“Owing to my old age (79 years) each day represents God’s special grace, each hour and every minute: my physical strength has become exhausted, but in compensation my spirit is brisk and burns toward my beloved Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. How many pledges of grace from God have I received and am receiving; I trust this will also be in the future life, after death; while death is a birth unto life everlasting, but God’s mercy and love of mankind. God be praised! Fifty-two years of my priesthood have passed by God’s grace and mercy; I am still alive, although ailing. For so many years of blessed priesthood I shall be unable to thank the Lord, One in the Trinity. I served as I could, as I was able, and tried to do my best, but I made mistakes, was unwell, was strongly attracted by the enemy. Cover up, O Lord, all my sins with Thy mercy! What shall I render unto Thee, O Lord, that Thou hast granted me the mercy to have been born and brought up in the Orthodox Faith and Church and in our dear, priceless homeland, Russia, in which the Orthodox Church has been implanted from remotest times. I thank and praise Thee, the best I can, by Thy grace! Lord, there are no words in the human tongue worthy to thank Thee for all those countless blessings, revealed by Thy goodness to me, a sinner, throughout the course of my life, which has passed before Thy Face, Gracious Father! Even until now, already the seventy-ninth year hast Thou protected and saved me daily, and now especially, because of my enemies, seeking to swallow me up for the reason that I am Thy servant, though an unworthy one. But grant unto me, O Lord, the grace to thank Thee perfectly and to achieve a pure life, created for me through penance; grant that I may avoid the deceptive attractions of multifarious sin, which battles against me and wants to steal me away from Thee. Grant me to glorify Thee, loudly, loudly in this godless world.”
From St. John of Kronstadt...
“When you are praying alone, and your spirit is dejected, and you are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as always, that God the Trinity looks upon you with eyes brighter than the sun; also all the angels, your own Guardian Angel, and all the Saints of God. Truly they do; for they are all one in God, and where God is, there are they also. Where the sun is, thither also are directed all its rays. Try to understand what this means.”
“There is nothing impossible unto those who believe; lively and unshaken faith can accomplish great miracles in the twinkling of an eye. Besides, even without our sincere and firm faith, miracles are accomplished, such as the miracles of the sacraments; for God’s Mystery is always accomplished, even though we were incredulous or unbelieving at the time of its celebration. “Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” (Rom. 3:3). Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God; our dullness shall not overpower God’s wisdom, nor our infirmity God’s omnipotence.” — My Life in Christ
“Oh, what great happiness and bliss, what exaltation it is to address oneself to the Eternal Father. Always, without fail, value this joy which has been accorded to you by God’s infinite grace and do not forget it during your prayers; God, the angels and God’s holy men listen to you.”
“The enemy of our salvation especially strives to draw our heart and mind away from God when we are about to serve Him, and endeavours to adulterously attach our heart to something irrelevant. Be always, every moment, with God, especially when you pray to Him. If you are inconstant, you will fall away from life, and will cast yourself into sorrow and straitness.”
“Do not be despondent when fighting against the incorporeal enemy, but even in the midst of your afflictions and oppression praise the Lord, Who has found you worthy to suffer for Him, by struggling against the subtlety of the serpent, and to be wounded for Him at every hour; for had you not lived piously, and endeavored to become united to God, the enemy would not have attacked and tormented you.”
“Do not fear the conflict, and do not flee from it; where there is no struggle, there is no virtue. Our faith, trust, and love are proved and revealed in adversities, that is, in difficult and grievous outward and inward circumstances, during sickness, sorrow, and privations.”
“Prayer for others is very beneficial to the man himself who prays; it purifies the heart, strengthens faith and hope in God, and arouses love for God and our neighbor.”
What do I need? There is nothing on earth that I need, except that which is most essential. What do I need, what is most essential? I need the Lord, I need His grace, His kingdom within me. On earth, which is the place of my wanderings, my temporary being, there is nothing that is truly mine, everything belongs to God and is temporal, everything serves my needs temporarily. What do I need? I need true and active Christian love; I need a loving heart which takes compassion on its neighbors; I need joy over their prosperity and well-being, and sorrow over their sorrows and illnesses, their sins, failings, disorders, woes, poverty; I need warm and sincere compassion for all the circumstances of their lives, joy for those who are joyous and tears for those who are in tears. Enough of selfishness, egoism, living only for oneself and acquiring everything only for oneself: riches, pleasures, the glory of this world; enough of spiritual dying instead of living, grieving instead of rejoicing, and carrying within oneself the poison of selfishness, for selfishness is a poison that is continuously poured into our hearts by Satan. O, let me cry out with King David: Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee. My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart. Grant me, O Lord, true life, dispel the darkness of my passions, disperse their power with Thy strength, for with Thee all things are possible!