Sanctification Through Prayer…

“In our days, people prefer to purchase their icons and other items from monasteries. They do so because they know that monks and nuns say the Jesus prayer while working and everything they do is blessed. When people visit a monastery and eat food cooked without oil, they find it very tasty… the monk is praying while cooking and his heart is filled with positive thoughts; he thinks that he is preparing food for earthy angels to eat. Moreover, when monks sit at the table to eat, they say a prayer to bless the food. How is it possible then for the food not to taste good? Therefore, when someone comes to your business to start work, first see that he is spiritually revived and then show him the work, so your business will have God’s blessing and be prosperous.”
Elder Paisios
~Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain


Personalized Trials…

“He who endures to the end, he shall be saved, said the Lord. Many and various are the trials which the Lord allows to come upon people but the purpose of them all is the same, namely: to heal the people’s souls from sin through this bitterness and thus prepare them for eternal salvation. As hard as it may be for you at times remember two things, first venture Heavenly Father decides on the measure of suffering, and secondly, that He knows your strength. If you ever have a thought about suicide dismiss it as the whispering of the devil.”
St.Nikolai Velimirovich
~Missionary Letters #1


Great Lent…

“Throughout this period, at every service in Great Lent, we say the prayer of Saint Ephraim the Syrian  (“O Lord and Master of my life….”),  With these words, the saint wishes to make us understand very clearly, that, apart from other virtues we need to take special care with the last case, that of self-censure and of criticism of our bothers and that without love for our fellow human beings there’s no chance of making even the slightest progress towards our spiritual purification. If we don’t pay attention to our thoughts, our words and our heart, there’s no benefit in fasting.”
Elder Ephraim of Arizona on Lent


“Seeing so many buildings and so many needs he [an administrator on Athos] pleaded with the Elder to accept a grant from the administration for the necessary renovation work. The Elder however would not accept by any means. Greatly curious the administrator asked: “Why don’t you agree, Elder?” ‘I earn money with my sweat. Do you see the monks of my brotherhood? Of these one paints icons, another carves prosphora seals, another works in the field. I also get sent money from outside the Holy Mountain for liturgies, 40 day liturgies, memorial services, paraklisis. That money is blessed because it can be justified. However I can’t justify your money.’ “So be it. I will also give you names to commemorate and leave you some money to fix the big water tank that has got holes in it. Do we agree?” ‘We agree.’”
Elder Haralambos
~Abbot Haralombos


Never Alone…

“A monk’s joy is to enter into the love of God, to enter into the Church, the Holy Trinity and into Christ…The hermit who goes into the desert sacrifices everything, even his sleep, provided he can find a way to sense the grace of God and feel Christ warmth and embrace; if only he can be united with God and sense God’s company, his union with God; if only he can become one with others, just as the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity are one. So he leaves this world with a sense of despair, with a great sense of comfort and in the company of a large retinue. His retinue is the whole of nature, the birds and the animals, all the saints, the martyrs and the Angels. Above all he is in the company of our All-holy lady and her Son.”
Elder Porphyrios
~Wounded by Love


Danger of Being Over-zealous…

“Their ‘strictness’ forces them to become so involved in church politics that spiritual questions become quite secondary. I know for myself that if I would have to sit down and think out for myself exactly which shade of ‘zealotry’ is the ‘correct’ one today—I will lose all peace of mind and be constantly preoccupied with questions of breaking communion, of how this will seem to others, of ‘What will the Greeks think’ (and which Greeks?), and ‘What will the Metropolitan think?’ And I will not have time or inclination to become inspired by the wilderness, by the Holy Fathers, by the marvelous saints of ancient and modern times who lived in a higher world. In our times especially, it is not possible to be entirely detached from these questions, but let us place first things first.”
Fr. Seraphim Rose
~ Correspondence


High Spiritual Standards…

“Once my Elder ordered me to do something and I put off doing it. That night in my sleep I saw a multitude of demons applauding and dancing. They were crying out “We’ve defeated him, we’ve defeated him.” At this point perhaps one might ask is divine grace so demanding on the faithful? Yes it is true that it is infallible and divinely just but it also depends on the knowledge and the condition of each person. For those having experience of its own assistance and consolation it is uncompromising because “He which new… and did not do… Shall be beaten with many stripes” and “Therefore to him that knows to do good and doeth it not to him it is sin.” From this point temptations arise as chastening…since every transgression and disobedience receives a just recompense or reward.”
Elder Ephraim of Katounokia
~Obedience is Life