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.— John of Kronstadt
The most sublime John of Kronstadt quotes that are little-known but priceless
Never confuse the person, formed in the image of God, with the evil that is in him: because evil is but a chance misfortune, an illness, a devilish reverie. But the very essence of the person is the image of God, and this remains in him despite every disfigurement.
A Christian must always be kind, gracious, and wise in order to conquer evil by good.
Remember that God, during your prayers, is watching for your affirmative answer to the question which He is inwardly asking you: 'Do you believe I am able to do this?' To which question you must from the depth of your heart reply, 'Yes, Lord'
It is necessary for a Christian to fast, in order to clear his mind, to rouse and develop his feelings, and to stimulate his will to useful activity. These three human capabilities we darken and stifle above all by 'surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life' (Lk. 21:34).
Evil and faults are corrected by good, by love, kindness, meekness, humility, and patience.
Love does not reflect. Love is simple. Love never mistakes. Likewise believe and trust without reflection, for faith and trust are also simple; or better: God, in whom we believe and in whom we trust, is an incomplex Being, as He is also simply love.
Leave all human injustices to the Lord, for God is the Judge, but as to yourself, be diligent in loving everybody with a pure heart.
God is nearer to us than any man at every time.
He is nearer to me than my raiment, nearer than the air or light, nearer than my wife, father, mother, daughter, son, or friend. I live in Him, soul and body. I breathe in Him, think in Him, feel, consider, intend, speak, undertake, work in Him.
The longer we remain without confessing, the worse it is for us, the more entangled we become in the bonds of sin, and therefore the more difficult it is to give an account.
Prayer is spiritual breathing; when we pray we breathe in the Holy Spirit; praying in the Holy Spirit (Jd. 1:20). Thus, all church prayers are the breathing of the Holy Spirit; as it were spiritual air and also light, spiritual fire, spiritual food and spiritual raiment.
It is necessary to rouse the heart to pray, otherwise it will become quite dry.
The attributes of prayer must be: love of God, sincerity, and simplicity.
The Lord, before His Incarnation, let mankind experience all the bitterness of sin, all their powerlessness to eradicate it; and when all longed for a Deliverer, then He appeared, the most wise, all-powerful Physician and Helper. When men hungered and thirsted after righteousness, as it grew weaker, then the everlasting righteousness came.
Avoid duplicity, that is, do not let your heart be divided between attachment to God and attachment to earthly things, 'You cannot serve God and mammon' (Mt. 6:24); cling to God alone, put your trust in Him alone; for the Devil, by inciting us to duplicity, seeks himself to gain possession of our heart, which is single and indivisible.
He who is insolent towards men is insolent towards God.
.. Respect in man the grand, inestimable image of God and be forbearing towards the faults and errors of fallen man, so that God may be forbearing towards your own.
When you see your body wasted away through sickness, do not murmur against God, but say: 'The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord' (Job 1:21). You are accustomed to look upon your body as upon your own inalienable property, but that is quite wrong, because your body is God's edifice.
The Devil endeavours by every means to keep men in error, in the enticement of the passions, in darkness of mind and heart; in pride, avarice, covetousness, envy, hatred, wicked impatience and irritation; in evil despondence, in the abominations of fornication, adultery, theft, false-witness, blasphemy, negligence, slothfulness, and sluggishness.
The Saviour and the Comforter, two Persons of the Godhead: the One ever saves from sins, and the Other comforts him who is saved. Their very names are taken from their deeds, and are always actually justified. He comforts! The Holy Spirit comforts the believing soul, as a mother comforts her child.
Do not be vexed with those who show pride, or malice, effeminacy, and impatience in their intercourse with you, or others, but , remembering that you yourself are subject to the same and greater sins and passions, pray for them and be meek with them.
When you are praying alone, and your spirit is dejected, and you are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as always, that God the Trinity looks upon you with eyes brighter than the sun; also all the angels, your own Guardian Angel, and all the Saints of God.
Should thoughts of self-praise, of self-satisfaction, occur to you, say: 'I myself am nothing; all that is good in me is accomplished by the grace of God.' What hast thou that thou didst not receive?' (I Cor. 4:7). 'Without Me ye can do nothing' (John 15:5).
Our faith, trust, and love are proved and revealed in adversities, that is, in difficult and grievous outward and inward circumstances, during sickness, sorrow, and privations.
'For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them' (Mt. 18:20). I reverence even two or three praying together, for in accordance with the Lord's promise He Himself is in the midst of them.
Everything that breathes, breathes by air and cannot live without air;
similarly all reasonable free creatures live by the Holy Spirit, as though by air, and cannot live without Him. "Every soul is quickened by the Holy Spirit." Recognise that the Holy Spirit stands in the same relation to your soul as air stands in relation to your body.
The man who is poor in spirit desires and says with his whole heart, Hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. It is as though he himself disappears; everywhere and in everything he wishes to see God-in himself and in others. 'Let everything by Thine, not mine.'
Do not despise any man, however poor he may be;
but behave with full respect and kindness to every well-intentioned man, especially to the poor, as to our members worthy of compassion - or, rather, to members of Christ - otherwise you will cruelly wound your soul.
The heart is refined, spiritual, and heavenly by nature - guard it;
do not overburden it, do not make it earthly, be temperate to the utmost in food and drink, and in general in bodily pleasures. The heart is the temple of God. 'If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy' (I Cor. 3:17).
In prayer and in every work of your life avoid suspicious ness, doubt and diabolical imaginations. Let your spiritual eye be single, in order that the whole body of your prayer, of your works and of your life may be light.
Our requests are necessary expressly to strengthen our faith, through which alone we can be saved. 'By grace are we saved through faith' (Eph. 2:8). 'O woman, great is your faith' (Mt. 15:28). For this reason the Lord made the woman pray earnestly, in order to awaken her faith and to strengthen it.
...when seeking material light, remember the spiritual light which is indispensable for the soul, and without which it remains in the darkness of the passions, in the darkness of spiritual death. 'I am come as a light into the world,' says the Lord, 'that whosoever believeth on Me, should not abide in darkness' (Jn. 12:46).
If God has given us Himself, if He abides in us and we in Him, according to His own true words, then what will He not give me, what will He spare for me, of what will He deprive me, how can He forsake me? 'The Lord is my shepherd: therefore I lack nothing' (Ps. 23:1).
If you are fond of dressing elegantly, or when you put on your clothes, think of the incorruptible garment of righteousness in which our souls should be arrayed, or of Jesus Christ Who is our spiritual raiment, as it is said: 'For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ' (Gal. 3:27).
Divine service, being the high contemplation of the mind, is at the same time, and pre-eminently, the peace, the sweetness and blessedness of the heart.
Christ wishes to raise men up to heaven, and has given them all the means to attain this; whilst the Devil, who himself for his pride was cast down from heaven into the dominions of the air, wishes by every means to attach men to earthly,- sensual, transitory things, and, in order to attain this end, he employs the most powerful, most prodigious means.
Love every man in spite of his falling into sin.
Never mind the sins, but remember that the foundation of the man is the same - the image of God.
The Lord called Himself and is the 'good Shepherd' (Jn.
10:11). If you believe in His guidance, then you will understand by your heart that as a zealous shepherd when feeding his flock does not allow the sheep to disperse, but gathers them together, so also the Lord pastures our souls, not allowing them to wander in falsehood and sins, but gathering them on the path of virtue, and not allowing the mental wolf to steal and scatter them.
When you are subjected to the malicious and furious violence of the passions, and to the harassments of the Devil, during the fulfillment of various works for God, accept these sufferings as sufferings for the name of Christ, and rejoice in your sufferings, thanking God; for the Devil is preparing you, without knowing it himself, the most shining crowns from the Lord.
It would seem, after this, that even when living upon earth we must live as if in the heavenly kingdom, dwelling there in anticipation by hope. But in reality, for the greater part, the contrary is the case. Men cling with their whole being to the earth and everything earthly.
The Lord is the accomplishment of everything good that I think, feel and do.
He who is accustomed to give account of his life at confession here will not fear to give an answer at the terrible judgment-seat of Christ. It is for this purpose that the mild tribunal of penitence was here initiated, in order that we, being cleansed and amended through penitence here below, may give an answer without shame at the terrible judgment-seat of Christ.
Do not be despondent when fighting against the incorporeal enemy, but even in the midst of your afflictions and oppression praise the Lord, Who has found you worthy to suffer for Him, by struggling against the subtlety of the serpent, and to be wounded for Him at every hour; for had you not lived piously, and endeavored to become united to God, the enemy would not have attacked and tormented you.
Your Lord is Love: love Him and in Him all men, as His children in Christ.
Your Lord is a fire: do not let your heart be cold, but burn with faith and love. Your Lord is light: do not walk in darkness of mind, without reasoning or understanding, or without faith. Your Lord is a God of mercy and bountifulness: be a source of mercy and bountifulness to your neighbors. If you will be such, you will find salvation yourself with everlasting glory.
Christ taught us truth; the Devil teaches us falsehood, and strives in every way to contradict every truth; devising various calumnies against it.
O, how easy it would appear to be to live in simplicity and love, and yet how difficult it is for our corrupt hearts to live in love!
How do we receive the highest mystery of Divine love to us ? the mystery of the Christian faith? With our mind, heart and life; with our free will? Are all the three powers of our souls penetrated by holy faith, as were the souls of the saints? The kingdom of heaven 'is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened' (Lk. 13:21). The three measures are the three powers of the soul.
'With God all things are possible' (Mk.
10:27). With God the thought itself is deed. He speaks and it is. Short and clear. And all the worlds stand by the Word of God.
Adam became so proud that he wished to become God and died for his pride;
the Son of God humbled Himself unto death, and gave life to the fallen. O abyss of humility! Adam and Eve lost themselves through gluttony, the Lord fasted and died for them, in order to give them life. They were disobedient, Christ fulfilled obedience.
When you pray either aloud or to yourself for others ? for instance, for the members of your household or for strangers, even though they may not have asked you to do so ? pray for them with the same ardor and zeal as you would pray for yourself. Remember the commandment of the law: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' (Lev. 19:18). Observe this rule upon all occasions.
How will it be with us in the future life, when everything that has gratified us in this world: riches, honors, food and drink, dress, beautifully furnished dwellings, and all attractive objects-how will it be, I say, when all these things leave us-when they will all seem to us a dream, and when works of faith and virtue, of abstinence, purity, meekness, humility, mercy, patience, obedience, and others will be required of us?
Do not lose your temper with those who sin.
Do not have a passion for noticing every sin in your neighbor and judging it, as we usually do. Everyone will give an answer for himself before God. Especially, do not look with evil intention on the sins of those older than you, with whom you have no business. But correct your own sins, your own heart.