Wednesday, December 14, 2016

One of Mother Russia's great modern saints: John of Kronstadt (1829 - 1908)

"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." 
                                                      (St. John of Kronstadt)


"John of Kronstadt was a nineteenth-century Russian Orthodox priest at a time when alcohol abuse was rampant.  None of the priests ventured out of their churches to help the people. They waited for people to come to them.  John, compelled by love, went into the streets.  People said he would lift the hung-over, foul-smelling people from the gutter, cradle them in his arms and say to them, 'This is beneath your dignity.  You were meant to house the fullness of God.' I love that phrase: you were meant to house the fullness of God.  That describes you and me.  Knowing that this is our true identity is the secret to walking in holiness."

[from The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith]


Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev: "I would like to quote one of the greatest of Russian saints who lived at the turn of the twentieth century, St. John of Kronstadt:
‘The church and worship are the embodiment and realization of all Christianity: here in words, in persons and actions is conveyed the entire economy of our salvation, all sacred and church history, all that is good, wise, eternal and immutable in God… his righteousness and holiness, his eternal power. Here we find a harmony that is wondrous in all things, an amazing logical connection in the whole and its parts: it is true divine wisdom accessible to simple, loving hearts.’
These words express the essence of Orthodox worship as a school for prayer, theology and discourse on the divine..."


From Saint John's spiritual diary:
"What do I need? There is nothing on earth that I need, except that which is most essential. What do I need, what is most essential? I need the Lord, I need His grace, His kingdom within me. On earth, which is the place of my wanderings, my temporary being, there is nothing that is truly mine, everything belongs to God and is temporal, everything serves my needs temporarily. What do I need? I need true and active Christian love; I need a loving heart which takes compassion on its neighbors; I need joy over their prosperity and well-being, and sorrow over their sorrows and illnesses, their sins, failings, disorders, woes, poverty... One must love every person, both in his sin and in his shame. One should not confuse the individual, who is an image of God, with the evil that is within him."

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