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Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica Paperback – October 5, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood; 1st edition (October 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1887904190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1887904193
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a must read for Christians as they struggle to make sense of a crazy and fallen world. The Elder is so real and human yet it is clear he bears the Grace of God. This is not simply a book telling you how great of a Saint the elder is. Rather, it is a look into how through frailty and struggle we can see God's mercy and compassion on his people. Further, this is a practical guide for readers to help grapple with their inner life. You will not go wrong by reading Our Thoughts Determine our Lives.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.'

2 Corinthians 12:9

Elder Thaddeus of Serbia was born two months premature, and as a child suffered many physical ailments. He describes himself as one totally different to all the other children his age. He considered himself, even from his youngest years as not belonging to this world, and this was indeed his calling - to draw people away from this world that is dying and to the world that is eternal - that is the kingdom of heaven. As one who suffered from depression, nervousness and anxiety, it was the Elder's wish to completely withdraw from the world and dedicate his life in seclusion to the Lord. However, this was not the Lord's wish, and for this reason after much labour, sacrifice and suffering on the part of the Elder thousands of the faithful began to flock to him in search of spiritual advice and healing...

As the title suggests, the book centres around Elder Thaddeus' teachings in relation to our thoughts and how whenever we think negatively, this negativity is transferred to our neighbour. He teaches that negative thoughts are not our own, but rather demonic and encourages prayer (particularly the Jesus prayer), as a means of expelling such thoughts. Elder Thaddeus cites numerous examples of how life changing and salvific this prayer is, and how people have miraculously changed for the better through the Prayer of the Heart.

The book also focuses on family life, repentance, spiritual struggle, inner peace, on the Holy Mother of God, on the Orthodox faith and other issues of importance to the Christian.

This is an excellently written book. The Elder's teachings are a great treasure for all Christians struggling and suffering in this world. Priceless pearls of wisdom indeed. Highly recommended reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here is a book filled with many timeless pearls of wisdom that one can spend many hours silently contemplating. It is easily the best book I have read concerning the spiritual struggles we all must face in a fallen world. It is written in such a fashion that one could pick it up at any point and start reading; and still take from it many life lessons. Though it is essentially a compilation of teachings from an Orthodox monk; both Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike should gain much in the way of spiritual insight.
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Format: Paperback
I'm not a big reader to be honest. My husband on the other hand reads anything he lays his eyes on. So I rely on him to point me in a direction of a good book that will help me grow spiritually. This was one such book. My church did a book study on this book, but it was when I couldn't be there so I later read this on my own. I thought the title was kind of strange. But it does all make sense once you read it. I'm glad I did. One of my favorite quotes is from this book: "The Lord permits many disappointments, sorrows, and misfortunes to befall us in this earth life in order that we might stop placing our trust in the world, which hams us so much , and that we might realize that He alone is the Source of all comfort, peace, and stillness."
Elder Thaddeus
I go back to it when I come upon hard times, and it puts me at ease. Elder Thaddeus is certainly a holy man.
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Format: Paperback
Salvation is far out. For some perhaps, too far out.

I gave this book a four star rather than five rating because I share some of the concerns of our one-star Amazon reviewer, Ms. Wilkes; even if she only read 85 pages and quit.

This book is an example for me of how we must read the words and sayings of severe monastics and ascetics within the context of their extreme hysicastic stillness and intense, God focused lives. Most of us are called to what yogis and other Eastern religious practices refer to as the "householder" path. Indeed the history of the church gives us two roads: monk/nun/celibate...or married/householder. Some of what the elder says will be jarring to those on the householder way, even if the whole focus of the book is the every day battle we take on with self talk. I've worked in sales for years as a small businessman. This is 90% of our challenge. Same with moms raising small kids I'd say.

I started this book, I have to confess, a bit wary as I'd heard that a popular abbot friend of mine didn't like it. Contrarily, I did like it; but was put off by 5% or so of what I found. But I did agree with elder Thaddeus about not spoiling children; his words are not unlike Elder Porphyrios of Wounded By Love on this point. Neither holy men, of course, had children of their own as physical parents. Another interesting sidebar: This elder struggled with depression. And, (some will connect the two) he played the accordion. He loved music in fact, found it soothing, self soothing. In the chapter on inner peace, his interesting point about opposing evil being itself evil will spark a good talk around any table.
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