Silouan the Athonite: With the Holy Spirit the saints glorify God, and with the Holy Spirit the Lord glorifies the saints Thursday, Nov 14 2013 

Silouan the Athonite“I love them who love Me, and I will glorify them who glorify Me,” says the Lord (cf. Prov. 8:17 & 1 Kg. 2:30).

God is glorified by His Saints, and, in turn, the Saints are glorified by God.

The glory that God gives to the Saints is so great, that if people were to see a saint as he truly is, they would fall to the ground on account of reverence and fear, because physical man cannot endure the glory of such a heavenly appearance.

Do not marvel at this. The Lord loved man, whom He created, to such an extent that He poured the Holy Spirit abundantly upon man, and through this Holy Spirit man became like unto God.

The Lord gave His grace to the Saints, and they loved Him and completely devoted themselves to Him, because the sweetness of God’s love surpasses the love for the world and its beauty.

And if things are so here on the earth, then in Heaven the saints are even more closely united with the Lord through love.

God is love, and the Holy Spirit is love for the saints. With the Holy Spirit the Lord becomes known. With the Holy Spirit, the Lord is magnified in the heavens.

With the Holy Spirit the Saints glorify God, and with the Holy Spirit the Lord glorifies the Saints—and this glory has no end.

To many people it seems as though the Saints are far away from us. In reality, they are far from those people who have distanced themselves from the Saints;

whereas, they are very close to the people who keep Christ’s commandments and who have the grace of the Holy Spirit.

In Heaven, everything lives and moves in the Holy Spirit. But even on the earth, we have the same Holy Spirit.

This Holy Spirit lives in our Church. The Holy Spirit unites everyone, and for this reason the Saints are close to us.

And when we pray to them, they hear our prayers through the Holy Spirit, and our souls sense and feel their intercessions for us.

The Saints live in another world where they behold, through the Holy Spirit, the divine glory and beauty of the Lord’s face.

Through this same Holy Spirit they also see our lives and our deeds. They are familiar with our sorrows, and they hear our fervent prayers.

While on the earth, they were taught the love of God by the Holy Spirit. And whoever has acquired love on the earth proceeds with it to the eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven, where this love increases until it becomes perfect.

And if on the earth love cannot forget about its fellow man, then even more so the Saints in Heaven do not forget about us, and they pray for us.

Silouan the Athonite (1866-1938; Eastern Orthodox) @ Discerning Thoughts and St Nektarios Monastery.

John Cassian: An incomprehensible and all-devouring flame… Thursday, Nov 7 2013 

Sf-IoanCasianSupplication is an imploring or petition concerning sins, in which one who is sorry for his present or past deeds asks for pardon….

Prayers are those by which we offer or vow something to God….

Intercessions we offer up for others….

Thanksgivings the mind in ineffable transports offers up to God.

[…] Supplication seems to belong more especially to beginners, who are still troubled by the stings and recollection of their sins.

Prayers belong to those who have already attained some loftiness of mind in their spiritual progress and the quest of virtue.

Intercessions belong to those who fulfil the completion of their vows by their works, and are so stimulated to intercede for others also through the consideration of their weakness, and the earnestness of their love.

Thanksgivings belong to those who have already torn from their hearts the guilty thorns of conscience.

Being now free from care, they can contemplate with a pure mind the beneficence of God and His compassions, which He has either granted in the past, or is giving in the present, or preparing for the future.

Thus they are borne onward with fervent hearts to that ardent prayer which cannot be embraced or expressed by the mouth of men.

Sometimes however the mind which is advancing to that perfect state of purity and which is already beginning to be established in it, will take in all these at one and the same time.

Like some incomprehensible and all-devouring flame, it will dart through them all and offer up to God inexpressible prayers of the purest force.

The Spirit Itself, intervening with groanings that cannot be uttered, while we ourselves understand not, pours forth these prayers to God, grasping at that hour and ineffably pouring forth in its supplications things so great that they cannot be uttered with the mouth nor even at any other time be recollected by the mind.

And thence it comes that in whatever degree any one stands, he is found sometimes to offer up pure and devout prayers.

Even in that first and lowly station which has to do with the recollection of future judgment, he who still remains under the punishment of terror and the fear of judgment is so smitten with sorrow for the time being that he is filled with no less keenness of spirit from the richness of his supplications than he who through the purity of his heart gazes on and considers the blessings of God and is overcome with ineffable joy and delight.

For, as the Lord Himself says, he begins to love the more, who knows that he has been forgiven the more.

John Cassian (c. 360-435): Conferences 9, 11-15.

John of Fécamp: Happy Are All You Saints of God Thursday, Nov 1 2012 

Happy is the soul who asks to be released into heaven from its earthly prison!

She is secure and tranquil, fearing neither enemy nor death  for she both possesses and unendingly perceives the ever-present and most beautiful Lord whom she serves whom she loves and whom, glorious and rejoicing, she at last attains.

Happy are all you saints of God who have traversed the sea of mortality, and attained the port of everlasting rest, security and peace: secure and tranquil, you are always festive and glad.

I beseech you by the Mother of charity: you who enjoy tranquility, concern yourselves with us; you who are tranquil in your unfading glory, concern yourselves with our manifold misery.

I implore you through Him Who chose you, who made you to be as you are, through Whose beauty you are now satiated, through Whose immortality you have been made immortal, through Whose blessed vision you eternally rejoice keep us always in mind, relieve our distress, you who stand unruffled as we are tossed about in the storms of this life.

You who are the most beautiful gates, raised up to  great heights, come to the aid of us, lowly paving stones, far below. Extend your hands and raise us up, who lie prostrate at your feet. Like those recovering from sickness, may we be made strong for battle.

Intercede and pray constantly and unceasingly for us miserable and most negligent sinners, so that, through your prayers, we may be united with your holy company: for we cannot otherwise be saved.

We are exceeding frail, exceeding weak and despicable, slaves to intemperance and lust, and indisposed to every virtuous and gallant undertaking. And yet, helpless wretches as we are, we are listed under thy banner, and borne up by thy Cross.

Thus are we buoyed up by thy faith, and commit ourselves boldly to this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts, where is that Leviathan, that serpent ready to devour (Psal. 104:25, 28), wherein are rocks and quicksands.aud other dangers without number, on which the careless and the unbelieving run their vessels, and suffer shipwreck daily.

Intercede for me therefore, most gracious ones, all you ranks of the saints and of the universal assembly of the blessed, that, assisted by your prayers and merits, I may be able to bring this vessel and its landing safe to shore, and that I may be conducted to the haven where every pious soul would be, the haven of peace and salvation, of uninterrupted rest, and never-ending joy.

John of Fécamp (d. 1079): Book of the Writings and Sayings of the Ancient Fathers, ch. 23-24.

Hugh of Balma: The Virgin Mary and Praying for God’s Mercy Tuesday, Mar 15 2011 

Following on from here

But because, on account of exceeding carnality and mutability, the mind cannot obtain all those foregoing goods, according as would be expedient, it must act expediently after the fashion of those who have important business at the palace of a regal court or of a supreme pontiff.

These men, seeing that they cannot obtain what they propose, approach some important member of the court in order that what they cannot obtain by themselves may be obtained by the interceding reverence of that intermediary.

Now, suppose that this needy man locates some outstanding individual who meets the conditions of being humble enough to listen to the petitions of the needy man and of being distinguished in the court, so that (if necessary) many others on the court will intercede with him for the needy man – an outstanding individual beloved by the supreme pontiff, so that the pontiff, being bound to him in affection, wishes to deny him nothing at all.

In such a case the needy man will obtain, without any subterfuge or any outright refusal, that which he desires.

But because, among the other saints, the foregoing features are found most excellently in the Blessed Virgin, let the mind flee unto her, speaking as follows:

“You, who are most merciful, who are more humble than all others, who are someone most powerful who inclines herself toward sinners, because through you the fallen angels are restored, through you the door of life is opened to the saints:

“For these reasons, if you intercede in favor of a needy one, all others will likewise join you in interceding with the most beloved Eternal King, whom you have suckled at your sacred breasts, so that He is joined to you by an ineffable bond of love.

“I beseech you, then, to assist me in my need, so that in this way I may obtain through your assistance the true purgation of my sins, so that, at length, I may by means of perfect love constrain Him whom you have loved with all your being.”

Thereafter, let the man’s mind say “Ave Maria” forty or fifty times – either at the same time or dividing the forty or fifty by a certain number, if he wishes to, according as it will seem best to him.

Let his mind address these immediately to her face, rendering them to her daily for a tribute and as a sign of love and of spiritual homage, saluting her, attentively and affectionately, not in a picture of her on the wall or in a wooden sculpture of her, but in Heaven.

Hugh of Balma (13th-14th Century): Mystical Theology, Via Purgativa, 13-14 (translated by Jasper Hopkins).