St Barsanuphius the Great

'Silence of lips is better and more wonderful than any edifying conversation. Strive to acquire humility and submissiveness. Never insist that anything should be according to your will, for this gives birth to anger. Do not judge or humiliate anyone, for this gives birth to anger. Do not judge or humiliate anyone, for this exhausts the heart and blinds the mind, and thereon leads to negligence and makes the heart unfeeling.'
- St Barsanuphius the Great
'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 attack. But the very essence of the person is the image of God, and this remains in him despite every disfigurement.'
- St John of Kronstadt
'When anyone is disturbed or saddened under the pretext of a good and soul-profiting matter, and is angered against his neighbour, it is evident that this is not according to God: for everything that is of God is peaceful and useful, and leads a man to humility and to judging himself.'
- St Barsanuphius the Great
'Do we forgive our neighbours their trespasses? God also forgives us in his mercy. Do we refuse to forgive? God, too, will refuse to forgive us. As we treat our neighbours, so also does God treat us. The forgiveness, then, of your sins or unforgiveness, and hence also your salvation or destruction, depend on you yourself. For without forgiveness of sins there is no salvation. You can see for yourself how terrible it is.'
- St Tikhon of Zadonsk
Somebody managed to upset me recently. The truth is that this doesn't take much doing at the best of times but I was particularly hard on this person, perhaps partly because of my own recent struggles with faith, which have resulted in a departure from where I ought to be, and from which I am only now slowly recovering. In any case, I was harsh and judgemental. The only saving grace is that I did not express this to the person himself but, knowing my propensity to over-react and then regret my actions later, I kept my mouth shut, which is just as well as I have since come to learn of the personal difficulties that lay behind his actions.

However, it was reading the quotations above that called me to recognise what I was doing, and how far removed this is from what I want my life to be. It was particularly the words of St Barsanuphius, (which have now been added to the selections from the Saints at the side of this blog), that spoke to my heart and I would very much like to read some more of him. Apart from this, which is on my wish list, does anybody know of any books containing his writings or information about him? I should be very grateful for any help you may be able to offer.

Thank you.

6 responses:

margaret said...

As someone who is also easily I think it is a definite blessing that you didn't express your feelings to the other person and you can legitimately take comfort in that.

Mark said...

Hi Michael,

Did you know that Blessed Fr Seraphim (Rose)had translated selections from the counsels of Sts Barsanuphius and John?

With love in Christ,

Michael said...

Thank you for that, Margaret. It is a lesson that has been learnt the hard way, unfortunately.

Mark, thank you so much for this. No, I hadn't been aware of Fr Seraphim's work and shall try to get my hands on it. Thank you, as well, for the photograph, which is now just awaiting a frame and shall find its way into my icon corner.

Michael said...

Incidentally, does either of you know where one can get one's hands on a print of the icon of Fr Seraphim that Metropolitan Hilarion blessed?

John Konstantin said...

I am constantly having to watch that trait in myself.

I am finally beginning to understand the importance of maintaining a dignified silence :)

John Konstantin

Michael said...

Thank you, John, (and welcome!)

I fear even my silence is undignified at times, keeping my mouth shut but still harbouring anger internally.

Baby steps. I suppose at least I'm not simply acting according to the current mood anymore. Silence and reflection.

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