Monday, October 19, 2020

Simple guide for the Jesus Prayer ( St. Paisios )


A simple way for ceaseless prayer, if you want to you can use it too, which probably helps simple people who cannot get the true meaning of the neptic Holy Fathers, and run the risk of delusion.

Some (unfortunately) do not set the goal of putting off the old man (repentance, humility, and asceticism as a way of helping the sanctification of the soul) with a deep sense of their sinfulness. Then, they would naturally feel the need for God's mercy, saying "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me," often. This with pain in their heart and then the feeling of the sweetness of divine comfort of the most Sweet Christ within their heart.

But unfortunately some people (as I mentioned) start off with a dry ascetic practice and seek after divine pleasure and lights and continually multiply their prayer-ropes and are sanctified by their calculation, reaching that conclusion (about their sanctity) from the mathematical reckoning of the greater amount of prayer-ropes they say.

They also (naturally) make footstools to the exact inch and all the other things, the bending of the head towards the heart. They regulate their breath and whatever else the watchful Saint Kallistuses and Gregorys of the Philokalia say. Then they create the false sensation that they are somewhere near the measure of those Saints.

From the moment they believe that thought, the tangalaki (the demon) immediately appears and sets up a television for them (with their fantasies) and devilish prophecies etc. of delusion follow.

For this reason, only certainty is repentance and let every spiritual edifice be built upon it and let us continually seek repentance from God and nothing else except that.

We should not ask for lights or miracles, or prophecies, or gifts of the Spirit, only for repentance. Repentance brings humility; humility will bring grace from God, because grace always goes to the humble, of necessity. Therefore, repentance is necessary for our salvation and when we have it, the grace of God will come and it will teach us what we need to do for salvation even of our fellows too, if it is necessary.

In this way, which I mentioned (feeling the great need for God's mercy), we will say the Jesus Prayer many times with our whole heart and we will feel, as I mentioned, the sweetness of divine comfort of the most sweet Jesus within our heart. The heart will (then) have our nous in tight embrace, as well as our whole being.

Then, and only then, will prayer not be tiring, but rather it will give rest, because we have grasped the true meaning of it. Only then do we pray without putting pressure on ourselves, but we are pressurised by our sense of honour and dignity (philotimo) , which gives rise to all our spiritual upstanding generosity (leventia) . This produces the fluttering of the heart. Then the heart (however stony it may be) breaks and tears burst forth from their ducts (without an effort being made to weep during the time of prayer).

You feel the need for this prayer like a hungry baby who opens its little mouth and runs into the arms of its mother to be suckled and at the same time feels very secure in its mother's loving care.

Nobody doubts that the enemy will try to war against us and to disperse our thoughts. However, when preceded by a little bit of Patristic study (e.g. The Sayings of the Fathers) a lid is put on all our cares, great and small, and on the day's temptations. So, it is transformed into another atmosphere, a spiritual one and you pray with concentration.

If the enemy wages war with blasphemous thoughts (from his usual wickedness and envy) do not get upset. Instead, use the demon as your worker in the following way, by not getting upset, but by saying to the enemy: "It's a good thing that you brought me those thoughts so that I can say the Jesus Prayer, because otherwise I forget to pray without ceasing." The enemy will then depart immediately, because he is only used to doing evil. I mentioned that because the enemy brings blasphemous thoughts to sensitive people (usually) to make them even more sensitive, to upset them and to cut them down.

The same applies to some that struggle in vigil over and above their strength, and with pride. When they slacken, and they do not have the strength to banish the thoughts of the enemy. They think that those blasphemous thoughts are their own, and so they suffer without reason, while the thoughts are not their own, but those of the enemy.

That is why young people should struggle in the matter of prayer with humility and discernment. They should prepare for the night. This, by not being distracted, by study and through moderate and simple food, which helps. As far as possible it should not be savoury, to avoid drinking plenty of water, because that, too, is an obstacle, with the bloating that it causes. In this way, the person is helped with prayer.

It helps a great deal if the light evening meal, however light it may be, takes place at around 4 o'clock (European time), after study, fathers and so on, or else 3 hours after the main meal. Small and great prostrations beforehand, and in between each prayer-rope, help a great deal, unfreezing the machine's oil. Later, after getting quite tired, he should sit down and say the Jesus Prayer, since he brings to mind his wretchedness and the great favours of God that our good God has done for him.

Then the nous is collected (as I mentioned, in the heart, on its own) and seeks God's mercy with all his heart, with all his soul and with all his mind, without making a great effort.

The three hours after sunset help a lot (having read patristic books before sunset), as well as after midnight until sunrise. For young people it is good for them to sleep one hour after sunset, with less prayer, and to get up after midnight, in order to avoid scandalous sleep of the morning.

Naturally, discernment is required and guidance from their spiritual father, who is a requirement."



St. Paisios

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Joy burns in our hearts from His truth, love, resurrection, and from the Church and His saints. ( St. Justin Popovich )

Christians, always rejoice, for evil, death, sin, the devil and hell have been conquered by Christ. But when all of this is conquered, is there anyone in the world who can bring our joy to naught? You are the lord of this eternal rejoicing as long as you do not give in to sin. 
Joy burns in our hearts from His truth, love, resurrection, and from the Church and His saints. Joy burns in our hearts all because of sufferings for Him, mockings for Him, and death for Him, insofar as these sufferings write our names in heaven.
 
 There is no true joy on earth without the victory over death, but the victory over death does not exist without the Resurrection, and the Resurrection does not exist without Christ. The risen God-Man Christ, the founder of the Church, constantly pours out this joy into the hearts of His followers through the Holy Mysteries and good deeds.
 Our faith is fulfilled in this eternal joy, insofar as the joy of faith in Christ is the only true joy for human nature.

St. Justin Popovich

Sunday, October 4, 2020

St. Paisios, When Sick, Was Attended To By Angels and Saints For A Week



St. Paisios told a spiritual child of a wondrous event, recorded below, which occurred in his life:

Once, when I was at Holy Cross [Hermitage], I became seriously ill. It was a harsh winter, and snow had fallen so that no tree looked like a tree. Everything was smothered in white, the trails were gone, the birds were quiet, clouds and fog obscured Athos. I had no contact with the Monastery of Stavronikita, and I could not live more than a few days since because of the illness I was completely paralyzed. I was expecting the Lord to take my soul and lead it to the mercy of His compassion. I could not even make one cup of tea, nor light the stove, no did I have water to drink. My life was at the mercy of God. I said: "Behold Lord, in Your mercy I hope. Do not forsake me!"


After a few prayers which I mumbled with great effort, I saw appear in my cell angels and saints, sent by God. The grace of God had visited quickly. I thanked and glorified my Savior. I cried. One of the angels took care of the stove, another was preparing warm food, they were also bringing fragrant breads. I was in Paradise. What else did I want.


The saints began to encourage me with words of consolation and prayers. And only their vision gave me rest, empowering me and giving me hope. They stayed with me until I was well and able to take care of myself. Then they left. They stayed with me for a week. When after a time I arose and went outside my cell I looked around at nature with different eyes. Everything was illumined with the uncreated light of the Holy Spirit. I was not worthy, but the infinite goodness of God and his love manifested in this way.


In all I felt such grace filling me within that I would say: "Enough Lord. I cannot take anymore. I will burst. Either take me with You or dwindle the grace You have given me. If You give me so much grace now, imagine what is given in Paradise."

St. Paisios

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. ( Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica )


Our life depends on the kind of thoughts we nurture. If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like. 
If our attention is turned to the circumstances in which we live, we are drawn into a whirlpool of thoughts and can have neither peace nor tranquility.


Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica
 Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The brick and the wheelchair

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door! He slammed on the brakes and drove the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car, shouting, 
 
"What was that all about and who are you?
Just what the heck are you doing?
That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money.
Why did you do it?"
The young boy was apologetic. "Please mister ... please, I'm sorry... I didn't know what else to do," he pleaded.
"I threw the brick because no one else would stop..."
With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car.
"It's my brother," he said.
"He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up."

Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."
Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out his fancy handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay.

"Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger.
Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the little boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message: Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!

God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don't have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us.

It's our choice: Listen to the whisper ... or wait for the brick!