Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Becoming a practiced soldier of Christ ( Elder Joseph the Hesychast )

For it is absolutely necessary for the grace of God to leave, once a tried struggler has acquired a good taste of it in the beginning, so that he may be tested and become a practiced soldier of Christ.

And without such temptations, no one has ever ascended to perfection. This stage that we mentioned where many fall into delusion is the stage where the grace of God withdraws in order to make us, as we have said, practiced soldiers of war, so that we are not infants forever. But the Lord wants us to become worthy men and brave fighters able to guard His riches. That is why He allows us to be tempted.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast 


For a Christian, the best type of death is, of course, martyrdom for Christ the Savior. . . .( Martyred Priest Daniel Sysoyev )

For a Christian, the best type of death is, of course, martyrdom for Christ the Savior. In principle, that is the best type of death one may attain. While some people sent condolences to Optina Hermitage after the murder of three monks [on Pascha, 1993], for a Christian, [such death] is in fact a source of great joy. In the ancient Church, people never sent condolences when anyone was killed. All of the churches immediately sent their congratulations. Imagine! To congratulate them with the fact that they had a new defender in Heaven! Martyrdom washes away every single sin except heresy and schism….

In fact, one should not take the word «martyr» to mean one who has suffered death by torture. It literally means «witness.» Thus, a person is a martyr if, with his death he bears witness to the fact that Christ has conquered death, that He was resurrected from the dead. One’s witness lies in this, and not in the fact that he has been tortured.

If we are talking about the natural end of life, the best such natural death is one whose approach you anticipate … For a Christian, the most awful possible death is one that is sudden and unexpected, for such a person departs into eternity unprepared.

The Martyred Priest Daniel Sysoyev, from his book Instructions to Immortals, or What to do if you Nonetheless Have Died.