elder thaddeus of vitovnica

“Here on earth there is nothing that can give us inner peace. For neither riches, nor glory, nor honour, nor position, nor family, nor neighbors can give us unshakable inner peace. There is only one giver of life, peace and joy – God”

Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

We are the sons of light and love, the sons of God, his children. As such we must have His qualities and His attributes of love, peace, and kindness towards all.
—  Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

When we nurture evil thoughts, we become evil. We may think that we are good, but evil is in us. We do not have the strength to resist it. And we know that, as Christians, we must not even think evil, let alone do it. We, however, have Divine power, Divine life, and Divine energy. On the day of the Final Judgment we shall have to give an answer for the way we have used the Divine power, life, and energy which have been given to us; whether we have contributed to the harmony in the universe, or have sown disharmony. ~Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica: Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives

Our starting point is always wrong. Instead of beginning with ourselves, we always want to change others first and ourselves last. If everyone were to begin first with themselves, then there would be peace all around.
—  Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica “On Thoughts”; Our Thoughts Determine our Lives [p. 64]
1. 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.
2. Everything, both good and evil, comes from our thoughts. Our thoughts become reality. Even today we can see that all of creation, everything that exists on the earth and in the cosmos, is nothing but Divine thought made material in time and space. We humans were created in the image of God. Mankind was given a great gift, but we hardly understand that. God’s energy and life is in us, but we do not realize it. Neither do we understand that we greatly influence others with our thoughts. We can be very good or very evil, depending on the kind of thoughts and desires we breed.
—  Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Our thoughts Determine Our Lives

“A man who has within him the Kingdom of Heaven radiates holy thoughts, Divine thoughts.  The Kingdom of God creates within us an atmosphere of heaven, as opposed to the atmosphere of hell that is radiated by a person when hades abides in his heart.  The role of Christians in the world is to filter the atmosphere on earth and expand the atmosphere of the Kingdom of God.  

We can keep guard over the whole world by keeping guard over the atmosphere of heaven within us for if we lose the Kingdom of Heaven, we will save neither ourselves nor others.  He who has the Kingdom of God in himself will imperceptibly pass it on to others.  People will be attracted by the peace and warmth in us; they will want to be near us, and the atmosphere of heaven will gradually pass on to them.  It is not even necessary to speak to people about ordinary things.  It will radiate from us even though we may not be aware of it.”

Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica “On Thoughts”; Our Thoughts Determine our Lives [p. 66]

“Once, Fr. Thaddeus shared a meal at Vitovnica with a pious visitor from Belgrade.  After the meal, the visitor noticed several bread crumbs in the elder’s long beard.  When they had both risen from the table, he gently told Fr. Thaddeus that he ought to shake the the crumbs from his beard, so that the other visitors would not see them and wonder what kind of monk he was.  However, the elder only smiled and said, "It is a pity to throw these crumbs away, when the birds can feast on them!”  Then he sat on a bench in the garden, leaned back in his seat, and called to a sparrow sitting on a nearby tree, “Come, little sparrow, come and eat!”  The visitor saw with his own eyes how the sparrow flew down and settled on Fr. Thaddeus’ beard, pecking at it until it had eaten the last crumb.

With his spiritual eyes set on the Divine mystery of creation and its mystical gratefulness to its Creator, as well as on the terrible mystery of man’s abuse of creation and his joyless, materialistic, and destructive misuse of nature, Fr. Thaddeus spoke to the Vitovnica pilgrims in these words:  "Life is increasingly being destroyed and extinguished…That’s no mystery! Even some ten years ago when there used to be heavy snowfalls, you could see whole families of rabbits playing in the clearings among the trees at night in the moonlight.  They would run around in circles, chasing one another and playing, hundreds of them, turning cartwheels in the snow, playing joyfully.  This was joy, the joy of living!  They have the joy of living while we have all kinds of material things, yet we are never happy, never satisfied.  The animals do not worry about tomorrow, they do not gather wheat into their granaries, yet the Lord feeds them all.  They nibble on a root here, find a place to sleep there, and they are grateful to God.  Not so we men…“

Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Our Thoughts Determine our Lives [p. 54,55]

We cannot forgive ourselves

… Remembering a sin we have committed does not mean that the sin has not been forgiven. This remembrance of our sins is only a warning to us lest we become proud and sin again. In fact, we – not God – are the ones who cannot forgive ourselves. We cannot forgive ourselves because of our pride. A genuine sign that a sin has been forgiven is the fact that it has not been repeated, and we are at peace…

— Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives. Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2010.

“Our life depends on the kinds 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.”

~Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

(Photo: dramoor © 2014)

“In November 2001, in a conversation with his spiritual children from Belgrade, his health visibly deteriorating but his face already alight with the cloudless clarity of the Kingdom of God, Fr. Thaddeus spoke in a cracked voice, almost a whisper, words which shone with light:  

"All the Holy Fathers lived a good life, a quiet life.  All of them say that the perfection of the Christian life is in extreme humility.  This means that patient long-suffering is what we most need in this life.  We must bear everything patiently and forgive all.  If we have good thoughts and desires, these thoughts will give us peace and joy even in this life, and even more so in eternity.  Then we will see that there is no death, that the Lord has vanquished death, and that He has given us eternal life!”

Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, Our Thoughts Determine our Lives [p. 56]