Starets Ephrem Philoteos
If we humble ourselves before God and we understand how is our self, with all its passions, weaknesses, impurities and we bend our head and ask for forgiveness from God and our brothers and we love and sacrifice ourselves for all men, without disregarding any of them, as unclean, when we forgive anything our brother might do to us, we resemble God.
We should forgive and pray for our enemies. Pray day and night for those who harmed you. And if you pray, then your vessel will not be pierced. If the vessel is pierced and we pour something within it and all that flows down, it will never be filled. Meaning that if you pray on the outside but within yourself you keep enimity and don’t forgive, your prayer is pierced. If you want your prayer to be effective pray first for your enemies and then your prayer will reach God, your request will be fulfilled and your sins forgiven.
Do you remember the life of saint Dyonissios from Zakintos? One night someone knocked at the door of the saint and said:
`I beg you, man of God, hide me!
`Why? What have you done, my son?`
`I killed someone.`
And the saint hid him. After a while he saw the man from that island running and looking for the murderer. When they came to the saint they asked him:
`Wasn’t there anyone passing by the place? Someone killed your brother and we are looking for him.`
`I don’t know. No one passed by this place. But why did he kill my brother? Go somewhere else and look for him.`
The saint had hidden the killer of his own brother…After those men had left, of course they did not find him. Then the saint went and asked the murderer:
`What did that kind man do to you that you killed him? You know, he was my brother.`
`I have sinned, man of God! The devil darkened my mind with passion and because of this mental darkness I committed the crime.`
Imagine the condition of that murderer!
`Come, man, I’ll show you where to go so that they won’t catch you. And repent for what you have done.`
And led him stealthily and he could run.
Look what a lack of wickedness, what an enduring patience and evangelical love !
Excerpt from the book The Art of Salvation to be published by Evanghelismos Publishing