Seraphim of Sarov
Saint Seraphim of Sarov (July 19, 1759 – January 2 (N.S. January 14), 1833), born Prokhor Moshnin (Прохор Мошнин), was a Russian Orthodox monk and starets who spent most of his life near Sarov, Russia. He was canonized as a saint of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1903.
- We cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of one who gives and kindles joy in the heart of one who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other, not even those whom you catch committing an evil deed. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a morass of filth that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Keep away from the spilling of speech. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgement. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult, outrage, and will shield your glowing hearts against the evil that creeps around.
- As quoted in Transforming Violence : Linking Local and Global Peacemaking (1998) by Judy Zimmerman Herr and Robert Herr, p. 32
- Acquire a peaceful spirit and then thousands of others around you will be saved.
- As quoted in The Inner Kingdom (2000) by Kallistos Ware, p. 133
- Variant translations:
- Acquire a peaceful spirit, and then thousands around you will be saved.
- As quoted in The Folly of Prayer : Practicing the Presence and Absence of God (2009) by Matt Woodley, p. 156
- Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved.
- Where there is God, there is no evil. Everything coming from God is peaceful, healthy and leads a person to the judgment of his own imperfections and humility.
- When a person accepts anything Godly, then he rejoices in his heart, but when he has accepted anything devilish, then he becomes tormented.
- The devil is like a lion, hiding in ambush (Ps 10:19, 1Pe 5:8). He secretly sets out nets of unclean and unholy thoughts. So, it is necessary to break them off as soon as we notice them, by means of pious reflection and prayer.
- A sign of spiritual life is the immersion of a person within himself and the hidden workings within his heart.
- It is necessary that the Holy Spirit enter our heart. Everything good that we do, that we do for Christ, is given to us by the Holy Spirit, but prayer most of all, which is always available to us.
- Excessive care about worldly matters is characteristic of an unbelieving and fainthearted person, and woe to us, if, in taking care of ourselves, we do not use as our foundation our faith in God, who cares for us! If we do not attribute visible blessings to Him, which we use in this life, then how can we expect those blessings from Him which are promised in the future? We will not be of such little faith. By the words of our Saviour, it is better first to seek the Kingdom of God, for the rest shall be added unto us (see Mt. 6:33).
- True hope seeks the one Kingdom of God and is sure that everything necessary for this mortal life will surely be given. The heart cannot have peace until it acquires this hope. This hope pacifies it fully and brings joy to it. The most holy lips of the Saviour spoke about this very hope: "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Mt. 11:28).
- Oh, if you only knew what joy, what sweetness awaits a righteous soul in Heaven! You would decide in this mortal life to bear any sorrows, persecutions and slander with gratitude. If this very cell of ours was filled with worms, and these worms were to eat our flesh for our entire life on earth, we should agree to it with total desire, in order not to lose, by any chance, that heavenly joy which God has prepared for those who love Him.
- When I am dead, come to me at my grave, and the more often the better. Whatever is in your soul, whatever may have happened to you, come to me as when I was alive and kneeling on the ground, cast all your bitterness upon my grave. Tell me everything and I shall listen to you, and all the bitterness will fly away from you. And as you spoke to me when I was alive, do so now. For I am living and I shall be for ever.