Zeal is not enough, spiritual experience is also required

The Metropolitan Ierotheos of Nafpaktos

Given the fact that there have been intense discussions lately regarding the Synod from Crete, we addressed the Metropolitan Ierotheos of Nafpaktos, one of the participants of this synod, who didn’t sign the controversial text “The relationship of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world”, for answering us at some questions referring at the turmoil aroused by this subject. We thank him for his kindness to grant us this interview, just as he always did, due to the long term relationship and collaboration between the journalists of our magazine and his Eminence.

The Holy Fathers say that a man for being a spiritual confessor at any time – therefore in our times as well – should have reached the level of spiritual enlightenment. Please tell us what is spiritual enlightenment and which are the signs that someone had reached it.

The testimony is closely connected with martyrdom. The Orthodox testimony without martyrdom, when there are no conditions for martyrdom, has value in itself, while the martyrdom without testimony has no value, since the heretics can suffer martyrdom too without confessing Orthodoxy and consequently, they are not martyrs from the Orthodox point of view.

The Orthodox testimony and martyrdom require a man who has reached spiritual enlightenment and has experienced the vision of God, right as you say in your question. Elder Sophrony from Essex said that martyrdom is a result of the vision of God. This thing is shown by the beatitudes of Christ, which starts with the deepest humility, passes through wailing, meekness, mercy, purity of heart, peace and in the end persecution.

This thing is seen in the life of the Apostles, who left everything for following Christ, they purified themselves, they experienced the pain of Christ’s cross, they saw Christ Risen, they received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, they preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God all over the world and they ended their lives by martyrdom, with the exception of John the Evangelist, who experienced the martyrdom of the Cross on Golgotha.

The confession of Christ implies the communion of the confessor with Christ in the Holy Spirit. Christ himself said: Whoever acknowledges Me before others, I will also acknowledge before My Father in heaven. And whoever disowns Me before others, I will disown before My Father in heaven. (Matthew 10, 32-33)

In this excerpt we must pay attention to the way things are expressed. Saint John the Chrysostom, explaining this, says that by this Christ shows that the confessor confesses not by his own power, but helped by divine grace . On the contrary, for the one who disowns Christ, He doesn’t use the same expression, because by becoming deprived of the gift of God, he disowns Christ.

This means that the confession of Christ is not made of human passions, but in communion with Christ: Christ gives the proof in his heart and the man confesses, according to the word of Apostle Paul:  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10,10)

This means that the man can say I no longer live but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2, 20), so that he learns righteously the word of truth. And for saying this he needs to have a deep conviction that Christ acts within him, in the Holy Spirit.

This means that within the human heart must be activated, in the Holy Spirit, the noetic energy of the soul – thing which the Holy Fathers define as mind (νοῦς) and there should be present the mental enlightenment, the mental prayer (the noetic prayer). Saint Maximus the Confessor wrote that when the man surpasses pleasure and pain, he reaches the purity of heart, when he surpasses forgetfulness and ignorance of God, then he reaches mental enlightenment and when he surpasses fancy, then he reaches deification and is a true theologian. Therefore when the man heals the passionate part of his soul, when the spiritual powers are released from the condition against nature and move towards the natural and supernatural condition, then he becomes father of the Church, Orthodox confessor, he has empirical Orthodox theology and can become martyr of Christ. Otherwise, the passions work and through them speaks the enemy of our faith.

“Orthodox theology is empirical.”

By this shall we understand that, for instance, someone who is well intentioned, loves Orthodoxy and wants to defend it zealously, but he didn’t reach enlightenment, in the moment he is put in the situation to confess he will disown faith, no matter how much he had wished to confess?

In the matters relating to the Orthodox faith it doesn’t count that much if someone is well intentioned or has a good spiritual disposition and zeal, because many of those who have such qualities are found in other religions or heresies as well. The problem is to have the Orthodox theological bases, theological studies and premises, hesychast tradition and many other things. Orthodox theology is empirical and this theology can distinguish what is created from what is uncreated, what is impure from what is pure, what is Orthodox from what is heretic, Orthodox confession from the delusory restiveness.

Today there is much confusion around these issues and this thing worries me. Someone may seem and act as an Orthodox but he is still possessed by demonic-luciferic insolence and promotes his own passions.

Think of all the heretics of the first centuries (Paul from Samosata, Arie and Nestorios etc), they were moral clerics, kind people, they had zeal, but on one hand, they didn’t have the knowledge of the empirical theology and on the other hand, they theologized from philosophy.

They spoke about the fact that God has essence and energy – but philosophically, Aristotelian, intellectually, therefore they fell into heresies. We clearly see this thing at the dynamic and modalist monarchianist theologians who tried, on the bases of some philosophical premises, to interpret that God is One and in the same time triune.

Contrariwise, the Church Fathers spoke about essence and energy from their experience in grace, in other words, they knew empirically that the man shares the uncreated energy of God and not His uncreated essence and this knowledge came from the fact that they saw the divine light which penetrated the depths of their existence, penetrated their hearts, but they couldn’t see the “spring” of this Light. On the base of this experience they said that the divine energy could be shared by man and the divine essence couldn’t be shared by him.

Who reaches such high spiritual levels becomes an Orthodox theologian, according to Apostle Paul: For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians  4:6) and gains divine love, which never fails (1 Corinthians, 13:8).

All worldly loves come and go, only divine love never falls. It is about that love which is connected with the experience of deification and ends in martyrdom.

The men who have a cerebral-rational theology – rather expressed by passions – and are driven by all kinds of interests, don’t have the fire of the divine love within themselves and they are fallible. Therefore it is not enough to theologize, but to have the Orthodox premises of the Orthodox theology, which are experience, hesychasm after Christ.

We see this thing at Saint Maximus the Confessor, who was an Orthodox hesychast, as evidenced in his first writings and then, till the end of his life, he came to be an Orthodox confessor, meaning that he connected hesychasm with confession.

We see the same at Saint Gregory Palamas, who lived an hesychast life and spoke theologically. This is the quintessence of the entire teaching and life of the Holy Fathers.

“Zeal it is not enough, spiritual experience is also required.”

In the history of the Church we read that there were cases like these you mention in your question. Meaning that there were Christians who had zeal for Christ, but when they faced difficult situations, they were afraid and disowned Christ – because they had zeal, “but not knowledgeably” (Romans 10:12) and they didn’t have a high spiritual experience. Zeal is not enough, especially the exterior one, fed by various passions, spiritual experience is also required together with the theological charism of discernment.

We have the example of Apostle Peter who disowned Christ during His suffering, whilst before he had said that “even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” (Matthew 26:30-35). The reason for his fall was the fact that he differentiated himself from the other disciples, whom he disregarded and considered them able to disown Christ. But after his fall, when he disowned Christ, he humbled himself, he cried bitterly and after a profound repentance he remained in the group of the disciples whom he had disregarded and thus he became worthy to see Christ resurrected. And when he received the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, he became very powerful, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and suffering martyrdom for Christ. It is important for us to remain in the group of the disciples of Christ, in the Church, even if there are different problems – today as well as then, when the disciples left Christ – because we, remaining humbly in the group of the disciples, without disregarding them, we’ll be able to see the Risen Christ.

“We must have a holy spiritual father.”

How to prepare ourselves to become confessors or martyrs nowadays, by deed, not only by word?

We must live indeed within the Church, with repentance, prayer, by observing the commandments of Christ, by studying the words of the Prophets, Apostles and Holy Fathers, by partaking the body and blood of Christ. What we need the most is to have a holy spiritual father, with discernment, who can distinguish between the divine and demonic energies, between the created and uncreated energies, between the false and real energies, between the energies of the passionate man and those of the man freed of passions. The role of the spiritual father is to give birth again to people and make them children of God and not his own worshippers or followers of the devil. Because unfortunately it happens even this thing. The problem is that nowadays the holy spiritual fathers are extremely rare and the spiritual fathers dominated by passions, without any theological discernment, prevail. Such spiritual fathers cannot discern among heresy and truth, among what is divine and what is demonic, what is full of passion and what is free of passions and that is why it is intensely cultivated a theology that can be described as “theology of passions.”

When we cannot find a good spiritual father, then we should humble ourselves and ask for help from God, we should pray, remain settled in the teachings of the Prophets, Apostles and Holy Fathers, in the decisions of the Ecumenical Synods and God will reveal us his will.

“Intermingling theology with politics is a mistake.”

What is the right Orthodox attitude we should have after this Synod from Crete: of repentance for the helplessness of those who signed? Of revolt towards hierarchy? Should we redouble our prayers for reaching enlightenment?

This is an extensive subject and cannot be comprised in a brief answer. I shall highlight some aspects.

For the beginning, the texts adopted by the Synod from Crete, especially that one entitled “The relationships of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian world” is not a pure theological text, but more likely a diplomatic one. The problem is that someone could extract from this text certain sentences and could sustain conflicting arguments, from the extremely liberal edge to the extremely conservative one. I read all sorts of conflicting opinions, using different phrases from the text and this shows its problematic aspects.

The above mentioned text discontents both the Orthodox and the other Christians. Because, as you well know, the Pope considers that he represents the One and only Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and cannot admit the fact that he leads a heterodox Church.

The history of the church showed us that every time when in theological matters are interfered politics and diplomacy in the end are not achieved the aims of this way of thinking.

Remember that the political power in the Christian Roman Empire used Monenergism for covering the gap between the Orthodox and the monophysites, the way it did with the Monothelitism too. This approach started from the political power (through “Ekthesis” and “Typos”) , apparently for the peace of the Empire, but it failed every time. It happened the same with the pseudo synod from Ferrara-Florence, where they tried to unite the East with the West by means of political and diplomatic reasons, fact that was condemned by history. I think it’s a mistake to intermingle theology with politics and especially with the geopolitics of today.

“Schismatic groups become in time heretical.”

Remember also that whenever hasty actions occurred in the life of the Church because of zealot Christians, who, maybe out of their good intentions, interrupted the communion with the ecclesiastical leadership from that period, when the Church, by its Ecumenical Synods, regulated the issues and settled the dogmatic terms for the dogmatic subjects, the schismatic groups remained schismatic and became heretical, because a superficial movement over time consolidates itself, having unpredictable ecclesiastical consequences.

This thing may be seen especially in the East, as I found during my long stay in Syria and Lebanon. In other words, there are very active Christian groups, like the monophysites, the Monothelites etc. that do not accept the dogma of the IVth Ecumenical Synod from Chalcedon, nor those of the following Ecumenical Synods (the Vth and the VIth). As a result, a break starts from an insignificant, but maybe justified reason and many times it ends up in heresy, fanaticism and strange theological reasons.

It is apparent that the respective text, which refers at the Orthodox Church and the rest of the Christian world was not ready for a final decision, having many conflicting points and for this reason it must be rectified. This thing was sustained by certain churches, among them being yours as well (The Romanian Orthodox Church) This means we have to strive so that the text would be rectified and rewritten in a theological and patristic manner.

In this respect it is significant the example of the so-called Confession of Chiril Lucaris  (the confession presented as being written by the Patriarch Chiril Lucaris of Constantinople, but most probably drafted by the Calvinists and only signed by the Patriarch), which was influenced in many ways by the Calvinism, although it was presented as an “Orthodox confession of the Christian Faith.”

There was an extensive talk upon this subject, but the Christians, after the release of this heretical confession, didn’t leave the Church, but fought to be cancelled, as it happened in the Synods from 1638, 1642, 1672, 1691, which have an universal authority.

“The Church is sanctified by Christ, not by us.”

Therefore I consider that calmness, temperance, prayer are needed in order to prevent the occurrence of schisms within the Church. According to Saint John the Chrysostom, who causes these schisms has no chance to be saved, not even by martyric blood.

The Church is a living body, is the Body of Christ and the communion of deification and it will regulate itself this matter in time.

With the divine-human body of the Church it happens the same as with the human body which keeps only the nutrients it needs and eliminates the harmful substances.

We, of course with due respect towards the hierarchy of the Church, with humility and religious conscience, have the duty to come with serious and reasoned theological standpoints, which to reject the wrong opinions and Christ, who is the Head of the Church, will preserve His Body clean. Besides this, the Church is sanctified by its Head, by Christ and not by us. We are not the saviors of the Church, as long as Savior of the Church is Christ Who was crucified for it, but humble members of the Church, who remain within it so that we would be saved.

Thus, we need to have temperance, enlightened mind, theological discernment, religious conscience, spiritual life and to live in an atmosphere of prayer.

I think that in the following period of time the four Churches which were not present in Crete will express their own point of view, the Holy Mountain will make a decision in this respect, with the spiritual experience of the elders, all the Churches will reflect upon this matter with much more maturity, the issues will be discussed within monasteries, faculties of theology, in synaxes of the clergy and laity and the subject will be clarified.

It is required a lot of care so that we won’t find ourselves out of the Church exactly when the Church would have corrected the theological mistakes of some of its members!

Article written by Anca Stanciu

The interview is published in the magazine “Familia ortodoxa” no.9 (92)/2016

Source: familiaortodoxa.ro

Saint Nektarios about the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Archimandrite Vassilios Bakoyannis

At the beginning of the twentieth century, in the time when the Church was pastured by archbishop Teoclit (+1931) in Greece appeared some people who saw the Cross with the eyes of  Protestants, causing problems in the Church, especially in that of Athens.

Archbishop Teoclit appointed the wise metropolitan of Pentapolis, Saint Nektarios (+1920) to combat their heretical teachings. And the Saint, after he had studied the subject from a historical and theological perspective, wrote: The historical study about the Holy Cross.

In this study, the Saint discusses about the great celebration of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (14th of September). He says that this celebration is linked with the consecration of the Church of the Resurrection, which was made on 13th of September 335. Therefore this celebration was not established in the time of the emperor Heraclius, then it was made its renewal.

Saint Helen, with the blessing of the emperor Constantine, her son, went to Jerusalem in the year 326 for finding the Holy Cross. They finally found the Cross and the three nails with which they nailed Christ. It was on 6th of March 326. The Synaxarium says: “On this day (6th of March) the commemoration of the finding of the Holy Cross by the blessed Helen (…) On this day the commemoration of the finding of the precious nails.”

This event (the finding of the Holy Cross) is celebrated in our Church in the third Sunday of the Great Lent. “Today is great joy in heaven and earth, for the sign of the Cross is made manifest to all the world!” (Triodion, the fourth chant, the Canon of the third Sunday Matins of the Great Lent)

Saint Helen left the horizontal part of the Cross to the local Church from Jerusalem and the vertical part she gave it to her son, the emperor Constantine. She also gave him two of the three nails with which they nailed the Lord. The third nail was thrown in the sea when she returned to Constantinople. The emperor put one of the nails in his helmet and the other one at the bridle of his horse, according to Zechariah: “And it shall be in the harness of the horse, holy of the God Almighty” (14, 20) The nails are on the imperial head adornment and the praise of the authority is found in the harness.” (verses at the Synaxarion from 6th of March)

After this saint Helen went again to Jerusalem and built there the famous Church of Resurrection. On 13th of September 335 it was made the consecration and the wood from the Holy Cross was put in the Church as well. The next day, on 14th of September, the Holy Cross was raised again for being worshipped by the crowds. Since then, in parallel with the feast of the Instauration of the Church of Resurrection it is made the celebration for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (on 14th of September).

This day was entirely consecrated to the Holy Cross. That’s why when saint John the Chrysostom died on 14th of September 407, his commemoration was moved. “Due to the celebration of the Holy Cross his commemoration was moved in the month of November”, says the Synaxarion (14th of September)

In 615 the Persians occupied Jerusalem and among their other misdeeds – killings, enslavement of Christians – they took the Holy Cross. Thus the celebration of the Holy Cross ceased.

After eleven years, in 626, the emperor Heraclius, after the expedition against the Persians, took back the Holy Cross and at the end of the autumn, in the year 628, he returned to Constantinople with the Holy Cross.

At the entrance in the city there were organized grand welcome festivities in his honor and then they went on procession towards Saint Sophia. The Cross was leading the way, placed on a special carriage, followed by the emperor in his carriage, acclaimed by the thousands of citizens of Constantinople.

On 14th of September 629, the emperor went to Jerusalem to give the Cross to the patriarch Zechariah who had been enslaved by the Persians and freed by the emperor. The emperor with the Holy Cross, the patriarch, the clergy and the people went to Golgotha. There the emperor raised highly the Cross and the crowds knelt down with their heads to the ground, singing for a long time Lord, have mercy.

Then they acclaimed the emperor and sang the national anthem: “God, save your people” and left.

Since then, from the day of 14th of September 629 when it was made the renewal of the celebration, it has been celebrated until today.

Cross of Christ, save us with your power! Amen

When you give, you don’t get poor, but rich

The baker rebuked his woman because she went to churches and gave alms to the poor and money for all the offertories that were organized. One day while he was taking the freshly baked bread from the oven and all the place around the bakery was filled with the plesant smell of fresh bread, a poor man came at the door of the bakery and said:

”Hey, boss, all these loaves of bread are yours?”

”Whose else’s?”

”And don’t you eat them?”

Go away from here!

”Give me one, cause I’m hungry.”

”Go away! I said.” ”Leave me alone!”

”Boss…”

”Are you leaving or not?”

”Boss…” , the poor man was begging him.

But he didn’t finish his words when the baker took a loaf of bread and threw it powerfully towards him, wanting to hit him in the head. But that man left and the bread flew over his head then fell down. The poor man rushed to grab it, went out and going into a corner ate it.

All that day the baker was nervous because of that unwelcome guest and because of the lost bread. May he dare come again! he was furiously saying to himself.

On the next night, around 2 o’clock after midnight, the baker woke up from his sleep frightened and wet with sweat crying:

”Woman, wake up!”

”What’s wrong with you?” ”What happened?” his woman asked scared.

”Get up and bring me another shirt to change and I’ll tell what happned to me!” ”Woman, it seemed like I died and a lot of angels and demons gathered around me, arguing about who should have taken my soul. The wicked  ones put my bad deeds on the scale and it got heavily loaded. At a certain moment an angle cried: ”The bread!” ”Bring the loaf of bread with which he appeased the hunger of that poor hungry man!” ”Put it on the other side of the scale!”

 Then the demons shouted: ”He didn’t give the bread out of his mercy, he threw it to break the head of that poor man.”

And the angels answered: ”But the hungry man appeased his hunger and he was thankful for it.”

”And you see, woman, that loaf of bread changed the balance of the weighing plates.” ”The plate with that loaf of bread lowered more and in this way I was saved.” ”From now on give alms and never stop giving.” ”I shall give myself.” ”I wish that poor man would come back again!”

In the end the baker understood that if you give, you gain. But did we understand that too? Aren’t we still afraid to give? Isn’t our understanding rather affected by the pettiness of our soul? Hasn’t it come the right time for us to begin to be Christians a little bit?

We should firmly believe that when we give, we don’t get poor, but rich. Let’s prove it by deed. Some people are in need and wait even for a small piece of bread.

My dears, don’t forget that: mercy is the first daughter of God. And this is what made God become a man Himself, in order to save the man.

 

Everyone gives what’s in his soul

One day a rich man gave a basket with garbage to a poor. The poor smiled and left with the basket. He emptied it, washed it and filled it with beautiful flowers.

Then he returned to the rich man and gave it to him. That one, surprised, asked him:

“Why are you giving me beautiful flowers?” “Since I gave you only garbage…”

And the poor answered:

“Everyone gives what’s in his heart…”

Eyes we have and we don’t see

This is our problem. We don’t see those around us who are overwhelmed by sadness, despair, loneliness, pains and sickness. We don’t see those who don’t think like us, we don’t see those who don’t love us. We don’t see how close to us the truth is altered, the right teaching is changed. We don’t see this because it’s better, it’s more comfortable not to see so that nobody would get upset, we say. We don’t see, however we see, but we don’t see what we should. Instead of seeing the log from our eyes, we see so easily the straw from the eyes of those around us.

That’s why we need God to look at us. That’s why we need to pray to God: God make me regain my sight and find You in my neighbor, make me look at my neighbor with love and joy! Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, asked to his disciples to look at the world around them for seeing the work of God. He asks the same from us, to see the signs of the presence of God in our life, in our neighbor and especially in the word of the Gospel.

We read the word of God and we hear it proclaimed in preaches and chants. But it is not enough. We must understand it and live it in our life. We must see beyond words, because otherwise the two blind men healed by Jesus will testify against us. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, on the Judgement Day will remind us His words: Do you have eyes and fail to see and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? (Mark 8,18)

What does he want to tell us today by these words? There are many people who see with their eyes, but their hearts are blind, proving the words of the Savior: “You have eyes and fail to see.” Therefore, we need a healing just like the two blind men healed by Jesus, because we are blind in so many ways. Part of our blindness is deliberate, because we pretend we don’t see, it’s more comfortable not to see, not to care, not to have anything to do with things which require a bit of responsibility.

It is said that once two men were traveling through a very poor country by train. Their train arrived at a certain moment in a station of one of the poorest villages from the region. A group of hungry children gathered near the window and were daydreaming, craving for the food the two strangers laid on the bench of the coach to eat it. The two tourists, for not being bothered, stood up and drew the curtains. Many of us are guilty that we drew the curtains for not being bothered by the needs of the people around us. We are blinded by the things of the world, by its riches and by our old nature.

Another story says that once a man who craved for gold, went to a jewelry shop, stole some gold and ran away. After they caught him he was asked: How could you steal in broad daylight and with so many people around? The thief answered: When I reached the gold, I saw only that thing. I didn’t see any man! This may happen with many people of nowadays, who behave like the merciless rich man from the Gospel. Poor Lazarus was living at the gate of his house, eating the leftovers that were falling from his table, but the rich man never saw him. He was blind towards him. For this reason we need God to look at us. For this reason we need to pray to God: God, make me regain my sight, make me find you in my neighbor, make me look at my neighbor with love and joy!

My dears, if we don’t see God in the world, in our fellows, in the word that we hear preached, this means God is not much found in our hearts. Let us ask the most merciful God to touch our eyes, as He touched the eyes of the two blind men. Then we’ll understand that without Jesus nobody can truly see. “I am the Light of the world”…says the Lord.

Source http//luminapentrucandeladinsuflet.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/ochi-avem-si-nu-vedem

 

The difference between humble thinking and the inferiority complex

Elder Porphyrios spoke about the difference between humble thinking and the inferiority complex. “The humble man, he said, is not a sick personality. He is aware of his condition, he does not lose the core of his personality. He knows his sinfulness, his meanness and accepts the comments of his spiritual confessor, of his brothers. He saddens, but he doesn’t get exhausted or angry.

The person who is possessed by an inferiority complex at the beginning, on the outside seems like the humble. But if you search him for a while or advice him,  his sick ego will come out to the surface, he will get upset, will lose even that little peace he had.

The elder said that it happens the same with the melancholic as against the repentant. The melancholic becomes introverted and is concerned only by his own self. The sinner who repents and confesses himself comes out of himself. Our faith has this wonderful thing, the spiritual father. If you confessed to the spiritual father and received forgiveness, don’t turn back. He stressed out this thing very much.

Hieromonk Sava the Athonite – from “Soul healing according to the teachings of elder Porphyrios”, Egumenita Publishing House

Source: ganduridinierusalim.com

Take care, my dear, many want only a small piece of meat!

The letter of mother Gavrilia to a girl of nowadays

When you would be reading this letter, I shall be already gone from this world and you will have already become a young lady. So you might find interesting these few thoughts on the important topic of love – that love which will unite you one day with a young man.

There will come a time when you may feel that your heart beats faster for a certain boy…In these times things have changed significantly. Now the young people are rushing out to live their life, to gain as much experience as possible, as fast as possible…However everything should be at its time, at its blessed time.

Take care, dear S, many young men will approach you in the name of love. It’s something natural, because love is the most wonderful thing from our life. It is like a tiny flower, opening its corolla towards the sun on a lovely spring morning, without knowing very well what is happening…and thus becomes confused…

Of course it is quite flattering to hear that someone loves us. But this is not always love. Today they can want us…And what they want today they might not want tomorrow anymore, maybe because something else drew their attention and they want that thing for satisfying their desires.

Then when we enter the holy sacrament of marriage, if under our beautiful clothes we have a corrupt and impure body, God will not bless this matrimony…When a young man loves you  indeed he will love your soul and you will love his. Then you won’t need anything else. Because you both getting to know each other better will feel that your bond is holy. And in time each one of you will discover treasures in the heart of the other one.

A marriage like this, an union like this will be blessed by God and you won’t ever experience a divorce, an abortion or anything else that is against the divine commandments.

A marriage like this brings in the world blessed children like you. For your parents lived in godliness their matrimony.

You know, dear S, that a marriage which is far from God and the Holy Eucharist  is also far from all virtue. It is emperilled by infidelity, adultery and other dangers. The children who will grow in such a sad atmosphere might follow dangerous paths that would lead them to wrong friendships, bad company, violence and drugs.

Take care! Till it comes the time when you can be sure of the love you and your Mr.Right have for each other. Don’t rush! There are many who want only a small piece of meat, maybe because they don’t have much else to offer in change.

Rejoice, dear S, always be on the path of God there and be just as He wishes you to be. Always have love for the parents who gave life to you and for all the people. Always be His blessed child. (Leros 10.02.1992)

Source: doxologia.ro

 

 

Our Fervent Intercessor to God

 There was once a very lazy monk who didn’t keep the promises of the monastic order. He had only one good deed: out of his love and piety for the Holy Mother of God, he was standing every day before Her icon and said 100 times the Hail Mary prayer. And thus living in idleness, the Most Gracious and Merciful God sent him a dreadful vision. He was taken by the devil and his soul went to the judgement with the devils. There, because of his sins, he was to go to tortures.

But the Holy Mother of God, arising from her chair, said:

“I pray to you, my Lord, allow me to make justice to this soul.” And taking out a book where were written all his prayers, put it on the scale with his good deeds. But the devils put on the other side of the scale many books with his sins and his soul was to go to hell. Then The Mother of Mercy, seeing that the prayers were of no avail, said:

“Remember, my Son that from my body you took your human being and for this reason I beg you, give me a drop of Your holy blood You shed for the sinners during Your suffering. Most Gracious Lord, have mercy on him for he loved me very much and prayed to me devotedly.”

And the Lord said:

“Your will be done, my Mother, but know that A DROP OF MY BLOOD COVERS ALL THE SINS OF THE WORLD.”

So the Empress receiving the gift and putting it on the scale, all the devils ran and scattered and the soul was taken by the Holy Mother of God. Coming into his senses, the monk gave praise to the Lord, thanking to the Holy Mother of God for showing him such a wondrous vision. And repenting, he changed his life and did so many good deeds that everybody marveled at him. And he died praising the Lord and the Holy Mother of God who saved him.

 

The monk’s story

(A monk with deep prayer from the Old Russikon tells father Sophronius about his childhood)

His family was very poor and lived in a village from Russia (at the end of the XIXth century); his father had died, the eldest brother bore the burden of the family; the youngest son (maybe the youngest child) was sick all the time, but he wanted to become a monk.

The eldest brother told him: “Stay with us.” “They won’t accept you at the monastery – there you must work.” “You are sick all the time”…”Stay with us”…

But they were so poor that they could not take care of him anymore.

The mother went to the church with the child, stood before the icon of the Holy Mother of God and stretched the arms holding the child towards Her:

“See, Holy Mother”…”I cannot take care of him anymore.” “I give him to you.” “From now on he is your son.” “I pray, Kind Lady, take him in your care.”

That night the boy had a dream with a shining, glorious, magnificent Lady. He knew She is an empress, but he also knew she was his mother…

The empress gave him a small bundle, a kerchief with something wrapped in it and told him: “Go to the Emperor and give Him these.”

The boy went. He entered a great, wide hall, full of lights. At its end, the Emperor sat on the throne, surrounded by noblemen, servants, soldiers.

The boy made a few steps forward but overwhelmed by fear fell down on his knees with his face to the ground.

The Emperor said to someone from those around Him:

“Go and take his bundle and see what’s in it.”

The servant opened it.

“Two broken hearts!”

The Emperor stood up and said to the boy:

“Then you are my son!”

And the child woke up.

Since that day he’s never been sick again.

The parable of the mirror

A wise man was asked:

“Why poor people are more friendly and sincere than the rich ones?”

“Look out of the window!” “What do you see?”

“I see some children playing.”

“Now, look in the mirror and say what do you see?”

“I see only myself.”

“Well, you see, the window and the mirror are both made of glass, but if you add a little silver you already see only yourself.”

Source: ganduridinierusalim.com