Doing Good ~ St. Silouan

God helps us in what is good, while the enemy incites us to evil, but this depends also on our own wills; we must constrain ourselves to do good, but with moderation and knowing the measure of our strength. We must study our souls to know what is salutory for us: it may be more profitable for one man to pray, for another to read or write. It is a good thing to read but it is better to pray without distraction, and better still to weep: to each as it is given to him by the Lord. To be sure, when we rise from sleep we must render thanks to God, then repent and pray our fill. Next, we should read to rest the mind, and after that pray again, and then work. Grace proceeds from everything that is good. But above all from brotherly love. ~ St. Silouan the Athonite
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Desiring Virtue

“When through self-control we have purified our body, and when through divine love we have made our incensive power and our desire incentives for virtue, and when we offer to God our intellect cleansed by prayer, then we will possess and see within ourselves the grace promised to the pure in heart (cf. Matt. 5:8).”

~St. Gregory Palamas.

Virtues

“The Holy Fathers say, ‘Pride goeth before a fall, and humility before grace.’ Whereas faintheartedness is the mother of impatience.” ~ St. Joseph the Hesychast, Monastic Wisdom

“The energy of grace is the power of spiritual fire that fills the heart with joy and gladness, stabilizes, warms and purifies the soul, temporarily stills our provocative thoughts, and for a time suspends the body’s impulsions. The signs and fruits that testify to its authenticity are tears, contrition, humility, self-control, silence, patience, self-effacement and similar qualities, all of which constitute undeniable evidence of its presence.” St. Gregory of Sinai

“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:11

“It is not the clever, the noble, the polished speakers, or the rich who win, but whoever is insulted and forbears, whoever is wronged and forgives, whoever is slandered and endures, whoever becomes a sponge and mops up whatever they might say to him. Such a person is cleansed and polished even more. He reaches great heights. He delights in the theoria of mysteries. And finally, it is he who is already inside paradise, while still in this life.” Elder Joseph the Hesychast

“Consider that your soul is an image. Before daubing on the true color of the Spirit,, erase the bad habits which have become implanted in you, whether it be swearing, lying, uttering insults, foul language, buffoonery, or any other of the disreputable things you are in the habit of doing. Erase the habit, that you may not come back to it after baptism. The bath takes away the sins, but you must correct the habit, so that after the pigments have been daubed on and the royal image shines forth, you may never thereafter blot it out or cause wounds or scars on the beauty which God has given you.” ~ St. John Chrysostom

“…all knowledge, strength and virtue are the grace of God, as are all other things. And through grace He has given all men the power to become sons of God (cf. John 1:12) by keeping the divine commandments. Or, rather, these commandments keep us, and are the grace of God, since without His grace we cannot keep them. We have nothing to offer Him except our faith, our resolution and, in brief, all the true dogmas that we hold with firm faith through the teaching we have heard (cf. Rom. 10:17).” ~ St. Peter of Damaskos.

“…whether we are watchful in virtue or fall asleep, as is likely to happen because of our failings, yet shall we live with Christ. As we look up to Him with cries of distress and continual lamentation, it is He Himself that we breathe. Let us therefore put on the breastplate of faith, and take as our helmet the hope of salvation; then the arrows of dejection and despair will find no chink through which to wound us (cf. I Thess. 5:8-10).”

~ St. John of Carpathos

“In whatever work we engage patience gives birth to courage, courage to commitment, commitment to perseverance, and perseverance to an increase in the work done. Such additional labour quells the body’s dissolute impulses and checks the desire for sensual indulgence. Thus checked, desire gives rise to spiritual longing, longing to love, love to aspiration, aspiration to ardour, ardour to self-galvanizing, self-galvanizing to assiduousness, assiduousness to prayer, and prayer to stillness. Stillness gives birth to contemplation, contemplation to spiritual knowledge, and knowledge to the apprehension of the mysteries. The consummation of the mysteries is theology, the fruit of theology is perfect love, of love humility, of humility dispassion, and of dispassion foresight, prophecy and foreknowledge. No one possesses the virtues perfectly in this life, nor does he cut off evil all at once. On the contrary, by small increases of virtue evil gradually ceases to exist.”

~ St. Gregory of Sinai

“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:11

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” ~ Galatians 5:22-23

“Your children will always be sufficiently wealthy if they receive from you a good upbringing that is able to order their moral life and behavior. Thus, strive not to make them rich, but rather to make them pious masters of their passions, rich in virtues.” ~ St. John Chrysostom

“…all knowledge, strength and virtue are the grace of God, as are all other things. And through grace He has given all men the power to become sons of God (cf. John 1:12) by keeping the divine commandments. Or, rather, these commandments keep us, and are the grace of God, since without His grace we cannot keep them. We have nothing to offer Him except our faith, our resolution and, in brief, all the true dogmas that we hold with firm faith through the teaching we have heard (cf. Rom. 10:17).”

~ St. Peter of Damaskos

“Unless a man keeps the commandments of God, he cannot progress, even in a single virtue” ~ Abba Agathon

“Every evening we must test ourselves as to how the day passed with us, and every morning we again should test ourselves as to how the night passed. And not only at some definite time but at every time and in every place and concerning everything we must give account of ourselves, and reflect concerning the virtues and the passions, in what condition of life we are: in the beginning, at the middle, or at the end; whether we are laboring worthy of the rewards and performing virtues, or only laboring without receiving rewards.”
~ St. Paisius Velichkovsky

“Virtues and Vices are food of the soul and it can feed on either one, turning to whichever one it wants. If it is bent toward moral axcellence, it will be fed by virtue – by righteousness, temperance, meekness, endurance. In other words, it is just as St. Paul says, “Being nourished by the word of truth.” 1 Tim. 4:6 ~ St. Ignatius of Antioch

“Virtue is not true virtue when it is not within the heart. Tehrefore correct your heart and your will, and you shall be good and your outward deeds will be good, for the inward is the beginning of the outward. The hands will not do evil, the feet will not walk toward evil, the tongue and lips will not speak evil, the eyes will not look upon evil and so on, when the will and the heart do not desire it.” – St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, “Journey to Heaven”

“The path of virtue is a path of effort and toil: “Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it,” whereas the gate of vice is wide and the way spacious, but lead to perdition.” – St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, “Journey to Heaven”

“If thou desirest joy, seek not after riches, nor bodily health, nor glory, nor power, nor luxury, nor sumptuous tables, nor vestures of silk, nor costly lands, nor houses splended and cnspicuous, nor anything else of that kind; but ursue that spiritual wisdom which is according to God, and take hold of virtue; and then nought of the things which are present, or which are expected, will be able to sadden thee.” – St. John Chrysostom

“Nothing helps men so much as to cut off self will for thereby a man prepares the way for nearly all the virtues.” -Abba Dorotheos

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1: 5-8

Paint your house with the colors of modesty and humility.
Make it radiant with the light of justice.
Decorate it with the finest gold leaf of good deeds.
Adorn it with the walls and stones of faith and generosity.
Crown it with the pinnacle of prayer.
In this way you will make it a perfect dwelling place for the Lord.
You will be able to receive him as in a splendid palace,
and through his grace you will already possess him,
his image enthroned in the temple of your spirit.

–from a sermon by St. John Chrysostom

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” ~2Peter 1:5-7

“Our virtue, therefore, must not be contaminated with fault, but must be single-minded and blameless and free from all that can bring reproach. For what profit is there in fasting twice a week, if you so doing serve only as a pretext for ignorance and vanity, and if it makes you supercilious, haughty and selfish? You tithe your possessions and make a boast of it; but in another way you provoke God’s anger, by condemning men generally on this account and accusing others. And you yourself are puffed up, though not crowned by the divine decree for righteousness, but on the contrary, heap praises upon yourself.” ~ St. Cyril of Alexandria