Archive for the ‘Elder Ambrose of Optina’ Category


Circumstances & Salvation

April 24, 2010

It is useless to accuse those around us and those who live with us of somehow interfering with or being an impediment to our salvation and spiritual perfection… Spiritual or emotional dissatisfaction comes from within ourselves, from inexperience and from poorly conceived opinions we do not want to abandon, but which bring on doubt, embarrassment, and misunderstanding.  All of this tires and burdens us, and brings us to a sorry state.  We would do well to comprehend the Holy Fathers’ simple advice: If we will humble ourselves, we will find tranquility anywhere, without having to mentally wander about many other places, where we might have the same, or even worse, experiences. – Elder Ambrose


You never know…

February 18, 2010

Once two sisters came from St. Petersburg to Elder Ambrose [of Optina]. The younger one was a prospective bride in a joyful mood; the older one was quiet, thoughtful and reverent. The first asked a blessing to be married, the other to go to a monastery. The Elder gave a prayer rope to the fiancée and said to the elder sister: “What kind of monastery? You’ll get married — but not at home that’s what you’ll get!” And he named a province, to which she had never traveled. They both returned to the capital. The bride learned that her bridegroom had betrayed her. This brought about a terrible change, for her emotional attachment was deep. She comprehended the vanity of all that had occupied her before; her thoughts turned to God, and she soon entered a monastery. Meanwhile, the elder sister received a letter from that distant province from an aunt she had forgotten about, a devout woman who lived close to a women’s monastery. She was summoning her to have a look at the life of the nuns there. But it turned out otherwise: while living with her aunt, the niece became acquainted with a man no longer young but quite suited to her by his character, and she married him.