Let us not worship rest

`Geronda, when I say : `this is how much I can work, this is how much I resist !` do I say it out of self-love?`

`The more you idle, the more you weaken yourself; the more you work, the more you strengthen yourself. Beside the fact that you chase away mustiness with toil, you are helped spiritually.`

The purpose is to come to enjoy suffering much more than comfort. If you knew how some elders live there in the Holy Mountain and what joy they feel! There was an elder who lived alone at a kilometer away from my hut and do you know what a self-renunciation he had? His hut was high in a very steep place and he descended on all fours when he needed something. Some wanted to take him to take care of him at his old age but he refused. Then everyone said he was deluded because he was living there alone. One day he came to my hut and told me the reason why he didn`t want to leave that place: when his elder had lived their hut didn`t have a church and he asked his elder to build one: `Let us build a small church` his elder finally said `but don`t ever leave this place from now on, as the holy angel remains in the holy altar and it is not due to leave him alone.

Then he promised him he would remain for ever in that hut and they built the church. In the end his cell fell apart and he lived in the church and slept in a pew. Such a self-renunciation he had.

I went to bring him some clothes to have to change as he suffered from intestinal colic. One day I sent an acquaintance of mine who was a doctor to see him. He went with another one and found him dead in the pew where he used to stay, covered with a blanket. There he reposed.

In our life the rough living for the love of Christ brings in the heart Christ`s tenderness. The divine delights are born from physical pains. The elders gave blood and got spirit. They received the Grace with sweat and toil. They renounced at their self and found it in the hands of God.

I was deeply touched by the lives of the Saints from Sinai. Five thousands hermits lived in Sinai and so many more in the Holy Mountain. For a thousand years so many monks sanctified themselves. The confessors and martyrs suffered as well so many pains!

And we complain for the least trouble. We seek to reach holiness without any toil. Self-renunciation is a rare flower. Not even we, the monks, understood that the good ones are gained with effort [1] and that is why we are indulgent with ourselves. We justify ourselves and find mitigating circumstances for anything. From there the evil begins. The devil finds justifications for any man as well and the years pass. For this reason we should not forget about ourselves and remember that there is a death. As long as we die let us don`t show so much care to the body. I don`t mean to neglect it and suffer a harm only not to worship rest

[1] Ancient saying. See also the Euchologion. The  service of the monastic tonsure in the great schema.

Excerpt from Passions and virtues – Pious Paisios the Athonite, Evanghelismos Publishing.

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