May the Lord Rule in Your Heart: Selected Sayings of St. Nektary of Optina

  

HELP OF THE SAINTS

When you will say, "All Saints, pray to God for me!"—then all of the saints in heaven will cry out, " Lord have mercy!"—and you will have what you desire.

OBEDIENCE

Take this advice for your whole life: if the superiors or those older than you suggest something, then no matter how difficult or how lofty it might seem, do not refuse. God will help you for your obedience.

Every obedience which seems difficult, becomes very easy when we fulfill it, because that is how obedience works.

IRRITABILITY

As soon as you notice in yourself any irritation, just say firmly, "Lord have mercy." With prayer we are purified from every defilement.

FAMILY LIFE

For a woman, marriage is service to the Most Holy Trinity—see what a great honor it is to be a wife and a mother.

Happiness in married life is granted only to those who fulfill the Divine Commandments and treat marriage as a Mystery of the Christian Church.

SORROWS

When there are sorrows and you do not have the strength to endure them, then turn with all your heart to the Lord, the Mother of God, St. Nicholas, the saint whose name you bear, and the sorrow will be alleviated.

PRAYER

At all times, whatever you may be doing: whether you are sitting, or walking, or working, say with the heart, “Lord have mercy.”

Pray that the Lord will rule in your heart. Then it will overflow with great rejoicing and happiness, and no kind of sorrow will have the strength to disturb it.

The power of prayer is not in many words, but in the sincerity of prayerful sigh.

KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

The story of Job is an example for every person, for as a long as a man is rich, famous, and content, God pays him no mind. When a man, on the other hand, is on a dung heap, rejected by everyone, then God appears and converses with him, and the man in return cries out, "Lord have mercy!"

THE JESUS PRAYER

Drive away the enemy and those who bring temptations of evil thoughts with prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." This prayer can be said during all activities.

NONBELIEVERS

One may have a good worldly relationship with nonbelievers, but one cannot have a relationship in prayer and one must not carry on arguments about religion so that the name of God not be offended during an argument.

CONDEMNATION

As soon as condemnation comes into your head, immediately say with attention: "Lord, grant me to see my sins and not condemn my brother".

HUMILITY

You ask: "By what path do I go to God?" Go on the path of humility! By humbly bearing the difficult circumstances of life, by humbly enduring sicknesses sent by the Lord, by the humble hope that you will not be abandoned by the Lord, the quick Helper and Heavenly Father overflowing in love, by humble prayer for help from on high to dispel despondency and feelings of helplessness by which the enemy of salvation tries to bring us to despair, which is so perilous for man, depriving him of Divine Grace and removing from him the mercy of God.

REPENTANCE

The details of the confession are not important, but the compunction of the heart. "The Lord sees the heart."

THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD

In order to not lose the grace of God, strive more to acquire the remembrance of God. One must fulfill the word of God, i.e., the commandments, as the Lord Himself said: He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me (John 14:21). In such a way there is achieved sincere service to God, with all one's heart.

You should love your neighbour, but sincerely, not with calculation. I ove—it is most beautiful, most holy. It is so beautiful! But people have distorted it. It must be like that of Christ, when He suffered for us.

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