Saturday, 6 October 2012

Elder Paisios-The Mark of Spiritual Sincerity is Love

 Elder Paisios Of Mount Athos

The world is in a sorry state nowadays because everyone is saying great "truths",which do not correspond with reality.Sweet words and great truths have value when they come from truthful mouths,and they produce results on the well-intentioned and those who have a pure mind.
-Elder,is there a worldly sincerity and a spiritual sincerity?
-Yes, of course.Worldly sincerity contains indiscretion.
-Does this mean that someone speaks in season,out of season?
-Not only that;truth is truth;but if at some point you speak the truth without discernment,this is not truth.For example,it is true that so and so is mentally disturbed.But if you go and tell this truth,you do not benefit anyone.Or,another person says,"In order to be sincere I am going to sin in the public square."This is not sincerity.Anyone who has a great degree of discernment also has noble love,sacrifice and humility,and he speaks even the bitterest truth with great simplicity,sweetened with kindness.The benefits reaped are greater than those of sweet words,as bitter medicines do greater good than sweet syrups.

Truth,when used without discernment.can be criminal.Some people act in the name of truth and commit crimes.When someone has sincerity without discernment he can do double harm,first to himself and then to others,because this sincerity is without compassion.Whoever wants to be truly sincere should start by being sincere with himself,for that's where spiritual sincerity begins.When someone is not sincere with himself,he's at least only  fooling and wronging himself.But when he behaves without sincerity toward others,he sins mortally because he fools others.
Elder,is it possible for someone to act this way out of simplicity?
-What simplicity?Where did you ever find simplicity in such a person?If he is a child,he'll have simplicity.If he is a Saint,he'll have simplicity.If he is an adult and is not mentally retarded but behaves in this manner,he must be a devil.
-And how does he feel?
-He feels like hell itself.One temptation after another,endless temptations.
-Elder,is no one then to behave forthrightly?
-Forthrightness as many understand and use it has a legalistic spirit."I am forthright,"they say",I proclaim upon the housetops,"and proceed to ridicule the other person,but they end up ridiculing themselves.

Taken from Elder Paisios of Mount Athos Spiritual Counsels Vol2 "Spiritual Awakening".

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