Friday, 12 October 2012

On Preserving Peace Within Our Soul

                 By St. Silouan the Athonite

It is impossible for us to preserve peace of soul if we do not guard our mind. If someone wishes to have peace of soul, he must be abstemious, because peace is also expelled on account of our body. You must not be curious; avoid reading newspapers and worldly books, which desolate the soul and bring about listlessness and disturbance. Do not judge others, because it is often the case that people condemn a person without knowing him, while he is similar to the Angels in mind. Do not desire to know other people’s affairs, but only your own. Take care only to entrust yourself in the Elders, and then, on account of your obedience, the Lord will help you by His Grace.

The Grace of God in the coenobium primarily withdraws because we have not learned to love our brother according to the Lord’s commandment. If a brother affronts you, and at that moment you accept thoughts of anger and hatred against him, then you will feel that Grace has left you and your peace has been lost. For the sake of peace of soul, the soul should learn to love the person that has affronted it, and to pray immediately for him. It is not possible for the soul to have peace, if it does not ask the Lord with all its strength for the gift of loving all people. The Lord said: “Love your enemies,” and if we do not love our enemies, we will not have peace in our souls.

It is necessary to acquire obedience, humility, and love, or else all of our great ascetic feats and vigils will prove to be in vain. A certain Elder saw this vision: A person was pouring water into a basin with a perforated bottom. The man went to great efforts, but the water continuously ran out, and the basin remained empty. In a like manner, we live ascetically, but neglecting a certain virtue, the soul remains empty.

Source: Archimandrite Sophrony, St. Silouan the Athonite (1866-1938), The Writings of St. Silouan, 6th edition (Essex: Monastery of the Venerable Forerunner, 1995), pp. 518-519.

The Spiritual Life Is Something That Someone Else Gives To Us

    By Archimandrite Aimilianos of Simonopetra

A basic condition for the spiritual life is that we should understand that, on our own, we can do absolutely nothing. No matter how hard we try, the spiritual life is something that someone else gives to us.

And the “someone else” is the Spirit of God, the Comforter, the “treasury of good things and the giver of life”, the treasury from which all the riches of spirituality come forth, the source from which the spiritual life emerges and overflows.

Of course, sometimes we get confused, and think that to be spiritual means to be a “good person”: not to steal, not to kill, not to go to bad places or with bad friends, to go to Church on Sunday, to read spiritual books, and so on. But no, this is not the spiritual life.

A spiritual person, a true Christian, is someone whose entire life is sworn to God.

Initially by means of his baptism, and later, in his heart, such a person swears an oath to God, to live for God, and to remain with God forever.

A spiritual person is an athlete who has burst into life, who stands out from the crowds of human beings, and runs with all the speed of his soul to heaven.

A spiritual person is one who with shining eyes and chest thrust forward, has set his course and races to heaven. He is not a “good man”.

A spiritual person knows that, in order to succeed, he needs strong wings: the wings of the Holy Spirit.

A spiritual person must therefore do everything possible to attract, to win over, the Spirit of God, because only the Holy Spirit, God himself, has the gifts of the spiritual life. According to St Gregory of Nyssa, the “distribution of the royal gifts” of the Holy Spirit takes place in the Church through the Sacraments.

The Kingdom of God is Gained With the Heart and Not With the Tongue

 By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"Not everyone who says, `Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 7:21).

Brethren, one does not gain the Kingdom of God with the tongue, but with the heart. The heart is the treasury of those riches by which the kingdom is purchased; the heart and not the tongue! If the treasury is full with the riches of God, i.e., a strong faith, good hope, vivid love and good deeds, then the messenger of those riches, the tongue, is faithful and pleasant. If the treasury is void of all those riches, then its messenger [the tongue] is false and impudent. The kind of heart, the kind of words. The kind of heart, the kind of deeds. All, all depends on the heart.

Hypocrisy is helpless before men, and is even more helpless before God. "If then I am a father," says the Lord through the Prophet Malachi, "If then I am a father where is the honor due to me?" And If I am a master, where is the reverence due to me?" (Malachi 1:6). That is, I hear you call me father, but I do not see you honoring me with your heart. I hear you call me master, but I do not see fear of me in your hearts.

Our prayer: "Lord! Lord!" is beautiful and beneficial only when it emerges from a prayerful heart. The Lord Himself commanded that we pray unceasingly, but not only with the tongue to be heard by men, but rather enclosed in the cell of the heart so that the Lord could hear and see us.

Lord, majestic and wonderful, deliver us from hypocrisy and pour Your fear into our hearts so that our hearts could stand continually upright in prayer before You.


Saint Nikodemos The Hagiorite-Sin Wrongs God in Three Ways

                      Saint Nikodemos The Hagiorite 
Consider first how your sins have wronged God.1)By your sins you have offended and dishonoured the Most High and Great God-you who are but a worm have offended and dishonoured the Almighty One,you who are but clay have offended and dishonoured the Maker of all,you who are nothing have offended and dishonoured the Infinite Being-because you transgressed His law:Through breaking the law thou dishonourest God"(Rom.2:23).
2)By your sins you have shown yourself to be a thankless slave and son to such an all-good Master and to your most-affectionate Father,who loved you before the ages,not on account of some worthiness of your own,but only on account of His goodness did He decide in His Divine mind to create you, when He could have created others instead of you.You have wronged Him because you have shown yourself to be thankless to the God Who granted you being.Who formed you in His image and likeness,Who gave you a body containing all of the senses and a soul with all of the faculties,Who made you king of all earthly creatures,Who has provided you with sustenance,clothing,and shelter,Who commanded all of His sensible creatures to serve you,Who has saved you from so many dangers,illnesses,and poverty that so many others suffer from,Who gave you an angel to stand by you always and protect you.
You wrong God because you have shown yourself to be thankless to your great Benefactor,Who ordained it that you be born of Christian parents,Who received you so many times at His mysteries,Who made you his son through Holy Baptism,Who redeemed you from the hands of demons,Who became a man for your sake,Who shed His blood to the last drop in order to make you an heir of His kingdom,Who  so many times waited for you to repent after you sinned,while condemning many others who had committed lesser sins than your own,Who followed you when you fled from Him,Who knocked at your heart when you did not want Him,Who spoke to you,loved you,pleaded with you,desiring your salvation.
In brief,you wronged God because you have shown yourself to be thankless to such a Master,Who bestowed upon you so many blessings of nature and of grace,in part and in whole,hidden and manifest,and the worst thing of all is that,at the same time that you received all of these graces before your eyes,you, the ungrateful creature,dared to repay Him with your wicked acts.
O my sinful brother!If someone were to give you only a single one of all these blessings,you would not know how to thank him.But,when not a man,but the Most High God,the Creator of all the angels,has bestowed so many graces upon you,how is it that you,on the contrary,show yourself to be so thankless toward Him?Wonder,my brother, wonder at how the earth has carried you and has not yet split asunder to swallow you alive.Wonder at how the sky has not yet hurled lightning bolds in order to scorch you;how the air,which you have polluted by your sins,has not yet blown noxious winds in order to poison you,and how all of the elements have not yet risen against you like beasts in order to swallow you alive,unable to endure seeing you,the apostate and insidious one,to display such thanklessness by your sins toward their Creator and your utmost Benefactor:"Perverse and crooked generation,do ye thus requite the Lord?"(Dt.32:5)
3)You wronged God,because by your sins you committed an unheard of injustice and mockery against the redemption which the Son of God accomplished for you,for you placed Him on the Cross a second time,you stomped on His love,you profaned His All-Holy Blood,you insulted the grace of His Spirit,you opened His wounds,you renewed the spittings,the slappings,the crown of thorns,the scourgings,the nails,the spear,and all of the sufferings and humiliations,because you committed sin,which was the cause of His Crucifixion:"They crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh,and put Him to an open shame"(Heb.6:6),says the divine Paul.
O my brother,if you carefully consider these three spears by which you wounded God through sinning,I am certain you will roar and growl like a lion on account of your sighs:"I have roared from the groaning of my heart"(Ps.37:8),and you will hate and be disgusted with sin,and your heart will be broken into a thousand pieces,even if it was calloused and hard as a rock,and you will cause it to shed tears of blood.Therefore,as much as possible,concentrate and meditate upon these three points in order to acquire holy contrition(Humility),which is the noblest and most precious part of repentance,being sad for no other reason than because you sinned against God and grieved the Holy Spirit,according to the Apostle."And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God"(Eph.4:30).
This is why David was not grieved on account of the other injuries which sin brought upon him,but only grieved because sin caused him to wrong God,even considering all of the harm he brought to himself and to others,wherefore he said:Against Thee  only have i sinned and done this evil before Thee"(Ps.50:4)Likewise,Manasseh was grieved only because he wronged God,and his heart never found rest,wherefore he said:"I have no relief,for i have provoked Thy Wrath and have done what is evil in Thy sight,not doing Thy will,and not keeping Thy commands"(Mt.1:10).

Taken From the book by Saint Nikodemos The Hagiorite"Exomologetarion,A Manual of Confession"

Αββάς Ισαάκ ο Σύρος- ” Η αγάπη του Θεού είναι Παράδεισος “

Παράδεισος είναι η αγάπη του Θεού. Μέσα σ’ αυτήν υπάρχει η τρυφή όλων των μακαρισμών. Σ’ αυτόν τον παράδεισο ο μακάριος Παύλος τράφηκε με υπερφυσική τροφή. Και αφού γεύθηκε εκεί το ξύλο της ζωής, έκραξε λέγοντας: «αυτά που μάτι δεν τα είδε, ούτε αυτί τα άκουσε, κι ούτε που τα’ βαλε ο λογισμός του ανθρώπου, όσα ετοίμασε ο Θεός για κείνους που τον αγαπούν» (1 Κορ. 2, 9). Από αυτό το ξύλο της ζωής εμποδίστηκαν ο Αδάμ με τη συμβουλή του διαβόλου.
Το ξύλο της ζωής είναι η αγάπη του Θεού, από την οποία εξέπεσε ο Αδάμ και δεν μπόρεσε πια να χαρεί, παρά δούλευε και έχυνε τον ιδρώτα του στη γη των αγκαθιών. Όσοι στερήθηκαν την αγάπη του Θεού, δηλ. τον παράδεισο, τρώνε με την εργασία τους, μέσα στ’ αγκάθια, το ψωμί του ιδρώτα, και αν ακόμη βαδίζουν στον ίσιο δρόμο των αρετών. Είναι το ψωμί που επέτρεψε ο Θεός στον πρωτόπλαστο να φάει μετά την έκπτωσή του. Μέχρι να βρούμε λοιπόν την αγάπη, η εργασία μας είναι στη γη των αγκαθιών και μέσα σ’ αυτά σπέρνουμε και θερίζουμε, κι ας είναι ο σπόρος μας σπόρος δικαιοσύνης. Συνέχεια, λοιπόν, μας κεντάνε τα αγκάθια και, όσο και να δικαιωθούμε, ζούμε μέσα σ’ αυτά με τον ιδρώτα του προσώπου μας.
Όταν όμως μέσα στον έμπονο και δίκαιο αγώνα μας, βρούμε την αγάπη του Θεού, τρεφόμαστε με ουράνιο άρτο και δυναμώνουμε, χωρίς να εργαζόμαστε με αγωνία και χωρίς να κουραζόμαστε, όπως οι χωρίς αγάπη άνθρωποι. Ο ουράνιος άρτος είναι ο Χριστός, που ήρθε κάτω σε μας από τον ουρανό και δίνει στον κόσμο την αιώνια ζωή. Και αυτή η ζωή είναι η τροφή των αγγέλων.
Όποιος βρήκε των αγάπη, κάθε μέρα και ώρα τρώγει το Χριστό κι από αυτό γίνεται αθάνατος (Ιω. 6, 58). Διότι «ο τρώγων – λέει – από τον άρτο που εγώ θα του δώσω, ποτέ (“εις τον αιώνα”) δε θα πεθάνει». Μακάριος λοιπόν είναι εκείνος που τρώγει από τον άρτο της αγάπης, που είναι ο Ιησούς. Ότι βέβαια, αυτός που τρώγει από την αγάπη, τρώγει το Χριστό, το Θεό των πάντων, το μαρτυρεί ο απόστολος Ιωάννης, όταν λέει ότι «ο Θεός είναι αγάπη» (1 Ιω. 4, 8). Λοιπόν όποιος ζει στην αγάπη, λαμβάνει από το Θεό ως καρπό τη ζωή, και σ’ αυτό τον κόσμο οσφραίνεται από τώρα εκείνο τον αέρα της ανάστασης, στον οποίο εντρυφούν οι κοιμηθέντες δίκαιοι.

 Αββά Ισαάκ του Σύρου

Άγιος Νεκτάριος – Ταπεινωθείτε μέχρι το χώμα και θα γίνεται τέλειοι!

Σκοπὸς τῆς ζωῆς μας εἶναι νὰ γίνουμε τέλειοι καὶ ἅγιοι. Νὰ ἀναδειχθοῦμε παιδιὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ κληρονόμοι τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν. Ἂς προσέξουμε μήπως, γιὰ χάρη τῆς παρούσας ζωῆς, στερηθοῦμε τὴ μέλλουσα, μήπως, ἀπὸ τὶς βιοτικὲς φροντίδες καὶ μέριμνες, ἀμελήσουμε τὸ σκοπὸ τῆς ζωῆς μας.
Ἡ νηστεία, ἡ ἀγρυπνία καὶ ἡ προσευχὴ ἀπὸ μόνες τους δὲν φέρνουν τοὺς ἐπιθυμητοὺς καρπούς, γιατί αὐτὲς δὲν εἶναι ὁ σκοπὸς τῆς ζωῆς μας, ἀποτελοῦν τὰ μέσα γιὰ νὰ πετύχουμε τὸ σκοπό.

Στολίστε τὶς λαμπάδες σας μὲ ἀρετές. Ἀγωνιστεῖτε ν’ ἀποβάλετε τὰ πάθη τῆς ψυχῆς. Καθαρίστε τὴν καρδιά σας ἀπὸ κάθε ρύπο καὶ διατηρῆστε τὴν ἁγνή, γιὰ νὰ ἔρθει καὶ νὰ κατοικήσει μέσα σας ὁ Κύριος, γιὰ νὰ σᾶς πλημμυρίσει τὸ Ἅγιο Πνεῦμα μὲ τὶς θεῖες δωρεές.
Παιδιά μου ἀγαπητά, ὅλη σας ἡ ἀσχολία καὶ ἡ φροντίδα σ’ αὐτὰ νὰ εἶναι. Αὐτὰ ν’ ἀποτελοῦν σκοπὸ καὶ πόθο σας ἀσταμάτητο. Γί’ αὐτὰ νὰ προσεύχεστε στὸ Θεό. Νὰ ζητᾶτε καθημερινὰ τὸν Κύριο, ἀλλὰ μέσα στὴν καρδιά σας καὶ ὄχι ἔξω ἀπὸ αὐτήν. Καὶ ὅταν Τὸν βρεῖτε, σταθεῖτε μὲ φόβο καὶ τρόμο, ὅπως τὰ Χερουβεὶμ καὶ τὰ Σεραφείμ, γιατί ἡ καρδιά σας ἔγινε θρόνος τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ἀλλὰ γιὰ νὰ βρεῖτε τὸν Κύριο, ταπεινωθεῖτε μέχρι τὸ χῶμα, γιατί ὁ Κύριος βδελύσσεται τοὺς ὑπερήφανους, ἐνῷ ἀγαπάει καὶ ἐπισκέπτεται τοὺς ταπεινοὺς στὴν καρδιά.
Ἂν ἀγωνίζεσαι τὸν ἀγώνα τὸν καλό, ὁ Θεὸς θὰ σὲ ἐνισχύσει. Στὸν ἀγώνα ἐντοπίζουμε τὶς ἀδυναμίες, τὶς ἐλλείψεις καὶ τὰ ἐλαττώματά μας. Εἶναι ὁ καθρέφτης τῆς πνευματικῆς μας καταστάσεως. Ὅποιος δὲν ἀγωνίστηκε, δὲν γνώρισε τὸν ἑαυτό του.
Προσέχετε καὶ τὰ μικρὰ ἀκόμα παραπτώματα. Ἄν σᾶς συμβεῖ ἀπὸ ἀπροσεξία κάποια ἁμαρτία, μὴν ἀπελπιστεῖτε, ἀλλὰ σηκωθεῖτε γρήγορα καὶ προσπέστε στὸ Θεό, ποὺ ἔχει τὴ δύναμη νὰ σᾶς ἀνορθώσει.
Μέσα μας ἔχουμε ἀδυναμίες καὶ πάθη καὶ ἐλαττώματα βαθιὰ ριζωμένα, πολλὰ εἶναι καὶ κληρονομικά. Ὅλα αὐτὰ δὲν κόβονται μὲ μία σπασμωδικὴ κίνηση οὔτε μὲ τὴν ἀδημονία καὶ τὴ βαρειὰ θλίψη, ἀλλὰ μὲ ὑπομονὴ καὶ ἐπιμονή, μὲ καρτερία, μὲ φροντίδα καὶ προσοχή.
Ἡ ὑπερβολικὴ λύπη κρύβει μέσα της ὑπερηφάνεια. Γί’ αὐτὸ εἶναι βλαβερὴ καὶ ἐπικίνδυνη, καὶ πολλὲς φορὲς παροξύνεται ἀπὸ τὸ διάβολο, γιὰ ν’ ἀνακόψει τὴν πορεία τοῦ ἀγωνιστῆ.
Ὁ δρόμος ποὺ ὁδηγεῖ στὴν τελειότητα εἶναι μακρύς. Εὔχεστε στὸ Θεὸ νὰ σᾶς δυναμώνει. Νὰ ἀντιμετωπίζετε μὲ ὑπομονὴ τὶς πτώσεις σας καί, ἀφοῦ γρήγορα σηκωθεῖτε, νὰ τρέχετε καὶ νὰ μὴ στέκεστε, σὰν τὰ παιδιά, στὸν τόπο ποὺ πέσατε, κλαίγοντας καὶ θρηνώντας ἀπαρηγόρητα.
Ἀγρυπνεῖτε καὶ προσεύχεστε, γιὰ νὰ μὴν μπεῖτε σὲ πειρασμό. Μὴν ἀπελπίζεστε, ἂν πέφτετε συνέχεια σὲ παλιὲς ἁμαρτίες. Πολλὲς ἀπ’ αὐτὲς εἶναι καὶ ἀπὸ τὴ φύση τους ἰσχυρὲς καὶ ἀπὸ τὴ συνήθεια. Μὲ τὴν πάροδο τοῦ χρόνου, ὅμως, καὶ μὲ τὴν ἐπιμέλεια νικιοῦνται. Τίποτα νὰ μὴ σᾶς ἀπελπίζει.

Ἀπὸ τὴ σειρὰ τῶν φυλλαδίων «Η ΦΩΝΗ ΤΩΝ ΠΑΤΕΡΩΝ»
τῆς Ἱερᾶς Μονῆς Παρακλήτου Ὠρωποῦ Ἀττικῆς.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...