Instructions of Saint John of Shanghai

 

We are surrounded by great Providence. There is no “fate” or “blind destiny”. There is however the Unsleeping Eye of God’s love and our freedom to be in it.

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It is important to be Orthodox, because the Orthodox teaching about God was revealed by the Son of God Himself. The Orthodox guidance for earthly life is also based on the Gospel and tested by the experience of many ascetics’ lives, crowned by God with holiness that was testified by miracles.”

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There are two sides of laughter, the light and the dark. They can be immediately distinguished by the smile and the eyes of the one laughing. We can distinguish it in ourselves by the accompanying spirit: if there is no light joy, softening the heart with a subtle current, then the laughter is not on the light side. If the bosom is filled with rigour and dryness, and the smile is warped, then the laugh is dirty. That kind occurs after hearing an anecdote, or some mockery of the world’s harmony. The distorted harmony of the world distorts the human soul. That becomes expressed in the contortion of facial features.”

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Can you love a person without trusting him? Yes, you can. Truly loving a person does not at all mean deification of all his qualities and admiration for all his actions. True love can notice a person’s shortcomings as keenly as anger, and even more. However, unlike malice, love treats human shortcomings in its own, loving way. Love protects and saves the human soul for eternity; malice drowns and kills it. Love loves the person himself; not his sins, not his madness, not his blindness… At the same time, it sees all the imperfections of this world more sharply than malice. “

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The lofty, non-material purpose of prayer is worthy of every veneration. The highest prayer is when a person forgets even the highest of his goals burning with the only desire, to become as close as possible to the Lord, to put his head at His feet and to give away all his heart. That is perfect love and perfect prayer, when your only desire is to breathe the Lord, only live by Him, love Him, hide in His nearness and in His unspeakable love…”

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He who is in no hurry to do good will not do it. Good deeds can only be done by the ardent, sincere and burning hearts. Truly kind means speed-of-lightning kind. This lightning speed is an expression of spiritual strength and sacred faith.”

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God’s glory becomes increasingly displayed in a person that cleanses himself from sin and draws closer to God. That is why the saints are addressed as “Reverend”*. The glory of God is displayed in their souls like a mirror, filling it with radiance. “

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The struggle between sin and TRUTH continues in the human soul until the very end of a person’s earthly life, when the soul departs from the body. No matter how high a spiritual or moral state someone has reached, it is possible for him to fall deep into the abyss of sin either gradually or rapidly.”

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“A prayer of thanks is a need of the human soul that feels Divine providence over itself.”

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Love is the only thing that one cannot demand. We can cry when it is not present, and rejoice when it is. People are wrong in demanding love.”

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The babbling of a child pleases Him. As long as our hearts rejoice and tremble, standing before the face of the Lord, He accepts all our petitions, no matter how small or insignificant.  Everything small is made great in this standing before God. Everything imperfect is made perfect. Do not be confused by the magnitude or insignificance of your requests, but seek, first of all, not what you want to ask, but the One Whom you want to ask. Only those are unworthy who love the Lord less than the thing or deed of which they ask. If you love the Lord more than anything, then blessed is every request of yours, both great and small. God will fulfil your every request; and the one that He will not fulfil, by God’s mercy, will bring you even more good. Prayer always bears great fruit in our souls making us ascend to Heaven and bringing us closer to the Creator…”

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“For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29) When an object touches fire, it changes by either burning out, or tempering. In a similar way, a person that touches God either perishes or obtains salvation. Fire always remains fire. But whether it is ash or steel that comes out depends on what touches it. It is the same with a person. Everything depends on what he brings to the Divine Fire and in what state he touches God. Our sins are the straw that burns at this temperature. We need to be aware of the Last Judgment and treat that day and event as it deserves to be treated. We need to cleanse our souls; we need to pray. This event must be treated unambiguously and consciously.”

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It is not only the soul that is sanctified and communicates with God, but also the human body through the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ becomes united with the entire Holy Trinity. By the grace of God and with the participation of his own will and effort, man becomes a new creature, a partaker in the eternal Kingdom of God. “

 

Source: Archpriest Peter Perekrestov. Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco. Sretensky monastery, M., 2009
https://obitel-minsk.ru/chitat/den-za-dnyom/2020/nastavleniya-svyatitelya-ioanna-shanxajskogo


 *In Russian Reverend (Преподобный), wordly translated, means “very similar (to Christ)”.

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The Editor of the Catalog of Good Deeds.

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