1) St Paisios of Mt Athos (-1994)
Completely have trust in God, leave everything in His hands, and believe that His love will act for your own benefit. Then God will take care of everything, because there is nothing He cannot do; everything is easy for Him. The difficult thing is for man to decide to humble himself and leave everything to God’s providence and love. (1)
2) St John of Kronstadt (-1908)
How is it that all nature, and everything in nature, is so wisely arranged, and moves in such wonderful order? It is because the Creator Himself directs and governs it. How is it that in the nature of man—the crown of creation—there is so much disorder? Why are there so many irregularities and deformities in his life?
Because he took upon himself to direct and govern himself, against the Will and Wisdom of his Creator.
Sinful man! Give yourself up wholly, all your life unto the Lord your God, and all your life will move in wise, beautiful, stately, and life-giving order, and will all become beautiful as the lives of God’s Saints, who gave themselves up entirely to Christ their God, and whom the Church daily offers to us, as an example to imitate. (2)
3) St Silouan the Athonite (-1938)
The most precious thing on earth is to know God and at least in part understand His will. The soul that has felt God must submit to his will in everything and live before Him in fear and love. In love, because the Lord is love. In fear, because it must be afraid to insult God by some evil thought.
How do you know whether you are living according to the will of God? Here is a sign: if you long for some thing, then you have not submitted to the will of God, even though you may think that you live according to His will. Whoever lives according to the will of God does not concern himself with anything. And if he needs some thing, then he submits himself and that thing to God; and if he does not receive it, then he remains content as though he had received it.
The soul which has submitted to the will of God, fears nothing: neither storm nor bandits; nothing. And whatever should happen, it says, “It is God’s will.” If the body is ill, the soul thinks, “Then I am in need of this illness, otherwise God would not have given it to me.” And so the body and the soul remain at peace.
4) St Nektarios of Aegina (-1920)
Christians, have we understood the great responsibility that we have taken on before God through baptism? Have we come to know that we must conduct ourselves as children of God, that we must align our will with the will of God, that we must remain free from sin, that we must love God with all our hearts and always patiently await union with Him? Have we thought about the fact that our heart should be so filled with love that it should overflow to our neighbor? Do we have the feeling that we must become holy and perfect, children of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven? We must struggle for this, so that we may not be shown unworthy and rejected. Let none of us lose our boldness, nor neglect our duties, nor be afraid of the difficulties of spiritual struggle. For we have God as a helper, who strengthens us in the difficult path of virtue.
5) St John of Kronstadt (-1908)
As a creation of His infinite Wisdom, God has total respect toward nature and its laws. He normally implements His will through nature and its laws, punishing or blessing us through various physical elements and life’s circumstances. Consequently, in the absence of dire need do not demand a miracle from Him.
6) St Anthony the Great (-356)
Anthony the Great in his letters to monks says of such virgins: “Many monks and virgins have no idea of the different kinds of will which act in man, and they do not know that we are influenced by three wills: the first is God’s all-perfect and all-saving will; the second is our own human will which, if not destructive, neither is it saving; and the third will is the devil’s will – wholly destructive.” This third will of the enemy prompts man to do any no good deeds, or to do them good out of vanity, or merely for virtue’s sake rather than for Christ’s sake. The second, our own will, prompts us to do everything to flatter our passions, or else it teaches us like the enemy, to do good for the sake of good and not care for the grace which is acquired by it. But the first, God’s all-saving will, consists in doing good solely to acquire the Holy Spirit, as an eternal, inexhaustible treasure which is priceless.
7) St Silouan the Athonite (-1938)
A soul that is troubled about anything should inquire of the Lord and the Lord will give understanding, but this primarily in times of calamity and bewilderment. As a general rule we should be advised by our spiritual father, for this is a humbler way…. We must always pray to the Lord to tell us what to do, and the Lord will not let us go astray…. So with all the saints who sinned: they sinned because they had not called upon God to enlighten and help them….
Thus the Lord alone is omniscient, and each one of us, whoever he may be, must pray to God for understanding, and consult his spiritual father, that we may avoid mistakes…. How clear it is to me that the Lord steers us. Without Him we cannot even think a good thing. Therefore we must humbly surrender ourselves to the will of God, that the Lord may guide us.
8) Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov (- present)
If a person truly and utterly wants something, even against his own best interest, the Lord will patiently and at length through various people and new circumstances plant obstacles and try to dissuade the person from the needless and fatal goal. But when we are stubbornly implacable in our desires, then God steps aside and let’s our blind and powerless freedom take it’s course.
9) Elder Joseph the hescyhast (-1959)
A disciple of St. Joseph the Hesychast said: “We observed that the Elder never embarked on anything without first praying. We would ask him about something in the future or for the next day, and his reply was that he would tell us tomorrow. He would do this so that he could pray first. So, when you want to find out the will of God, abandon your own will completely, together with every other thought or plan, and with great humility ask for this knowledge in prayer. And whatever takes shape or carries weight in your heart, do it and it will be according to God’s will….”
Knowing the will of God is one of the most delicate and complicated matter of our lives, especially for those who are trying to find it through prayer. For although His will is revealed according to thy words: “Ask, seek, knock, and it shall be given to you” yet it requires patience, trials, temptations and [ascetic] experience, to extinguish man’s own will and passions that cannot withstand the inexpressible tenderness and sensitivity of divine grace.
10) St Isaac the Syrian (-700)
Nothing, whether it is good or bad, happens to a person by blind chance. There is a provident God who steers the affairs of the world, and with each one of us there is a Guardian who does not miss anything, and whose watchfulness never relaxes or grows weak
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