Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica: On the Wisdom and the Meaning of Life

“Teach from life experiences, not from words…”

“All my life I’ve been tormented by the thought of the purpose of this life. I asked myself the question: why do we need this life? The fact that a person works to achieve material wealth, to eat and drink, is this really all that a person needs? Thank God, the life of St. Seraphim of Sarov says that the purpose of our life is to return into the arms of our Heavenly Father, so that we the people on earth would be like Angels in heaven, led by the Holy Spirit.

From childhood I understood that there is service on this earth: parents serve children, children serve parents; and then the thought came to my mind that if one serves the other, then I want to serve God, because He is above everything. That’s how the Lord called me from an early age. When I serve, I live.

Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility.

Our thoughts act not only on us, but also on the surrounding flora and fauna, moreover, they affect eternity, not only destroying the earth, but also multiplying evil in the Universe.

Why does God commands us to love our enemies? This is not for their sake, but for our sake. As long as we retain in ourselves the thought of an insult inflicted upon us by enemies, friends, family, and relatives, we have no peace and tranquility and we live in a hellish state. It is necessary to free oneself from this evil state, throw it away as if nothing had happened, forgive everything.

You should not think a lot about yourself, because thinking about our needs we interfere with ourselves. We ourselves are the greatest obstacle. We think about the evil that is around us which hurts us, but if evil were not in ourselves it would not hurt us.

Severity towards others is dangerous. Severe people grow only to a certain degree and remain stuck on the physical level. In dealing with people you need to be kind, gentle, gracious. People must be treated equally. We do not dare to divide people: this one is pleasant to me, this one is antipathetic. For then you declared war on this other person. And she will be intolerant to you. And although outwardly you did not give a reason either by word or by movement, inside yourself by your thoughts you have done it.

Until you have suffered much in your heart, you cannot learn humility.

God will humble us with the help of those around us. Someone causes our irritation, anger — and so it will continue until we remain calm until we learn this lesson.

Humility is a Divine property and the perfection of the Christian life. It is attained through obedience. He who is not obedient cannot gain humility. There are very few in the world today who have obedience. Our humility is in proportion to our obedience.

Joy is thankfulness, and when we are joyful, that is the best expression of thanks we can offer the God, Who delivers us from sorrow and sin.

People are changeable like the wind. Today they are for you, tomorrow they are against you. Who can stop the wind? Who can please the whole world? If you try to please everyone, you will definitely get into trouble. The gospel says: wisdom is simple. We will be nothing in front of the whole world to become something before God.

When you find a kindred spirit soul, stay with it, for it is a great joy to be friends with like-minded people.

A key character trait is the foundation towards eternity. If we are peaceful and quiet we will soar among the saints and angels.

You need to pray as Father John of Kronstadt prayed. He carefully read the prayers, and when felt at some word that his heart became warm, and peace and joy spilled into his soul, he prayed wholeheartedly. The words of prayer must be pronounced with the belief that God is looking at you and listening to you. And when during prayer something arises in your heart, “grab” it, linger on it, “stay” in it.

Everything is defeated by love.

The world is increasingly immersed in sin and evil and mixes love and passions, and love and passions have nothing in common. Love is God, and passion is that which comes from evil spirits.

God, who is all Love, knew that all created intelligent beings could not maintain their position, and gave time from the creation of the world to the Last Judgment, so that intelligent beings came to their senses, returned to the arms of their Parent. To merge with the Absolute Good, with the Absolute Love…”

Excerpts from Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica


~Tadej (Thaddeus) of Vitovnica was a Serbian Orthodox elder and published author, credited for proposing the idea that our thoughts determine the outcome of our lives. He was a hegumen of the Vitovnica monastery and a spiritual father.

©Excellence Reporter 2020

Categories: Christianity

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