Orthodox Byzantine Chants
Holy Mount Athos
`Abba, my own passions distract me.` `Sometimes I am ruled by selfishness, other times the distraction from th outside draw my attention…`
`If someone lets the thieves to rob him, does he ever get rich? It is the same with you, if you let yourself be drawn by passions can you ever improve? You shall always be poor, cause you will lose what you gather. I wonder how it happens that the devil doesn’t steal you while you could steal heaven!
`Why although I have the disposition to strive for virtue, I stand on the spot? What’s the reason?
`Many times we don’t have the maturity needed for that virtue. But I see that you began to grow up spiritually. So take heed when summer comes and the sour grapes turn sweet like honey guard the grapes well from the crows, and I mean from demons, living humbly and hiddenly.
`Abba, if I do something good, in the end I lose it because I immediately boast about it.
`You know what you do ? Make honey then you let the devil steal it and then remain only with the toil. As the beekeeper dizzies the bees with smoke and takes the honey you are dizzied by the devil with the smoke of pride and he steals your spiritual honeyyou made and then exults. He steals the precious gifts received by you from God then he exults. You are smart, how come that you don’t see that? Why don’t you catch the sly devil who robs you?
`Abba, if someone feels that a gift she has is from God how is it possible to be robbed of it by the tempter?`
`She is robbed because she doesn’t take heed.` `God gives many gifts to everyone, but the man, although he should be grateful to God for them, many times doesn’t pay any heed and attributes the gifts given by God to himself and boasts with them.` `Then the sly devil as a thief that he is, goes and steals the gifts, making them poisonous and useless.`
Pious Paissios the Athonite, Passions and Virtues, Evanghelismos Publishing, p. 160.