I just posted a quote from St. Seraphim of Sarov that’s one of the best-known in Orthodoxy. As I’ve mentioned, I have to publish them as an entry in order to add them into the Quotes sidebar at right, and that section doesn’t allow for a very long quote. But my Daily Lives calendar had a bit more to it, so I thought I’d give the whole thing here as well:
“When the Spirit of God descends upon a man and overshadows him with the fullness of His outpouring, then his soul overflows with a joy not to be described, for the Holy Spirit turns to joy whatever He touches. The Kingdom of Heaven is peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Acquire inward peace, and thousands around you will find their salvation.”
That’s one of the real differences, I think, between the way Protestants view evangelizing and the way we do. (And I don’t know what the Catholic POV is.) And that is that we think that it has two parts to it that can’t be separated: (1) you grow in the faith yourself, doing all the things that need doing — struggling, fasting, praying, reading, partaking of the sacraments, meditating, confessing and so on — and (2) you reach out — doing good works, praying for others, talking about the faith, being salt and light. The Protestants talk of giving witness, giving testimony. We Orthodox know we need to do that more. But we also think in terms of being a witness, of being a testimony.
It’s much harder that way. But it makes a lot more sense. Just as I can’t take the mote out of my brother’s eye while the plank is still in my own, I would think I wouldn’t really be equipped to show him the way to heaven unless I’d at least taken a step or two myself.