On Abandoning One’s Selfishness- By: St. John Chrysostom

Lazarus & the Rich man

Let us make use of the lessons of true wisdom and say that we do not forbid the seeking of riches as such, but of ill-gotten riches. For it is lawful to be rich, but without covetousness, without rapine, without violence, and without a bad reputation before all men. Let us first by means of arguments of true wisdom soothe those who seek riches, and for the moment not to talk to them about hell, since the sick man cannot bear as yet such discourse. Let us go to this world for all our arguments upon these matters and say: “Why do you choose to be rich through covetousness? To hoard up gold and silver for others and innumerable curses and accusations for yourself? The poor can whom you have defrauded in suffering anguish because of the lack of the necessities of life, and is lamenting, and drawing down upon you the curses of thousands. He may go about the market place at fall of evening and not knowing where he is going to spend the night. How can the unhappy fellow sleep, with pangs in the belly, tortured by hunger, while it is freezing and the rain coming down on him? And while you are coming home from the bath, clean and dandy, dressed in soft clothes, full of contentment and happiness, and hastening to sit down to splendidly prepared dinners, he is driven everywhere about the market place by cold and hunger, with his head hung low and his hands outstretched. The poor well fed and so well rested, and often has to withdraw covered with insults.

When therefore, you have returned home, when you lie down on your couch, when the lights around your house shine bright, when your table is well prepared and plentiful, at the time remember that poor miserable man wandering about like dogs in the alleys, in darkness and in mire, and from these alleys he goes back, not to his house, his wife, or his bed, but to a pile of straw, but a drop of water falling from the ceiling, you would throw the whole house in confusion, calling for the slaves and disturbing everything, while he, laid in rags, and straws, and dirt, has to bear the bitter cold.

Exceprt taken from the book: Daily Readings from the Writings of St. John Chrysostom.


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St. Mary of Egypt


St. Poemen the Great

"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."

St. Gregory the Great

"Every day you provide your bodies with good to keep them from failing. In the same way your good works should be the daily nourishment of your hearts. Your bodies are fed with food and your spirits with good works. You aren't to deny your soul, which is going to live forever, what you grant to your body, which is going to die."

St. Paisius Velichkovsky

"Remember, O my soul, the terrible and frightful wonder: that your Creator for your sake became Man, and deigned to suffer for the sake of your salvation. His angels tremble, the Cherubim are terrified, the Seraphim are in fear, and all the heavenly powers ceaselessly give praise; and you, unfortunate soul, remain in laziness. At least from this time forth arise and do not put off, my beloved soul, holy repentance, contrition of heart and penance for your sins."

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

“Prayer does not consist merely in standing and bowing your body or in reading written prayers….it is possible to pray at all times, in all places, with mind and spirit. You can lift up your mind and heart to God while walking, sitting, working, in a crowd and in solitude. His door is always open, unlike man’s. We can always say to Him in our hearts Lord , Lord have mercy.”

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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