I 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.
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.
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