Saturday, 13 July 2013

St.Theophylact of Ochrid-Third Sunday after Pentecost The Eye is the Lamp of the Body

Matthew 6:22-33

From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Matthew

by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

22-23. The eye is the lamp of the body: if therefore thine eye be sound, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness. This means, if you fill your mind with worries over money, you have extinguished the lamp and darkened your soul. Just as the eye that is sound, or "healthy" brings light to the body, and the eye that is evil, or "diseased" brings darkness, so also does the state of the mind affect the soul. If the mind is blinded by these worries, it is cast into darkness; then the soul becomes dark, and how much more so the body as well?
24. No man can serve two lords. What He means is this: no man can serve two lords who command things that are opposed to each other. Such lords are God and mammon. We make the devil our lord when we make the belly our god. But by nature and in truth God is the Lord, and mammon is unrighteousness. For either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Do you see that it is not possible for a rich man and unrighteous man to serve God? His love of money drives him away from God.
25. For this reason I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. For this reason: for what reason? Because concern over money drives a man away from God. The soul does not eat, for it is bodiless, but Jesus said this according to the common use of the word (1) For it is obvious that the soul does not consent to remain in a body if the flesh is not fed. Jesus does not forbid us to work, but rather He forbids us to give ourselves over entirely to our cares and to neglect God. Hence we must work for our livelihood while not neglecting the soul. Is not life more than food, and the body more than raiment? This means: He gave us much greater things, life itself, and formed our bodies. Will He not give us food and clothing?
26. Behold the birds of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much more than they? Although He could have given the example of Elijah and John the Baptist, instead He mentions the birds in order to shame us, for we are even more witless than these creatures. God feeds them by having given them the instinctive knowledge for finding food.
27. Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? This means: Even if you take the utmost care, you can do nothing if God does not will it. Why then do you drive yourself to exhaustion with futile worries?
28-29. And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. He shames us not only by the birds, which lack reason, but also by the lilies, that wither. If God adorned the lilies in such a manner, without any necessity to do so, how much more will He fulfill our own need for clothing? He shows that though you go to great lengths, you are not able to be adorned as beautifully as the lilies. Even Solomon the most wise and splendid, with all his kingdom at his disposal, could not array himself in such a manner.
30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? We learn from this that we ought not to be concerned with beautifying ourselves, for our adornments wither like the fading flowers. Therefore one who beautifies himself is like grass. But you, He says, are creatures endowed with reason, whom God fashioned with both soul and body. Those "of little faith" are all those who concern themselves with such thoughts. If they had perfect faith in God, they would not give such anxious thoughts to these things.
31-32. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek. He does not forbid us to eat, but to say, What shall we eat? The rich say in the evening, "What shall we eat tomorrow?" Luxury and excess are what He forbids.
32-33. For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. The kingdom of God is the enjoyment of all that is good. This comes through righteousness. To him who seeks after spiritual things God in His generosity adds what is needed for physical life.

1. Take no thought for your life [psyche] Psyche can also mean "soul": here Blessed Theophylact has both meanings in mind.

Elder Amphilochios Makris -Spiritual Counsels

                           Spiritual Counsels

From time to time Elder Amphilochios delivered wise advice to his spiritual children, for their personal benefit, spiritual illumination and direction, "as the spirit gave him utterance" . These sayings are the fruit of experience of his holy life, which was a continuous struggle and a succession of trials.His life was a model and example of his words. He did not just talk and give advice. First and
foremost he practiced what he preached. Here we present some examples from the wealth of his spiritual counsel, chosen from whatever was saved like valuable diamonds by his spiritual children, who were taught by him and confessed to him.

When you cultivate prayer the Tempter's blusterings will not trouble you. Prayer diminishes his
strength, he cannot do anything to us.

The end of my life draws near I ask you to live a holy life, to walk along holy paths, so that you may
help both our Church and Greece.

Remaining faithful to Monasticism is considered to be a martyrdom.

Christ often comes and knocks at your door and you invite him to sit in the living-room of your soul.
Then, absorbed in your own business you forget the Great Visitor. He waits for you to appear and
when you are too long in returning, he gets up and leaves. At other times, you are so busy that you
answer him from the window. You don't even have time to open the door.

You are royalty, destined for the heavenly bridal chamber.

We you see a person who is spiritually tired do not burden him any further, because his knees won't
be able to bear it

Love the One, so that even wild beasts will love you.

True wealth, for me, is to see you in the Kingdom of Heaven.

When the flame of love exists, it consumes whatever evil approaches.

The person who loves spiritually, feels prayerful, that he can be found within God and his brother.
He is saddened when his brother is not advancing well and prays for his progress. Whoever has
Christian love never changes.

Hold the banner of Christ up high, so that you've always got your elder's telephone number no
matter where you are.

Christ is the same, yesterday and today, but we have closed our eyes and look into the darkness. It
is because we carry on like this that some fall in the mud and others are killed.

Those things we hear about, war, earthquakes, catastrophes, thunderings, expect rain too.

We must be ready for our defence and our martyrdom.

I beseech the Lord to sanctify you, so that I may see you in Paradise. This is the dowry which I seek
from the Lord for you.

For God's grace to come during the Liturgy you must be concentrated and untroubled.

The more a person loves God, the more he loves other people. He loves them with holiness, respect
and refinement, as images of God.

When a person lacks inner warmth, he will be frozen and cold, even in summer.

When your heart does not have Christ, it will contain either money, property or people instead.

Please put this commandment into practice. Cultivate love towards the Person of Christ to such an
extent that, when you pronounce His name, tears fall from your eyes. Your heart must really burn.
Then He will become your teacher. He will be your Guide, your Brother, your Father, and your

Love your Bridegroom Christ with all your heart and then everyone will love you and take care of

I desire the rebirth of Monasticism, because in my opinion, monasticism is the evzone [elite military
unit] battalion of the Church.

God's protection diminishes temptation.

Because of widespread corruption, people cannot understand that spiritual love exists.

Worldly people tire you, because whatever is stored up inside them comes at you like waves of
electricity. We must be people of grace so much so that whoever comes to us may find rest.

Let us look upon everyone as our superiors, however weak they may appear. Let us not be harsh,
but always bear in mind that the other person also has the same destination as us.

We must have Love, even if they do us the greatest harm, we must love them. We will be able to
enter Paradise only with love.

Cultivate the Jesus Prayer and a time will come when your heart will leap with joy, just as it does
when you are about to see a person who you love very much.

Do not neglect evening prayer. Pray with eagerness like those who are going to a feast. They are
awake and feel joy alone. Thus, since you are going to speak with your Bridegroom, do not listen
when the Tempter tells you various things in order to hinder you, because you know there is
someone who cares for you.

Question: "Elder, how must we picture Christ?" Answer: "We must always bring to Christ to mind
with love. We could be holding the photograph of someone in our hands, but since we do not know
them, we do not love him, we are not moved. Whereas, when we pick up a photograph of our
mother, our soul immediately leaps and cries out with love.

A person can be raised up above the earth by two wings, one is simplicity and the other is purity of
heart. You must be simple in your actions and pure in your thoughts and feelings. With a pure heart
you'll seek God and with simplicity you'll find Him and be glad. A pure heart passes through
Heavens gate with ease.

Self-denial must be cultivated with discernment, otherwise we reach the point of suicide.

We are on the high seas of life, sometimes there are storms and at other times calm. God's grace
does not leave us. Else, we would have sunk, if he had not held us up.

The saints always look to the other life. It is the grace of the remembrance of death.

God guards us from temptation. He does not allow us to be tempted beyond our strength.He allows
everything for our good.

When spirituality increases, even sleep will have been fought off.

Prayer is grace. God gives it when zeal and humility exist.

Fight the Hater of Good, who envies you, bravely suffer whatever befalls you with fortitude, patience
and faith.

Do not allow your soul's enemy to wage war against you. He appears in sheep's clothing,
supposedly wanting your soul's benefit.

Trust in the Lord always and he will nourish you in time of hunger.

With a good word for your neighbour, supporting him, you buy paradise.

Repentance must occur, not from fear of punishment but because we have sinned before God.
Sweeten your thoughts with words of consolation and hope. Warm your words with the warmth of
your love towards your Bridegroom and remember His Passion, which he underwent for you, so
that you would remain firm, devoted and humble. Give your whole self completely over to the
protecting veil of the Panagia.

Love giving hospitality, my child, for it opens the gates of Paradise. In this you also offer hospitality
to angels. "Entertain strangers so that you won't be a stranger to God."

The saints submitted to whatever God sent them, with childlike simplicity, "That's the way You want
it. Let Your will be done."

Hospitality... the greatest of virtues. It draws the grace of the Holy Spirit towards us. In every
stranger's face, my child, I see Christ himself.

Sorrow is pleasing to God, in as much as it doesn't take away our courage to fight.

It is necessary and beneficial for a general self-examination to take place from time to time,
remembering all former sins.

Leave all your concerns to the hands of God. Ask for whatever you want, like a child asking from its

Prayer is a gift from God. Always ask with hope.

Our deeds, dear sister, will not save us; God's infinite mercy will.

Spiritual bonds become unbreakable when they come across a child-like spirit, innocence and

Everything seems dark and difficult to a person without Christ.

Every day I pray that I may see you amongst the ranks of women saints.

I don't want to be in Paradise without you, my children.

Question: How do you manage to have such patience and perseverance in everything? Answer: The
grace of God helps. I always believe in the power of God, my child, Who alters and adjusts
everything for the benefit of our soul.

The person who gets agitated doesn't think straight, logically.

When I see a person who is irritated, I don't listen to what he is saying, but pray for God to pacify
him. That's why I don't get distressed. When they calm down, when the time is right, I talk to them
because they are then in a position to comprehend their foolishness.

The Grace of God and spiritual union with Him transform a person Fears and suspicions go away,
he doesn't fear death, and views this life, however good it may be, as slavery

God is visiting you when tears come during prayer.

When a person is simplified, he is deified. He becomes innocent, humble, gentle, free.

Never ever give importance to anything earthly and fleeting. Take care of your spiritual union with
God instead.

When you hear your name being criticized act as if you didn't hear. This is Paradise, this
is perfection.

Our religion slays the passions not the body.

Where thee is fear of God wisdom is given.

I want you to be calm so that we can meet. When you're tired the wireless doesn't work.

The Christian is a true human being He is courteous and polite. He doesn't want to sadden anybody.

Innocence is greater than genius.

A person who suffers from egotism attracts no-one. And if he does attract someone he will soon go
away. When one comes across a childlike spirit, innocence and holiness the bond becomes

The spiritual life has great pleasures. You fly, you leave the world , you don't consider anything. You
become children and God dwells in your heart.

The Grace of the All-Holy Spirit makes a person send out rays. However, other people must have a
good receiver in order to realise this.

We must have our gaze fixed on heaven. Then nothing will shake us.

Take communion regularly, pray warmly, be patient and you will see a strong hand holding you.

Christ is near us even if we don't see Him. Sometimes, from his great love, He gives us a slap too.

You should be glad. Jesus holds an artists chisel in His hands. He wants to prepare you a statue for
the Heavenly Palace.

The person who shouts has no strength.

Elder Amphilochios Makris,Evangelismos Monastery. Patmos

Translated by Marina Robb


αρχ. Αιμιλιανός Σιμωνοπετρίτης: "Χαρά, Λύπης ολεθρος"

 Άρχ. Αιμιλιανός Σιμωνοπετρίτης

Ο πόνος, η στενοχώρια, η αγωνία, η ψυχική τραγωδία είναι αποτέλεσμα της πτώσεως του ανθρώπου, η οποία οφείλεται στον εγωισμό του. Οι αναθυμιάσεις του εγώ γεννούν στην ψυχή την στενοχώρια, ενώ η φυσιολογική της κατάσταση είναι η χαρά, διότι ο Θεός είναι ειρήνη, είναι χαρά, και η ψυχή είναι εμφύσημα του Θεού, δημιουργήθηκε από Αυτόν και οδεύει προς Αυτόν. Επομένως, η στενοχώρια είναι ξένη και αδικαιολόγητη μέσα στην ανθρώπινη ζωή.

Και όμως σήμερα δεν βρίσκεις άνθρωπο χαρούμενο, που σημαίνει πως δεν βρίσκει κανείς άνθρωπο ισορροπημένο, ήρεμο, φυσιολογικό. Η στενοχώρια είναι αρρώστια τρομερή που μαστίζει την οικουμένη, η μεγαλυτέρα ίσως βάσανος της ανθρωπότητος, το μεγαλύτερό της δράμα. Δεν είναι απλώς τα προοίμια της κολάσεως αλλά η βίωσις της κολάσεως από της παρούσης ζωής.

Έλλειψις χαράς σημαίνει έλλειψις Θεού, ενώ η χαρά απόδειξις της παρουσίας αυτού. Εάν κανείς είναι κοσμικός άνθρωπος και τέρπεται επί τοις επικήροις, χαίρεται για τις ηδονές, για τα παροδικά και μάταια, αυτός ίσως έχει κάποια ηδονή, κάποια ευχαρίστηση, αλλά στην πραγματικότητα, αν προσέξει κανείς, θα δει ότι υπάρχει θλίψις και στενοχώρια στην ζωή του, όπως λέγει η Αγία Γραφή: <θλίψις και στενοχωρία επί πάσαν ψυχήν ανθρώπου του κατεργαζομένου το κακόν>. Δεν είναι δυνατόν να υπάρχει χαρά εκεί όπου υπάρχει παράβασις της εντολής του Θεού, όπως είναι αδύνατον να υπάρχει στενοχώρια με την εφαρμογή του νόμου του Θεού.

Χαρά, Λύπης Όλεθρος. Λύπη είναι ένα ξίφος που έρχεται αιφνιδίως και χτυπάει το σώμα, ιδιαίτερα όμως την ψυχή του ανθρώπου. Και μάλιστα κάτι που εξέρχεται από την κακία των ανθρώπων, από την αμαρτία, από την δυσωδία, από την αντίθεση των άλλων. Η λέξη λύπη είναι συγγενήςπρος την λέξη λύμη, η οποία σημαίνει πληγή, κάτι που στάζει πύον. Επομένως, λύπη είναι η κατάσταση της ψυχής, η οποία στάζει πύον. Κυρίως προέρχεται από βέλη τα οποία εξακοντίζονται από την κακία των ανθρώπων ή και από τις κακίες της δικής μας ψυχής. Η λύπη εδώ δεν είναι αυτό που λέμε, είμαι λυπημένος. Όταν λέμε, είμαι λυπημένος, κατά κανόνα εννοούμε, ζω τις αναθυμιάσεις της δικής μου αμαρτίας, της δικής μου εγωπάθειας, της δικής μου απομονώσεως από τον Θεό. Όταν οι πατέρες ομιλούν για την λύπη, εννοούν κάτι διαφορετικό.

Η χαρά λοιπόν είναι λύπης όλεθρος. Επομένως όταν μας χτυπήσουν τα βέλη αμαρτίας, των πονηρών παθών, των εμπαθών λογισμών, τα βέλη των κακών ανθρώπων ή οποιαδήποτε άλλα, όταν φαίνεται η δυσωδία του προτέρου μας βίου, όταν η αποτυχία της ζωής μας έλθει να μας χτυπήσει, τότε η χαρά είναι όλεθρος της λύπης. Η χαρά είναι σαν μια ασπίδα που χτυπούν τα βέλη και φεύγουν και δεν παθαίνεις τίποτε. Όλοι εκείνοι και όλα εκείνα που έρχονται να θλίψουν την δική μας ψυχή καταστρέφονται, απόλλυνται.

Η τροφή των εν Χριστώ ασκουμένων είναι η χαρά. Η χαρά τρέφει την ψυχή , το πνεύμα, τον νου, ώστε να μπορούν να ανεβαίνουν και να δίδωνται εις τον Θεόν. Καμία άσκησις, καμία εγκράτεια, κανείς πόθος, καμία αγάπη δεν μπορεί να φτάσει εις το τέρμα εάν δεν τρέφεται. Σκεφτείτε κάποιον που θέλει να είναι καλός αθλητής και δεν τρώει. Απλούστατα θα πέσει εις τον δρόμο. Έτσι ακριβώς παθαίνει και κάποιος πνευματικός ασκητής αν δεν έχει χαρά.
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