Saturday, February 16, 2019

Teaching the Jesus Prayer ( St. Porphyrios )


This is a story of one of the spiritual children of Elder 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 as though he had Christ before him 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.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

If man is constantly in prayer he sees a light in his soul ( Gerontissa Makrina )

If man is constantly in prayer he sees a light in his soul, he sees a shine, a splendor, comes with abundant tears, sweet and delicious, feels a spiritual fullness that can not be captured by his mind. 
 
Gerontissa Makrina

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Becoming a practiced soldier of Christ ( Elder Joseph the Hesychast )


For it is absolutely necessary for the grace of God to leave, once a tried struggler has acquired a good taste of it in the beginning, so that he may be tested and become a practiced soldier of Christ.

And without such temptations, no one has ever ascended to perfection. This stage that we mentioned where many fall into delusion is the stage where the grace of God withdraws in order to make us, as we have said, practiced soldiers of war, so that we are not infants forever. But the Lord wants us to become worthy men and brave fighters able to guard His riches. That is why He allows us to be tempted.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Abortions are a terrible sin ( St. Paisios )



An instructive image: 
Christ, the Most-holy Theotokos and St. Stylianos blessing and protecting those who carry the blessed Cross of family life in Christ. 
A repentant woman wails of her sin of abortion. To the right, the New Herod of Abortion is depicted personified, with the physician helping her, and women bringing them their babes out of love of pleasure, hardness of heart, indifference, etc.
Note: Here Elder Paisios, with the divine illumination that he has, shares what a terrible sin and blight upon the entire world the sin of abortion is. He (and I) are not using this as a ruse to support any specific political candidate or party. And the Elder would never support those who would use violence to make a statement against abortion providers or patients. But may his words grant us all the contrition to realize how great a sin abortion is, and how we might all return to Christ in repentance, acknowledging the sacred image of God that is every human being, even from our mother's womb.

Elder Paisios: "Abortions are a terrible sin"


-Elder, one forty year-old woman, who has grown children, is three months pregnant. Her husband threatened that, if she does not have an abortion, he would leave her.


If she has an abortion, her other children would pay with sicknesses and accidents. Today, parents kill their children with abortions and do not have the blessing from God. In olden times, if a small child was born sick, they would baptize him, and he would die like an angel, and was more secured.


Parents had other older children, but they also had the blessing of God. Today, they kill their older children through abortions, as they strive to keep them alive while they are sick. Parents run to England, to America to heal them. And they continue to bear children even more sick, because they, if they sought to make a family, they could again give birth to sick children, at which point, what would happen? If they bore a few children, they would not run so much for the one who is sick. He would die and go forth as a little angel.


-Elder, I read once that every year, in total there are 50 million abortions and 200,000 women die from complications.


They kill the children because they say that, if the population would increase, there would not be enough to eat, in order for humanity to be preserved. There are so many uncultivated areas, so many woods, so that, with today's tools, for example, they could plant olive groves to give to the poor. It's not that they would cut the trees and there would be no Oxygen, because there would be trees to replace them.


In America, the wheat burns, and here in Greece, the fruit falls into the rubbish heap, etc. while in Africa, the people are dying from hunger. When people were dying from hunger in Abyssinia, because they had a great drought, I told a well-known ship-owner friend to help in these circumstances, to go to the rubbish dump and to load up a boat to take [the surplus foodstuffs] there for free. They didn't allow him to do this under any circumstance.


-How many thousands of embryos are killed every day!


Abortion is a terrible sin. It is murder, and of course a very great murder, to kill unbaptized children. Parents must understand that life begins from the instant of conception.


One night, God allowed me to see a terrible vision, to inform me regarding this matter! It was the evening of the Tuesday of Bright Week 1984. I had lit two candles in two tin cans, as I always do even while asleep, for all those who suffer spiritually or bodily. To those I include the living and the reposed. At midnight, as I was saying the [Jesus] Prayer, I saw a great field surrounded by a fence, studded by wheat that had just begun to grow. I stood outside the field, and I lit candles for the reposed and placed them on the wall of the fence.


To the left there was a dry place, full of rocks and cliffs, which was shaking continuously from a very strong cry from thousands of voices that break your heart and make you shudder. And even the toughest man, if he would hear it, would be unable to remain unmoved. As I was experiencing these heartbreaking cries, I asked within where these voiced were coming from, and what was happening with all that I saw, and I heard a voice tell me: “The field studded with wheat that has just sprouted, is the Cemetery with the souls of the dead that would be raised. At the place which was shaking from the heartbreaking cries are found the souls of children who were killed through abortions!”


Following this vision, I was unable to rest from the great pain that I experienced for the souls of the children. I could neither lie down to rest, though I had been busy that whole day.


-Elder, can something be done to remove the law regarding abortions?


Yes, but the Nation, the Church, etc. must be moved to inform the people about the consequences of declining birth rates. The Priest should explain to the world that the law regarding abortions is against the commandments of the Gospel. Doctors, from their own positions, should speak of the risks that follow the woman who has an abortion. See, the Europeans had royalty, and left this as an inheritance for their children. We had the fear of God, but we lost it and did not leave an inheritance for the next generation, and for this we legalize abortions, political marriage, [etc.]...When a man disobeys one commandment of the Gospel, he alone is responsible. When, however, something that clashes with the commandments of the Gospel becomes the law of the land, then the wrath of God falls upon the whole nation, that it may be chastened.
St. Paisios

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

"Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there are that find it" (Matthew 7:14). ( St. Isaiah the Solitary )

Examine yourself daily in the sight of God, and discover which of the passions is in your heart. Cast it out, and so escape His judgment.

Be attentive to your heart and watch your enemies, for they are cunning in their malice. In your heart be persuaded of this: it is impossible for a man to achieve good through evil means. That is why our Savior told us to be watchful, saying: "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there are that find it" (Matthew 7:14).

St. Isaiah the Solitary