Many times, being in pilgrimage in Athos I wondered what these people can feel who choose priesthood or monarchism leaving behind everything is of the world. Probably their reward is as big as their struggles; it is a great gift since when they choose this path they rarely turn back. And all these questions were to find their answers from a monk of the Holy Mountain. Everytime I had a dilemma or I asked an answer for a question which had tormented my soul for a long time, the fathers of the Holy Mountain answered to me with an infinite patience and seriousness and I thank them in this way.
`When you become a priest or a monk, although there are some exceptions, the grace you receive is at the limit of your capacity to bear it. It is so great that the state of happiness reaches unconceivable borders. Tears flow alone, you reach superconsciousness and regrets begin to flow even for the most insignificant ssins. You feel for real the presence of God, you understand His intentions, His plan, His actions. Faith is revealed to your power of understanding. You experience everything on your own skin, aware that everyone of your body cells recognizes its Creator. This state of happiness reaches the highest intensity so any worldly thing or social position seem insignificant to you in comparison with the indescribable joy given by the Divine Grace. It doesn’t last for long, being only the earnest of the eternal bliss of those who prove faith and love. The loss of grace comes very quickly having as cause mainly the judgment of your brother.
From a simple inappropriate word, the grace leaves you and the initial state is reinstalled. Who tasted from this grace, the state caused by its absence will keep him in a permanent state of nostalgia, of regret that he lost it, being aware that life without God revealed by the presence of grace is tedious and unconceivable. Whoever experienced and felt grace and then lost it feels within himself a great emptiness and the desire to regain it is ardent.
But when the grace is taken away from you there comes a fire trial. In the fire trial you suffer many pains, humilities, injustices, while you pray without cease, being helped but in a secret way, meaning that the presence of grace is not revealed yet. Practically the fire trial is the testing of your faith, without feeling God anymore. This trial lasts about 20 years but it may last even longer up to 30 years. These 20 years are a time of pains when you believe that you have been abandoned and you feel alone and you cry with all your might and you think you are not heard and you make great efforts for every achievement and at the end of each trial your love and faith in God must remain unchanged. Only in the end the lost grace will come back and then you will know how to treasure it so that it won’t leave you anymore.
Who resists to a trial like this will be called son of God for true. As long as we don’t have the grace of God to make our soul rejoice, we want to replace it by pleasure. And for this the people are ready to pay everything they have. They want big houses, strong cars, good food, beautiful women, power. Many people think that the state of happiness comes from opulence, luxury and pleasures. Others think that it comes from drinks and drugs. But these things cost, some of them quite a lot and for this many are disposed to make any compromise. Meaning that they are ready to do anything else but not to draw the grace of God by whose presence the state of happiness makes every pleasure fade. Moreover, this state of goodness is not reached by sin, only by an inner purification.
Just a few people from those of nowadays are ready to give up on the worldly pleasure for the divine pleasure. Once you give up on the worldly pleasures God will give you indescribable spiritual joys and charismas which are more soul-uplifting than all the pleasures of the world. All these try to compensate without any success the effect of man’s estrangement of God. Everytime we speak of our achievements we begin the sentence with `I did`, `I said`, `I began`. And what you mean by this is that you’ve done everything alone. Which is false. In fact you didn’t do anything alone. Without the help of God you don’t do and you don’t achieve anything, absolutely anything at all. And in the moment when you repeat `I`, you exclude God from equation. That’s why try at least for a period of time to take out of your vocabulary this pronoun, `I`. `I` is the expression of the proud man who considers himself responsible for everything he undertakes. And where is pride, there is no room for humbleness.
`Then how should we express ourselves?`
`Use `we` instead of `I` because you are never alone.
Excerpt from the book Down to earth, author Ionuț Riteș.