Saint Seraphim and his love to people
St. Seraphim was loved by all, but he was especially loved by children and he loved them a lot. When adults came to St. Seraph while he was living in his hermitage, there were times when he did not respond, so they sent their children out to call him, and he then would appear, spreading sunshine in all their hearts.
As a visionary, he saw the Virgin Mary and groups of saints several times during his life. As a prophet, he foretold the future and read men's hearts. As an ascetic, he felled trees with his axe, and when moved into the main monastery late in life through obedience, he hauled rocks from one place to the other to avoid being idle.
St. Seraphim was healed as a boy by the wonder-working Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, and he entered the monastery of Sarov when he was nineteen years of age. His mother blessed him with a large copper crucifix, which he wore over his clothing all his life. After this, he entered the Sarov monastery as a novice.
From day one in the monastery, exceptional abstinence from food and slumber were the distinguishing features of his life. He ate once a day, and little. On Wednesdays and Fridays he ate nothing. He spent many years in monastic service, bearing all manner and types physical brutality with unfailing love, patience, and humility. As his fame as a prophet and spiritual light spread throughout Russia, thousands of pilgrims flocked to his wilderness retreat to receive healings and spiritual consulting.
In obedience to his superiors, he became the spiritual father for nearby nuns and inspired and instructed many. Since he departed this life in l833, his sound has gone forth into all the earth, so much so that many consider him to be the greatest force behind the revival of Orthodox mysticism in the l9th century Russia and indeed throughout the world today. There are 80 verified instances of miraculous healing worked by St. Seraphim.
Sarov is a town in the southern Russia in the Nizhny Novgorod region. By the middle of the 18th century the Sarov Hermitage had become a well-known spiritual center. The history of Sarov is connected with the fame of the Sarov and Diveyevo Monasteries. Sarov became known due to the good deeds and spiritual achievements of the monk Seraphim, and became the final place of his repose. In 1903, Sarvov was visited by Emperor of All Russia Nicholas II who with his family and court attended the ceremony of canonization of St, Seraphim of Sarov. The uncovering of the holy relics of St.Seraphim on July 19, 1903 was attended by many thousands, among them the foremost of the clergy and laymen. After 1917 the Hermitage was destroyed. But later it was successfully restored. The town opened a monument to St. Seraphim - one of the most revered saints in Russia, to celebrate his 100th anniversary.
QUOTES from St. Seraphim of Sarov:
"Maintain a spirit of peace and you will save a thousand souls."
"The reading of the word of God should be performed in solitude, in order that the whole mind of the reader might be plunged into the truths of the Holy Scripture, and that from this he might receive warmth, which in solitude produces tears; from these a man is wholly warmed and is filled with spiritual gifts, which rejoice the mind and heart more than any word."
"God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold which comes from the devil—for the devil is cold—let us call on the Lord. He will come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but also for our neighbor, and the cold of him who hates the good will flee before the heat of His countenance".
"The body is a slave, the soul a sovereign, and therefore it is due to Divine mercy when the body is worn out by illness: for thereby the passions are weakened, and a man comes to himself; indeed, bodily illness itself is sometimes caused by the passions."
"Without sorrows there is no salvation. On the other hand, the Kingdom of God awaits those who have patiently endured. And all the glory of the world is nothing in comparison."
"Those who have truly decided to serve the Lord God should practice the remembrance of God and uninterrupted prayer to Jesus Christ, mentally saying: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
"When despondency seizes us, let us not give in to it. Rather, fortified and protected by the light of faith, let us with great courage say to the spirit of evil: "What are you to us, you who are cut off from God, a fugitive for Heaven, and a slave of evil? You dare not do anything to us: Christ, the Son of God, has dominion over us and over all. Leave us, you thing of bane. We are made steadfast by the uprightness of His Cross. Serpent, we trample on your head."
"It is necessary that the Holy Spirit enter our heart. Everything good that we do, that we do for Christ, is given to us by the Holy Spirit, but prayer most of all, which is always available to us."
"Prayer, fasting, vigil and all other Christian practices, however good they may be in themselves, do not constitute the aim of our Christian life, although they serve as the indispensable means of reaching this end. The true aim of our Christian life consists in the [increasing] acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God. As for fasts, and vigils, and prayer, and almsgiving, and every good deed done for Christ's sake, they are only means of acquiring the Holy Spirit of God."
"…the people who, in spite of the bonds of sin which fetter them and hinder them (by constraint and by inciting them to new sins), come to Him, our Savior, with perfect repentance for tormenting Him, who despise all the strength of the fetters of sin and force themselves to break their bonds – 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 scarlet, I will make them whiter than snow' (Isa. 1:18)."
"Every success in anything we should refer to the Lord and with the Prophet say: 'Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory' (Ps. 113:9)."
"The true aim of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God… But… only the good deeds done for Christ’s sake bring us the fruits of the Holy Spirit."
"…only the good deed done for Christ’s sake brings us the fruits of the Holy Spirit. All that is not done for Christ’s sake, even though it be good, brings neither reward in the future life nor the grace of God in this life. That is why our Lord Jesus Christ said: 'He who gathers not with Me scatters' (Lk. 11:23)."