Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

“We need repentance. You see, repentance is not only going to a priest and confessing. We must free ourselves from the obsession of thoughts. We fall many times during our life, and it is absolutely necessary to reveal everything [in Confession] before a priest who is a witness to our repentance. Repentance is the renewal of life. This means we must free ourselves of all our negative traits and turn toward absolute good. No sin is unforgivable except the sin of unrepentance.”

Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: the Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica,  St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood. 2011holySpirit_dove

Elder Sophrony(Sakharov) of Essex

Παναγία Οδηγητρια_Panagia _Hodeghetria or Directress_Икона Божией Матери ОдигитрияPanagiaKalamiotissa02Christian faith is the result of the presence within us of the Holy Spirit, and the soul knows Him. The Holy Spirit convinces the soul that she will not die; that death will not possess her. But the body, as the material instrument of the soul, is subject to decay.

Only sin can stifle the Divine breath within us. God Who is Holy does not blend with the darkness of sin. When we seek to justify a sinful action we ipso facto sever our alliance with God. God does not constrain us but neither can He be coerced. He retires, leaving us bereft of His luminous presence. Of course, man cannot altogether avoid sinning; but he can avoid the consequences of sin- separation from God- through repentance. With repentance and the consequent increase of grace within us, the reality of the Divine World preponderates over the visible cosmos. We contemplate the FIRST REALITY.

O Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit;

Most High God, King and Creator of all eternity,

Who hast honoured us with Thy Divine image,

and didst describe in the visible form of our nature

the likeness of Thine invisible Being:

Enable us to find mercy and grace in Thy sight

that we may glorify Thee in the undying day of Thy kingdom,

with all Thy Saints throughout the ages.

Archimandrite Sophrony Sakharov (2001) (2nd ed.) His Life is Mine. Chapter 5: Contemplation. New York: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press.