St. Seraphim of Sarov
HE WHO WOULD BE SAVED should ever have his heart disposed to repentance and broken, according to the Psalmist:
A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit: a broken and bumbled heart God will not despise (Ps. 50; 17).
In such brokenness of spirit a man can easily pass securely through the artful snares of the proud devil, whose whole care consists in agitating the human spirit, and in agitation sowing his tares, in accordance with the words of the Gospel: Lord , didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? He said unto tbem t An enemy hath done this (St. Matt. 13:27-28).
When, however, a man strives within himself to have his heart humble and his thought not agitated, but peaceful, then all the snares of the enemy are without effect; for where there is peace in one’s thoughts, there resides the Lord God Himself — His place is in peace (Ps. 75 :3).
The beginning of repentance proceeds from fear of God and heedfulness, as the holy martyr Boniface says (Lives of Saints, Dec. 19): The fear of God is the father of hcedfulncss, and heedfulncss is the mother of inner peace, and the latter gives birth to conscience, which causes the soul to behold its own ugliness as in a certain pure and undisturbed water; and thus arc born the beginnings and roots of repentance.
Throughout our whole life by our transgressions we offend in greater or less degree the majesty of God, and therefore we should also ever humble ourselves before Him, begging remission of our debts.
Question : Can a man who has received grace rise after falling?
Answer: He can, according to the Psalmist: I was overturned that I might fall , but the Lord supported me (Ps. 117:15); for when Nathan the prophet accused David in his sin, the latter repented and immediately received forgiveness (II Kings 12:13).
An example of the same thing may be found in the anchorite who, going for water, fell into sin with a woman at the spring, and returning to his cell, acknowledged his sin and began again to lead ao ascetic life as before, not accepting the counsels of the enemy who represented to him the seriousness of the sin and would have led him away from the ascetic life. The Lord revealed this incident to a certain father, and commanded him to glorify the brother who had fallen into sin for such a victory over the devil.
The Orthodox Spiritual Life: The Spiritual Instructions of St. Seraphim of Sarov (XXXII -XXXVI)
The Orthodox Word magazine, 1969 Vol. 5, No. 1 (24) January – February
When we repent sincerely of our sins and turn to our Lord Jesus Christ with all our hearts, He rejoices in us and holds a feast, to which He invites His precious host of angels, showing them the drachma He has found anew, i.e. His kingly image in man. Placing the straying sheep on His shoulders, He carries it to His Heavenly Father.
Thus, let us not neglect to appeal to our Merciful Master, and let us not be overcome by negligence and despair over our heavy and countless sins. Despair is supreme joy to the devil. It is a mortal sin according to the Scriptures. Moreover, the repentance of a sin means not repeating it. Just as there is some medication for every illness, so there is repentance for every sin. Thus approach repentance without hesitation, and it will intercede for you before God.
Spiritual life according to St. Seraphim of Sarov“And if we were never to sin after our baptism, we should remain for ever saints of God, holy, blameless, and free from all impurity of body and spirit. But the trouble is that we increase in stature, but do not increase in grace and in the knowledge of God as our Lord Jesus Christ increased; but on the contrary, we gradually become more and more depraved and lose the grace of the All-Holy Spirit of God and become sinful in various degrees, and very sinful people. But if a man is stirred by the wisdom of God, which seeks our salvation and embraces everything, and if he is resolved for its sake to devote the early hours of the day to God and to watch in order to find His eternal salvation, then, in obedience to its voice, he must hasten to offer true repentance for all his sins and must practice the virtues which are opposite to the sins committed. Then through the virtues practiced for Christ’s sake, he will acquire the Holy Spirit Who acts within us and establishes in us the Kingdom of God. The word of God does not say in vain: The Kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21), and it suffers violence, and the violent take it by force (Matt. 11:12). That means that people who, in spite of the bonds of sin which fetter them and (by their violence and by inciting them to new sins) prevent them from coming to Him, our Savior, with perfect repentance for reckoning with Him. They force themselves to break their bonds, despising all the strength of the fetters of sin—such people at last actually appear before the face of God made whiter than snow by His grace. Come, says the Lord: ”Though your sins be as purple, I will make you white as snow” (Is. 1:18).
”And whoever lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:26). He who has the grace of the Holy Spirit in reward for right faith in Christ, even if on account of human frailty his soul were to die for some sin or other, yet he will not die for ever, but he will be raised by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ Who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and freely gives grace upon grace. Of this grace, which was manifested to the whole world and to our human race by the God-man, it is said in the Gospel: In Him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:4); and further: And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness has never swallowed it (John 1:5). This means that the grace of the Holy Spirit which is granted at baptism in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, in spite of man’s fall into sin, in spite of the darkness surrounding our soul, nevertheless shines in our hearts with the divine light (which has existed from time immemorial) of the inestimable merits of Christ. In the event of a sinner’s impenitence this light of Christ cries to the Father: ‘Abba, Father! Be not angry with this impenitence to the end (of his life).’ Then, at the sinners conversion to the way of repentance, it effaces completely all trace of past sin and clothes the former sinner once more in a robe of incorruption spun from the grace of the Holy Spirit. The acquisition of this is the aim of the Christian life, which I have been explaining to your Godliness.
St. Seraphim’s Transfiguration in the Holy Spirit. Conversation with Motovilov
A heart that is broken and humbled, Saint Niphon of Constantiane sees: It appeared that the angel had torn open his chest and removed his heart in front of everyone.
https://iconandlight.wordpress.com/2019/02/17/a-heart-that-is-broken-and-humbled-saint-niphon-of-constantiane-sees-it-appeared-that-the-angel-had-torn-open-his-chest-and-removed-his-heart-in-front-of-everyone/Troparion of St. Seraphim, Tone 4
Thou didst love Christ from thy youth, O blessed one,/ and longing to work for Him alone thou didst struggle in the wilderness with constant prayer and labor./ With penitent heart and great love for Christ thou wast favored by the Mother of God./ Wherefore we cry to thee:/ Save us by thy prayers, O Seraphim our righteous Father.
Irmos: Let us praise Him, who of old in the burning bush
In great mercy Thou camest down upon earth
To save the world through Thy voluntary poverty:
Save me in Thy compassion,
For I am poor in all good works.
Doxastikon in Tone Six
Loving Father, I have gone far from you, but do not forsake me, nor declare me unfitted for your Kingdom. The all-evil enemy has stripped me naked and taken all my wealth. I have squandered like the Profligate the graces given to my soul. But now I have arisen and returned, and I cry aloud to you, ‘Make me as one of your hired servants, You who for my sake stretched out Your spotless hands on the Cross, to snatch me from the fearsome beast and to clothe me once again in the first robe, for You alone art full of mercy’.