Tag Archives: St. Nikolai Velimirovich

How to scare away a demon.

St. Nikolai

“Spiritists of our day accept every manifestation from the spiritual world as though sent by God, and immediately they boast that God has been ‘revealed’ to them. I knew an eighty-year-old monk whom everyone respected as a great spiritual director. To my question, ‘Have you ever in your life seen anything from the spiritual world?’ the monk answered me, ‘No, never, praise be to God’s mercy.’ Seeing that I was astonished at this, he said: ‘I have constantly prayed to God that nothing would appear to me, so that I would not have occasion to fall into deception and receive a fallen devil as an angel. Thus far, God has heard my prayers.’

“The following recorded example shows how humble and cautious the elders were. The devil, clothed in the light of an angel, appeared to a certain monk and said to him: ‘I am the Archangel Gabriel, and I am sent to you.’ To this the brother responded: ‘Think–were you not sent to someone else? For I am not worthy to see an angel.’ The devil instantly became invisible and vanished.”

-St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Twilight of marketing day.

“St. Paphnutius prayed to God to reveal whom he (Paphnutius) resembled. He heard a voice which spoke to him: ‘You are similar to a merchant who seeks goodly pearls; arise and do not be idle!’ But why does God not say to every one of us that we are like a merchant who seeks goodly pearls? Because many of us do not seek pearls, but rather bury ourselves under heavy layers of worthless dust.

“Not everything that the net raises up from the bottom of the sea is a pearl; sometimes it is only mud and sand. The ignorant vie for that mud and sand as though it were a pearl. Only the merchant who recognizes a true pearl casts the net into the sea an untold number of times. He hauls it up, sifts out the mud and sand, until he finds one seed pearl!

“Why does God compare Paphnutius to a merchant? Because Paphnutius gave away all of his possessions and invested all of his effort and time in order to find that one true seed pearl. That true pearl is a heart cleansed of all passions and evil thoughts and warmed by the flame of love toward God. You too arise, O man, and do not be lazy! Your marketing day is approaching its twilight.”

-St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Do not shrug your shoulders.

St. Anthony the Great

“It is said about an ancient orator that he labored day and night to perfect himself in the art of oratory. Someone said to him: ‘Demosthenes does not want you to be the chief orator.’ To which he immediately retorted: ‘Neither will I allow him to be the only one.’ If you cannot be a first-class saint like St. Anthony, do not shrug your shoulders and say: ‘Nothing can come of me!’ Increase your efforts and double your talent. In My Father’s house are many mansions, said the Lord (John 14:2). If you merit to settle in the least of these dwelling places, you will be more glorious and more fortunate than all of the rulers who have ever existed on earth. To each according to his own talent. You will not be a St. Anthony, but neither will St. Anthony, alone, occupy the Kingdom of God.”

-St. Nikolai Velimirovich

There is no lesson plan for it.

The desire to be beautiful seems to be common to mankind, but the very atmosphere of this age is toxic with something that feeds a disease, making us obsessed with our image. One part of the toxic mix is the overwhelming abundance of pictures of faces and bodies in magazines and on every electronic device, forming a kind of lesson plan on How to Look. I was happy for a respite this morning when I read St. Nikolai’s homily for the day in The Prologue of Ohrid.

HOMILY
on the beauty of Christ above all other beauty
Thou art fairer than the sons of men (Psalm 45:2).
 

Holy Scripture does not ascribe any particular value to physical beauty, and in general to anything transient. That is why everyone who reads Holy Scripture should take care to be sufficiently attentive and wise to transfer the praise of physical beauty to the soul and to spiritual values. Without a doubt, spiritual beauty gives a wondrous attractiveness to the most unattractive body, just as an ugly soul makes even the most attractive body repulsive. The Prophet David, pouring forth good words (Psalm 45:1), says to his King, the Lord Jesus Christ: Thou art fairer than the sons of men. 

The Lord Himself created His bodily cloak as He wanted. Had He wanted to appear in the world as the physically fairest of men, He could have done so. But there is nothing in the Gospel to indicate that He drew followers to Himself or influenced men by His appearance. He Himself said: the flesh profiteth nothing (John 6:63). Therefore, it is clear that David was not speaking of the physical beauty of Christ, but of His spiritual, divine beauty. This is clearly seen in the following words of the Psalmist: Grace is poured forth upon thy lips (Psalm 45:2). So it is that the unsurpassed beauty of the Son of God is not in the form and shape of His lips, but rather in the stream of grace that flows from His mouth. 

Again, the Prophet Isaiah speaks of Christ: He had no form or comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him (Isaiah 53:2-3). Do Isaiah and David agree? Perfectly well. David speaks of Christ’s inward beauty, and Isaiah speaks of Christ’s external abasement. Isaiah said that He would not be seen as a king or a rich man, but as a servant and sufferer.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou art fairer to us than all men and angels: glory to Thine immortal and unending beauty. O gracious Lord, correct the ugliness of our souls, which are disfigured by sin, we pray Thee.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.

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