Jan 2/15 St Seraphim of Sarov
Today is the my namesday. St Seraphim is a lot to live up to. When I was baptised, a friend told me that I had one year to pray in the air and glow in the dark (both these things are described in the Saints conversation with Motovilov) Still waiting!
I thought it a good idea to examine a couple of the Saints famous sayings. We could discuss a hundred, but I will keep it to two to make this post “digestable”. Let’s see what we can learn from them.

“My Joy”, “Your godliness”
Saint Seraphim treated EVERYONE equally, and called everybody “My joy”, or “Your godliness”. What an amazing point of view! He did not struggle to see the image of God in people as we do. Let’s admit it, when we see things that are contradictory to Christianity (or appear to be so) in people, we judge and the encounter with the person is unpleasant to us. He was not unaware of their sins; Saint Seraphim was clairivoyant, and yet the Saint did not struggle to see this image; because of his purity, he saw everyone AS CHRIST, and filled with love, called them “My joy”.

“Prayer, fasting, vigil and all other Christian activities, however good they may be in themselves, do not constitute the aim of our Christian life, although they serve as the indispensable means of reaching this end. The true aim of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God. As for fasts, and vigils, and prayer, and almsgiving, and every good deed done for Christ’s sake, they are only means of acquiring the Holy Spirit of God. But mark, my son, only the good deed done for Christ’s sake brings us the fruits of the Holy Spirit. All that is not done for Christ’s sake, even though it be good, brings neither reward in the future life nor the grace of God in this. That is why our Lord Jesus Christ said: He who gathers not with Me scatters (Luke 11:23). (A Wonderful Revelation to the World, St Seraphim’s conversation with Motovilov)

It would be a salvific for us if everything we did was first prefaced by questioning thoughts influenced by the Saint’s words. Everything we do should have ONE purpose, which the saint outlines it clearly above. It is always easier to do something, and to endure when troubles begin, if one has a purpose. Sin is first conceived in the mind. There is a precious, small amount of time when our mind is considering a thought that we have an opportunity to accept it or reject it. Because of our weakness, after a certain point in the consideration of a sinful or unprofitable thought without outright rejection of it as sinful, we will be powerfully attracted to it, and unable to stop ourselves. It is during this precious time that we must bring all possible weapons to bear against our attraction to the sinful thought. Since thoughts are complex and the devil is wily, we cannot attempt to apply too much intellect to this struggle – we are over matched here. Simple thoughts must be our shield and sword against the darts of the Evil One. Based on the words of the Saint, we could use such simple thoughts as “will this thing help me acquire the Spirit of God, or will it hinder me”, or “Am I gathering or scattering”.

“Acquire the Spirit of Peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved.”

A Prayer to St Seraphim

O great Saint of God, our venerable and God-bearing Father, Seraphim!
Look down from the glory that is above, upon us who are humble and weak,
burdened with our many sins, and ask thy help and consolation.
Bend down to us in thy loving kindness,
and help us to carry out God’s commandments without stain,
firmly to keep the Orthodox Faith, to approach God in heartfelt contrition for all our sins,
to make progress in Christian devotion and to be worthy of thy prayers before God.
Yea, O Saint of God, hearken unto us,
who pray to thee in faith and love,
and despise us not who seek thee as our defender:
now, and at the hour of our departure,
help us and defend us by thy prayers from the wicked assaults of the devil,
lest evil powers should have dominion over us;
but let us be granted, by thy help,
to inherit the bliss of heavenly mansions.
For we place our hope in thee,
O kind-hearted father:
be thou indeed our guide to salvation,
and bring us to the unwaning light of eternal life,
by thy good intercession before the throne of the Most Holy Trinity,
so that we may glorify and hymn with all the Saints,
the name worthy of adoration,
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
for ages of ages. Amen.

From an Akathist. “Polny Sbornik Molitv”, pp. 202-203.


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