Sayings of St. John of Kronstadt

St. John of Kronstadt

St. John of Kronstadt

“When some inward disturbance or weakness of the heart prevents your pronouncing the words of the prayers during Divine service, then consider such disturbance and weakness as an illusion of the enemy, of the demon; throw aside the despondency, the faint-heartedness, and timidity, and speak concerning the name of the Lord without hurrying, calmly and intentionally louder; you will thus overcome your disturbance and weakness, and will obtain courage and strength. Everything is possible unto those who believe and trust. We must struggle and conquer.”

“When your heart is touched by thoughts of fornication, or impurity, evil, or blasphemy, or when thoughts of malice, envy, avarice, covetousness, gluttony, darken, wound, and oppress you, then say to yourself, with firm, heartfelt conviction, that all this is an imagination of the Devil, and all such ideas and thoughts shall immediately vanish. Blessed is he that ‘speaketh the truth from his heart’. [Psalm xv. 2,3.] Tortured will be he who imagines or thinks of evil and sin in his heart! ‘Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil.’ [Romans ii.9.] Despise the carnal delight of sin, for it is a provocation of the perishable flesh. When a thought of doubt in the truth comes to you, say, that this thought is an illusion, whilst the truth remains-eternal truth.”

“When you are in the temple, remember that you are in the living presence of the Lord God, that you stand before His face, before His eyes, in the living presence of the Mother of God, of the holy angels, and of the first-born of the Church that is, our forefathers, the prophets, Apostles, hierarchs, martyrs, reverend Fathers, the righteous, and all the saints. Always have the remembrance and consciousness of this when you are in the temple, and stand with devotion, taking part willingly and with all your heart in the Divine service.”

“We have icons in our houses, and venerate them, in order to show, amongst other things, that the eyes of God and of all the heavenly dwellers are constantly fixes upon us, and see not, only all our acts, but also our words, thoughts and desires.”

“A Priest, like an angel of the Almighty Lord, ought to be above all passions and spiritual disturbances, above all worldly or vain attachments and fears, occasioned by demons; he ought to be entirely in God, to love and fear Him alone. The fear of man means that he does not yet entirely cleave to God.”

“How indifferent a priest should be to earthly things, in order that when celebrating such services, such high and most heavenly sacraments, he may not be ensnared by the enemy, but may always burn with pure love for God and his fellow men, who are lost through sins and are saved by the grace of Christ in the Holy Spirit! But how greatly we are wont to sin! How strong are our earthly attachments! Even when celebrating the sacraments, we sometimes, through being accustomed to them, do not completely lay aside worldly cares and attachments, and therefore the enemy disturbs, darkens and perverts our mind, binds our heart, and takes us prisoners. And deservedly! Do not dream. A priest should be an angel by the elevation of his thoughts, by the purity of his soul and body, by the ardor of his love for God, the Creator of all things and the Savior, and for men, his brethren.”

“When entering the temple of God to pray, we should know and remember that we are the children of the Heavenly Father, and have come into His house; therefore we must stand there with son-like feelings of sincere love and gratitude in fervent prayer. Our spirit should cry, ‘Abba, Father!’ [Romans viii. 15.]”

“When you see a beautiful girl or woman or a handsome youth, immediately lift your thoughts to the supreme, most holy Beauty, the Author of every earthly and heavenly beauty, that is, to God; glorify Him for having created such beauty out of mere earth; marvel at the beauty of God’s image in man, which shines forth even in  our perverted state; imagine what our image will be when we shall shine forth in the kingdom of our Father, if we become worthy of it; picture to yourself what must be the beauty of God’s saints, of the holy angels, of the Mother of God Herself, adorned with the Divine glory; imagine the unspeakable goodness of God’s countenance, which we shall behold, Carnal desire is sweet, but it is sinful, corruptive, and repugnant to God. Do not attach yourself with your heart to any girlish or female beauty, but to the Lord God alone, Who has created every beauty for His own sake, and say: ‘It is good for me to hold me fast by God,’ [Psalm 1xxiii.28.] to God alone, and not to fleeting carnal beauty.”

“When you go to visit any of your relations or friends, do not go to their houses in order to eat and drink well, but go there in order to take part in friendly and sincere conversation with them, to refresh your soul from worldly vanities by friendly and loving interaction, to be mutually comforted by your common faith. For ‘I see not yours, but you,’ [St. Matthew vii.11.] says the Apostle.”

Excerpts taken from “My Life in Christ” by St. John of Kronstadt

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"A man may seem to be silent, but if his heart is condemning others, he is babbling ceaselessly. But there may be another who talks from morning till night and yet he is truly silent, that is, he says nothing that is not profitable."

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St. John of Kronstadt

The candles lit before the icons of the Theotokos are a symbol of the fact that She is the Mother of the Unapproachable Light, and also of Her most pure and burning love for God and Her love for mankind.

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