Saturday, November 7, 2015

The simple Porter Who Resurrected A Dead Man ( St. Paisios )

St. Paisios the Athonite related the following wondrous true story:

I once met a man who was very kind and sensitive. Just imagine, he even refused to stay overnight at the monastery, because he didn’t want to be a burden to the monks. I used to be the host monk at the time, at the Iveron Skete, when I went out onto the balcony for a moment at noon and saw a man lying down on the stones outside. Well, well, I wondered, what is he doing out there? So I went down to him.

"What are you doing here, blessed one? Why don’t you come into the monastery, where we can offer you our hospitality?"

"No, no, I’m just fine here, don’t concern yourself," he said.

I pressed him to come in, but he refused. He said: “All through the night, the fathers here were in vigil. They’re tired, they fast, they retire at noon to get some rest, and I’m supposed to disturb them? Its not proper!”

See what kind of good thoughts he made? That is an indication of mental and spiritual health, whereas other visitors come here, demanding to be served, and then they have nothing but malicious thoughts - they even accuse you. I finally convinced him, and brought him into the monastery, where we became better acquainted and eventually became friends.

Now listen to what this man had done. He was orphaned from his youth. He never knew his parents; he grew up in an orphanage. When he grew up, he worked as a porter in the port of Thessaloniki.

He married, and was very happy for that, as he had found the family that he longed for. His in-laws were like parents to him. They moved into a house near his in-laws and he was extremely fond of them. Imagine that, after leaving work every day, he would first go to his in-laws to greet them, to see if they needed anything, and would afterwards go to his own home to see his wife.

He was also very pious. He would repeat the prayer “My Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”. He would carry loads and pray.

He was concerned however, that his in-laws were not believers. In fact, his father-in-law blasphemed and that made him very sad. So, he prayed to God, asking Him not to take them away from this life, before they had properly repented. He even asked me to pray for this problem.

So, there came a time that his father-in-law became very ill, and had to be taken to hospital. He was in there for days. One day, after work as usual, he went directly to the hospital, without passing by his home first. He looked for his father-in-law, but didn’t find him in his room… He searched everywhere, asking for him. “Who? Him? Oh, he passed away. He’s downstairs, in the morgue, where they keep all the deceased patients”, they told him.

It was as if lightning had struck him. “Why, my Lord, did You take him away, if he wasn’t ready, and he didn’t even have a chance to repent? Why, my God?”

He began to pray fervently, with profound pain: “What is it for God, to bring him back? Nothing!” he thought, and began to beseech God accordingly.

He found his way downstairs, and looked around in the morgue, only to find him frozen, dead. He grabbed his father-in-law by the hand, insisting, “Come on, get up, let’s go home”. The dead man immediately came alive; he got up and followed him.

"Really, Elder, did that really happen?" I asked him, dumbfounded.

"Yes, it is really true."

"And is that man still alive today?"

"No, he has passed away. He lived on for a few more years, he repented, he became a much kinder person, a veritable lamb, and Christ then took him into Paradise."

I was amazed.

"Do things like that actually happen in our day?" I asked with wonder.

"See? And he was an ordinary layman. But he had such simplicity! And such profound faith. Didn’t Christ say: 'Whosoever believes in Me, can do whatever I do, and even greater things'? Why should this incident seem strange? Didn’t Christ resurrect the dead? Lazarus? The widow’s son? Jairus’ daughter? Didn’t the Apostles resurrect the dead? Haven’t we read so many wonders in the lives of the saints? Why should this seem strange?"

From Father Paisios Told Me, by Athanasios Rakovalis, Orthodox Hive Publications, pp. 166-168.

Teaching the Jesus Prayer ( St. Porphyrios )

This is a story of one of the spiritual children of St. Porphyrios , told about how he taught them to pray.

He placed us towards the east, two of us to his left and two to the right, with him in the middle. “Now we’ll pray noetically. first, I will say the words, and you will repeat them. But be careful, without anxiety or force, you’ll say the words calmly, humbly, with love and sweetness.” 

The Elder started off with his fine, delicate and eloquent voice, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” He said it very slowly, word by word, without forcing it at all. It was a though he had Christ before and he was begging him, with a log pause after the word “Christ”, Coloring his words “have mercy on me” with an entreating tone. And we repeated it each time, trying to imitate his stance, the color of his voice and if it at all possible his spiritual disposition. 

At some point, the Elder stopped saying the prayer out loud and just continued whispering it on his lips. We did the same thing. How long did our night-time prayer take? I don’t remember. All I remember was that the Elder imparted an emotion to us that I cannot express with human words. 

 St. Porphyrios

Adolescence is the most important period of life ( Part 2 ) - ( St. Nektarios of Pentapolis )

a talk given by St. Nektarios of Pentapolis to a group of high-school students

Each generation successively takes into its hands
the heritage of its forefathers.
Each successive generation receives everything that is sacred,  everything that is noble, all that is good, all that is beautiful, all things that are great,
and all things that are glorio us; and it has a sacred obligation not only to preserve this heritage intact,
but also to hand it over to the ensuing generations in a greater and more glorious state. Otherwise, it will end up having disrespected its forefathers, betrayed its country, and harmed its descendents.

In order to preserve this inheritance, however,
there are enormous obligations that must be met, obligations of an enormity equivalent to the honor of succession, the value of the inheritance, the
danger of its deprivation , and the subsequent evils of such a loss.

Heirs of immense fortunes and assets must necessarily be great men; because they who are small and frivolous render themselves unworthy,
and they ultimately turn their forefathers’ glory to disgrace, convert their wealth into poverty, and go through life in a wretched and lamentable state. 

Such people betray the sacred ideals of their nation, and give away the things that are most
precious, only to, instead, purchase shame and disgrace at a high cost.

Therefore, the preservation of familial wealth demands a struggle. The careless way of life is
inappropriate for achieving this goal. The life of our forefathers, who amassed for us the present treasures and blessings, was a ceaseless battle.
The life of our fathers, who preserved the inheritance intact, was similarly a continual struggle. Hence, a continual struggle is demanded of us as well in order to preserve the wealth and, in following, to transmit it to our descendents. As custodians, we are obligated to show the utmost haste and diligence in order to become worthy
[of the inheritance] and to preserve it unscathed.

Behold! In a short while you will be perfect adults. Into your hands the nation relinquishes all of its
historic treasures, the military, the navy, the army, every office, the educational system, the sciences, the arts, its ancestral glory, its wealth, its fame, the country’s prosperity and grandeur.

Behold! In a short while the nation’s administration, all power and authority, the
parliament, the judicial system, the church, the sacred pulpits, and all the municipal services will be deposited into your hands. The nation’s
prosperity or misfortune, its exaltation or humiliation, its wealth or poverty hinges upon your competence or incompetence, your virtue or

Your competence and virtue will elevate the nation; your sound mindset will sustain the upright
public mindset; your correct decisions will
contribute to the national majesty; your religious ideals and convictions will adornthe church; your
ethical beliefs will support the morals of society;
your love for justice will support the nation’s laws;
your respect toward the authorities and rulers
will impart to the nation the goods of law and order.

Everything depends upon your prudence and wisdom. Your virtue will save all things; conversely, your evil will corrupt and destroy everything.
Therefore, this imperative duty necessitates you to become worthy of the calling you have been

St. Nektarios of Pentapolis