon dispelled by darkness,

But pure balm heals the festering wound,

And light disperses the darkness of the dungeon.

To the seriously wounded, mercy is like a balm;

As if seeing a torch dispersing the darkness, everyone rejoices in mercy.

The madman says, “I have no need of mercy!”

But when he is overcome by misery, he cries out for mercy!

Men bathe in the mercy of God,

And that mercy of God wakens us to life!

That God may forgive us, let us forgive men,

We are all on this earth as temporary guests.

                -St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Abba Anthony said, “A time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad they will attack him saying, “You are mad, you are not like us.”  
– Teachings of St. Anthony the Great –

Intellectual Approach to Scripture

When one undertakes to examine Scripture in an idle, intellectual way, he creates hatred and quarrelling. Why? Because the intellectual approach to Scripture does not help us to turn and reflect on our sins, but instead makes us focus on problems and concepts related to the study of Scripture, with the result that our logical and intellectual faculties are aroused to no real purpose. “Knowledge” by itself does not add anything. On the contrary, it encourages the cultivation of the individual and his private sense of things; it fosters the self-sufficiency of his personal opinions, which he then seeks to justify and impose on others. This kind of approach to Scripture immediately places you in conflict with others; it opposes your will and opinion to theirs, prompting you to disagree and argue with them, and to make enemies of your brothers. Filled as I am with my own opinions about things, I am not able to receive anything from God.

The correct way is to read Scripture with simplicity and to allow God to tell us what He wants to tell us. It’s one thing to read Scripture because you want to collect information, and another thing to read it because you want to acquire its true content, that is, the Holy Spirit. This kind of knowledge is the life of God (cf. Jn 17:3), the entry and extension of God into our life; it is God’s descent and dwelling among us. We can judge whether or not our study of Scripture is authentic based on the number of tears we shed when we study. To be sure, I can also read Scripture without shedding tears, and without a strong sense of my sins, but with the hope that God’s grace, through my reading of Scripture, will break open my hardened heart. Read Scripture, then, but don’t forget about your sins and reduce Scripture to an object of intellectual inquiry, for at that point it ceases being the word of God and you start seeing it as something human. The criterion for your study should be this: the way you read the Bible should bring peace to your heart, communion with God, love of neighbors, and the consciousness of your own sinfulness: the recognition of how unworthy and ill-prepared you are to stand before God.   

             – Elder Aimilianos, On Abba Isaiah

Heaven is not a place, but a Person:

Communion with the Triune God and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ which is eternal Life (John 17:3). Hell is the loss or refusal of this communion, whether by our conscious rejection or the denial of it by our lives.                                    

-Archimandrite Sergius Boyer