TODAY IS the Birthday of St. Seraphim of Sarov

[Some excerpts from this saint’s writing. Choose one to think about and pray with today or tonight.]

Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved.

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

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.

You cannot be too gentle, too kind.
Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other.
Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him
who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives.
All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other…
Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace.
Keep silent, refrain from judgment.
This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult, and outrage
and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil.

[This short biography is from this site

St. Seraphim was a Starets in Russia. A Starets is a wise elder and spiritual guide. He was born in 1759 as Prochoros Moshnin. When he was a boy, he was deathly ill and received a vision of the Theotokos healing him. A thunderstorm caused a procession that was carrying the Kursk icon of the Mother of God to pass in front of his house. He was carried out to kiss it. Immediately, he started to recover. He loved the lives of the saints. At age 18, his mother blessed him and gave him a large copper cross (which he wore for the rest of his life) and he went to the monastery. At age 27, he took monastic vows. He lived with extreme asceticism. He eventually retreated far into the woods, living in a hut, at peace with all of the wild animals. One time, a band of robbers came upon him. He did not defend himself, but dropped the ax he was using to the ground and crossed his arms over his chest as if for burial. They used his ax to bludgeon him until they thought he was dead. The only thing they found in his hut was his icon of the Theotokos. God raised him up, but he was hunched over from his injuries after that. When the bandits were caught, he spoke before the magistrate in their defense. He was used by God to provide for a nearby women’s monastery. In his later years, he submitted to being a Starets. Thousands came to him of all walks and classes for advice and for prayer. He greeted all with joy. Many were healed by his prayers. His prayers were especially effective to grant healthy, safe births for women who had problems with infertility or miscarriages. There is so much more that could be said. The reader would do well to read his full biography.]

St. Seraphim is not officially recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church, but many Catholics have a devotion to him.  Even Blessed John Paul II referred to him as Saint Seraphim in a book.  He popularized a form of the Rosary among the Orthodox.St. Bonaventure


About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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