Thursday, October 1, 2015

We have an obligation to advise others ( St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite )

There are people who make excuses and utter the following cold and indifferent words: “Why should I be concerned with what other people do?
... Why should I advise and correct another person? I am not responsible for him!
” Such people must realize that they are obliged by the natural law, the ethical law, the Gospel, and the invisible warfare (which their fellow brothers in Christ are experiencing) to be concerned for others.
Let us listen to the divine St. John Chrysostom
who reproves such people with his golden and sweet words. He says that no one should speak in this manner because such statements are demonic and characteristic of the callousness of the devil; and Christians have no ties and nothing in common with the devil, whereas they have numerous things in common with their brothers in Christ.
“Do not utter this chilling phrase, ‘What concern is it to me? I have nothing to do with him’ ... for this is a satanic saying. It is diabolical cruelty.
It is only with the devil that we have nothing in common, whereas with all human beings we have much in common.”
Furthermore, he advises us to be concerned for the salvation of our brothers because when we look after the salvation of others we simultaneously attend to what is beneficial for us.
“Do not utter that phrase replete with gross insensitivity, ‘What concern is it to me? I have my own affairs to worry about.’ For it is precisely then that you care about your own affairs, when you seek the advantage of your neighbor. This is why St. Paul said, ‘Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well being’(Cor. 10:24).”
Elsewhere, he censures them who make excuses
by pointing out that the statement many people make, “It’s none of my business,” was first
voiced by Cain who murdered his own brother. He continues to say that such remarks give rise to all the evils, and he posses the following question: If the salvation of your fellow Christian is of no concern to you, to whom is it a concern? To them who do not believe in God?
To the idolaters who rejoice when they see Christians sinning? Or to the devil who struggles to destroy and throw Christians into sin?

“Do not say to me, ‘What do I care? Fear him who first uttered these words.
The statement ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ (Gen. 4:9) expresses the same meaning. This is from where all the evils sprout forth; for we consider the wounds of our body to be something foreign. What are you saying? You do not care about your brother? Who will care about him? The unbeliever
, who gloats over him, upbraids him, and insults him? The devil, who impels him to sin and trips him up?” 

St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite 

Praying while we work ( St. Paisios )

Is it possible to pray while we are working? On the surface it seems that this will distract us from our work. The reality is that it will enhance our concentration and our ability to do quality work unhindered by distractions and anxiety.

Elder Paisios says,
When someone is doing work that needs concentration, i.e. he is driving a car, or he is operating on a patient, he should also say the Jesus prayer so God can help him and enlighten him; however, he should pray with his heart, and use his mind to concentrate on his work and thus avoid doing any mistakes.
Prayer can help us concentrate and gain greater insight into our work.

The Elder says,
The more the mind concentrates on praying, and is being humbled, the more it is enlightened by the grace of God. However, the more it gets dispersed and confused due to its haughtiness, the more it becomes troubled; therefore the our mind, which is clean by nature, fills up with dirty thoughts.
It is through prayer that we act with a “clean” mind. Without prayer we are left with our own often confused thoughts. We play over and over in our minds negative thoughts about this or that person. We play over again and again scenarios about what might befall us in the future. With continuous prayer our mind become still, clean from distracting thoughts, only filled with God and the work that is in front of us as this moment. We are held in the vision of His will for us.

Source: Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain, p 80