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Selected Preceptorials of Starets Ambrose



How to live


"How to live?" – was this extremely important question posed to the Starets from everyone. He would answer in his usual humorous tone: "Live – do not grieve, don’t judge anyone, do not vex anyone and my respect to everyone." Often the Staret’s tone would produce smiles on the frivolous listeners. However, if one was to contemplate this instruction, the deep meaning would become apparent to anyone. "Do not grieve," that is, so that the heart does not occupy itself with sorrows and misfortunes that are unavoidable to a human being, but rather it be directed to the Sole Source of eternal joy – God. Through Him, a person is reconciled with his sorrows, becomes "submissive" and thereby obtains tranquillity. – Don’t judge anyone," "do not vex." Judging and vexing, which are the offsprings of destructive pride, are the two most common activities among people. They are sufficient to decline a person’s soul into the depths of hell; even while in the main, on the surface they might think that they are not sins. - "My respect to everyone" – refers to the Apostle’s directive: "in honour giving preference to one another" (Romans 12:10) Gathering all these thoughts into one, we can see that in the above pronouncements, the Starets was mainly preaching humility – the basis of spiritual life, the source of all goodness without which one cannot be saved.

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