He who has found the path to longsuffering and non-hatred, has found the
path of life.
It is better to cut irritability short with a smile, than to fume
Irritability and rankling are the same as snake poison, because they distort
the face, and weaken the muscles, and cause the person to have insufficient
strength to perform; but meekness and love banish all this.
Be attentive to yourself, that you are not possessed by quick temper,
irritability, rankling, from which you will lead a fearful and unsettled life.
But attain magnanimity, meekness, kindness and everything that is proper for a
Christian, in order to lead a peaceful and serene life.
If you have ought against any, or any against you, make peace. If you do not
do this, anything that you bring to God will not be accepted (Mark 11:25, Matt.
5:23-24). If you fulfill this commandment of the Lord, then you can pray to Him
boldly, saying "Lord, forgive me my debts, as I forgive my brother’s,
fulfilling Your commandment! And the Lover of Mankind will answer: "If you
have released him, I will release you: if you have forgiven, I forgive your
Do not think, that you alone carry more sorrows than anyone else. As no one
living on earth can avoid its air, thus a person, living in this world, cannot
avoid being tempted by sorrows and illnesses. He who is occupied with the
earthly, will feel earthly sorrow; he who strives for the spiritual, will
suffer about the spiritual. But the latter will be blessed, because their fruit
is plentiful in the Lord.
God does not permit the soul hoping in Him and patient, to be tried in such
measure that it comes to despair, that is to fall into such temptations and
sorrows, that it cannot bear them (1 Cor. 10:13). And the evil one cannot tempt
the soul and burden it with sorrow as he will, but only as much as permitted by
God. Let the soul only bear it courageously, holding on to hope in faith and
awaiting God’s help and hope; and it is impossible for it to be abandoned.
Ven. Ephraim of Syria
Hatred comes for harboring ills, harboring ills — from pride, pride — from
vanity, vanity — from lack of faith, lack of faith — from hard-heartedness,
hard-heartedness — from laxity, laxity — from laziness, laziness — from
despondency, despondency — from impatience, impatience — from conceit.
Prayer depends on love, love — on joy, joy — on meekness, meekness — on
humility, humility — on service, service — on hope, hope — on faith, faith — on
obedience, obedience — on simplicity.
Ven. Macarius the Great
We must consider sadness healthy for us only in the case when it results
from repentance for sins, or a fervent desire for perfection, or contemplation
of future blessings. The blessed Paul says the following concerning this: "For
Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the
sorrow of the world worketh death" (2 Cor. 7:10).
There is also another type of sorrow that is indecent, that fills the
sinning soul not with the intention of correcting one’s life and purifiyng
itself from passions, but with ruinous despair. This is what did not permit
Cain to repent after murdering his brother, and did not let Judas seek ways of
assuagement after his treason, but led him, through instilled despair, to hang
Ven. John Cassian
The one who observes moderation does not sorrow that he did not get food,
the virtuous, that he did not perform shameful indecencies, the tranquil, that
he did not get revenge, the wisely meek, that he is deprived of worldly honors,
the unselfish, that he suffered a loss. They have completely doused in
themselves such desires — and therefore do not feel sorrow; because the
passionless are not hurt by sorrow, as one in armor is not pierced by arrows.
Sorrow comes from that which is revolting (disasters, sorrows,
disappointments); from sorrow also comes a gloomy frame of mind (as is said: he
is out of sorts, in a bad mood); and from both comes senseless abuse (griping
If you want to suppress sorrow with a gloomy frame of mind, then embrace
good-naturedness and array yourself in joy without anger.
St. Nil of Sinai
Anger is the memory of hidden hatred, in other words, harboring ills. Anger
is the desire to do evil to the offending one. Quick-temperedness (biliousness)
is the sudden inflammation of the heart. Disappointment is an unpleasant
(annoying) feeling that settles in the soul. Rage is the defeat of good mood
and the disgrace of the soul.
Anger, like the quick motion of a millstone, can grind down and destroy
spiritual wheat and fruit in one moment — more that anything else can do in a
whole day. Therefore, one must carefully pay attention to oneself. It, like a
flame fanned by strong winds, burns and destroys the spiritual field faster
than a slow fire.
As darkness disappears with the appearance of light, so does all sadness and
anger disappear from the fragrance of humility.
Ven. John of the Ladder
When someone is either good to us, or we bear evil from someone, we must
look to the hills and thank God for everything that is happening to us, always
reproaching ourselves and saying, as the fathers said, that if something good
happens to us, then this is God’s Providence, but if bad, then it is because of
our sins, because truly everything which we have to bear, we bear because of
our sins. The saints, if they suffer, suffer for God’s name, or in order that
their virtues be revealed for the sake of many others, or that their crowns and
rewards from God be increased.
Ven. Abba Dorotheus
The Lord supplements the lack of good deeds with either illnesses or
Demetrius of Rostov.
When, for example, the sick person plans to bear his illness in good
spirits, and does so, the enemy, knowing that in this manner he will become
entrenched in the virtue of patience, sets about disrupting his good will. At
first, he makes the person think of all the good deeds that he could be doing
if he was in another circumstance, and tries to convince him that, were he
healthy, how well he would work for God and what benefits he would bring to
himself and others: he would go to church, lead discussions, would read and
write to help others and so on.
Noticing that such thoughts are beginning to be admitted, the enemy repeats
them more often, multiplies them and paints them brighter, leads them towards
feelings, calls out desires and efforts to such deeds, portraying how well
these or other feelings would go, and encouraging pity, that he is tied hands
and feet by illness.
Little by little, repeating such thoughts and movements in the soul often,
the desire changes to discontent and vexation. The former good will in this
manner is disturbed, and the illness is no longer accepted as medicine from God
and a field for the virtue of patience, but like something not belonging to the
act of salvation, and the desire to free oneself from it becomes
uncontrollable, still seeing freedom from illness as freedom to do good deeds and
to please the God of all beings.
When the person has come down to this, the enemy steals this good reason for
the desire to be well from his mind and heart, and, leaving only the desire for
health for health’s sake, forces the ill person to look upon the illness with
vexation, not as a barrier to good, but as something which is hostile by
itself. From this stems impatience, which cannot be healed by good thoughts,
deprives of strength, turns into complaints and deprives the ill person of the
former peace from good-spirited patience. And the enemy rejoices, that he has
managed to disrupt it.
In the same exact manner, the enemy disrupts the poor man, patiently bearing
his fate, painting for him what great deeds he would perform were he rich.
It is easy to get rid of these temptations, if he who has an experienced
director, counselor and person to talk to, follows his directions with humble
submissiveness. But he who is deprived for some reason of such a blessing, let
him be attentive to himself and strictly learn to distinguish the good from the
bad from the fundamentals of Christianity, on which all our lives should be
based. If events, disturbing (as it appears to us) our abilities to widen our
scope of good deeds, are sent by God, then accept them with submission and do
not listen to any suggestions, swaying you from such submission. In sending
such an event, God does not expect anything from you, except that you keep
yourself and act as the illness demands and permits.
Ill or poor, be patient. God does not demand anything from you besides
patience. By bearing it well, you will be doing a good deed unceasingly. No
matter when God will look at you, He will see that you are doing good, or exist
in good, if you bear the condition well, while a healthy person does good
intermittently. Why, by desiring a change in your state, do you wish to change
the better for the worse?
Ven. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain
God does not permit temptations to exceed our powers. The master lightly
strikes the crystal or glass vessel, so as not to break it, but he hits the
silver or bronze hard; thus the weak are given light, and the strong are given
the heaviest temptations.
Anger turns into hatred and rankling, when it is kept long and fed in the
heart. For this reason we are ordered to cut it out fast, so that it does not
grow into hatred and malice, and so that greater evil will not be added to
evil. "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to
the devil," says the apostle (Eph. 4:26-27).
St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
One must try at all cost to keep spiritual peace and not be disturbed by
insults, but bear them with equanimity, as if they do not relate to you. Such
an exercise will give our heart peace and make it a dwelling for the Holy
If you only knew, what joy awaits the righteous soul in the heavens, you
would decide to bear all sorrows, persecutions and slander with thanksgiving.
If this very cell were full of worms and if they would be eating our body
all of our temporary life, you should agree to this with complete desire, in
order to not deprive yourself of that heavenly joy, which God has prepared for
those who love Him.
Ven. Seraphim of Sarov
When the mind submits to God, then the heart submits to the mind. This is
what humility consists of. What is humility? Humility — is the meek devotion to
God, united with faith, blessed by Godly grace.
St. Ignatius Brianchaninov
Punishment by itself does not heal a person of his sinfulness; a person can
suffer greatly, but if these sufferings that are sent him as a test will arouse
anger and bitterness in him, if he will not humble himself and bear them
patiently, with submission, thanking God for the granted single true means
capable of leading to the blessed residences, but will arouse in himself anger,
irritability, hatred toward everyone around him, saying words of despair, and
maybe even curses, toward the reasons which caused these sufferings, then he
will only be increasing his sunfulness, adding to the old, not yet repented
through these sufferings sins, one of the very worst sins — opposition to His
Macarius, Metropolitan of Moscow
Immeasurable grief over sins, reaching the point of despair, is denounced in
the teachings of the holy fathers. This grief should be dissolved with hope on
the mercy of God: one should grieve and hope at the same time. Grieve, because
we anger God with our sins, distance ourselves from God. Hope, because we have
an All-powerful Doctor for our sins, the Lord Jesus Christ, spilling His blood
In order not to give way to irritability and anger, one must not rush.
Ven. Ambrose of Optina
Where is the true ideal, encompassing all human nature in its fullness and
in its never-ending development, close to all and accessible to all, easily
experienced, giving the weak less, the strong great, worthily gracious,
attracting everyone and satisfying all? There is only one such ideal — that is
the Christian God: be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in
Heaven is perfect…
Try to show a person the greatest demand of nature, which could not be
satisfied in Him; imagine the highest perfection, in which He would not be
found. He is the very reality, love, good, purity, truth, unselfishness,
self-denial, industriousness, patience, courage — but who can number all of His
perfections? Does He not fit into the spirit of our time because there are no
passions in Him, with which we can justify ourselves, and He does not indulge
us in them, "because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in
his mouth" (Is. 53:9).
Christian parents bring their children to Him, stand them before Him in that
holy school, which is called the Church. Here upbringing is pursued according
to all the laws of human development.
First through the senses — by impressions. As a person recognizes and begins
to love the beauty of nature in its general features before any learning, by
becoming familiar with it through simple contemplation and childhood
experiences, so in the Church the first notions of God, the earliest and more
important in the person’s life, come through the contemplation of images,
actions, symbols pointing to the spiritual world.
The mother, the object of all the love and tenderness of the child, stands
with a reverent expression and prays before the Saviour’s icon; the child looks
at her, then the image — and does not require long explanations of what it
means. This is the first, silent lesson of the Knowledge of God.
The child in church: the beauty of the church, the lighting, the bright
vestments of the priesthood, the singing and silence of those standing and
praying while facing the sanctuary, the holy activities, the lack of everyday
objects, the forbidding of irreverent movements, the demand for attention to
something higher, special — these are lessons of reverence before God, which
cannot be replaced by any fancy speech of a religious teacher.
In these lessons, one cannot notice the moment at which the children begin
to understand what is being read or sung in the church; we only know that we
loved our Saviour long before the lessons in the Law of God, because we often
heard readings about Him, prayed to Him often, kissed His Gospel, cried about
Him when the Gospel of His Passions were read, and rejoiced with all our
hearts, celebrating His Bright Resurrection.
This abundance of blessed influences and the very grace of God is what
parents deprive their children of by not taking them to church to receive Holy
Communion and not taking them to church from infancy, for the empty reason that
the child doesn’t understand anything — as if only an analyzing wisdom is the
guide of all influences acting on the development of a person! Here,
especially, is where religious feeling is instilled, the main engine of
spiritual life. The loss of this time and this method of developing the heart
is a loss that is irreparable. Later, the child will assimilate even abstract
notions, and will begin to repeat lessons, but the heart, which is already
occupied by other influences and tendencies, will be dull and deaf to spiritual
A person, subject to irritability and breathing anger, very clearly feels
the presence of an evil, enemy power in his chest; in the soul it produces the
very opposite of that which the Saviour says of His Presence: "For my
yoke is easy, and my burden in light" (Matt. 11:30). In that presence,
one feels horrible bad and heavy — both spiritually and physically.
Righteous St. John of Kronstadt
Do not complain, child, do not, if the Lord had forgotten you or was not
merciful to you, you would not be alive; you just don’t see His mercies,
because you want your own and pray for your own, but the Lord knows what is
better and healthier for you. Always pray, of course, for deliverance from
grief and from your sins, but at the end of your prayers always add, saying to
the Lord: "Still, Lord, let Thy will be done."
Elder Alexis of Zosima
The amount of suffering that the soul can accommodate is also how much it
can accommodate the grace of God.
Elder Alexander of Gethsemane
In healing the sick, the Lord usually adds: "Your sins are forgiven
you." We can infer from this, that the majority of illnesses are sent as
punishment for sins. For this reason, when we are struck by illness, we should
not grieve, but rejoice, because they redeem our sins.
If the person realizes that everything in his life is done by the will of
God, and never forgets that, then he bears all the disappointments and
vicissitudes of life easily, understanding that everything is sent by the Lord
for his benefit or for the redemption of sins, and is therefore always calm and
Bear insults, reproaches, unfairness, bear each others burdens, desiring by
this to supplement the insufficiency of spiritual work, one must consider
oneself deserving of all insults and troubles ("we receive what is due
You know that at the end of time people will earn salvation through sorrows.
Are we excluded from this law? Not for nothing did the holy fathers suggest remembering
death more often (many times daily), about the Judgment, about the necessity of
answering to God for every word, deed, thought, for trickery, for attachment to
the world, for vanity, for all which is secret, known only to the Lord and our