`Father, what should we answer to the young people who ask if monachal life is superior to the married life?
`First you must make them understand which is the purpose of the man and the meaning of life. Then explain to them that both ways drawn by our church are blessed as both of them can take them to heaven if they live after God. Let`s say that two people want to arrive at a worshiping place.
One goes by bus on the main road and the other one goes by foot on a path. But both of them have the same purpose. God is glad of the first and is amazed by the second. Bad is when the one who walks on the path judges the other one who goes on the public road or vice versa.
It is good for the young people who think about monachism to known the fact that the mission of the monk is great: he has to become an angel. IN the afterlife, in heavens we will live like angels, Christ told the Sadducees (Mt. 22, 30).
That is why some young people with a great magnanimity become monks and begin an angelic way of living right from this life
But one should not think that all those who go to the monastery save their souls due to the fact that they became monks. Every man will give account to God if he sanctified the life he had chosen or not.
Magnanimity is needed everywhere. God doesn`t make capable or incapable men, but the one who doesn`t have magnanimity will remain no matter what kind of life he would choose; while the man who has magnanimity will become capable everywhere he would be, as the divine grace is with him. There are married people who live a very virtuous life and they become holy in this way. If a family man loves God and is drawn by His love he can reach a great spiritual level. With this he draws virtues to his children, founding a good family for which he will receive a double reward from God.
That is why every young man must have as his aim to make efforts with magnanimity, so that he may sanctify the life he chooses. Does he want a married life? Let him marry but he should make efforts to become a good family man and live a holy life. Does he want a monachal life? Let him become a monk but he should strive to become a good monk. Everyone should measure his powers to see what he can do and according to them he should go further on one of the two ways.
If for example a young girl doesn`t feel that she has the strength necessary for becoming a nun she should say humbly to God:
`My God I am helpless. I can`t live a monachal life. For this reason please send me a man to help me make a good family and live a Christian life. Then God won`t leave her. If she marries, she will make a good family and she will live according to the Gospel. God won`t ask for more from her.
Of course there are some young people from whom God asks for a few things but they make many ascetic efforts and offer Him more than they were asked for choosing monachal life. Some like these will receive double crowns. If for instance a soul has a call for the married life but out of his magnanimity wants to sacrifice everything and follow the monachal life, he impresses God a lot by this deed. He should only take care that all his intentions are pure and he would not be influenced by pride. From then on God will dissipate all the difficulties.
Excerpt from Family Life – Pious Paisios the Athonite, Evanghelismos Publishing.