Orthodox Wisdom

On the Knowledge of God - St. Silouan the Athonite

St. Silouan the Athonite (+1938) has reached the hearts of many around the world, first through his prayer in his cell, and now through his writings and his heavenly intercession. A towering figure full of love, a great ascetic who by God’s grace mastered the passions, his witness is essential for the Orthodox Christian today. He is the spiritual father of St. Sophrony the Athonite. We commemorate St. Silouan on September 24.   

St. Silouan writes:  We do not require wealth or learning in order to know the Lord - we must simply be obedient and sober, have a humble spirit and love our fellow-men. The Lord will love such a soul as this, of His own accord make Himself manifest to her and instruct her in love and humility, and give her all things needful for her to fund rest in God.  We may study as much as we will but we shall still not come to know the Lord unless we live according to His commandments, for the Lord is not made known through learning but by the Holy Spirit. Many philosophers and scholars have arrived at a belief in the existence of God but they have not come to know God. And we monks apply ourselves day and night to the study of the Lord's command but not all of us by a long way have come to know the Lord, although we believe in Him. To believe that God exists is one thing, to know God another.  

With the mere mind we can only come to know the things of this earth, and then only in part, while God and all that is of heaven are known through the Holy Spirit.  But if we take pains to explore the human heart, this is what we shall see: the Kingdom of Heaven in the soul of the saint but in the soul of the sinner - darkness and torment. And it is good to know this because we shall dwell eternally either in the Kingdom or in torment.  

But the man who cries out against evil men but does not pray for them will never know the grace of God.  

If you would know of the Lord's love for us, hate sin and evil thoughts, and day and night pray fervently. The Lord will then give you His grace, and you will know Him through the Holy Spirit, and after death, when you enter into paradise, there, too, you will know the Lord through the Holy Spirit, as you knew Him on earth.  O ye peoples of the earth, fashioned by God, know your Creator and His love for us! Know the love of Christ, and live in peace and thereby rejoice the Lord, Who in His mercy waits for all men to come to Him.  O Lord, do Thou grant them to know Thee by Thy Holy Spirit. As Thou didst give the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and they knew Thee, so grant all peoples to know Thee, by the Holy Spirit.   

This text comes from “St. Silouan the Athonite” by St. Sophrony the Athonite: https://www.holycross.org/products/sa...

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