St. Isaac the Syrian the Great Hesychast,Bishop of Nineveh
Commemorated on January 28
Lord, fill my heart with eternal life.
Once, two Christians came to St Isaac the Syrian, asking him to settle a dispute. One man acknowledged that he owed money to the other, but asked for a short extension. The lender threatened to bring his debtor to court to force him to pay. St Isaac, citing the Gospel, asked him to be merciful and give the debtor more time to pay. The man said, “Leave your Gospel out of this!” St Isaac replied, “If you will not submit to Lord’s commandments in the Gospel, then what remains for me to do here?” After only five months as bishop, St Isaac returned to his beloved hermitage in the desert. Here he lived in silence up to his death.He reposed in the 6th century.
Those who are punished in Gehenna are scourged by the scourge of love. For what is so bitter and vehement as the punishment of love? I mean that those who have become conscious that they have sinned against love suffer greater torment from this than from any fear of punishment. For the sorrow caused in the heart by sin against love is sharper than any torment that can be…love inebriates the souls of the sons of Heaven by its delectability. (I.28, p. 266)
He who strives for honor has honor running away from him, while he who runs away from honor has it chasing him.
A person who has attained an understanding of the measure of his impotence, has attained completeness in humility.
When can it be said that a person has reached purity? — When he regards all human beings as good. He is truly pure of heart, when no one appears impure or vile to him.
Shelter the sinner if it brings you no harm. Through this you will encourage him toward repentance and reform — and attract the Lord’s mercy to yourself. With a kind word and all possible means, fortify the infirm and the sorrowful and that Right Arm that controls everything, will also support you. With prayers and sorrow of your heart, share your lot with the aggrieved and the source of God’s mercy will open to your entreaties.
When giving, give magnanimously with a look of kindness on your face, and give more than what is asked of you.
Do not annoy or hate anyone – neither for faith, nor for his evil deeds… If you want to convert someone to truth, then grieve over him, with tears and love say a word or two to him, but do not burst out in anger, and may he not see any sign of hatred on your part, because love is not able to hate, or become irritated, or reproach anyone with passion…
The assembly of the humble is loved of God just as the assembly of the seraphim.
Be peaceful within yourself, and heaven and earth will be at peace with you. Be diligent to enter into the treasury that is within you, and you will see the treasury of Heaven: for these are one and the same, and with one entry you will behold them both. The ladder of the Kingdom is within you, hidden in your soul. Plunge deeply within yourself, away from sin, and there you will find steps by which you will be able to ascend.
The man who has found love eats and drinks Christ every day and hour and so is made immortal. ‘Whoever eats of this bread’, He says, ‘which I will give him, will never taste death.’Blessed is he who consumes the bread of love, which is Jesus! He who eats of love eats Christ, the God over all, as John bears witness, saying, ‘God is love.’Wherefore, the man who lives in love reaps life from God, and while yet in this world, he even now breathes the air of the resurrection; in this air the righteous will delight in the resurrection.
Troparion of St Isaac the Syrian in Tone V
Illumined by rays of the virtues, O God-bearer Isaac, in spirit thou wast shown to be an all-radiant beacon of the life which is in Christ; and by thine divinely inspired teachings, O father, thou dost guide safely to the way of salvation those who bless thee as a godly servant of Christ.
Through the intercessions of our Father among the Saints Isaac the Syrian, of all the ascetic Fathers, Mothers and all the saints, O Lord of compassion and Peace, have mercy on us and save us!