Too much worries make us forget about God

`Father, worries estrange us of God ?`

`Listen one thing from me: when a child is playing and he is absorbed by his toys he doesn’t realize if his father is beside him and comfort him. But if he interrupts his playing then he becomes aware of it. In the same way when we have worries we can’t feel God’s love. God gives, but we don’t feel that. Take care not to waste your precious powers in superfluous worries and vain things that will turn t dust one day. In this way you exhaust yourself physically and dissipate you mind in vain. And afterwards you give your yawns and tiredness to God during prayer and this is like the oblation brought by Cain with worries and sighs caused by the devil who will be next to you.

Let us not waste in vain the core of our powers, leaving only the skins for God. The worries take out all the marrow of our heart and doesn’t leave anything for Christ.

If you see that your mind is always running here and there and goes to your chores etc you have to understand that you don’t go well and worry that you estranged yourself of God. You have to understand that you are closer to things than to God, to the creation than to the Creator.

Many times a worldly satisfaction deceives even a monk unfortunately whan he does something. The man is created to do the good naturally because his Creator is good. But the monk strives to becme an angel. That’s why his work in the material matters must be limited to the bare necessities in order to work the spiritual ones. Then his joy springing from the spiritual fruits he gets will be a spiritual one and one like this will be fed and will feed plentifully.

When there are a lot of works and worries God is forgotten. Father Tihon said: `The pharaoh gave much work and food to the Israelis to make them forget about God.` In our times the devil made the men be absorbed by material things. A lot of work, a lot of food, to forget about God and in this way not to be able anymore to use their freedom to purify their souls. But fortunately there is something good coming out of this even if the devil doesn’t want it – the men don’t have the opportunity to sin as much as they would like.

Pious Paisios the Athonite, With pain and love for the man of nowadays, Collection Spiritual words, vol.1, Evanghelismos Publishing, Bucharest, 2012, p. 202-204.

Where is Christ there is true joy

`Abba, sometimes I cannot feel any joy and then I think that maybe the joy is not for me.`

`What are you saying ? The joy is not for you ? Then for whom is it? For the devil? Have you lost your mind?`

`The joy is made for the man. God didn’t give sadness, only joy.`

`Then why don’t I have any joy inside?`

`How to feel a divine joy when your mind is not at God? You forget Christ and your mind is always thinking about your affairs and chores and about devices and in this way your spiritual machinery stops. So start saying `the Jesus prayer` and chants slowly and thus you’ll start running and spinning like a whirligig around Christ. Only near Christ you find real, pure joy, cause only Christ gives true joy and comfort. Where is Christ there is true joy and heavenly delight. Those who are far from Christ have no real joy. They can make dreams: ` will do this, I’ll do the other, I’ll go there`, they can be given honors or go to have fun and entertain themselves but they joy they feel can’t fill their soul.

That kind of joy is material, worldly but the soul doesn’t feel fulfilled with worldly joys and the man remains with a hole in his heart. Did you see what Solomon says?

Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done  and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
(Ecclesiastes 2:11). The worldly joy offers something ephemeral, only for that moment, it doesn’t offer any spiritual joy. Spiritual joy is a heavenly life.

All those who had experienced first the Crucifixion and revived spiritually feel the paschal joy. The Easter of the Lord, the Easter! Then it comes the Pentecost. Ans when they come to the Pentecost and they receive the divine flames, the Holy Spirit, then everything is over.

Source: Pious Paisios the Athonite, Passions and virtues, p.300-301.

The Armenian Christian

One night they brought us a new convict. They gave him the upper bunk bed from the opposite side. Before going to sleep I saw him curled up in a corner and I refalized that he was praying because he was making the sign of the Cross. I thought about him all night. I supposed he was Greek but I waited for the morning to ask him.

In the morning after everybody woke up the forger started to question him. He wasn’t Greek and he spoke Russian like him both being strangers in that country. I didn’t understand anything because I didn’t know their language. When it came the time for walk the new convinct accompanied me and I was glad about this fact because I had one hour at disposal to ask him questions. I hoped he spoke English. To my great surprise he started the conversation in a flawless English. He knew many things about me because the forger gave him all information.

He decided to get out with me at fresh air thinking that we shared the same faith. Indeed my joy was great! He was Orthodox and was born in Armenia. I made him make the sign of the Cross. He did that just as I did it. I haven’t forgotten it yet a few weeks ago I twisted my fingers to make sure that I crossed them well when I made the sign. The Armenian told me how he got into jail saying that he had paid two thousands dollars to get in there. He had given money to someone from that country where we were to be able to go to work in England. He crossed Russia by train hidden in a wooden trunk. Once arrived there the intermediaries took him to an apartment they made ready telling him that he had to stay there for the following two days while they would have made his passport and then would have sent him to England. Suddenly someone knocked at the door but instead of those two men it was the police! Then he realized what had happened: everything had been just a scam only for taking his money…He stayed in detention for two weeks in other places before being brought there and he hoped he would be set free quickly because he was helped by a Russian priest.

Then I told him about myself and about Cyprus and we didn’t even realize how the time flew. We had to go back to the cell. I was glad that in that seclusion there was someone else of the same faith with me. It was a great joy indeed!

And when I think that only a few weeks before I was among thousands of Orthodox people but I was not aware of that and I didn’t care about it. The day passed without happening anything special but the evening was still far.

It was spring by then. The day didn’t break easily and in the evening it got dark around ten. I looked carefully at the Armenian. He cuddled himself in a corner of his bed and he was praying. I felt relieved thinking that our prayers would be raised to the sky in the same time like an insistent cry that was going to bring us the liberation and return to our homes.

Me in the cosmopolitan Cyprus and him in his poor country Armenia as he had described it to me. About midnight everything ceased. Only the cry of a woman was heard like a roar of a beast. The old ones explained to me that it was something habitual and it was coming from the jail for women that was next to ours.

In the end I could fall asleep but I woke all of a sudden because of a dream that I lived intensely and I will never be able to explain.

Usually in the morning I don’t remember what I dreamt but I remember in detail this vision as if it had happened for real. I was descending a big stone staircase lighted by torches. I had chains and I was accompanied by two policemen whose clothes looked like those from the Middle Ages. They took me to a big room made of stone that seemed like a fort. In the back it was a big solid table where sat three persons. It was a court. I was a bit further and because of that I didn’t see quite well. In front of me there were some other men in chains followed by their guardians. In a short time I went closer with my attendants being able to see what happened at the table. All of a sudden I heard my name called and those who accompanied me beckoned me to go closer. The three persons were discussing. At a certain moment the president turned to me and said: You have fulfilled your punishment and soon you’ll return to your family. Hearing these words I got relaxed and took courage. I wanted to know what was going to happen with the Armenian so I asked them. The president looked at me from top to toe as if he was studying me then he answered loudly: Go. He is free too.

I turned towards those who accompanied me and left but while it seemed that I was climbing the stairs I woke up! I couldn’t fall to sleep again till morning thanking to the Lord without cease. I didn’t wait for long the hour when we were allowed to go out for fresh air to tell the news to the Armenian. I had a conviction that everything was coming to an end and we were to be freed. Starets Paisios was glad for me seeing me so reconciled with myself.

`My child didn’t I tell you that when you would be ready we’d go back to the Island of the saints? How much he loved Cyprus and the Cypriots! He had a special love for them and he said they were very good people from a blessed land but they were tormented. And he added: But if all of them repent then everything will go well in their country. Then I didn’t understand what could have meant those words because I was far away from reality.

After I went out of jail I studied I talked with wise elders and I was able to taste the true life from the Church of Christ. Only then I understood what abba had said.

I wished I could have the opportunity to ask him other questions for instance about the liberation of Cyprus of Constantinople but also about many other issues of interest for me. But over time thinking about his words about repentance and forgiveness everything became clear: we all together with the leaders of the Church had to do the same they did in the past when people from many villages gathered to pray for rain or for chasing away the deadly diseases and their prayers were listened.

Of course the prayer is important but it must be accompanied by deeds. I didn’t stay to think about the things I’m writing, I’m writing what happened to me and what I have in my heart but I realize that these are in fact some childlish things. But let’s resume the story…

When it came the time to get out I descended the four floors like flying on the stairs but I immediately heard the shouts of the guardians because I went ahead. Srriving in the cage for walks I saw again the opposite building of a dark blackish color. There it was the temporary jail for children. What could I do? Nothing except for praying for them. The Armenian came shortly after me and he was glad too. When we got back to the cell I was told that I was going to receive a visit. I told him my vision and we were both sure that in a short time we would be freed. But we put our hopes in the providence of God. We were walking to and fro like two children in the small cage talking about Christ. I knew only a few things but he was advanced in terms of faith. He told me that in his country there was a cathedral dedicated to saint apostle Judas Thaddeus who had brought Christianity in Armenia! He knew the Creed but also other prayers. I felt insignificant before him because everything I had learnt about Orthodoxy I had found out from the few books sent by my parents. The time of the walk was over and we went back to the cell one after another followed by the guardians. There we were back in the ordinary. Some of them were playing chessm one was watching TV and I went back to my canon. I began to study with the help of abba Paisios.

I was very glad because I enriched myself with many information about saint Judas Thaddeus. Apostle Judas, my child – said abba – is one of the twelve chosen ones. We can’t doubt that because elder Paisios confirms it.

There are some theologians who ask themselves questions and have doubts about the true identity of this holy apostle who was Jacob’s brother, the first bishop of Jerusalem and son of righteous Joseph from his first marriage. In brief he was the brother of the Lord. I always took with me the book about saint apostle Judas Taddeus and I always asked for his help praying to him many times daily.

Once I asked abba:

`Father, is it well how I pray to saint apostle Judas Taddeus? EIs it right the prayer I say?`

`My child all the prayers we address to the saints are for making us be our intercessors who persuade God to listen to our prayers. But we need to pay heed during prayer. The Lord Himself taught us to say the lord’s prayer. Only then I understood the meaning of the ceaseless prayer.

Excerpt from the book Testimony of the religious conversion of a former convinct – Father Paisios my saint and teacher, Egumenița Publishing 2016

In the truck

According to my calculations two months had passed. On the following day I don’t know why I was taken to the medical office. There they took my blood pressure then they threw at my feet all my belongings, they gave me my coat and took me to a truck handcuffed. In a cage!

They didn’t say anything, only asked me to sign some papers written in their language. Because of my fear I was always forced to sign. The truck started the ride to the unknown. I burst into tears. I don’t remember to have ever cried that much in my life. I was nit crying for myself, I didn’t counted myself, I cried for my family, for my wife and children. I was thinking of them all the time and I cannot express in words what I lived.

All of a sudden somewhere between sleep and wakefulness or rather in a delirium I heard a voice saying to me in Greek:

`Do not worry my child, this s a trial from God. Pray, have faith and this will go away!`

`Who are you? I asked sadly. Turning my head I saw on the right an old monk, that one who was on the yellow cover of the book written by Athanasios Rakovalis.`

`Elder Paisios`, he said.

`Prayer and faith in God`, he repeated to me and vanished.

I was sobbing and I was feeling indeed that time was vanishing so I don’t remember how much it took that truck ride.

Excerpt from the book Testimony of the religious conversion of a former convinct – Father Paisios my saint and teacher, Egumenița Publishing 2016

The worldly spirit is a disease

Today the main thing is not to shape ourselves after this worldly spirit. It is martyrdom. We should do our best to avoid being drawn by this trend and led on this path. The smart fish don’t let themselves be caught by hooks.

They see the bait, they understand it’s a bait, go away and escape while the others see the bait, they rush up there to eat and they are caught. In the same way the world has its bait and catches the people. They are attracted by the worldly spirit and are caught by it.

The worldly spirit is a disease. Let us avoid the worldly manner of thinking in the same way we try to avoid a disease, no matter where we find it. Let us estrange ourselves of the spirit of worldly progress in order to advance spiritually, recover our spiritual health and rejoice angelically.

Pious Paissios the Athonite

The first steps in the search of God

I was saying to myself that these people who were forbidden to believe in God believed and I in whose country God was glorified everywhere didn’t believe!

How much my wife – who was an Anglican at that time –  asked me to take our children to the Orthodox church but I always tried even on Great Saturday before the bright and glorious night of Resurrection to find an excuse for not going! Or even if I went I stood outside, not in the church. However, one year before my arresting I had visited Stavrovunion Monastery where I confessed my sins at the urge of my family. I wanted to help my sister who was facing a very hard problem then.

Excerpt from the book Testimony of the religious conversion of a former convict – Father Paisios my saint and teacher, Egumenița 2016

The worldly joys are material joys

`Father, the secular people say they feel an emptiness in their soul, even if they have all the goodies in the world.`

`The true, pure joy can be found only near Christ`. `If you unite yourself with Him through prayer, you will see your soul is rewarded`. The secular people seek joy in entertainments`. `The spiritual people seek it in theological discussions, in preaches, etc`. `But when all these are over they find themselves in an emptiness and wonder what they will do further on.`

`If their activities are sinful or neutral, it’s just the same`. `Why don’t they better go to sleep, so that they would be more prepared for the work of the next day?`

`What you gain by fulfilling the worldly desires of the heart is only stress, not spiritual joy`. `The worldly joy brings stress even to the spiritual people`.`The worldly joy is not permanent, it’s not a real joy, it’s a temporary one, of that moment.`

`And this is a material joy, not a spiritual one.` `And the worldly joys don’t fill the human soul, they rather fill it with ballast.” “When we experience spiritual joy we don’t want any material joy anymore.` `I will be satiated when Your glory is manifested.` `The worldly joy doesn’t bring any peace to the spiritual man, but weariness`. `Let a spiritual man stay in a worldly house and you will see that he doesn’t rest.` `Even if the worldly man thinks that he rests, it’s not like this at all, he only suffers.` ` He seems to be glad, but inside himself he is not content, but tormented.`

`Father with this worldly order you asphyxiate yourself.`

`Although people asphyxiate themselves with it, they want it as it is with the frog that’s running in the mouth of the snake.` `This one stay near the water and watches the frog. If the frog makes the mistake to look at the snake, it gets electrified, dizzy and runs into the mouth of the snake.` `Then the snake bite it to make it still. Then the frog will cry out but even if you save it will die because it is poisoned.

`Father, why the people enjoy the worldly things?`

`The contemporary men don’t think of eternity. Their self-love makes them forget that they will lose everything. They didn’t understand the deepest meaning of life. They didn’t feel heavenly joys and that’s why their heart doesn’t leap up for something higher. For instance you give a pumpkin to someone and that one tells you: `What a nice pumpkin!` If you give him pineapple he will tell you: `The pineapple has scales.` And throws it because he had never eaten that. Or tell to a mole `how nice is the sun!` and the mole will go back underground. Those who find rest in the material world are like the foolish chicks that don’t make any noise in their shell to make it break and get out of it and enjoy the sun – the flight in the sky towards the heavenly life – but stay still and thus they die in the eggshell.

The pious Paisios of the Holy Mountain

Give primacy to the beauty of soul

The soul that marvels at the beauties of the material world shows that inside it lives the vain world; that’s why it is attracted by the creature and not by the Creator, by earth and not by God. It doesn’t matter if this earth is clean or has the mud of sin.

When the heart is attracted by the worldly beauties – even if they are not sinful, they don’t stop being vain – it feels the worldly joy of that moment, without having the divine comfort, the inner wings given by the spiritual joy. But when the man loves the spiritual beauty, then his soul is filled and beautified.

If the man and especially the monk knew his inner ugliness, wouldn’t care about the exterior beauties. The soul has inside itself so many stains, so many splotches and we worry about our clothes for instance? We wash our clothes, we iron them and we are clean but inside we are…better not ask about it! That’s why if someone saw what a dirtiness he has inside himself he wouldn’t be so concerned to remove the smallest stain from his clothes because these are much cleaner than his soul.

But if the man doesn’t care about the spiritual slag he has inside, then he is preoccupied to remove carefully the smallest exterior stain. But what he should do would be to turn his whole care towards his spiritual scour, towards the inner beauty, not towards the exterior one. It should be given primacy to the beauty of soul, to the spiritual beauty, not to the vain one, because the Lord said:

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Matthew 16:26)

Pious Paissios the Athonite


The worldly spirit in monachism

`Father, many people tell us: Here you’re living like in heaven.`

`Pray not to lose the other heaven. I would have preferred to see the laymen impressed by your spiritual progress, without being aware of that yourself and without making a purpose from it – this being reached by itself, naturally, inwardly. Try not to lose yourself in useless things so that you won’t lose Christ. Try as much as you can to gain monastic consciousness. Live spiritually as true nuns and do not forget Christ so that He may remember you as well. My purpose is not to upset you but to help you, tu support you, try to discern the worldly spirit – when this pervades monarchism it upsets Christ Himself – and get rid of it as being a foreign spirit.

Unfortunately the worldly spirit crept in many monasteries because some spiritual fathers of our times lead monarchism on a mundane path and they don’t guide the souls in the patristic spirit of Grace. I see an antipatristic spirit which prevails today in monasteries. They do not receive the good, the patristic, they do not live patristically, but levelling the spiritual heights in the name of obedience, of cutting self will and doing their profane wills they enjoy. In this way they do not progress, because they took with them the temptation, the profane spirit. We don’t have the right to explain the commandments of God as we like, nor do we have the right to present monachism as we like either. There is something else when we confess our weaknesses and ask humbly for the mercy of God. The worst thing in my opinion is the fact that some consider this profane spirit as a kind of progress. While they should perceive it as a fall and spit it out so that they may purify themselves spiritually and let the Holy Spirit come in quickly. The Holy Spirit is the One who sanctifies, announces and supports souls.

There are some who say : We have to show our civilization. What civilization are we showing? The profane one? We, the monks have to show our spiritual civilization, our spiritual progress. But where is our spiritual progress? We should not outrun the laymen in profane flourishing. This worldly progress torments the laymen and doesn’t it do it the same even more to the monks? We should have progressed so much spiritually that the laymen wanted to do  something themselves. If we do what a spiritual layman does this doesn’t help us either, cause we have the example of a spiritual layman. The monk doesn’t have as purpose to show a worldly evolution. This is an offense for the monarchism. The monk who thinks in a worldly manner is obvious that he didn’t find the right path. Although he started for Christ now his soul goes towards the world. The worldly evolution when it is considered progress leads the monarchism to spiritual decay.

How many things are being lost in monachism as they are lost in the world : honesty, respect which are backward. That’s why it hurts me and I feel like choking. I feel like going away in the mountains. Someone who has never lived anything higher isn’t that upset for the spiritual life he s living in his own way. But for another one who is forced to live in this way do you know what torment it is?

If Christ had considered me worthy of living monastically as I wished and I had died young, I would have considered it that I died in the front line. It is worth dying now, confessing, making a sacrifice, only for not being blasphemed the Holy Fathers.

Don’t we think a little at the Holy Fathers we are reading all the time, where they lived and how they lived? God said The foxes have dens but the Son of Man doesn’t have any place where to put His head. Terrible! And see how some tried to imitate Christ in caves. They felt Christ’s joy because they followed Him in everything. All their desire was there. The Holy Fathers made from the desert a spiritual delight but today we are making a profane party. Christ’s Church goes in the desert to find salvation and we are making a profane party from the desert so that people may be misled and find no avail and then have nothing to hold on. This is the great danger I see in these hard times we are living. Although for this reason we should live now more austerely to gain divine powers, unfortunately we change because of the mundane spirit and get weakened. Meaning that we chase away the spirit and it’s left only the carrion.

Today there are monks who live monarchism only on the outside. They don’t smoke, they live simply, read the Philocaly, quote from the Holy fathers. As those from the world who didn’t say lies, made the sign of the Cross, went to the church and when they grew up took heed at their moral way of living and thought that this is all the same things happen in certain monasteries and they laymen are drawn there. But when they come to know them they see they don’t differ from the laymen because they keep the profane spirit. If they had smoked, if they had read newspapers, talked about politics they would have avoided them as being like the laymen and the monarchism wouldn’t have been damaged.

When monarchism weakens spiritually then what will be the avail of the layman? The alcohol if we leave the bottle uncorked it loses all its strength. It doesn’t even kill microbes or light up flames. And if you put it in the lamp it burns the wick. In the same way the monk if he doesn’t take heed he draws away the divine grace and what’s left to him is only the schema. He is like the alcohol which lost its strength. He cannot burn the devil anymore. The light of the monks are the angels and the light of the laymen are the monks. Afterwards there is no more light. Do you know how much damage does the profane way of thinking?

If the spirituality is lost from monachism, then there is nothing left. Cause if the salt is altered it won’t be good not even as a fertilizer. The rubbish is good as fertilizer while the salt it is not. If you put it at the root of a plant it will burn it. Today we are in an epoch when monarchism must shine. In this rottenness there is a need for salt. If the monasteries don’t have a profane way of thinking but a spiritual condition, then this will be their offering for the society. They won’t need to speak or do anything else cause they will speak by their own life. This is what the world needs today.

Did you see where went the Catholics? I remember that a few years ago when I was at Stomiu Monastery in Konitsa somebody brought me a sheet of newspaper where it was written: `Three hundred nuns protested – why not to see a movie at the cinema? Why not to have their robes till the knee not till their toes? I was so much affected when I read this that I said – Why become nuns then? And then they wrote that all the nuns left their robes. But in the way they were thinking they had left them long before it. Once I saw a Catholic nun  who did not differ from a lay woman. She was doing apparently a missionary work and she was completely, as some of the most modern girls. We shouldn’t allow this European spirit – we shouldn’t reach till there.

`Father it seems hard for me to give up on the wordly way of thinking.

`It’s not hard – it’s needed vigilance. Think about what great Arsenios was saying `why did you withdraw?` We forget why we came to the monastery. We all start more or less well but we don’t end well because we forget why we came to the monastery.

`Father, you said that the worldly spirit creeps in monachism and the spiritual zeal is lost. Will the true spirit of monachism be preserved?`

`There is a storm. But God won’t allow it.`

`Father, my mind wonders: Are there any communal monachal lives which to have a spiritual journey?`

`That’s the last straw, not to find these anymore!` The Theotokos would have took us all to the prison. There are monks who live a very spiritual life, very quietly.

There are virtuous souls in any monastery, in any metropolitan church. They are those who persuade God and for them He still bears us.


Worldly desires

Double unhappiness awaits all those who don’t refrain their hearts from material desires which are not absolutely necessary – nor does it fit anything relating to the sexual desires – and who don’t gather their mind in their heart to offer them both to God.`

`Father is it always bad to have desires?`

`No, the desire of the heart is not bad in itself. Only when the things, even if they are not sinful – take pieces from my heart weakening my love for Christ. This desire is bad because the enemy cuts my love from Christ. When I want a precious thing, a book for example, and this takes a piece of my heart, then that’s bad. Why would a book take a part of my heart? Will I desire to have the book or Christ? No desire, no matter how good it may seem, is better than the one we have for Christ and Theotokos. When I give my heart to God could it be possible that God wouldn’t give Himself entirely to me? God asks for man’s heart. Give my your heart, my son! If the man gives Him his heart then God will give him anything he desires, only if it isn’t harmful for him. Only when the heart gives itself to Christ it is not wasted and only in Christ you find the rich bond of the divine love in this life and in the afterlife the divine joy.

We have to avoid the worldly things so that they won’t steal our hearts and use only the simple things for our necessities. We have to take care  they are durable. If I want to use a nice thing it means I want to give my whole heart to beauty and there is nothing left for God. You pass by a beautiful house made of marble, with sculptures. You admire the stones, the bricks and leave your heart there.

Or you see in a shop some nice frames for your glasses and you want them. If you don’t buy them you leave your heart in the shop. If you buy them you hang your heart on the frames you are wearing. Especially the women are easily enticed. Few are those who don’t give their hearts for vanities. I mean the devil steals the richness of their hearts with all the colorful, bright worldly stuffs. One needs a plate? She will look for a plate with flowers. As if the food got sour if the plate didn’t have any flowers.

Some faithful women are moved by apparently serious things, for instance by an eagle with two heads. Afterwards they ask you: `Why aren’t we moved by the spiritual things?` How to be moved when your heart is scattered in cupboards, among plates? You don’t have a heart, only flesh and inside that it beats mechanically its tick-tack like the clock, only to be able to walk. Because a bit of your heart goes to a thing, a bit to another and there is nothing left for Christ.`

`Father, does it mean that these simple desires are sinful ?`

`These desires, no matter how sinless they might be are worse than the sinful ones. Because a sinful desire will shake the man somehow and some day his conscience reproves him for that and then he will try to go back and he will repent saying: `I was wrong, my Lord. While these apparently good desires don’t give him any uneasiness. He thinks he goes well. `I love what’s good, I love what’s beautiful. God made them all beautiful` he says Yes, but his love doesn’t go to the Creator, goes to the creations. That’s why is good to cut any desire. When someone does something for Christ and sacrifices what he loves, doing what he doesn’t enjoy, no matter how good would be what he likes, then God gives him much rest.

The heart before it cleanses has worldly desires and finds enjoyment in them. But when it cleanses up it will be disgusted by the worldly joys. From that moment on its joys will be spiritual. Only in this way the heart will be cleansed, when it gets disgusted by the worldly desires. Before that it is attracted by them. But you see, we don’t want to upset the old man lying inside us, we want to please him. But then how are we going to become followers of Christ?`

`Father, when I find it hard to cut a desire, I have to go on striving?`

`Yes, even if your hearts saddens because you don’t do what pleases it, you shouldn’t listen to it. Because if you listen to it you will feel a worldly joy then a worldly anxiety. And if you don’t listen to your heart and your hearts gets upset because you didn’t do what it pleases it and you will be glad of that, then the grace of God will come over you. Cause this is the aim: to gain the divine grace. And for gaining the divine grace we have to cut all our desires even if they were good. We have to cut our own will. Then the man humbles himself and when he humbles himself the divine grace will come to him. When the heart will have a worldly discontent, it will have a spiritual joy. As much as one can, should learn to avoid the worldly comfort and have an inner spiritual work so that he may gain divine comfort.

Pious Paissios the Athonite