Clerical Articles

Words and stories of elder Paisios (V)

  • March 20, 2017

If the Fathers had so much godliness in what regarded the Great Holy Water, they had even more for the Holy Eucharist. They fasted for three days without oil, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and then they partook the Holy Eucharist.

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If you want to rejoice all your life, become a monk.

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The sinners will suffer because of their wishes in the afterlife.

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What is the gasoline for the engine, is the heart for the spiritual life. Everything the man does with his heart, it does not tire him. That is why I tell to those who ask me what they should study, that they should study what they like. Especially when it comes about certain professions like that of doctor or teacher, you need to love that very much to choose it. In the spiritual life, the heart must participate at the prayer.

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Spiritual life requires much selflessness, self-denial and generosity.

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When someone is downcast, we have to encourage and cheer him. But when he is in high spirits and has selfishness, we have to humble him.

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When we light a candle for the soul of a reposed person, this one benefits a lot.

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Many times we, the monks, become severe because we do not live, we do not see the pain of the others, while the laymen are sensitive towards the pain of the others, because they live near grieving persons.That is why we have to make from the pain of the others our own pain and pray for them.

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There are people who are attached of their families and they want to become monks. Their hearts are divided. The scale of their love oscillates from one side to the other. If they succeed to detach themselves of their bodily bonds, they reach a great spiritual progress, because they have love.

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When we do not feel comfort during prayer it means that something had happened. We have to repent and straighten ourselves. It is not true what some say that from the envy of the devil it happens this, it is as if God told us `I don’t understand you the way you speak to me.` The prater as the Holy Eucharist is a secret nourishment. That is why preparation and a clean conscience are required.

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Someone came and told me that he read some books about `the Jesus prayer`and then forced himself to apply them. But the result was that his heart hurt him. I told him:`If you don’t have material for humility (meaning sins), then humble yourself! In this way you shall fell the mercy of God as a necessity and the Jesus prayer will flow by itself, without compulsion.

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Many times the bodily purity (meaning the lack of carnal sins) is the cover for all passions.

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The fact that someone has many passions doesn’t worry me, but worries me when he doesn’t have inside himself the good concern, to start the strive and take heed to straighten himself. When someone would know himself and see his passions it’s over. He gets used with a way of living and that becomes his second nature. Then it is hard for him to change. Someone may grow old near a holy man and never change himself.

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God wants us to pray to him because He respects the freedom of our will.

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The spiritual man understands the states of the others. As it is for instance when someone wants to exploit him, to rob him. But he focuses on the good thought, that the other one is in need and he doesn’t justify himself. The saint has an intuition which helps him understand the states of the others.

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If there is no sincere repentance and humility so that the man could feel the mercy of God as a necessity, only the exterior struggle and compulsion (without discernment) lead to deceit.

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As much as possible, our mind should always be near God and think of the good things.

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When we sow a handful of wheat, we’ll reap let’s say 10 kilos. In the same way when we sow thorns, we’ll reap thorns. Whoever does good deeds these will generate other good deeds and whoever commits sins, those will generate other sins.

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The body grows older but the heart (the good or bad desires) doesn’t.

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Usually when someone is at the beginning of monarchism, his mind goes to worldly things, to blasphemous and shameful things. When the monk makes progress in his spiritual life, his mind goes to neutral things, neither good nor bad. But when he progresses even more his mind is preoccupied during prayer by spiritual discussions and he thinks that is a good thing while that happens to distract him from prayer. It is as if someone went to partake the Holy Eucharist and he took the cloth but right then someone would come and ask him something. Elder Peter said that the tempter comes and generates a spiritual discussion.

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In the desert the man feels he is small and when he meets someone else treats him with love, even if he is a stranger.

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Pride is in essence the lack of love, selfishness.

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