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… men… who say that there is no one in our times and in our midst who is able to keep the Gospel commandments and become like the holy Fathers? To them the Master rightly says with a loud voice, ‘Woe to you scribes and Pharisees (Mt. 23:13)! Woe to you, blind guides of the blind (Mt. 23:16), because you do not enter into the kingdom, and you hinder those who wish to enter’ (Mt. 23:13).
From St. Symeon the New Theologian (The Discourses’ Paulist Press pg. 312)
You wish, or rather, have decided, to remove a splinter from someone? Very well, but do not go after it with a stick instead of a lancet for you will only drive it deeper. Rough speech and harsh gestures are the stick, while even-tempered instruction and patient reprimand are the lancet. ‘Reprove, rebuke, exhort,’ says the Apostle (II Tim. 4:2), not ‘batter’.
From St. John Climacus (The Ladder of Divine Ascent; Paulist Press pg. 149)
{21.4} For the written form of the Holy Gospels is but elementary instruction when compared either to the knowledge that is acquired unfailingly by those who are lifted up through the Gospels, and who spiritually remove from themselves the thickness of corporeal thinking, or to the knowledge that will be acquired after the future consummation of the things that are now in motion.
St Maximos the Confessor, Ambiguum 21
Prayer After the Eleventh Kathisma
Shine forth the incorruptible light of Thy divine knowledge in our hearts, O Lord Who lovest mankind; and open Thou our noetic eyes. Instill within us an understanding of the precepts of Thy Gospel and the fear of Thy blessed commandments, that having trampled down all the lusts of the flesh, we may pass through the life of the spirit, being mindful of and doing all things which are well-pleasing unto Thee. For Thou art the enlightenment of our souls and bodies, O Christ God, and we send up glory unto Thee, and Thine unoriginate Father, and Thine all-holy, good and lifecreating Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.
Amen.
Slavonic English Psalter Translation by Rdr Isaac Lambersten
After The First Kathisma
Prayer:
O Almighty Master, Who art unapproachable, Origin of light, supernoetic Power, Father of the hypostatic Word, and Emitter of the Spirit, Who is One with Thee in power; Who in the mercy of Thy lovingkindness and Thine ineffable goodness hast not despised human nature, which is stuck fast in the darkness of sin, but hast illumined the world with the divine lights of Thy sacred teachings, the law and the prophets; Who in latter times wast well-pleased for Thine only-begotten Son to shine forth upon us in the flesh and guide us to the effulgence of Thy radiance: Let Thine ears be attentive unto the voice of our supplication. Grant, O God, that we may pass the whole night of this present life with a vigilant and watchful heart, awaiting the coming of Thy Son and our God, the Judge of all, that, not having lain down to sleep, but keeping vigil, we may find ourselves moved to do Thy commandments, and may enter together into His joy, where the sound is unceasing of those who keep festival, and the joy is unending of those who behold the indescribable beauty of Thy countenance. For Thou art the good God Who loveth mankind, and we send up glory to Thee – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Владыко Вседержителю, Непостижиме, начало света и
преумная Сило, Иже Ипостаснаго Слова Отец и Едино-сильнаго Твоего Духа Испуститель: милосердныя ради милости и неизреченныя благости не презревый чело-веческаго естества, тмою греха содержимаго, но Божественными светы священных Твоих учений, законом и пророки светивый мiру, последи же нам того Единороднаго Твоего Сына благоволивый плотию возсияти и ко осиянию нас Твоего просвещения наставити: да будут уши Твои внемлюще гласу моления нашего, и даруй нам, Боже, во бденном и трезвенном сердце, всю настоящаго жития нощь преити, ожидающим пришествия Сына Твоего и Бога нашего, Судии всех, да не возлежаще и спяще, но бодрствующе и воздвижени в делание заповедей Твоих обрящемся и в радость Его совнидем, идеже празднующих глас непрестанный, и неизреченная сладость зрящих Твоего лица доброту неизглаголанную. Яко Благ и Человеколюбец Бог еси, и Тебе славу возсылаем, Отцу и Сыну и Святому Духу, ныне и присно, и во веки веков, аминь.
Slavonic English Psalter Translation by Rdr Isaac Lambersten
Glory: At the dread judgment I shall denounce myself, having no need of accusers, and shall condemn myself, having no need of witnesses; for the books of my conscience will be opened, and the things I have done in secret will be exposed. Wherefore, O God Who wilt examine my deeds at that universal trial, cleanse me and save me.
After the Third Kathisma  
Slavonic English Psalter, Translation by Rdr Isaac Lambersten
V“I want to understand it well,” I said.Then Father Seraphim took me very firmly by the shoulders and said: “We are both in the Spirit of God now, my son. Why don’t you look at me?”I replied: “I cannot look, Father, because your eyes are flashing like lightning. Your face has become brighter than the sun, and my eyes ache with pain.”Father Seraphim said: “Don’t be alarmed, your Godliness! Now you yourself have become as bright as I am. You are now in the fullness of the Spirit of God yourself; otherwise you would not be able to see me as I am.”Then, bending his head towards me, he whispered softly in my ear: “Thank the Lord God for His unutterable mercy to us! You saw that I did not even cross myself; and only in my heart I prayed mentally to the Lord God and said within myself: ‘Lord, grant him to see clearly with his bodily eyes that descent of Thy Spirit which Thou grantest to Thy servants when Thou art pleased to appear in the light of Thy magnificent glory.’ And you see, my son, the Lord instantly fulfilled the humble prayer of poor Seraphim. How then shall we not thank Him for this unspeakable gift to us both? Even to the greatest hermits, my son, the Lord God does not always show His mercy in this way. This grace of God, like a loving mother, has been pleased to comfort your contrite heart at the intercession of the Mother of God herself. But why, my son, do you not look me in the eyes? Just look, and don’t be afraid! The Lord is with us!”After these words I glanced at his face and there came over me an even greater reverent awe. Imagine in the center of the sun, in the dazzling light of its midday rays, the face of a man talking to you. You see the movement of his lips and the changing expression of his eyes, you hear his voice, you feel someone holding your shoulders; yet you do not see his hands, you do not even see yourself or his figure, but only a blinding light spreading far around for several yards and illumining with its glaring sheen both the snow-blanket which covered the forest glade and the snow-flakes which besprinkled me and the great Elder. You can imagine the state I was in!St Seraphim of Sarov, On Acquisition of the Holy Spirit
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V
“I want to understand it well,” I said.
Then Father Seraphim took me very firmly by the shoulders and said: “We are both in the Spirit of God now, my son. Why don’t you look at me?”
I replied: “I cannot look, Father, because your eyes are flashing like lightning. Your face has become brighter than the sun, and my eyes ache with pain.”

Father Seraphim said: “Don’t be alarmed, your Godliness! Now you yourself have become as bright as I am. You are now in the fullness of the Spirit of God yourself; otherwise you would not be able to see me as I am.”

Then, bending his head towards me, he whispered softly in my ear: “Thank the Lord God for His unutterable mercy to us! You saw that I did not even cross myself; and only in my heart I prayed mentally to the Lord God and said within myself: ‘Lord, grant him to see clearly with his bodily eyes that descent of Thy Spirit which Thou grantest to Thy servants when Thou art pleased to appear in the light of Thy magnificent glory.’ And you see, my son, the Lord instantly fulfilled the humble prayer of poor Seraphim. How then shall we not thank Him for this unspeakable gift to us both? Even to the greatest hermits, my son, the Lord God does not always show His mercy in this way. This grace of God, like a loving mother, has been pleased to comfort your contrite heart at the intercession of the Mother of God herself. But why, my son, do you not look me in the eyes? Just look, and don’t be afraid! The Lord is with us!”

After these words I glanced at his face and there came over me an even greater reverent awe. Imagine in the center of the sun, in the dazzling light of its midday rays, the face of a man talking to you. You see the movement of his lips and the changing expression of his eyes, you hear his voice, you feel someone holding your shoulders; yet you do not see his hands, you do not even see yourself or his figure, but only a blinding light spreading far around for several yards and illumining with its glaring sheen both the snow-blanket which covered the forest glade and the snow-flakes which besprinkled me and the great Elder. You can imagine the state I was in!

St Seraphim of Sarov, On Acquisition of the Holy Spirit

IV
“But how,” I asked Father Seraphim, “can I know that I am in the grace of the Holy Spirit?”

“It is very simple, your Godliness,” he replied. “That is why the Lord says: ‘All things are simple to those who find knowledge’ (Prov. 8:9, Septuagint). The trouble is that we do not seek this divine knowledge which does not puff up, for it is not of this world. This knowledge which is full of love for God and for our neighbour builds up every man for his salvation. Of this knowledge the Lord said that God wills all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Tim. 2:4). And of the lack of this knowledge He said to His Apostles: Are you also yet without understanding (Mat. 15:16)? Concerning this understanding [15], it is said in the Gospel of the Apostles: Then opened He their understanding (Lk. 24:45), and the Apostles always perceived whether the Spirit of God was dwelling in them or not; and being filled with understanding, they saw the presence of the Holy Spirit with them and declared positively that their work was holy and entirely pleasing to the Lord God. That explains why in their Epistles they wrote: It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us (Acts 15:28). Only on these grounds did they offer their Epistles as immutable truth for the benefit of all the faithful. Thus the holy Apostles were consciously aware of the presence in themselves of the Spirit of God. And so you see, your Godliness, how simple it is!”

“Nevertheless,” I replied, “I do not understand how I can be certain that I am in the Spirit of God. How can I discern for myself His true manifestation in me?”

Father Seraphim replied: “I have already told you, your Godliness, that it is very simple and I have related in detail how people come to be in the Spirit of God and how we can recognize His presence in us. So what do you want, my son?”

St Seraphim of Sarov, On Acquisition of the Holy Spirit

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