To Gain Paradise

Picture 183I stumbled across the following quote from St. Cosmos of Aetolia:

The Martyrs earned paradise with their blood; the Monastics, with their ascetic life. Now we, my brethren, who beget children, how shall we earn paradise? With hospitality, by relieving the poor, the blind, the lame, as Joachim (the father of the Theotokos ) did…. Almsgiving, love, and fasting sanctify man, enrich him in both soul and body, and bring him to a good end; the body and the soul become holy.

My thanks to All Saints of North America Russian Orthodox Church in Middlebrook, VA

A note to those who can’t bear to hear the word “earn” without paroxysms of “works/righteousness.” Orthodoxy does not teach salvation by works – but, like St. Paul, believes that we are to obey the commandments of Christ. By God’s grace such obedience is greeted with God’s great mercy and yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.


  1. alyssasophia says

    Ah, two of my favorite people together–Fr. Stephen & Fr. John! That makes me happy.

    And what a great quote…sobering to consider as I raise my children. How do I spend my time with them? hmmmm.

  2. alyssasophia says

    So you’re saying that all of this can be lived out right under my own roof if I create the right conditions?

  3. says

    It strikes me, since I have a wife and two children, that “hospitality, . . . relieving the poor, the blind, the lame” are probably some of the most challenging and terrifying works for a parent to do, because there is so much risk involved. When you are single, it is no problem to invite society’s rejects into your life (and home), but when you have a family, you are risking them as well as yourself.

    “Keep them poor … then feed them.” Ha! That is what my parents did, and I love them for it.