Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
My child if you take heed at what I am writing to you and you will compel yourself, you will find much benefit! All these happen to you because you don’t compel yourself to pray. Therefore do it! Say ceaselessly the prayer. Don’t stop your mouth. Thus you will get used with it inside yourself then your mind will take it over. Do not encourage thoughts, because you will weaken and desecrate yourself.
Thus, pray, compel your nature and you shall see how much grace you will receive.
Man’s life, my son, means trouble because is spent in exile. Do not seek complete rest. If Christ lifted the Cross we have to do the same. If we endure all troubles we shall receive grace from God. That is why He leaves us to be sent into temptation, to test our zeal and love for Him. For this is needed patience. Without patience the man cannot become experienced, he doesn’t learn the spiritual things and doesn’t reach the measures of virtue and perfection.
Love Christ and say without cease the Prayer and it will enlighten and guide you you on the path leading to Him. Take heed not to judge anyone, because for this God allows to lose grace and let you fall, humble yourself and see your own mistakes.
What you write it’s true. What you feel at the beginning is the grace of God which when it comes makes the man be spiritual. Then everything seems to him good and nice. Then he loves everybody, has humility, tears, warmth. But when the grace withdraws so that the man can be put at test, then everything becomes bodily and the soul falls. But you shouldn’t lose your zeal , but say all the time painfully,compelling yourself Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me! And say it continuously. And as if you saw Christ with your mind say: Thank You, my Lord Jesus Christ for all the good things You gave me and for all the bad things I suffer. Glory to You, my Lord!
And enduring, the grace and joy will come again. But then again will come the temptation, the sadness, the trouble and stress. Then again strife, victory, content.
And this happens until the man cleanses himself of his passions and become spiritual. Then in time when you become old you shall reach peace.
Strive ! Don’t seek to obtain easily the good things. In fluff nobody becomes a monk. The monk must be scorned, taunted, put at test, fall, stand back on his feet, become a man. Not in the arms of his mother. Is it possible has anyone heard of someone who became a monk near his mother who immediately when she hears him sighing will tell him `take and eat for not becoming sick.
My son asceticism requires deprivation. You won’t find the good things at baths and in good living. Are required a lt of strife and painstaking. You must call Christ day and night. Patience is needed in all temptations and troubles. You must refrain your anger and greed.
You will weary yourself a lot until you will understand that prayer without heed and watchfulness is a waste of time, a painstaking without reward.
You must watch both inside and outside all your senses as a good watchman because without these the mind and the spiritual powers are wasted in the vain and common like the useless water which flows on the roads. No one ever found the Prayer without heed and watchfulness. No one ever became worthy of ascending to heaven without despising the earthly ines. You pray many times and your mind runs to and fro wherever it pleases, to those which usually draw it. But it is needed much effort to make it take heed at the words of the prayer.
Many times in your mind, in your word, in your ears and eyes enters cunningly the enemy and you are not aware of that. You realize it afterwards but it is needed much strife to cleanse yourself. You should not let yourself be defeated when you fight with the evil spirits, because with the grace of Christ you will win and rejoice and will not grieve.
Beside this – and tell it to the others – take care not to praise each other outright, because praise harms even the perfect ones, not only you who are helpless yet. A pilgrim said to a saint for three times that he did well his hand craft. When he said it the third time the saint said: Since you came here man you sent God away from me.
You see how much scrupulousness the saints had? That is why much watchfulness is needed in everything. Only the reproaches and slanders help the man spiritually because from them it is born humility and are won crowns. Enduring these, the man drowns his selfishness and vanity.
When they defame you saying to you that you are vain, false, impatient and all the rest it is time for patience. If you speak, you lose.
Always have fear of God. Have love for all and never sadden or hurt anyone in a way or another because in the time of prayer the sadness of your brother will become an obstacle for you. Be a good example in words and deeds and the divine grace will always help you and cover you.
And take care my son don’t ever forget that the monk must be an example for the laymen, not a reason for folly. And he will follow the example of the angels. Thus he must take heed so that the devil won’t enthrall him.
Is it necessary for the monk to go in the world ? He can go. But he must be careful and enlighetened. He must take heed so that he might not aid the others and harm himself. They harm themselves the most the young monks and nuns, because they walk among traps. For those who reached a certain age and withered because of the ascesis the danger is not that much. They don’t harm themselves when they help others, if they have knowledge and experience.
In general the monk doesn’t get any avail from the world only praises and worshipping which make him empty. And woe to us if we won’t be covered by the divine grace in accordance with the need and the aim for which we go out.