Thursday, November 24, 2016

Quotes of Orthodox Saints on Thanksgiving


"Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

- St. Paul the Apostle

"Take heed often to come together to give thanks to God and show forth His praise. For when you assemble frequently in the same place, the powers of Satan are destroyed, and the destruction at which he aims is prevented by the unity of your faith. Nothing is more precious than peace, by which all war, in heaven and earth, is brought to an end."

- St. Ignatius of Antioch

"He who shall preserve the life bestowed upon him, and give thanks to Him Who imparted it, shall receive also length of days forever and ever. But he who shall reject it, and prove himself ungrateful to his Maker, inasmuch as he has been created, and has not recognized Him Who bestowed the gift upon him, deprives himself of the privilege of continuance forever and ever. And, for this reason, the Lord declared to those who showed themselves ungrateful towards Him: ‘If you have not been faithful in that which is little, who will give you that which is great?’ (cf. Lk. 16:11) indicating that those who, in this brief temporal life, have shown themselves ungrateful to Him Who bestowed it, shall justly not receive from Him length of days forever and ever."

- St. Irenaeus of Lyon

"The truly intelligent man pursues one sole objective: to obey and conform to the God of all. With this single aim in view, he disciplines his soul, and whatever he may encounter in the course of his life, he gives thanks to God for the compass and depth of His providential ordering of all things.

For it is absurd to be grateful to doctors who give us bitter and unpleasant medicines to cure our bodies, and yet to be ungrateful to God for what appears to us to be harsh, not grasping that all we encounter is for our benefit and in accordance with His providence. For knowledge of God and faith in Him is the salvation and perfection of the soul."

- St. Anthony the Great

"When you sit down to eat, pray. When you eat bread, do so thanking Him for being so generous to you. If you drink wine, be mindful of Him who has given it to you for your pleasure and as a relief in sickness. When you dress, thank Him for His kindness in providing you with clothes. When you look at the sky and the beauty of the stars, throw yourself at God’s feet and adore Him who in His wisdom has arranged things in this way. Similarly, when the sun goes down and when it rises, when you are asleep or awake, give thanks to God, who created and arranged all things for your benefit, to have you know, love and praise their Creator."

- St. Basil the Great

"Happiness can only be achieved by looking inward and learning to enjoy whatever life has and this requires transforming greed into gratitude."

- St. John Chrysostom

"Would you like to learn words of thanksgiving? Hearken unto the Three Children, saying, ‘We have sinned, we have transgressed. You are righteous, O Lord, in all that you have done unto us, because you have brought all things upon us by a true judgment.' For to confess one’s own sins, this is to give thanks with confessions unto God: a kind of thing which implies one to be guilty of numberless offenses, yet not to have the due penalty exacted. This man most of all is the giver of thanks."

- St. John Chrysostom

"Let us give thanks to God continually. For, it is outrageous that when we enjoy His benefaction to us in deed every single day, we do not acknowledge the favor with so much as a word; and this, when the acknowledgment confers great benefit on us. He does not need anything of ours, but we stand in need of all things from Him.

In point of fact, thanksgiving adds nothing to Him, but it brings us closer to Him. For if, when we recall the benefactions of men, we are the more warmed by affection for them; much more, when we continually bring to mind the benefits of the Master towards us, shall we be more earnest with regard to His commandments.

For this cause Paul also said, 'Be thankful.' For the best preservative of any benefaction is the remembrance of the benefaction, and a continual thanksgiving for it."

- St. John Chrysostom

"Unspeakably moved by the memory of God’s past kindnesses, by the vision of what He now grants or by all that He holds out as a future reward to those who love Him, the mind gives thanks. In this perspective richer prayers are often uttered. Looking with purest gaze at the rewards promised to the saints, our spirit is moved by measureless joy to pour out wordless thanksgiving to God."

- St. John Cassian

"You should continually and unceasingly call to mind all the blessings which God in His love has bestowed on you in the past, and still bestows for the salvation of your soul. You must not let forgetfulness of evil or laziness make you grow unmindful of these many and great blessings, and so pass the rest of your life uselessly and ungratefully.

For this kind of continual recollection, pricking the heart like a spur, moves it constantly to confession and humility, to thanksgiving with a contrite soul, and to all forms of sincere effort, repaying God through its virtue and holiness. In this way the heart meditates constantly and conscientiously on the words from the Psalms: ‘What shall I give to the Lord in return for all His benefits towards me?’ (Psalm 116:12)."

- St. Mark the Ascetic

"It is God, Who is merciful and grants everyone what he needs, Who is building him up when He gives him more than he needs; in doing so He shows the abundance of His love for men and teaches him to give thanks. When He does not grant him what he needs, He makes him compensate for the thing he needs through the working of the mind and teaches him patience."

- St. Dorotheos of Gaza

"Every genuine confession humbles the soul. When it takes the form of thanksgiving, it teaches the soul that it has been delivered by the grace of God."

- St. Maximus the Confessor

"God did not create us for wrath but for salvation (cf. I Thes. 5:9), so that we might enjoy His blessings; and we should therefore be thankful and grateful towards our Benefactor. But our failure to get to know His gifts has made us indolent, and indolence has made us forgetful, with the result that ignorance lords it over us."

- St. Peter of Damascus

"Prayer changes from entreaty to thanksgiving, and meditation on the divine truths of faith fills the heart with a sense of jubilation and unimpeachable hope. This hope is a foretaste of future blessings, of which the soul even now receives direct experience, and so it comes to know in part the surpassing richness of God’s bounty, in accordance with the Psalmist’s words, ‘Taste and know that the Lord is bountiful’ (Ps. 34:8). For He is the jubilation of the righteous, the joy of the upright, the gladness of the humble, and the solace of those who grieve because of Him."

- St. Gregory Palamas

"We must begin with thanksgiving for everything. The beginning of joy is to be content with your situation."

– St. Ambrose of Optina

"When you are subjected to the malicious and furious violence of the passions, and to the harassments of the Devil, during the fulfillment of various works for God, accept these sufferings as sufferings for the name of Christ, and rejoice in your sufferings, thanking God; for the Devil is preparing you, without knowing it himself, the most shining crowns from the Lord."

- St. John of Kronstadt

"For if God does not for a moment tire of giving us good things, how can we tire of thanking Him for these good things?"

- St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"Grumbling is caused by misery and it can be put aside by doxology [glorifying and thanking God]. Grumbling begets grumbling and doxology begets doxology. When someone doesn’t grumble over a problem troubling him, but rather glorifies God, then the devil gets frustrated and goes off to someone else who grumbles, in order to cause everything to go even worse for him. You see, the more one grumbles, the more one falls into ruin. Sometimes the devil deceives us and makes us unable to be pleased with anything; however, one can celebrate all things in a spiritual manner, with doxology, and secure God’s constant blessing."

- St. Paisios the Athonite

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