Monthly Archives: January 2015

Holiness of Work…

“Geronda was eager with everything he did. He was first in vigil, first in church when we had Liturgy and first at work. He constantly taught by his example. He worked very much and would only stop at the times allowed by our schedule. He told me: “When a monk realizes that he is working for God he becomes very eager.” Geronda never let us be idle because according to the patristic sayings idleness has brought people many evils and idleness is the mother of all evils. An idle person can’t produce anything to give as alms and doesn’t even earn his own bread. Primarily though the Fathers viewed monastic work as a prayer and as a means of salvation because when a person works he should also be saying the Jesus Prayer without stopping.”
Elder Joseph
~ My Elder Joseph the Hesychast


God’s Providence…

“If only we begin with the firm intention to live according to God’s law, we need not be afraid of any assaults by unreasonable men. For he who truly begins to live according to God’s law finds that all things done to him by men happen for his benefit, and to the glory of God . One especially need not fear being compelled to move from a place that he loves to a place that he doesn’t care for. Instead of empty fear and fruitless lamentation , it is better to seek out God’s intention for us. What harm did the evil actions of Joseph’s brothers do to him? Did not his involuntary departure to Egypt glorify him, save his brothers from famine, and create the necessary conditions for all the wondrous things God worked through Moses in Egypt and in the wilderness? The pagans and heretics often drove Orthodox Christians into barbarian regions. What did they accomplish by that? Did they destroy Orthodoxy? No— rather, they strengthened it even more in the souls of the persecuted , and spread it among the barbarian peoples . The evil heretic Lucius exiled the glorious Macarius, with several Tabennisiot ascetics, from Egypt to a barbarian island, where the entire population worshiped idols. But by the teachings and example of these holy men, the entire populace of the island was soon baptized. That island was later renamed the ‘Island of Repentance’.”
Saint Nikolai Velimirovich
193329_t~The Prologue (Reflection)

Helping Sinners…

“When someone has a vice we should try to bombard him with rays of love and compassion that he may be cured and freed. These things are achieved only through the grace of God. Think that this person is suffering more than you. In a coenobitic monastery when someone is at fault we should not tell him that he is to blame. We must adopt an attitude of care, respect and prayer. We must endeavor not to do anything harmful. When we endure insults from our brother it counts as martyrdom. It is something we should endure with joy.”
Elder Porphyrios
~Wounded by Love


Giving and Receiving…

“The Lord said: Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me (Matthew 25:40). Similar things happen in almsgiving and in Holy Communion. In Holy Communion we receive the Living Lord Christ Himself, in the form of bread and wine; in almsgiving we give to the Living Lord Christ Himself, in the form of the poor and needy. A certain man in Constantinople was unusually merciful. Walking along the streets of the city, he would press his gift into the hands of the poor and hurry onward, so he would not hear their gratitude or be recognized. When a friend of his asked how he had become so merciful, he replied: “Once in church I heard a priest say that whoever gives to the poor, gives into the hands of Christ Himself. I didn’t believe it, for I thought , ‘How can this be, when Christ is in heaven?’ However, I was on my way home one day and I saw a poor man begging, and the face of Christ shone above his head! Just then a passerby gave the beggar a piece of bread, and I saw the Lord extend His hand, take the bread, and bless the donor. From then on, I have always seen Christ’s face shining above the beggars. Therefore, with great fear I perform as much charity as I can.”
Saint Nikolai Velimirovich
~The Prologue of Ohrid


Role of the Monastic…

“The essential contribution of monasticism is prayer for the salvation of the world.  The monk is purified from the passions by the grace of God, communion with the pain of the world, and understands (despite living outside the world) the error, the distresses, the sinfulness of the world and  grieves for it, mourns and prays for God to give the spirit of repentance in the world.”
Archimandrite Ephraim of Vatopedi
~2015 Interview


False Peace…

The life of self-centeredness and self-satisfaction lived by most of today’s Christians is so all-pervading that it effectively seals them off from any understanding at all of spiritual
life; and when such people do undertake spiritual life, it is only as another form of self-satisfaction. This can be seen quite clearly in the totally false religious ideal both of the
charismatic movement and the various forms of Christian meditation: all of them promise (and give very quickly) an experience of contentment and peace. But this is not the
Christian ideal at all, which, if anything, may be summed up as a fierce battle and struggle. Orthodox Christians! Hold fast to the grace which you have; never let it become a matter of habit; never measure it by merely human standards or expect it to be logical or comprehensible to those who understand nothing higher than what is human Let all true Orthodox Christians strengthen themselves for the battle ahead, never forgetting that in Christ the victory is already ours.
Fr. Seraphim Rose
~Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future


Spiritual Exercise…

“Prostrations are also gymnastics. And – even though we should not think of this at all – there is no better gymnastics for the abdomen, the bowels, the chest, the heart and the spinal column. It is highly beneficial so why should we do it? When this exercise is done for the worship of God and the soul achieves this worship, it is still with joy and becomes calm and peaceful. This is everything. At the same time of course it also benefits the body. The body follows and is benefited in turn. Do you see? Peace and calm come to the soul and good functioning is insured for all our bodily systems – circulatory, digestive, respiratory and endocrine – all of which have a direct relation with our soul.”
Elder Porphyrios
~Wounded by Love


God’s Compassion…

“Human righteousness says are you at fault? You must be punished. Divine righteousness says do you acknowledge your fault and repent? You are forgiven. You see even by human laws a person who is not under suspicion but has committed a crime if he repents sincerely and on his own initiative confesses his crime to the authorities will be judged with leniency. And if such a person is judged with leniency by his fellow human beings so much more is he judged with leniency by the Righteous and most Compassionate God.”
Elder Paisios
~Spiritual Struggle


Sinful Thoughts…

“The demons start their warfare in the imagination; they cultivate it with thoughts; they defile the nous; they take it down into the heart; and they make both the soul and body filthy. What decides a person’s entire progress or failure is whether he gives in to or resists the attacks of the imagination. If he makes the mistake of beginning a dialogue with the simple assault and accepting the devil’s garbage by his own consent what will follow are falls of the soul, mind, heart and body. As a result the passion will take him captive.”
Elder Joseph
~ My Elder Joseph the Hesychast



“Learn first of all to be at peace with the spiritual situation which has been given you, and to make the most of it. If your situation is spiritually barren, do not let this discourage you, but work all the harder at what you yourself can do for your spiritual life. It is already something very important to have access to the Sacraments and regular church services. Beyond this you should have regular morning and evening prayers with your family, and spiritual reading—all according to your strength and the possibilities afforded by your circumstances.”
Fr. Seraphim Rose
~ Letter