15 Quotes of Spiritual Guidance by Saint Macarius of Optina

1. Faith is the foundation of all goodness you need both in this life and to secure a good fate in the future everlasting eternity.

2. When our autocratic volition, guided by reason, wants to do good, i.e., to fulfil God’s will, and proves it by deed, it is pleasing unto God, and God helps us in performing those actions. When our foolishness wants to do something contrary to God’s will and insists on committing it, God allows it to happen because he doesn’t restrict our volition. However, He awards us for the first choice and punishes us for the second choice.

3. Our salvation is in our neighbour, and the Lord commands us to seek not our own benefit but the benefit of our neighbour.

4. Pride is the reason for all our disasters and alienation from God… It hides in the heart so well that a person who has it doesn’t notice or understand it unless God sends him a temptation to make it visible.

5. When we make God angry at our sins, we will not succeed in our worldly affairs, either.

6. Teach your children moral values and, when they are worth it and when it’s useful for them, God is able to enrich them or grant them things that they need and that will suffice them.

7. Our Lord Jesus Christ has revealed to us what the love of God consists of: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (John 14:21). That is why when we trespass God’s commandments, there is no love of God in us any longer.

8. When you don’t have a lot of time for prayer, use the time that you have. God will accept your will; remember: the publican’s repentance in prayer is pleasing unto God. Be careful not to put a price tag on your prayer: it’s God’s business, not ours.

9. If our thoughts are pure, we see everyone as holy and good. When we see that people are bad, it is caused by our own disposition.

10. You must be aware that every failure is preceded by pride; which is why you have to look at your heart closely and not let that serpent to creep into your heart. Our downfalls make us humble, so you should know that and you will be made free of those passions.

11. You should teach yourself to be patient not when you are rebuked for your actual guilt but when you are innocent and nevertheless scolded and admonished.

12. You have to struggle with your passions both if you live together with other people and if you live alone. However, secluded living is not for everyone, especially those who haven’t defeated their passions—abstract theorizing, rage, guile, and the like. Such people have to learn to defeat their passions through interaction with other people first.

13. Reading spiritual books enlightens our minds and shows us the road to salvation. It nurtures the soul in the same manner as physical food nurtures the body.

14. All our actions are not enough if they are not enlightened by consideration. Consideration is caused by humility. Humility in turn is born out of sorrows.

15. The Kingdom of God is within you, the Lord said (Luke 17:21), i.e., in your heart; so you must look for it in your heart by cleansing it from passions and temptations of the enemy, and by refraining from judgment or finding faults with anyone…

September 20, 2018
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds



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