Clerical Articles

Words and stories of elder Paisios (ΧI)

  • April 27, 2017

If the monk cannot say `the starets did well rebuking me, I am the one to be blamed` at least he should say `he tries me` and he should not pretend he is upset or say `he does not love me`.

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The brother who has good dough, good thoughts, cannot receive any bad thought. Bad thoughts show a weak soul, that has many passions. He has to admit his fall, repent and in a week everything will go away.

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When someone offends me and I slap him this is a worldly reaction. Another one who has a higher spiritual level, will refrain himself. And the pure one, the one who has no passions, rejoices when he is offended.

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Wickedness hides selfishness, because the wicked is also disgruntled. The wicked one protests, angers, has an exceeding love for himself and stubbornness. The virtuous one rejoices in everything.

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We always offer what is best to God.

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The monk receives power from Christ by prayer. But the leaders think in a worldly manner and say: Who shall help us? America or Russia?

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Christ does not think about the one who thinks about himself.

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The fact that someone always changes his place in the church shows that he has inner anxiety.

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The penetration of the heart is a spiritual change taking place during prayer. You must feel the presence of God. Then you are overcome by gratefulness because you see everything as a blessing from God.

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Many times our own justification spoils everything and the grace of God goes away. If the monk does not justify himself and humbles himself then the grace of God comes back.

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Once I was saying something to someone – and this for quite a long time – and that one replied : yes, but…That but (self justification) turned everything upside down. This but has no salt (no good taste, no grace). It spoils everything.

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In order to see the other one as an angel, you must become an angel yourself.

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The one who commits a mistake and accepts the rebuke gets benefit and improves himself. But when he justifies himself, he falls into delusion.

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Take care how you behave with the laymen, because nowadays some people misinterpret everything. They brought me a lantegrn with dynamo that recharges itself. I was keeping it under my pillow. Someone who saw it said: Elder Paisios has a gun.

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When the man reaches the condition when he is glad that he dies, his love for himself has disappeared.

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Spiritual strife does not require much. A helpless nature that does not practice much strife may humble himself, show love, assume the mistake committed by another. If he has a sickness and receives is with gratefulness, he receives much blessing and humbles himself because of the sickness. Everyone has mitigating circumstances, except the devil, because we all receive his influence. The spiritual people lift the burden of the other. This is the highest form of love and not the fact that you help him in his strife. To lift up what is harder. It is love of course but pride might influence you.

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Carelessness means that honey is missing. It means that the monk is not sweetened by the spiritual ones. When the soul has no disposition for prayer it is necessary to compel yourself. And little by little the appetence comes and the soul sweetens itself. As a sick person who eats soups, sweets and everything seems tasteless to him but he tries and eat them all by force. The he strengthens himself and his condition improves, he has appetite and feels the taste of the food.

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When someone fasts humbly the divine aid is justified. But if he says: Prophet Moses fasted for 40 days. That saint has strived in that way, so I shall do it too, then he does not accomplish anything. Because the divine grace goes away and everything he does, is done by the man alone, who is moved by his selfishness. Physical strife helps when it is done with nobleness.

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When you read, read a little and apply in your life. You should not only read, read and read as the baby who sucks the pacifier instead of his mother’s breast. We should not read because this brings us an additional pleasure. Some laymen read spiritual books for hours because they find delight in that and they even think they have a high spiritual level and tell this to other people for standing out and they have the impression that they are somebody. But if they go to a monastery they cannot stay, they just leave. In the world they thought they were better because they read without applying what they read and they were even praised for that. But here they are the least and no one praises them. The Westerners have this spirit. They read, read and everyone has his own view. They are all like some educated theologians and try to interpret everything.

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Cenobitic life helps us a lot to see our own self. Each brother is like a mirror for us. You see his virtues (God gave to all his children some virtue, He clad everyone in a virtue or another) and you try to follow his example. You also see his flaws then you look at yourself and see that you have that flaw too and even in a greater amount. Thus you humble yourself and get benefit.

[1] wordplay. In Greek carelessness=αμελεια (amelia), honey=μελι (meli).

From the book From the Ascetic and Hesychast Tradition of the Holy Mountain –Evanghelismos Publishing, 2016.