It is an opportunity

 Monk Moses the Athonite

The justified issue of our days is the serious economic crisis our homeland is facing. That’s why there is a great unsafety, anxiety, agony, revolt, confusion, fear and stress. The times are hard indeed. In this situation the Christians are called to bring their testimony, to make their confession. The fortresses are collapsing as if they were towers made of sand.

The rich are caught in a trap, there arise many problems, the balance is overturned, abuses and cunning desires show up.

Unemployment, unsafety, criminality, unlawfulness and poverty grow. All these show clearly the lassitude and the spiritual scarcity of so many people.

If at least this powerful typhoon caused a wake from lassitude, a reviving quake, some cracks for a better knowledge, some wounds and cuts for taking responsible decisions. It is needed  a revival of the forgotten optimism, of the hidden hopefulness, the lost joy, the desired peace.

Behind the human pain, behind the bitter trial, the tiring grief and frightening sorrow it is hidden the merciful eye of God. The wake from the sleep of earthly pleasures, comfortable living and individualism will bring the man to a spiritual wake, to a straight look, to a conscious study and to the rejection of the turbid stress. The man has many and unknown inner powers. He should not give in easily, fall instantly, lie down, allow himself be defeated by discouragement. Since there is no true Christian who is discouraged, without patience and hope, feeling miserable, sad and ungrateful.

The world challenge and call without cease to a society of prosperity, superconsumerism, abundance and satiety. The life of many men is fond of money, of flesh, of pleasures and of earthly things. The society has become sensualist and excessively fond of the body. Thus unfortunately it took place a terrible deadlock, a cunning trap, a stagnation and a narcosis related exclusively to the earthly goods.

There are no signs of resistance, of opposition or repentance. That’s why the economic crisis bothers so much. But it remains as an important opportunity for an essential change.

The Gospel speaks all the time about asceticism, abstinence, simplicity, temperance and mercy. It speaks about cross, sorrow, long patience and a lot of trust in God.

Now it is the time to show faith, to face trials, to be judged the authenticity of everyone’s faith. So that it won’t limit itself at words. In temptations, trials, storms it is proven the truth of our creed. The pain shows the disease. But the pain can become a doctor.

We need to feel the pain, even for the others. It is true that pain may melt the man and become a blessing but it can also harden him and thus his disease becomes a martyrdom, a torment or a curse. As the sun rays melt wax and harden the mud. The free will has a great significance.

Many are the reasons why the man should strive without cease. Despair is not allowed. Patience is absolutely necessary. We are not the only strugglers alive.

Our people say that the good sailor is shown during storm. It’s a storm, there are some clouds, there’s a squall but everything will pass. We drifted away by mistake. It’s the time to return to the righteous temperate moderate life. It’s an opportunity. And an important one.

What is sin

In many places of the Holy Scripture they talk about sin. If we ask saint John the Evangelist and Holy Apostle what is sin he tells us: `the sin is the unlawfulness.`[1] Thus the sin is the violation and depreciation of the divine law, not of the human one. The sin is a rebellion against God and an infringement of His Law.

Anything we do or say, anything we think or imagine and it is not in accordance with the law of God, is a sin. My brother, when God tells us for instance, not to lie and we lie, when He tells us not to curse and we curse, not to steal and we steal, not to do wrong and we do wrong, when He tells us not to commit adultery, not to practice debauchery and we live in debauchery and fornication, when we are reckless towards our salvation and we don`t go to the church, don`t pray, don`t repent, don`t confess, don`t commune with the Body and Blood of Christ, so when we commit so many misdeeds, don`t we sin?

Don`t we infringe the law? Don`t we resemble those people who tell God: `Go away from us. We do not want to know Your ways![2] Meaning: `Go away from me, God, because I don`t want to know Your ways on which you want the man to walk.    `

My brother, know that every time we sin, we offend and despise God and we rebel against our Creator. That`s why we should not complain if our life is full of sorrows, trials and diseases. Saint Paul, the Apostle of God tells us:

Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil [3]

And saint John Chrysostom tells us as well:

`The sins are the root of all evil. For sins we have sorrows, for sins we have troubles, for sins we have diseases and all irrational passions which rule us and which are hardly healed. In the same time sin causes loss. It causes sadness and all kinds of misfortunes. Yes, my brother, the sin is the drug which kills  the soul

[1] I In. 3, 4.

[2] Jov. 21, 14.

[3] Rom. 2, 9.

Excerpt from I have sinned, my God, please receive me who repent– Hieromonk Kosmas, Evanghelismos Publishing.

About raising children

The prayer is a sign of faith in God. When the faith in God is complete there is no need to pray for something because God takes care of everything. Then you have to wait patiently until the fruit is ripe and falls from the tree. For this reason parents entrust your children to God because you gave them only their body but God created their soul. So He is bound to take care of them.

***

Another elder shared the following words:

`A child needs much guidance and love. Watching TV is harmful.`

`A man gives his child flesh from his own flesh. But God creates the soul of the child. When a child grows his parents are not responsible for him anymore. God gives a guardian angel to everyone to help that person all along his lifetime. So shouldn’t’ we trust God?`

`You should help your children until a point. Beyond that leave them in God’s care. Their guardian angel is always with them. Somebody could say: `If someone falls into temptation the guardian angel stays away. But the angel doesn’t despair. He stays by his side. Even when somebody goes astray God sends him good thoughts by his guardian angel.`

`We should not estrange of God because that’s very painful. The guardian angel tries during life to inspire good thoughts to people, he waits and suffers, he saddens when the man sins and stands before God without being able to do anything. Let’s think about that! This simple thing causes so much pain. For this reason men should  not strange of God refusing to accomplish His will. For some angels is harder and for others is easier to bring to God the soul of a man. But there are other angels who struggle hardly and they suffer and they are in pain and they come before God with empty hands. It is so painful! Just imagine. It is worth to struggle  with dignity only do not upset the guardian angel! There are so many people who saw their guardian angel. If someone sees his guardian angel he doesn’t ask for anything else.

When we see small babies smiling in their sleep that happens because they see their guardian angel. You should teach your children how to pray because God listens to their prayers. The prayers should permeate the hearts of the children. The prayers have no results if they don’t come from the bottom of the heart.

When the children are small help them gently to understand the meaning of life. Always behave gently with them.

***

A hermit used to advise the pilgrims about raising their children :

`I am still sad that I didn’t go to confess before 18 yo. I am still sad because of that. When a child is 6-7 yo he needs to have a spiritual confessor. This is what you should do.

Thus after you leave the Holy Mountain and return to your homes give attention to children, catechize them and guard them especially though your prayers. Pray as patriarch Jacob prayed for his children. Pray like this: `Most Holy Theotokos protect help and take care of my children. Make the sign of the cross when you pray and sing a hymn to Theotokos. Watch over them. Know where they go in the evening and with whom. Bad company spoils a good education. The child may be good but someone might have a bad influence upon him. This is my advice for all the laymen.`

Source: Athonite Patericon

Far away from lie

We`ve spoken before about the methods recommended for cultivating the virtue of obedience in the hearts of the children and about the means which must be used for acquiring this. In what follows we`ll show how to inspire to the children the love for truth, how to teach them to value it and avoid lies. The need for truth and the love for it are deeply engrained in the man and in the child as well. The ancestral sin although it affected and weakened the sense for truth, could not destroy it completely. The call for truth remained embedded in the man. This vocation manifests itself in the child in that boundless desire to know everything. That is why the child asks questions about everything. And any answers from the grown-ups are accepted as being true. In his innocence the child doesn`t know what is lie or falsehood. Later he is ashamed and blushes not only when he tells a lie cause of a rush or recklessness but also when he hears the grown-ups lying. The love for truth is engrained in the souls of the children by God. But this natural call must be helped to develop and strengthen. This work appertains to the parents. How to succeed in fulfilling it? The first thing they have to do is to advise them from an early age. How to do this? There are three basic rules:

  1. Teach your children to love the truth thinking about God. The child must know that God Who is the eternal and unchanged Truth wants from us to tell the truth all the time. Only then the child will hate the lie when he understands that God hates it and condemns it. Only the love for truth based on faith and love for God will be capable to surpass any trial.

2. Behave with your children with simplicity and sincerity. Believe in their words if you are sure they don`t tell lies. Never ask them to swear to convince you of the truth of their words. If you have any doubts regarding the truth of their statements, don`t show it immediately. Try to ascertain yourselves that he told a lie. And if this thing happened, call him to you, look him in the eyes seriously but also lovingly and tell him the following words: `God asks us to tell the truth. He is Omniscient, knows even our most hidden thoughts and hates those who tell lies.` The child will blush in an instant. He will tell the truth and he won`t lie anymore.

3. Always show your children that you love and respect the truth. Be honest and straight in everything you do.

First of all honor the divine truth, the faith and law of God. Never be reckless or careless in what regards faith.

Never give your children the chance to hear expressions like the following: `it`s no need for someone to believe in God, it is enough to be an honest man.` By such statements which are heard quite often unfortunately, it is inspired a spirit of lie, the spirit of the cunning. If you express in front of your children such wrong and false concepts you will destroy in their heart any feeling of respect and love for the truth of faith and for any other truth. If it did not matter for God whether we had a wrong or correct idea in relation with Him and His Truth, or that we confess according to our judgment that Christian faith is  true or false, then why the man would care about truth in his daily life? If God accepts in the same way the one who confesses Him rightly and the one who denies Him or doubts Him, if there is no difference between the assertion of the truth or of the lie, then how is it explained the fact that the truth is given such a great importance in our daily life? And if those who say that there is no real faith revealed by God or in other words that God did not want to reveal to us the truth about the most important matters from life, if those were right, then how could we ask from people and therefore from children to tell the truth in all the minors matters of our daily life?

Therefore parents if you want your children to love the human truth, teach them first to have a high respect for the divine truth. Do not allow recklessness or carelessness towards our Orthodox faith and Church enter your hearts. The children if they notice that you treat superfluously the truths of the Christian faith and the canons of the Church or if they notice that you are false in what regards Christian life they will adopt the same behavior and they won`t believe in what you say anymore. Be for your children an example of love for the Christian truth and faith. And inspire them this love. Only in this way they will love the truth. But be honest and sincere in all the other matters. Avoid lies and falsehood. Because if they notice you cheat the others in a way or another, or that you use cunning and hypocrisy and you are not sincere in your relationships, for example you pretend you are friend with someone and after that person leaves you begin to criticize him and condemn him , you can be sure that your children will adopt the same behavior with you and with the others.

If you want to see them growing up with love for truth, sincerity and honesty, try first of all to distinguish yourself when it comes to show faith or in general in all your behavior, avoiding lie, hypocrisy, servitude, cunning. Be sincere, straight, respectable and credible in all your manifestations. By cultivating on one side in the hearts of your children the respect and love for truth, on the other side you must also struggle with yourself with all your might against lie. Teach your children from a very young age to hate lies and become aware of the fact that God is the Truth and any lie is a sin. The children should avoid lies, not because they would be punished or discovered but because God condemns it and hates it. Show to your children by the help of the words found in the Holy Scripture how much it is hated any lie in the eyes of the True and Just God:

 `Lying is an abominable habit, the liar’s disgrace lasts for ever.` (Sirach 20,27).

Teach them that the lie is inspired by the devil and for this reason God says that `the devil is a liar and father of the lie.` (John 8, 44)

Therefore the children who tell lies imitate satan and resemble him. Do not ignore the slightest lie of your children. If the child committed a mistake for the first time and he confessed it forgive him immediately or if the mistake is big, punish him gently. In the same time explain to him that you forgave him or that you punished him more gently only because he had the courage to confess his deed immediately. But this should not become a rule because there may take place a double damage. First the child could begin to be reckless in what regards his mistakes. And in the second situation he might get used to say the truth only when he expects a benefit and he would not be ashamed to hide the truth when he considers that his confession would bring him a punishment.

In the case the child committed a mistake and tried to lie he must be punished twice – explaining to him in the meanwhile – first for the mistake and secondly for the lie. In the case the child out of revenge or malice made someone else guilty for his own guilt an elder or a smaller brother, he must be punished and forced to confess his lie in front of everybody. This is what Christian moral says. Never try to cheat or lie the children. And don`t allow the people around you to do this either. Many times the parents for comforting a whining baby scare him with various false things or promise him things they never give him. How big is the damage of all this! The child understands very quickly that he was deceived. His trust in the words of his parents will be shaken and the feeling of valuing the truth is weakened. Do not create any situations in which your children being scared would be tempted to lie to escape of beating. If for instance he made a mistake, he broke something and you shout furiously and go to him with your hand raised saying: `You did this? You`ll see what you get for this!` It`s almost sure that in such a situation the child will be tempted to say a lie, to escape of beating. What to say about those parents who smile and are proud of their child or praise him for the witty lies he invents. Or how to call those people who urge their children to tell lies, teaching them how to fool their educators or other people for not being punished in a difficult situation? Such parents are real examples of corruption for their children. These children won`t only tell lies but will also curse or steal or do any wrong. Let us understand it very straightly that who doesn`t consider lie as a sin will be able later to steal or cheat. Who is dishonest in his words, will be dishonest in his deeds as well.

So in this way I explained to you, parents, how to cultivate in the souls of your children the respect and love for the truth and the disgust for lies. Let us always remember the rules mentioned above and apply them consciously.

Take care to put yourself in order first and only afterwards to speak about CHRIST

There are people who come to me and complain that they speak to their children, to their relatives and friends about God as I speak to them but they don`t listen. Once a lady came and complained for the same reason. And I answered her:

`My dear, in order to listen to you, you must first of all have faith and believe in Christ and only afterwards to speak to them about Him. Do you follow what Christ said? Do you love Him? Have you dedicated yourself with all your flesh and soul to Him? To speak about Christ you must struggle to get rid of your passions and sins. Are you doing this?`

`No, because I am human and I get angry and upset and I argue. When they slandered me unjustly I slandered them too. That`s human, mother, I am not God. He could endure everything, but I can`t. Look for instance last week my mother in law criticized me because I put less oil in the food. Was it necessary to say that in front of my husband? She should have rather said it to me confidentially. So I got annoyed and sent her away without the knowledge of my husband. She should learn not to speak that way anymore.

`My dear, was it so important what she told you that you sent her away just like this all of a sudden? If you have such malice how do you expect to be listened when you speak about Christ? Do you know what they say for themselves? Take care

Take care to put yourself in order first and only afterwards to speak about Christ.

`Yes, this is what they tell me and I get upset because I believe in Christ.

`Yes, my love, but who believes in Christ doesn`t do what you do. When we believe in God, we try not to hurt Him and to do what He taught us and not what we like and only afterwards to speak about God. How can all these go together? Can we have two parents, God and the devil in the same time? It`s impossible. We`ll follow either one of them or the other. To follow God you must accept to do what He wants and not what you want. If you follow His will then you will not be upset anymore by what your mother in law or your mother or your husband or your neighbor says because the sons of God are noble and they don`t care about such insignificant things. Do you understand?`

`I understand but it`s very hard to do what you told me.`

`Then if it`s hard to live near Christ you have no right to speak about Him. Doesn`t your conscience rebuke you for what you`ve done?`

`It`s rebuking me.`

`Then why don`t you correct yourself in order to gain the love of our Christ and be happy near Him? Then He will put into your mouth His words and you will say them first to yourself and only afterwards to the others. And then be sure everybody will listen to you and they will receive Christ in their heart because you have become an example of kindness and love for Christ.

Excerpt from the book Listen to me! by nun Porphyria, published by Evanghelismos.

The priest sometimes carries practically the burden of sins of the people. Sometimes he falls. Let us not judge him! Let us pray for him!

I`ve noticed lately a fury of the civil society against the clergymen but what`s more terrible is that the Orthodox Christians do the same thing. It shocks me that almost nobody, neither clerics, nor laymen, has any reaction of defense or at least a direct approach of the matter. I know I will open a Pandora`s box but if no one else does it what`s to be done?

We see sometimes, unwillingly, some negative cases of priests and we don`t go into any details, because there are others who take so much care to do this. And it is automatically created the impression that we are lost as a Church, because `if the priests are the way they are, what to ask from a layman? The Church lost ground

Stop! Let us be realistic! And when I say realistic, I don`t mean to be like the ostrich, who buries his head in the earth, but to see the things as they are, meaning to assume what it is true and what cannot be contested but to see as well the other things from the shadows.

At a priestly conference – and the details have no importance here – a very nice priest held a speech and at this chapter he said that he had met someone who was very angry on the priests and who told him, the priests are so and so, these priests are sinful etc.

`Tell me, man, how many of these priests you are talking about do you know or have you heard?`

`Many.`

`Let`s count them.`

`Well, it`s that one who did that thing…that one who was in the news and so on and after six or seven he didn`t know any more. So there are very strong exaggerations.

No matter what would be reporting things at the total number of priests the percentage of those with real problems is insignificant

Many times they don`t take into account many aspects. We see the news as it is but we don`t know how the priest reached that situation. We know he has made a mistake but can we know  the whole spiritual path which led him to do that thing?

We know that from a spiritual point of view the devil attacks the man gradually and many times he succeeds in making the man fall. But we don`t see neither the context, nor the stress, or the family problems, the temptations, the actions of the evil one which made him fall. But what`s more important we have no idea if after the fall he didn`t get back on his feet again. Didn`t it cross your mind the idea that maybe even the apparition in the media was the only way by which a priest could correct himself in a certain respect and God in His wisdom uses this situation for lifting his shepherd who has become a lost sheep?

Beside this aspect let us take into account that, no matter what, there is a good side of the matter when these unwanted things happen. Christ doesn`t He say that we are all a body, limbs one for another? (I Corinthians 12, 27)?

A healthy body when it becomes infected throws away the pus. For instance one who is sick of cancer has a hidden tumor and when this is found, many times it is already too late. Is it good so? The society punishes and eliminates the elements which are not in accordance with its rules for not being destroyed. The wound doesn`t have pus to kill the body only to cleanse it. Of course it hurts. It hurts us too when we see a member of the Church who doesn`t walk righteously especially if he is a priest since if you hurt your finger all your body suffers. So let us glorify God that things are the way they are.

In another order of ideas, how does it happen that some priests don`t behave like priests? It`s simple. At least when I was in the seminary there were some colleagues of mine who were there only because their parents wanted that. They didn`t like it but their parents wanted very much to see them priests and they may feel they are in the 7th sky when they have a child who becomes a priest. Some of them gave up when they entered the college others didn`t do that. They went there automatically not from the heart. If they graduated from a seminary, from a college of theology where else to go? And then of course they don`t fulfill the mission they assumed with all their heart.

Beware that the priests don`t grow up in trees ! You don`t make any nursery of priests in a sterile environment, you put only what`s good there and when they are ripe, you pick up the priests and send them to parishes

The priests grow up in normal families. They are born and educated as their mother and school educates them. So in the end the priests are what society is itself. Society gives the priests.

The way it is, this is how the priests are. Do you have a percentage of good people and there are others who are less good or worse? Then the same percentage is applied to the priests. If the society had had some more spiritually evolved men in other ages then the priests were that way too. Now in fact we are exactly as we see them, they are like us, they are some of us. They did not descend from heaven and they did not grow in trees.

Another decisive factor in creating the image and sometimes even the character of the priest is his wife. Even if you want an austere and modest life what do you do if your wife doesn`t share the same views with you? Now you all those who want to lapidate the priests what are you going to say now? Here it`s not a matter of saying simply Yes or No and nothing else. It`s a matter of family and the priest is one. The rest of the family members are common people. They may even go to divorce. Well, you may say that he chose her that way. But that`s false cause many times the people change in time. What to do when you want to buy a cheap car and she wants an expensive one when you don`t think it`s good to go on vacation to the fanciest restaurant and she wants that, even if with the price paid there means to make debts?

Many times the priest marry girls who later become doctors, judges, lawyers or I don`t know what else, with good salaries which allow them to afford an expensive life. Can you force your wife to live in an austere way only because you are a priest? But it`s not only about that. Why do we see only those who have money? I tell you that the media talk only about the exceptional cases. Why the press doesn`t speak about the multitude of priests who have a life of privations, the priests from the poor villages who are so many? I know personally a priest who has three children and who told me: `During the fast I eat only cheese and milk! I was dumbfounded. Then he added: this is all I have from people who gave me alms. I can`t afford to buy food for fasting.

How many people know that more than a half of the priests don`t have a house of their own, they live in the house of the parish which is temporary. Why nobody shows them on screen too?

And the press needs news and seeks the sensational. It is nothing sensational if a priest shelters in his house a mother with her children taken from the streets, if he helps I don`t know how many poor, if he convinced I don`t know how many young people not to suicide themselves, if he reconciled families who were about to divorce, if he gave meaning to the life of someone with his words, if he convinced someone to give up on alcohol or drugs… if this or that. It`s sensational only if he committed something wrong.

Our Savior says if the life of a man were only a day he would fall into sin even in that situation. Why having such pretenses from a priest? Have you heard anyone who says he is without sins?

Then many people have no idea about the emotional and psychical stress and temptations a priest has to face. I don`t want to seem childish in thinking but if we were to compare a situation from a battle field when it is more likely to be lost the fight by the adversary? When the commander or the general falls. At chess you can take as many pieces you want but when you take the queen it doesn`t matter anymore who took more pieces. In the same way the devil knows that his greatest victory is when a spiritual shepherd falls. The loss is enormous for the flock. That is why the temptations are huge for a priest. Not all of them resist in the same way, there are some who fall. Important is to get up again and we know that God waits for us till the last moment of our life.

Talking about temptations I will relate to you something very personal, very real which happened to me.

I was a newly ordained deacon at the Metropolitan from Iasi and I didn`t know how to do my ministry properly. When the Holy Liturgy ends usually the deacon is the one who consumes the Holy Eucharist left in the chalice after the believers have communed.

While eating the Holy Ones I had some terrible thoughts with many images and uncontrollable temptations, like a storm attacking my psychic. I was quite devastated and I hardly found the power to call my spiritual confessor, with my mind and soul disturbed. The problem is that when you get temptations to sins you committed with your mind or in deed this is from your fault, from your sinful inclinations you haven`t stopped yet but then there were things I had never had in my mind, thoughts which had never had echo in me.

My confessor comforted me and told me: `These are the sins of the persons you mentioned and for whom you prayed at the Holy Liturgy. These persons are symbolically found in the pieces you consume beside the Flesh and Blood of Christ. For those who don`t know these are the crumbles of bread which during the Holy Liturgy are taken out from the prosphoron for those mentioned on that day at the holy service. They don`t compose and are not transformed into the Body of Christ, only represent us and those who are mentioned for being forgiven their sins by washing them with the Blood of Christ.

Thus I became aware that although Christ forgives the sins because the priest is co working with Him at the salvation of the man, He many times gives him to drink from the cup of pain of the cross of that man or those men Christ helps by His intercession as a priest.

That`s why we should not judge the priests. It`s easy to be a bystander and throw with the stone. I was in both situations, meaning that I was once a layman and now I am a priest. And now it is much more complicated.

Another example with which I`d like to end, although there are many things to say: at confession many times it happens to me to feel a stone in my back, a kind of claw which presses me psychically and even physically sometimes. When I get up it remains as a burden. Although other times I speak with the people for hours and this doesn`t happen. But when I listen to their confession it does. This goes away only at the Holy Liturgy after I commune.

Other times I get up after the confession feeling the temptation faced by other people since you hear them and can`t ignore them and I tell you it`s not easy at all. The priest sometimes practically carries the burden of sins of the people. And sometimes he even falls. Let us not judge him! Let us pray for him!

priest Mihai Marian Macuc

Article taken from the portal ortodoxiatinerilor.ro

The surgery was made by elder Paisios in the morning

The story of Nikos Koulouri professo rat the Law University of the European University from Cyprus

In 2012 my student from the Law College of the DEuropean University from Cyprus, Stelios Kreuzos who is a journalist at PIK was diagnosed with water in his lungs and heart. He suffered for a year and a half being hospitalized for great periods of time in different hospitals.

In the end his physician recommended to him to have a surgery for taking out the liquid and for being released of his pains.

This intervention has a certain degree of risk as the surgeon said.

The day before the programmed day for the surgery my student got hospitalized. He felt a torturing agony waiting for the result of the intervention.

On that afternoon he was visited by one of his cousins who brought him a book about his starets (now the already canonized saint Paisios the Athonite) saying that its reading will help him to calm himself. Have into account that my students had only a superfluous  typiconal connection with God and with the Orthodox Faith until that day as most of us unfortunately have.

Thus my student began to read the Book of the Pious. At a certain moment he arrives at the place where according to what was related by his biographer, the Pious asked from God `to give him a cancer to put him to test` impressed the student very much. The following words of the Pious touched him deeply: My Lord, every day of my heart is in your hands! Then my student  began to repeat these words of the pious while tears started to flow from his eyes. My student crying continuously and being extremely touched continued to say: `My Lord, every day of my heart is in your hands!`

It was an indirect but essential form of prayer to God for the success of intervention.

His wife hearing him got in the ward and she asked him frightened why he cried. She tried to comfort him telling him that the intervention will be successful and he asked her to leave him alone and go home to take care of their two children and sleep promising her that he would be fine. Thus my student remained alone in his ward continuing to repeat the words of Pious Paisios and cry.

At a certain moment at a late midnight hour my student noticed like in a vision the presence of a monk. Instinctively and without realizing completely the meaning of his words he addressed to the monk and told him: Geronda Paisios if you came here for me please help me so that my surgery will be successful. And he continued to repeat crying the words of the Pious: My Lord every day of my life is in your hands!` This lasted until 5.45 in the morning when it was scheduled the intervention when my student fell asleep. He remembered that hour because before falling asleep he looked at his watch.

At 7 am the nurse came and woke him up to prepare him for the surgery. But he noticed that all his clothes and bed sheets were wet. He asked the patient if he poured water on himself and he denied it saying that he didn’t know anything about that. Then  the nurse after helping him to change his clothes with some dry ones moved him in the next ward to make a last test to find the position and the precise amount of liquid from the lungs and heart the surgeon needed for the intervention.

The preparatory who was working with the measurement device after he made the measurement told the nurse to move the patient at another measurement device because the one he used was out of order many times and it didn’t show anything. So they moved him to another device which never had any fault and was of a high accuracy. And that one detected that there was no liquid found in the patients organs.

The preparatory went to the surgeon and related that fact to him. The surgeon was a faithful man and he knew from what was related by my student everything happened during night in his ward. Then the surgeon asked him: Can you tell me what happened?`

But to be completely sure go and bring the patient to the tomography with the note referring at the diagnosis of the position and amount of liquid from his body.

After the consultation was over the doctor who examined the results got in touch with the surgeon of my student and told him that it was made a mistake in the sending sheet and the patient was sent for another reason at the consultation. And this happened because from the consultation resulted that there was no trace of liquid in the patient’s body.`

The surgeon told to the nurse to bring the patient in his ward. There he visited him immediately and told him to take off his vest for surgery, put on his clothes and go home. When my student asked the surgeon surprised: Well doctor but what will happen with my surgery the surgeon answered: The surgery was made by Pious Paisios in the morning. These facts were related by my student who from day glorifies God and prays to Pious Paisios all the time.`

Source: Pious Paisios, (Testimonies, Teachings), Ed. Enomeni Romeosini, Tesalloniki 2015

My Lord take me away (pedagogical experience after death)

How many men do not say this in difficult moments. But most of the people don`t know that this is a sin and means a lack of patience and hope in the help of God. But the following story will show this clearly. A pious monk who has many spiritual sons in Athens and in his diocese related it to us very humbly and sensibly

`Since I became priest I was followed by slander (which is a modern martyrdom) In a way or another many embittered me and saddened me exceedingly with false slanders. This happened all the time. So much they upset me and tired me all these that I gave up and I said many times: `My Lord take me away. And in the end He took me.

All those who listened to him remained surprised looking at him and thinking how guilty are those who slander especially the holy ones, how much sin they gather in their souls especially when they push into despair the souls of those they slander as if God empowered them to judge the world. And the humble priest continued his story saying:

`I had a heart attack. I was in Athens in the middle of my spiritual acquaintances and sons. They took me to the hospital immediately and there the doctors tried to make my heart beat again but they couldn`t make it. In the end they said:

`We can`t do anything with the father. Take him to the morgue.

In the six hours when I was dead how many I lived! First I felt my guardian angel following me on a journey which was in the beginning very difficult then it became easier because I ascended towards an inexpressible and sweet light. While I was walking many evil spirits cried and accused me. One of the accusations was the following:

`Where are you taking this one? He was a money lover. Although he promised to live in poverty he had his own money.

But the holy angel said:

`It`s not true. The money he had belonged to the monastery and he only administered it.

In the end we reached a place which looked like the border between the two worlds.

There I heard the following dialogue:

`Holy Mother of God shall I take him to heaven?`

`No, because he committed a serious sin, she said.

`What sin my Lady? My father was kind (and the angel began to defend me and I felt hot tears were flowing down from my eyes) he built a monastery, he helped many souls to find their salvation…

This is true` said the Most Holy Mother of God but he didn`t show any patience in the struggle he had and he repeatedly said to my Son:

`take me away my Lord. So take him back and let him end his struggle patiently and afterwards he will come to the Kingdom of my Son

While coming back I saw heaven and hell. Everything is written in the Books of God is true. I saw that with my own eyes. When I came back to the hospital, I entered with disgust into my frozen body Eight hours have passed until I began to move my limbs, my fingers. From the movement of my eyelids my sister noticed my resurrection from the dead. All the hospital was in commotion. I gradually recovered and since then I take heed and show patience without complaining at anything God`s love allows  to happen.

My brothers we must conquer heaven `By our patient endurance  we will gain our souls.`

This is what that priest said and at the last word his voice broke because of his emotion.

Source: http://tokandylaki.blogspot.gr/

Cut off everything relates to your own will

`From the heart emerge the evil thoughts`

But where do they come from in the heart? Their root is in the sin which lives inside us and their distinction multiplication and variety come from one`s own will.

What is to be done then ? For the start cut everything relates to your will. This is as if someone tore the leaves of a tree cut its branches and trunk till its root.

Then do not allow to appear new sprouts and the root will dry. In other words do not allow evil thoughts to emerge from your heart and those who come out cut them and push them away and the sin which lives within us not receiving new reinforcements will get weakened and become completely helpless in this lies the essence of the command: `be on guard, keep awake. Beware of yourselves and fasten your thoughts` Vigilance must be combined with discernment.

From the heart do not come out only the bad things but also the good ones. However not any good thing our heart inspires must be fulfilled. What must be fulfilled indeed is decided by discernment. Discernment is the knife of the gardener  who cuts some branches and ingrafts others.

Excerpt from Interpretations from the Holy Scripture for every day of the year saint Teophanus the Recluse , Sophia, 2015.

Twelve golden coins

Saint Gregory the Theologian writes in his book `The lives of the unknown hermits` about a pious man called Bonifatius who was a bishop in the city of Florence. He did not receive his rank of bishop for nothing and by his habits he proved to be worthy of it.

Bishop Bonifatius had a nephew who was presbyter and was called Constantius and this one had sold his horse on twelve golden coins. He put the money in his treasury chest and went out for a certain business.

At the episcopate came some poor men who asked saint Bonifatius very insistently to give them some money to ease their poverty. But the man of God because he didn`t have what to give them thought what to do so that the poor would not leave with bare hands. He remembered the money his nephew had. He used force for a noble aim and broke the locks of the treasury chest. He took the twelve golden coins and gave them to the poor as he thought it was due.

When Constantius the presbyter turned from his affairs he found his chest broken and the money he had taken on the horse and had put there were not there anymore. Then he became awfully furious and started to cry loudly:

`All the people who are here live only I can`t live in this house.`

At his cries the bishop and all the other people who were in the episcopate ran there. And when the man of God tried to calm him down with gentle words that one began to say on a quarrelsome tone:

`All those who live with you live well only I can`t live here` Give me back my golden coins!

The bishop being upset by his cries went into the church of the Holy Mother of God and Forever Virgin Maria and raised his hands to the skies having the omophorion over them and he began to ask God to give him something to calm the folly of the infuriated priest. All of a sudden when he looked at his omophorion which was over his arms found there twelve golden coins which shone so much as if they were new. Then he ran out of the church and threw the money in the arms of the furious priest saying: `Take back the twelve golden coins you asked!`

Excerpt from the Paterikon of the Holy Mother of God – archimandrite  Teophilact Marinakis,  Evanghelismos.