Words and stories of elder Paisios (ΧVI)

A laymen told me : `You the monks don’t make children nor do anything else.`

`You blessed man how many children can you make?` Ten, let’s say twenty. Or thirty. While the monk can make by his prayer 500 or even 5000. He prays for your children and for all the couples who can’t have children, as saint Arsenions used to do.`

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 Most of the people are attracted by the worldly things and they don’t feel God’s love anymore.

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There must be acknowledgement. The acknowledgement replaces much asceticism. One who cannot practice asceticism admits that and says: `I am indebted.` Forgive me my Lord Jesus Christ cause I can’t practice more asceticism.`

And Christ tells him `It doesn’t matter, don’t get upset.`

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The Holy Fathers say we should not pay any attention to dreams. Even if the dream is from God we don’t lose anything if we despise that dream. On the contrary. God is touched and reveals Himself in another way so that we can have benefit.

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If someone is drawn by heretics but he has a good intetnion he won’t find his rest there. But if he was drawn because of his selfishness and remains in his delusion one like this should be pitied.

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Communism wanted to make all people alike. This is the greatest injustice and inequality because one is taller and heavier and he needs more food.

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The man must offer his love to God and to his neighbor and the refst of his love he should give to the other creatures. It is obvious that these ecologists (lovers of animals) have as much love as it is that one which remains from Christians.

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That is why they love only the creatures of God and they don’t love God and His image, the man.

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Manliness means that someone has inside himself bravery. All men who proved to be great, had big hearts, they were brave. Manliness is to cover yourself completely in the trust in God. It doesn’t matter if the other one tells you a word, you should say to yourself: But how many times I did mistakes? Bravery is to endure the words the others tells you. Whoever has bravery has love as well and God doesn’t forget him. Manliness is not barbarism, but nobleness. Nobleness, not wickedness.

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When someone has a brave heart no matter what his occupation would be, he goes further. If he makes a military career he becomes general. If he marries he becomes a good family man. If he is a robber, he becomes a captain of robbers. And if he lives a spiritual life he becomes saint.

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When someone prays with his heart feels first a warmth around his heart then this warmth spreads all over his body.

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The Byzantine emperors offered a great gift to God and people by building so many monasteries, cause in monasteries the world found spiritual and bodily nourishment.

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God wishes most of all that we would be full of joy and inner peace. God is not a tyrant to force us, He leaves us free.

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We should never mention the name of the tempter. The devil showed up in an instant to a monk because he had said: `And this devil.` And he asked him: `What do you want?` The old man was shocked when he saw him.

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In my opinion one of the many differences between us and the Catholics is their rationalism.

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The monk should not leave easily his place when he has temptations he should first use all the resources of his patience.

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The devil is a great expert. He tries to catch everyone with something. The thought is the most important thing.

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The work of the devil is to bring all the time evil thoughts.

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I have the duty to fight with the pleasure of gluttony or at least not to give way to it. I should eat only in order not to harm myself because I feel a bit of weakness. I should sleep if I can’t less even seven hours. But I generally should not put myself in templates. Sometimes it might be possible to have power and strive more, other times it might be possible to be bothered by something and be forced to give up a bit on my strife.

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  Brains we have, what we need is mind.

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At the beginning the evil thoughts reign but slowly the good ones grow up and the evil ones stop. But even the good ones are only human concoctions. The good soil which makes grace come and dwell inside us is a depletion of our thoughts. But this of course without pills which sicken and paralyze the natural power of our mind.

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When you say the Jesus prayer you should not think of anything. You should not receive any thought, neither bad nor good, nor humble yourself with thoughts that seem good or let your mind wander to some apparently useful happenings for your soul, only take heed and live the words of the prayer.

From the book From the Ascetic and Hesychast Tradition of the Holy Mountain –Evanghelismos Publishing, 2016.

 

What virtues needs the man to be overshadowed by the grace of God?

`Humility alone is enough. Many times some people ask me: How much time needs someone to gain the divine grace? Some people might live all their life in a spiritual way apparently, practicing ascesis etc but because they think they are something they don’t receive the divine grace. And others receive the grace in a short time because they humble themselves.

If the man humbles himself it is possible to be inundated by the divine grace in a moment and become an angel and find himself in heaven. But if he prides himself he may become a devil in a moment and go to hell. Meaning that if the man wants it he can become a lamb but he can also become a goat. Poor goats, even if they want, they cannot become lambs. But God gave to the man the possibility to turn from goat into lamb. It is enough if he wants it. The grace of God dwells only in the humble and meek man. Only there rests God. You saw what prophet Isaiah says?

These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit and who tremble at my word. (Isaiah 66:2) God wants us to have a bit of humility to relate to Him and then all His gifts come abundantly one after another. In a certain way God owes to the humble man a lot of grace and He gives it as a gift without being asked for it. This is the spiritual law. The Scripture doesn’t it say:  God is against the proud ones and He gives His grace to the humble ones? (Jacob 4:6, I Peter 5:5, Proverbs 3:34) This is the way God set them all. `I am humble` means `I have the divine grace.`

The humble one receives plenty of grace from God because he is like a sponge which absorbs the divine grace. That one who bends humbly and receives the blows from the others gets rid of his own swellings, he get spiritual beauty as an angel and thus he can enter the narrow gate of heaven. Nobody ascends to heaven by the worldly climbing but by the spiritual descent. Humility opens the gates of Heaven and the grace of God comes to the man, while pride closes them. Father Tihon said: A humble man has more grace than many people together. Every morning God blesses the world with a single hand, but when He sees a humble man He blesses him with both hands.

The greatest of all men is that one who has more humility!

Everything depends on the humble thought. When there is a humble thought in the man then heaven and earth meet in him naturally.

By their humility the men found the button. They press it and ascend to the third heaven (II Corinthians 12:2) with the spiritual elevator of love. And you hear some saying: And why does God want us to humble ourselves? Hear it! If the man doesn’t humble himself he doesn’t find any place in heaven and not even in this life can find his peace. What did Christ say?

Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29).

Source: Pious Paissios the Athonite, Passions and Virtues,Evanghelismos Publishing, p. 167.

 

Words and stories of elder Paisios (ΧV)

Some time ago there was a monk in Provata who left the robe and married in Thassos. After many years he bought himself a ship. He went with it to Vatoped and loaded it with wood. When he left and passed by Provata, where it had been his cell, the sea opened and swallowed the ship. Luckily he and his two children were saved. Then he felt heart broken, he understood the reason of the sinking and went to a priest from Esfigumenu Monastery to confess. The priest told him: Go and take care of what’s necessary for your children then we’ll see. He had four children, two being some little girls and was known in the Holy Mountain as the one who repented. And had two other children – I knew them myself – who were the enemy in person.

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There was a monk who became possessed from a certain cause and he wondered to and fro all day long. The demons didn’t leave him rest for one single minute. `Don’t you suicide now so that you may find rest and we get rid of you since you belong to us anyway?` He tried to commit suicide twice but a gospel he had in his pocket threw flames when he wanted to throw himself down and pushed him back. But then he tried again to suicide and they found him dead on some rocks in the sea.

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I saw elder Porphyrios two or three times. He described to many people their own houses and villages. To others he revealed where was found water and after they dug they found it. To a person who had three diplomas he told all the problems he had and helped him a lot while other priests couldn’t help him. Once when he passed by a bulldozer said: Take care that in the earth there is a Cross. Take care not to break it!

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When elder Ephrem from Katunakia received proposals to become abbot of the Lavra elder Paissios said to someone: Father Ephrem is indeed a real treasure. He is a spiritual pillar  of the Holy Mountain. He is always attending to spiritual matters and helps many souls. But I’m afraid that if he becomes abbot with so many worries and ceaceless material concerns will lose a lot. But I won’t say this to others because they will misunderstand me. They will think that I don’t want him to be abbot. When father Ephrem got his message he answered: `I thank to elder Paissios. I know myself that it is not the will of God for me to become an abbot.

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At Filotheu there was a monk from Crete. The poor man when he was in the world as a layman he had burnt in an oven a Turk. Then he became a monk and led a spiritual life and prayed without cease to God. He asked Him to burn him. Although his sin was forgiven out of his spiritual nobleness he asked to be burnt and God answered to his prayer.

One day we saw smoke at the monastery. The laymen ran and I ran myself to get ready the buckets with water because I had the task of storeman. It seems that he was sitting near the fire and some sparks flew from the chestnut wood that was burning and in this way he caught fire. He couldn’t extinguish it. He tried to go out but was choked by smoke and he fell down. He looked like a burnt lamb. God listened to him because he had always prayed to be burnt and God fulfilled his wish.

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A starets from a certain cell after he died his body was found incorrupt because during the holy service he had used to send his monks fishing.

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We made the exhumation of a Romanian starets and when I wanted to touch his head I saw that it was uncorrupt. I called a monk and told me to bury him a little further. I was trying to find out the cause and I found among his books one from Prodromu which had a curse for the man who would have taken it. I returned the book and after a while the body fell apart.

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When you don’t justify yourself you receive the whole jow of the world. But when you justify yourself you don’t find peace.

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How are we going to teach the monks the relinquishment of the world when we have connection with our relatives? Only by our words?

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One night when I was in Stomio, the demons came and uncovered my cell. I saw in a moment my cell without roof.

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The icon painters must enjoy freedom and not be afraid they might violate a rule. The saints are not all alike. They should not paint them as if they were puppets, they should paint each saint with a different expression.

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We can pray to saints but it is needed simplicity. We should speak to them simply. You just call the saints and they come.

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The monk should rather repent once for taking his diploma than 100 times because he didn’t take it.

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Make an account of all the visits you pay to a starets and if you get benefit you may go on, but if you don’t, stop them. And do the same thing with me.

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Even those who have a high spiritual level find benefit when they cut their will.

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Hell means to be away of God. For a child hell means to be away of his mother.

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The spiritual life is very easy as I understood it.

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The monks from the old times had simplicity. Those from nowadays have reason and they don’t believe that much in wonders.

From the book From the Ascetic and Hesychast Tradition of the Holy Mountain –Evanghelismos Publishing, 2016.

Words and stories of elder Paisios (ΧΙV)

The naked hermits who live on Athon are the signal senders of the earth to God.

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A certain monk said leaves his monastery for 20 days saying that he is going to Thessaloniki but he goes to an old oven, cuts two branches as a roof and stays there eating just dry bread and drinking water.

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There was a monk at a monastery with self-ordination who showed much zeal in the spiritual life. His starets seeing his zeal for strife left him an hesychast cell for having greater freedom. But he didnțt use well this freedom and thinking that God did not answer to his trife, he got tired quickly and started to live recklessly. He began to look over the magazines left by the laymen at the xenodochium and with the dirty images he saw in them lust burst. He was thinking day and night at these and in the end he decided to throw away the robe and go back to the world. He had a friend in Thessaloniki and wrote to him that he was sorry he made himself a monk. `Now I want to come back and ask you to find me a good girl to marry her.`

He settled everything well. At the end he came to say good bye because we knew each other. When I saw him I understood what was happening. I asked him a few questions and shook him well. He told me everything. He went even to psychiatrists and was taking pills and ultimately being desperate was going to marry because he couldn’t find any help anywhere.

`Hold on, I said. Your conclusion is wrong. In the life of a monk there is some sort of comfort you didn’t feel.`

`I didn’t want to become a monk` he answered. I came here like a dizzy man and without realizing that I became a monk. But I didn’t want to become a monk.

`And don’t you feel a special honor for the fact that you although you didn’t want to become a monk, God has chosen you for this kind of living ? We all in order to become monks we put at work our mind, ideas, dreams and wishes. While you were living your life God saw your heart, loved you and brought you at His monastery. Don’t you feel a special honor for the fact that God loved you so much? Do not despair, cause there is a way of return.`

I talked a lot to him. IN the end he started to cry and repented for what he wanted to do.

He decided to start all from the beginning. I told him to make three prostrations and twelve rows of prayers. Today he is making 700 prostrations as if he were made of rubber without getting tired and stand for hours to pray. And he feels much joy when he prays. He told me:

`If this joy is heaven I accept to stand like this for ever.`

`Did you lose your mind? This is heaven? You have a grain of sand and speak about the heavenly joy?

Now he is very much ashamed of that happening. Sometimes he comes and he talks about that to see if I remember it and blushes. But I show him that I completely forgot about it and never mention it. And if someone goes to his monastery and stares at him he blushes and bends his head because he thinks `elder Paissios told him the happening and that’s why he stares at me.` Now he has some people around whom he counsels and help. He is a personality and is of course useful for his monastery.

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Some time ago a young man came to  Iviron to become a monk. He was 35 yo. He had left to America when he was 18 and as a child that he was then he found freedom and money. Thus he partied all night. All the money he earned he spent with the women. When he reached 35 he thought: `What am I going to do? A life like this one I am living is lived by the animals. I’ll go to the Holy Mountain to become a monk. And he came indeed and became monk at Iviron. And because he had lived in sin and got disgusted of himself, he dedicated himself to ascetic struggle. And this gave its fruits. He had a big strife and for this reason God blessed him and he got a good spiritual state.

One day hyeromonk Athanassios decided to try him. He was of course a man with a real spiritual life.

`Let’s see if his thought changes or he is without passions?`.

`You fool, what are you doing?`

`What have I done ?`

`Have you thought well when coming here? You were living in America and had agood life and came to the Holy Mountain? Now when you go to sleep you hear the bells tolling all the time. And stand all night long in the church while there you were partying with young girls. Here after a day of labour what is expecting you is a dish of chickpeas without oil while there you had your piece of meat and beer. Did you think well about the step you made?`

At the beginning that man said that the monachal life is the best. Then sat and looked at the other and bent his head and looked down. Then father Athanassios left him.

After 2-3 hours he went to see what he was doing. He wanted to see if after 15 years of monachal life he had changed in good. He went to his cell and there what he saw? The man was making his suitcases to leave.

`What are you doing?` he asked him.

`Look, he said frowning, I decided to go back to America. I am not good for a monk. I was wrong when I came to the monastery.`

`You fool, I wanted to make a joke and see if after so many years in the monastery you changed. And you for two words I told you fell into despair and are ready to go to America, to your girl friends? Try to repent for this wrecked man.`

He told him some more things and that man repented because he had fallen into despair and wanted to leave. Then he repented all his life for this weakness.

From the book From the Ascetic and Hesychast Tradition of the Holy Mountain –Evanghelismos Publishing, 2016.

Love of a mother

`Father you told us once that the man grows up and matures through love.`

`It is not enough if someone loves another. He must love him more than he loves himself. A mother loves her children more than herself. She stays hungry to feed her children but feels a greater joy than them. The children are nurtured in body and their mother is nurtured spiritually. The children feel the taste of food while their mother gets spiritual joy.

A young girl before getting married can sleep late in the morning even until ten and she may like to have her milk cup brought by her mother. She doesn’t have mood for doing anything. She wants everything ready-made and like to see that everybody takes care of her. She has claims for her mother, claims for her father and seeks her own comfort. Although there is love in her nature, this doesn’t grow because she always gets help and blessing from her mother, from her father, from her brothers. But in the moment she becomes a mother she is like the engine which the more accelerated it gets the more charged it is because love works all the time. First she is disgusted when she touches something dirty and washes with fragrant soap . But then when her baby gets dirty and she must clean him up it is as if she took marmalade in her hands. She doesn’t feel disgusted anymore. Before if you woke her up she cried why you did that. But when her baby cries even if she doesn’t sleep at night, she doesn’t find it difficult, she takes care of the child and is glad. Why? Because she stops being a child. She became a mother and the time of sacrifice and love has come.

The mother reaches more love and self-sacrifice that the father, because the father doesn’t have as many opportunities to sacrifice himself. The mother bothers and troubles more with her children, but in the same time she charges herself with grace by her care for them. She gives all the time and that is why she receives all the time. The father doesn’t trouble himself so much with the children but he neither charges himself that way and for this reason his love is not like the mother’s. How many mothers come to me and ask me tearfully: `Father pray for my child!` What an agony they suffer poor creatures. But few fathers tell me: `Pray because my child took a wrong path!` Even today a mother was pushing eagerly her children – she had eight – and put them in a row – to take blessings. A father wouldn’t have done that easily. Russia was saved by means of mothers too. The embrace of the father is empty when it doesn’t have the grace of God. While the breast of a mother has milk even if she doesn’t have God. The child loves and respects his father but by the affection and tebderness of his mother his love forn his father increases.

Excerpt from Family Life – Pious Paissios the Athonite, Evanghelismos Publishing.

 

The tips of the saints for practicing virtue

`Abba what are the attributes of the saints?

`Love with humility, simplicity with discernment, these are the attributes of the saints.If the man compels himself with discernment to follow saints’ way of living, he sanctifies himself. We will receive much aid in the work for acquiring virtues if we take the saints as models.

By comparing ourselves with the saints we see our own passions, we rebuke ourselves, we humble ourselves and we strive with magnanimity and divine zeal to follow their example. We have no reason for not moving forward as long as we have the tips and the lives of the saints, their holy example. All saints are God’s children and help us, poor children of God showing us how we can avoid the traps of the cunning one. By studying the lives of the saints our soul is exalted and is urged to follow their example and advance bravely in the fight for acquiring virtues. The same spiritual fervour can be noticed at all saints, only each one manifests it in a different way. He sees the love they had for God and thus is lit up inside him the divine zeal to follow them.

Source: Pious Paissios the Athonite, Passions and Virtues,  Evanghelismos Publishing, p. 157.

 

Pride is thief of virtues

`Abba, my own passions distract me.` `Sometimes I am ruled by selfishness, other times the distraction from th outside draw my attention…`

`If someone lets the thieves to rob him, does he ever get rich? It is the same with you, if you let yourself be drawn by passions can you ever improve? You shall always be poor, cause you will lose what you gather. I wonder how it happens that the devil doesn’t steal you while you could steal heaven!

`Why although I have the disposition to strive for virtue, I stand on the spot? What’s the reason?

`Many times we don’t have the maturity needed for that virtue. But I see that you began to grow up spiritually. So take heed when summer comes and the sour grapes turn sweet like honey guard the grapes well from the crows, and I mean from demons, living humbly and hiddenly.

`Abba, if I do something good, in the end I lose it because I immediately boast about it.

`You know what you do ? Make honey then you let the devil steal it and then remain only with the toil. As the beekeeper dizzies the bees with smoke and takes the honey you are dizzied by the devil with the smoke of pride and he steals your spiritual honeyyou made and then exults. He steals the precious gifts received by you from God then he exults. You are smart, how come that you don’t see that? Why don’t you catch the sly devil who robs you?

`Abba, if someone feels that a gift she has is from God how is it possible to be robbed of it by the tempter?`

`She is robbed because she doesn’t take heed.` `God gives many gifts to everyone, but the man, although he should be grateful to God for them, many times doesn’t pay any heed and attributes the gifts given by God to himself and boasts with them.` `Then the sly devil as a thief that he is, goes and steals the gifts, making them poisonous and useless.`

Source:
Pious Paissios the Athonite, Passions and Virtues, Evanghelismos Publishing, p. 160.

 

A humble thought makes the grace of God work immediately

A humble thought makes the grace of God work immediately

I was impressed that a humble thought makes the grace of God work immediately. Once at the hut came a strange cat. The poor animal must have eaten something which made her feel sick and was asking for help. She was squirming of pain and was jumping like the octopus when is hurt…I felt sorry for her seeing her like that but I couldn’t do anything. I made the sign of the Cross over her but nothing happened. I made it again and still nothing.

`You wretched man – I said to myself then – don’t you see what a plight you are in! You’ve been a monk for so many years and cannot help even a cat. Once I accused myself, while the cat was if dying she recovered all of a sudden. She came to me and started to lick my feet and make some nice tumbles…What a power has humility! That is why it is said:

`He remembered us in our low estate.` (Psalm 135, 23).

I noticed that a humble thought makes the man shine. When the man assumes his mistake completely he is inundated with the grace of God.

A few days ago a doctor with many children came at the hut and told me:

`Father, I am very proud and this becomes a reason for my children to do wrongs. And he was saying this in front of his children and his eyes brimmed with tears but his face shone. I noticed the same thing here. Some sisters came in to talk. We talked about some things and I had to rebuke them severely. One of them did not get any avail from it. She left just as cold as she came.

She said in detail the shortcomings of the others. You see, who doesn’t fight with himself has this `charisma`. The other one was so moved by my words that she started to cry. She humbled herself but then her face shone. You see what makes a humble thought with a crushing heart? All the flaws disappear at once, the man puts himself in order and his face shines. While a proud or slanderous thought darkens him.

Source: Pious Paissios the Athonite, Passions and Virtues,  Evanghelismos Publishing, p. 169.

Words and stories of elder Paisios (ΧIII)

Someone can easily harm himself if there is pride and selfishness. You notice this even at snakes. You can easily kill a viper. Because it has venom, it stays there, raises its head, moves its tongue like scissors and provokes. It has self confidence. That’s why you take a stone and kill it. As for the other snakes, when you see them, they leave.

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When two hard stones collide, there are sparks. But when one of them is soft, no matter how hard is the other one, there are no sparks. With the people is the same. The humble one is a soft stone. In a dispute the humble one surrenders and there is no damage done.

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If there is a despondent monk, in the good meaning of the word and he will say : My Lord I am not worthy to pray for the world and he does not pray for the world, because he feels he is unworthy for that when he forgets and prays for it, his prayer will be more powerful than any other prayer in the world.

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Before when someone had committed a mistake, a sin, there was shame. But now there is no more shame. The devil of callousness comes and then he does whatever he wants with us. That’s why first of all the man needs the good restlessness.

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If let’s assume that we keep vigils, do prostrations and everything appertaining to monasticism but there is no monastic spirit, everything is lost.

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If someone loves himself he isolates himself of God.

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Usually the thoughts come from the outside like some telegrams. But when the man is in a bad condition, then the thoughts are his. Then he produces electricity by himself.

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The gift of discernment is the last one we acquire. The discernment is the crown of all virtues. Is the crown God gives to all ascetics at the end of their struggles. We must try to live in accordance with the commandments of God and He shall give us everything we need for the salvation of our souls.

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There is a need for discernment when we wish to someone `good repentance` When you say it to someone who is a good man of the Church, who has certain good exterior deeds it is as if you scolded him. What is this one saying to me? he muses. What am I, a villain to wish me `good repentance`? While repentance is required from all of us for saving our souls.

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It is better to be a prodigal than a lover of money. I might be wrong in what regards the saving of money. In order to have enough Turkish delight to offer to the visitors, I cut the pieces in two. But the Turkish delight was never enough. But when I asked them to take two pieces, then I had enough. But the man who has family has the duty to save money without stress to help his children.

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The true and perfect humility is when the man reaches such a state that even if he wanted to be proud, he cannot do it.

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Love does not tire.

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The men become like robots. They have no more reason. In a few years only those who work in research will still have reason. The others will become like robots.

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We are not guilty for the bad thoughts that are coming to us. But we are wrong when we receive them. It is not enough that they bother us, shall we make ourselves guilty for them?

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God gives us the reason to reach the state to stop it.

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With what I see and hear I would have gone out of my mind if I hadn’t fought against them with the thought that ultimately God has the last word.

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The good thoughts are the foundation of the spiritual life.

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Both the parents and children who come to the Holy Mountain deserve to be honored.

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In the Romanian skete of Prodromos there was a very obedient novice. He never said no. Anyone who needed someone took him. One day since he was so obedient and tried not to say no to anyone he sat on the ledge of the church because he was exhausted. That was it. He died there. When the monks found him there they started to say: But 10 minutes ago he was with me in the garden. An hour ago he was with me at fishing. Another one was helped by the novice at the bakery another one somewhere else. Then they understood why he had died. Certainly he had gone to heaven, but then how were going the monks who were responsible for that to face God?

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Once I went and visited a monk from neighbourhood. I had never visited him before. He was a good monk who had  good spiritual endeavours .

I am old by now – he said – and I am going to die soon and I hadn’t done anything in my entire life. Everyone does something in his life. When they go before God they all will have something. But I don’t have anything. And while saying these he had tears flowing down from his eyes.

Everything we do – I told him – we do it to come to this conclusion, to this nothing. Regardless of all our ascetic struggles, we have to come to this end, to the conviction that we are nothing. And as long as you came here, why would you need the others?

And he said these although he was a struggler.

From the book From the Ascetic and Hesychast Tradition of the Holy Mountain –Evanghelismos Publishing, 2016.

Words and stories of elder Paisios (ΧII)

The humble one no matter what good deed he would do, he forgets it immediately. While the least good he would be done, he considers it great and feels gratitude. He never forgets it and feels he is not grateful enough. There are such souls.

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Spiritual progress  is when the monk does not remember any good deed he has done. He reaches a high sensitivity, he forgets all his good deeds and says `I have done nothing good.`

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We must pray for the others with our heart. A sigh from the bottom of the heart is equivalent with a prayer. Even with hours of prayer, I dare say.

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We should pay attention to our psalmodies. Our mind should be focused on them and should not think of anything else. We should sing our psalmodies with our heart. If you sing your psalmodies with your heart as well as with your mouth, it will be good. You should pay attention to what you read and sing with godliness. Then the high chant is not a cry, because it is coming from your heart. And the chant sung in a low tune is humble, pious, full of reverence, not drowsy.

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The prayer is the ministry of the monks. Being paid by God will we neglect our  prayer which is our ministry?

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When I was young I was reading something but I did not understand. I underlined that passage, I asked and they explained it to me. Then I found something else that matched what I had already written and wrote them together. Then I divided them on themes, so that I could easily find the subject that interested me. Then at the end I wanted to add something else but had no more space. So I wrote them all again from the beginning on another notebook.

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When someone is young, strives and struggles with zeal. Then he is severe with himself and with the others as well. After some time he continues the same strife or even has a greater one and he is severe with himself but lenient with the others.

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For me to lift up sacks is nothing in comparison with lifting up the mistake of your brother. Sacks are lifted by the worldly people as well but they still have selfishness.

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During the holy services, the beginner should rather follow service than say the Jesus prayer. He should learn the ordinary service, the holidays and then he should say the Jesus prayer.

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The church is like the ship. One is sleeping, another one is yawning. But it follows its own way. There is another one who fights with the waves. All of them advance. It is enough to be in the Church. That is why you should take care to attend all the holy services. Never miss them.

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The nuns should take heed to the self ordination. At the nunneries the self ordination is demonic. The nunnery with self ordinance I dare say that it is 100% with demonic self ordinance.

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What is the canon ? An opportunity to ask for God’s forgiveness. It may be the last one. Try to turn it into account. Before the canon was done in the church. Then it started to be done in the cell because one was crying and another one was sobbing.

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The Forerunner preached repentance and prepared the people for receiving Christ. Christ came, we were baptized and overturned everything. And He comes now with the second baptism (the angelic schema) to forgive us the monks of all our sins. And we clad ourselves with the schema, with the repentance.

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The monks because they don’t have the problems the laymen have, are quiet, are dozing and they want to sleep. But it is of no avail to weaken ourselves. We should tighten the screw little by little. We cut a little from our sleep then from our food. These go together.Sleep in excess brings food in excess and viceversa. The food fattens the body. Then the body wants sleep and sleep thickens the mind.

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The women need to have a bit of manliness. Without manliness the woman is like the halvah.

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The nuns (the female nature) have interest and heart as well. But many times they do not use them properly. Attention is missing. It is as if they had a jug where they want to put oil. They wash it well, the wipe it, they prepare it well, they choose the best quality oil and put it in that. But instead of protecting it, covering it with something hard, they cover it with a cloth – and it might even be an embroidered one. Then the mice come to eatm two fall in the oil and thus the oil becomes impure and useless. What was the use of cleaning the jug and choosing the best oil? It is good for being thrown away and all your painstaking is lost. Because you don’t take care to guard what you have.

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If you throw your weight on your brother, you make it harder. If you take the weight yourself, you ease it.

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There are souls who started to walk with zeal on the path of the monastery but then they did not continue this journey. And this happened because at the beginning there was selfishness in their pupose. There is zeal, but it is not pure because it is mixed with selfishness. He has let’s say 30% zeal and 70% selfishness. Then he weakens and cannot advance spiritually. There is no more fuel. If the gasoline is not pure the engine cannot work.

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A fool for Christ told me: At the beginning it is hard. When you begin, until the selfishness is crushed it is difficult. Then you rejoice.

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Everyone loves the humble one. You can’t forget the humble.

From the book From the Ascetic and Hesychast Tradition of the Holy Mountain –Evanghelismos Publishing, 2016.