`Geronda, what is it of help in gaining a virtue ?`
`It helps the companionship with the one who has that virtue. As by the companionship with the one who has piety it makes you able to gain piety too gradually, it happens the same with all virtues as the virtue of the others fills us by good scent too.
`When we look at ourselves in the virtues of the others and we try to gain them, we gain a spiritual achievement. But when we look at ourselves in their flaws it is also useful for us as their flaws help us see ours. ON one hand the gift of the other one urges me to struggle to gain that and on another hand his flaw makes me wonder whether I have that too and in what degree to struggle to cut it. For instance I see someone who is hard working. I am glad of that and I try to follow his example. I see someone else that he is fickle and I don`t judge that brother, I only look to see if I am not fickle too. If I see I am, I try to correct myself. But if I see only my virtues and the flaws of the others and I neglect my own flaws or justify them and say: `I am better than this one and that one`, it is over, I am sinking.
The others are our mirror. We look at ourselves in them and see ourselves and they see our dirtiness and we wash ourselves following their example.
Excerpt from Passions and virtues – Pious Paisios the Athonite, Evanghelismos Publishing.