Personal interest impedes communication with God

„Geronda, you told me I must charge my battery with the spiritual ones. How can this be done?

„Cultivate spiritual nobleness, magnanimity; get rid of the personal interest. Personal interest impedes prayer, because it separates the man of God and creates isolation. Do you know what means isolation? It is as if God told you: I don`t understand you, my child.`

`Geronda, a monk can be consistent with his spiritual duties [1] but have no self sacrifice and love for his brothers?

`Of course this is possible. If he thinks only of himself he can make prayers and great spiritual endeavours but have a high opinion about himself and be indifferent towards the others. But by doing so, he will always remain poor. For the more someone is preoccupied by himself, not to uproot his passions, but to do what he likes, what satisfies him, the less progress he makes in prayer.`

`Meaning that at your duties and in all your behavior you have to be as it is right.`

`In everything. To have a connection with Christ, Christ needs to rest in all your life. And Christ rests when you give rest to your brother in the good sense. That is why I emphasize spiritual nobleness and self sacrifice. If someone makes the spiritual things and doesn`t pay attention to the others meaning to self sacrifice and so on then he has no benefit from all the spiritual duties he accomplishes.

When I entered in the communal monastic life [2], being a novice, they put me as an aid at the refectory. Then an old man of about eighty who was completely weakened asked me to bring him some soup to his cell. When I finished my duties I went to give him the soup. One day a monk saw me and told me: `Don`t let him get used with this because afterwards he will always ask for your help and he won`t leave you rest. You won`t be able anymore not even to do your ordinary duties. Do you know what happened to me? I went once to help him because he was cold and then I could not get rid of him at all. He was always knocking in the wall. Show me some love and bring me a tea. Show me some love and come to turn me a little…After a while he was knocking again in the wall: «Show me some love and bring me a hot brick[3]». Brick-tea, brick-tea. When to be able to do the spiritual ones ? I had a burst of fury. Do you hear what he says? It is terrible That old man suffered and moaned and asked him for some things to ease his pain and he didn`t want to help him anymore for not interrupting his spiritual duties. These thing have no sense. For God it would have meant more brick and tea than his prostrations and prayers he made according to the rules. On one side he said `Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me` and on the other side he said `leave me in peace!`

`Geronda, how can someone have blessing from God?`

`When the man is related to God then God gives him His Blessing. Otherwise how to give it to him? To see the blessing trampled? This is what I lived. When I went to Sinai [4], it was a severe drought. It had not rained at all for many years and because of this reason the monastery and the Bedouins who lived near it had a hard life. The monks prayed for rain but without any result. When the time came to clean the olive trees[5] I went there to help. After the Bedouins cleaned the olive trees they took the heavy branches for the monastery and they left the thin branches aside. They asked the monks to give them the thin branches to use them for their fires for preparing their food and for warming during the nights when it is very cold. But the monks didn`t want to give them and the Bedouins left upset. The next day, when the Bedouins came again to ask for them, I had already made some bundles of thin branches and gave them all. Then an old Bedouin told me: `You are a kind man. It will rain. Indeed until I reached the monastery it started to rain and it rained for a long time. The prayer of the Bedouin opened the skies. I didn`t tell anyone about this

[1] The spiritual duties are: prayer with the rosary, the prostrations, spiritual study the monk makes in his cell beside the holy service from the church. These are also made by the laymen who make their spiritual endeavours in the world.

[2] at the Holy Monastery of Esfigmenu in 1953.

[3] in the past it was used as a heater a heated brick

[4] in September 1962.

[5] in February 1963.

Excerpt from About prayer – Pious Paisios the Athonite, Evanghelismos Publishing.

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