Fr. Seraphim Rose of Platina
What, more realistically, is this “mutation,” the “new man”? He is the rootless man, discontinuous with a past that Nihilism has destroyed, the raw material of every demagogue’s dream; the “free-thinker” and skeptic, closed only to the truth but “open” to each new intellectual fashion because he himself has no intellectual foundation; the “seeker” after some “new revelation,” ready to believe anything new because true faith has been annihilated in him; the planner and experimenter, worshipping “fact” because he has abandoned truth, seeing the world as a vast laboratory in which he is free to determine what is “possible”; the autonomous man, pretending to the humility of only asking his “rights,” yet full of the pride that expects everything to be given him in a world where nothing is authoritatively forbidden; the man of the moment, without conscience or values and thus at the mercy of the strongest “stimulus”; the “rebel,” hating all restraint and authority because he himself is his own and only god; the “mass man,” this new barbarian, thoroughly “reduced” and “simplified” and capable of only the most elementary ideas, yet scornful of anyone who presumes to point out the higher things or the real complexity of life.
* This excerpt is from “Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age” by Eugene (later Fr. Seraphim) Rose.
Fr. Paul Florensky
Sin lies in the disinclination to leave the state of self-identity, the identity “I = I,” or more precisely, “I!” The root sin or the root of all sin is the assertion of oneself as oneself, without relation to that which is other, i.e., to God and to all creation. It is self-immersion without self-transcendence. All particular sins are only variants or manifestations of the stubborn self-immersion of selfhood. In other words, sin is the power of the protection of oneself as oneself that makes the person a “self-idol.” It is the power that “explains” I through I, not through God, and grounds I in I, not in God. Sin is the fundamental striving of I by which I becomes firm in its isolation and makes of itself the unique point of reality.
* the ochlophobist
[I]t is not unusual to meet people who think that not to believe in any truth, or not to adhere firmly to any assertion as unshakeably true in itself, is a primary condition required of democratic citizens in order to be tolerant of one another and to live in peace with one another. May I say that these people are in fact the most intolerant people, for if perchance they were to believe in something as unshakeably true, they would feel compelled, by the same stroke, to impose by force and coercion their own belief on their co-citizens. The only remedy they have found to get rid of their abiding tendency to fanaticism is to cut themselves off from truth.
* David Withun
St. Philaret Drozdov, Metropolitan of Moscow
My Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee. Thou and Thou alone knowest my needs. Thou lovest me more than I am able to love Thee. O Father, grant unto me, Thy servant, all which I cannot ask. For a cross I dare not ask, nor for consolation; I dare only to stand in Thy presence. My heart is open to Thee. Thou seest my needs of which I myself am unaware. Behold and lift me up! In Thy presence I stand, awed and silenced by Thy will and Thy judgments, into which my mind cannot penetrate. To Thee I offer myself as a sacrifice. No other desire is mine but to fulfill Thy will. Teach me how to pray. Do Thyself pray within me. Amen.
* Orthodox Christian Life
St. Macarius the Great
The heart itself is but a small vessel, yet there also are dragons and there are lions; there are poisonous beasts and all the treasures of evil. And there are rough and uneven roads; there are precipices. But there is also God, also the angels, the life and the kingdom, the light and the Apostles, the treasures of grace – there are all things.
* This excerpt is from “Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter.”
Elder Justin Parvu
Once, a poor man went to church to complain to God that he has no shoes to wear. But in front of the church he saw a man with no legs. Then our man, ashamed of his thoughts gave thanks to the Lord for his healthy legs.
St. Simeon the New Theologian
Our holy fathers have listened to the Lord who said that from the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, perjury, slander [Mt 15:19] and how these are the things that make a man unclean. [Mt 15:20] Further, they have listened to the part of the gospel where we are ordered to clean the inside of cup and dish first so that the outside may become clean as well. [Mt 23:26] They therefore left aside any other spiritual work and concentrated exclusively on guarding the heart, being confident that through this they would easily achieve all other virtues, whilst without it no virtue can be preserved. This practice was called by some fathers ‘serenity of the heart,’ whilst others named it ‘attention,’ others ‘sobriety’ and ‘detainment,’ others ‘examination of the thoughts’ and ‘guarding of the mind;’ for they were all absorbed in this, and by this they were found worthy to accept the divine virtues.