The practice of the virtue in the family

`Father how can a married person get used to practice virtue?`

`God gives us opportunities to practiced virtues. But many although they ask from God to give them such opportunities, mumble when they face a difficulty. Sometimes for instance our Kind God out of His endless love willing to teach the man humbleness and listening withdraws the grace from his woman who begins to become capricious and behave severely. Then the man must be glad and thank God for this opportunity He gives him to struggle and not to complain. Or the mother asks from God to give her patience. And exactly then her child pulls the table cloth with everything was prepared for lunch and throws them down. As if saying to her : `Mother have patience!`

In general the difficulties existing in the world force those who want to live an elevate spiritual life to be vigilant. Exactly as when – God forbids that! – it starts a war and the people remain vigilant I see the same happens now with those who try to live a spiritual life. See the poor children who are near the Church how many difficulties they face. However the war against them led by the worldly environment in which they live help them in a way to be vigilant. And you see that in times of peace when there are no difficulties most of the people dedicate themselves to fleshly pleasures. While exactly then they should profit of peace for their spiritual growth, they should try to cut their weaknesses and cultivate virtues.

In spiritual life silence helps a lot. It is good for everyone to have an hour per day for stilling himself for searching his self for knowing his passions and trying to cut them for purifying his heart. If in the house there is a quiet room which to remind of the atmosphere of a monachal cell, it`s very good. There in secret [1] he will be able to pay his spiritual dues, he will be able to read spiritual books and pray. A little spiritual reading when it precedes prayer helps a lot because through it the souls warms itself and the mind enters in the spiritual realm. That is why when someone dissipates himself a lot during the day he should find ten minutes for prayer and  read for two minutes something spiritual, something wise which to draw away this dissipation.

`Father isn`t it difficult for someone who lives in the world to do these?`

`No. There are laymen who although they have children and nephews live a very spiritual life like the hermits with rules of prayer, with the Jesus prayer and with prostrations. On Sundays they go to the church and they commune  and afterwards they return to their cell like the hermits go on Sunday to Kiriacó[2], then they quiet themselves in their cells. Glory to God that there are so many such souls in the world.

I know a family man who says ceaselessly the Jesus prayer wherever he would be and he always has tears at prayer.

His prayer has become self-acting and his sweet tears are tears springing from the divine joy. I remember a certain servant named John who worked hardly in the Holy Mountain. He worked as two people together. I told him to say the Jesus prayer when he worked and he gradually got used with it. Once he came to me and told me that he felt a certain joy when he said the prayer. `The prayer started to inlay itself gently in the heart` I told him. After a while I found out that he was killed by two drunk men. How upset I was. A few days after that incident a certain monk was looking for a tool but he didn`t find it because Joh had put it somewhere. But on the next night John appeared in his dream to the monk and told him where he had put the tool. He had reached such an elevate spiritual level that he was able to help from the afterlife as well.

How simple is spiritual life! If someone loves God, if he recognizes His great Sacrifice and His blessings and will endeavor with discernment to follow the saints one like this will become holy very fast. It is enough if he humbles himself and feels his wretchedness and his great gratitude for God.

[1] Mt. 6, 4.

[2] the main church of a skete where the hermits from the neighboring cells gather on Sundays and on feasts for common celebration

Excerpt from Family Life– Pious Paisios the Athonite, Evanghelismos.