Quote of the Week


“This letter is written to you by the Cossack Vladimir. I would like to tell you about a manifestation (sign) that took place at the moment that the cross was set up on the site of the Ipatiev House, where the Tsar and his family were killed. On October 5, 1990, at about 11 a.m.-12 noon, crushed stone was brought in a truck. The weather turned gloomy. The whole sky was filled with dark clouds, without any clear areas, and snow fell sporadically. The cross was taken from the vehicle and placed on the ground and then set in place. One of those present, Alexei by name, went off to one side to take a look at how the cross had been set up, and whether it was leaning. Suddenly Alexei said, ‘Look up!’ We all raised our heads, and a sort of tremor or fear passed through our bodies. Above us — that is, directly above the cross — the heavens parted and a ray of light fell upon the cross from a round clear spot in the sky. The sun was not visible, and the opening in the clouds was rotating to the right; and on the earth, around the cross within a radius of 150-300 feet, there was a circle illumined by this ray of light from the heavens, and no snow was falling. All this continued for about thirty to forty minutes, while the cross was being set in place and fixed with concrete, and then the opening in the clouds closed up. The light disappeared. Up to thirty people were present at this time. (All at that moment were unbelievers.) When we asked a priest about this manifestation later, he replied that this was obviously a sign. The majority of us came to belief in God after this.”


(Sign over the Ipatiev House, Russian Herald, 1995, see Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II)


“Prayer, fasting, vigil and all other Christian activities, however good they may be in themselves, do not constitute the aim of our Christian life, although they serve as the indispensable means of reaching this end. The true aim of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God…

God the Word, the God-Man, our Lord Jesus Christ, compares our life with a market, and the work of our life on earth He calls trading, and says to us all: Trade till I come (Lk. 19:13), redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:16). That is to say, make the most of your time for getting heavenly blessings through earthly goods. Earthly goods are good works done for Christ’s sake and conferring on us the grace of the All-Holy Spirit.”


(St. Seraphim of Sarov (1759–1833) to Nicholas Motovilov. Read their whole conversation here)


“Since the Emperor gasped so desperately for breath, the Empress thought she should give him a word of encouragement. She said how difficult it was to always remain patient and never complain. He looked at her with surprise and said: ‘Complain? Grumble? If one knows the Will of God, all is well.’ And then, after a while: ‘I want to be quite clear in telling you how I feel: All of my efforts are always aimed at recognizing and following the Will of God in all things as clearly as possible, and as perfectly as possible…’

About ten minutes before his death he leaned his head back in exhaustion, saying: ‘I can’t go on any more.’ – ‘Our dear Lord is coming to fetch you,’ the Empress consoled him. He gasped back: ‘Jesus, come!’ and with a transfigured face he repeated: ‘Thy will be done, Jesus, Jesus, come! Yes – yes! My Jesus, as Thou willst. Jesus.’ It sounded like a dialogue. Then his breathing became irregular. With his final, somewhat louder breath he gasped the name: ‘Jesus!’

It was 12:23 in the afternoon. The heart of the Emperor stood still.”


(Hans Karl Zessner-Spitzenberg, Death of an Emperor)


“Not all bishops are bishops indeed. You consider Peter; mark Judas as well. You notice Stephen; look also on Nicolas, sentenced in the Apocalypse by the Lord’s own lips, whose shameful imaginations gave rise to the heresy of the Nicolaitans. ‘Let a man examine himself and so let him come.’ For it is not ecclesiastical rank that makes a man a Christian. The centurion Cornelius was still a heathen when he was cleansed by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Daniel was but a child when he judged the elders. Amos was stripping mulberry bushes when, in a moment, he was made a prophet. David was only a shepherd when he was chosen to be king. And the least of His disciples was the one whom Jesus loved the most. My brother, sit down in the lower room, that when one less honorable comes you may be bidden to go up higher. Upon whom does the Lord rest but upon him that is lowly and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at His word?”


(The letter of St. Jerome to the monk Heliodorus)


“Christ is a person so dear to the Father, that those who are in Christ need not be at all jealous of being accepted upon his account. If Christ is accepted they must of consequence be accepted, for they are in Christ, as members, as parts, as the same. They are the body of Christ, his flesh and his bones. They that are in Christ Jesus, are one spirit; and therefore, if God loves Christ Jesus, he must of necessity accept of those that are in him, and that are of him. But Christ is a person exceedingly dear to the Father, the Father’s love to the Son is really infinite. God necessarily loves the Son; God could as soon cease to be, as cease to love the Son. He is God’s elect, in whom his soul delighteth; he is his beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased; he loved him before the foundation of the world, and had infinite delight in him from all eternity.

A terrified conscience, therefore, may have rest here, and abundant satisfaction that he is safe in Christ, and that there is not the least danger but that he shall be accepted, and that God will be at peace with him in Christ.”


(Jonathan Edwards, Safety, Fulness, and Sweet Refreshment in Christ)


“Oh man, you are the wonderful work of God! God formed you from dust, redeemed you through His Son, who feeds you with His body, so you might rule with Him for eternity. In return, He only asks for love, which He Himself gives, so He may receive it back.!

This is why everything you do for me, Lord, is worthy of God, and everything I do without you bears all the dirt and dust of the earth, nothingness. Yet you have enclosed your image into this earthen vessel my Lord; it pleases your Son to descend into this abode of dirt, in body and in reality. So there is something in me which pleases you, my Lord: my soul, (though it is a prisoner bound by the senses of the body) which He, who redeemed us with His own blood, visits. Rejoice, my soul, who are so dear to God, console yourself in your captivity: do what you can for Him, who has done everything in His power for you”


(II. Rákóczi Ferenc fohászai (The Prayers of Francis Rákóczi II of Hungary), p. 46)


“At the heart of change was the Egri Norma (Norm of Eger), whose nuns attend to the elderly and the solitary even today…

The nuns knew no fatigue. They sought out the ‘shy poor’, who led their miserable lives in slums, yet could never persuade themselves to beg. The nuns decided on the norm, which meant the amount of goods – salt, flour, soap, spending money – that were needed to keep the poor alive, and they always provided them with this amount. They did not forget to strengthen the souls of the afflicted with prayer, either…

The example set forth by the town of Eger was followed by others. Welfare centres were set up, first in Baja, Kecskemét, Esztergom, Gyöngyös, later in the Felvidék and Transylvania. These centers became part of the local administration…

– The nuns of the Norm of Eger had exceptional energy. They took their duties very seriously and sometimes gave their lives for the poor. Four of them could take care of the poor in a town of fifteen thousand. Their aim was to give the beggars back their human dignity. They gathered the homeless from crypts and caves, and cleansed the poor from lice and bugs. The nuns travelled the country on bicycles. They gave free meals, operated poorhouses and washed the clothes of the beggars with lye-ashes, in the open, or in damp little rooms. It was no surprise that the signs of lung disease appeared on their face, often at an early age – related sister Clarissa, the leader of the Bethany Welfare Centre and Nunnery, which opened ten years ago.”


(Edit Palágyi, Apácák a szemérmes szegényekért (Nuns for the Poor), Szabad Föld, December 19, 2003)


“Who can, while in a state of fellowship with God, dare to play at being a prophet? Who has the gall to pretend to be an apostle, even in a show? Where is his reverence? Where is his fear? Where is his humility?… In order to produce a religious movie someone must, for the time, disguise his individuality and simulate that of another. His actions must be judged fraudulent, and those who watch them with approval share in the fraud. To pretend to pray, to simulate godly sorrow, to play at worship before the camera for effect–how utterly shocking to the reverent heart! How can Christians who approve this gross pretense ever understand the value of sincerity as taught by our Lord? What will be the end of a generation of Christians fed on such a diet of deception disguised as the faith of our fathers?… It is not by chance that the actor’s profession has been notoriously dissolute. Hollywood and Broadway are two sources of corruption which may yet turn America into a Sodom and lay her glory in the dust.”


(A. W. Tozer (1897–1963), The Menace of the Religious Movie)


“If there is one place where people know the real meaning of human weakness, this is it. Even the greatest courage disappears in the temptations of seclusion, if it is not supported by divine power, given to us according to our faith. The candidate was not asked whether he could keep vigil, or fast, or whether he could bear loneliness and silence, but whether he had belief. He was not admitted, or was quickly expelled if he seemed to be a worrying, self-absorbed soul. I had never seen the master more srict than the time I dared approach him with my own inner afflictions. He had to grab the table to restrain himself, his eyes were glowing with fire!
‘We do not need any man who is preoccupied with himself. It is better if you went home immediately!’
Well, after this, I stopped worrying about my own problems—this poison—, and understood their wisdom: ‘Devote your time to God, and your shortcomings will disappear.’”


(Szeverin Szedő (1901–1986), The Isle of Seclusion: My Years in a Carthusian Monastery)


“There can be absolutely no doubt that science has been directly linked to weapons of mass destruction for at least two centuries. But the responsibility has become much more acute since the development of nuclear weapons in the 1940s. Today this problem is particularly grave because every aspect of existence has become a weapon, not only physics. Chemists are working on ever more powerful bombs; biologists on mutated species and weapon viruses; engineers and physicists on guided systems and space control; information science and mathematics on controlling international communication systems; the social sciences on providing ideological cover etc. etc… By now even the most abstract and naive line of research is required to be described, in the grant proposals, as potential application-oriented.”


(Dr. Daniel Amit, professor at the University di Roma, in a 2003 interview for The Arab News)