John of Kronstadt
John of Kronstadt (Russian: Иоанн Кронштадтский) (31 October [O.S. 19 October] 1829–2 January [O.S. 20 December 1908] 1909) was a Russian Orthodox archpriest and a member of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was known for his mass common confessions, numerous miracles and charitable work, as well as for his monarchist, chauvinistic, antisemitic and anticommunist views.
- Do not forget yourself in looking upon the beauty of the human face, but look upon the soul; do not look upon the man's garment (the body being his temporary garment), but look upon him who is clothed in it. Do not admire the magnificence of the mansion, but look upon the dweller who lives in it and what he is--otherwise, you will offend the image of God in the man, will dishonour the King by worshipping His servant and not rendering unto Him even the least of the honour due to Him. Also--do not look upon the beauty of the printing of a book, but look upon the spirit of the book; otherwise you will depreciate the spirit and exalt the flesh; for the letters are the flesh, and the contents of the book the spirit. Do not be allured by the melodious sounds of an instrument or of a voice, but by their effect upon the soul, or by the words of the song, consider what their spirit is: if the sounds produce upon your soul tranquil, chaste, holy feelings, then listen to them and feed your soul with them; whilst, if they give rise in your soul to passions, then leave off listening to them, and throw aside both the flesh and the spirit of the music
- Have you learned to see God and represent Him to yourself--as the omnipresent Wisdom, as the living, acting Word, as the vivifying Holy Spirit? The Holy Scripture is the domain of Wisdom, Word and Spirit, of God in the Trinity: in it He clearly manifests Himself: "The Words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life," (St. John vi. 63) said the Lord. The writings of the Holy Fathers are again the expression of the Mind, Word and Spirit of the Holy Trinity, in which the spirit of the higher class (spiritually speaking) of mankind has largely participated; the writings of ordinary worldly men are the expression of the fallen spirit of men, with all their sinful attachments, habits and passions. In the Holy Scriptures we see God face to face, and ourselves as we are. Man, know thy self through them, and walk always as in the presence of God
- How is it that the saints see us and our needs and hear our prayers? Let us make the following comparison: Suppose that you were transplanted to the sun and were united to it. The sun lights the whole earth with its rays, it lights every particle of the earth. In these rays you also see the earth, but you are so small in proportion to the sun, that you would form, so to say, but one ray, and there are an infinite number of such rays. By its identity with the sun this ray takes an intimate part in lighting the whole world through the sun. So also the saintly soul, having become united to God, as to its spiritual sun, sees, through the medium of its spiritual sun, which lights the whole universe, all men and the needs of those that pray
- There is nothing impossible unto those who believe; lively and unshaken faith can accomplish great miracles in the twinkling of an eye. Besides, even without our sincere and firm faith, miracles are accomplished, such as the miracles of the sacraments; for God's Mystery is always accomplished, even though we were incredulous or unbelieving at the time of its celebration. "Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?" (Rom. 3:3). Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God's wisdom, nor our infirmity God's omnipotence
- How can you worthily, with faith and love, receive the Body of Christ when you despise His members or have not compassion upon them? All Christians are members of Christ, and especially the poor. Love His members, have compassion upon them, and the Master will plentifully bestow His rich mercy upon you. And can any mercy be greater than that which our S a v i o u r bestows upon us in the communion of His most pure body and of His most pure blood?
- At the end of your morning and evening prayers in your home, call upon the saints: patriarchs, prophets, apostles, hierarchs, martyrs, confessors, Holy Fathers, the ascetics, the unmercenary, so that seeing in them the realization of every virtue, you may yourself become the imitator of every virtue, Learn from the patriarchs childlike faith and obedience to the Lord; from the prophets and apostles, the zeal for God' s glory and for the salvation of the souls of men; from the hierarchs, zeal to preach God's word, and in general to assist through the Scriptures, to the possible glorification of God's name, to the strengthening 'of faith, hope, and love amongst Christians; from the martyrs and confessors, firmness for the faith and piety before unbelieving and godless people~ from the ascetics, to crucify your own flesh, with its passions and desires, to pray and think piously; and from the unmercenary, not to love gain, and to give gratuitous help to the needy.
- Once ordained a priest and pastor, I soon learned through experience with whom I had entered into combat in my spiritual arena, namely with the powerful, cunning, unsleeping prince of this world, who breathes evil and perdition and the fire of hell, and with the sub-celestial spirits of evil .... This battle with the strong and cunning invisible enemy plainly showed me how many infirmities, weaknesses, and sinful passions there were in me ,--how strong a hold the prince of this world had over me, and how I had to struggle hard with myself, with my sinful inclinations and habits, and conquer them, so as to be as far as possible invulnerable to the arrows of the enemy