Monday, August 5, 2013
Τι είπε τελικά ο Γέροντας Παϊσιος στους Μοναχούς που τον είδαν πριν από μερικές μέρες να περπατάει στο Άγιο Όρος ;
Το Θέμα αυτό αναρτήθηκε από τον κ. ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΙΟ ΤΣΟΡΛΙΔΗ
Είναι δύσκολο να γράψεις ένα άρθρο για κάτι που άκουσες και δεν μπορείς ο ίδιος σου να ερευνήσεις αν τελικά αυτό ισχύει.
Όμως είναι τόσο μεγάλη η πίστη μου στο θεό, που τέτοια γεγονότα, δε θέλουν έρευνα (προσωπικά για μένα).
Ειδικά αν έχεις διαβάσει βιβλία,όπως του Γέροντα Παίσιου.
Συγκεκριμένα,χθες μετά τη Θεία λειτουργία στην Παναγία Δεξιά της Θεσσαλονίκης, αγιορείτης μοναχός που νοσηλευόταν τις τελευταίες μέρες στο Νοσοκομείο Γεννηματάς της Θεσσαλονίκης, μας εκμυστηρεύτηκε κάτι πολύ δυνατό για την πίστη μας που του το είπαν "συνάδελφοι" του μοναχοί από το Άγιο όρος, μιας και τον επισκέφτηκαν πρόσφατα στο Νοσοκομείο, μετά τη χειρουργική επέμβαση (επέμβαση ρουτίνας) που του έκαναν οι γιατροί.
Ο Γέροντας Παίσιος, περπατούσε πριν από δύο εβδομάδες έξω από τη Μονή του Αγίου Παντελεήμονος, ώσπου το συνάντησαν 3 νέοι Μοναχοί (νέοι σε ηλικία).
Ανεξάρτητα από την έκπληξη που νιώσαν στην αρχή οι Μοναχοί, πήγαν αμέσως να ζητήσουν την ευχή του Γέροντος.
Μόνο που ο Γέροντας τραβήχτηκε, δεν τους έδωσε την ευχή του, αλλά με τρεμάμενη φωνή τους είπε:
`Τραβήξτε στο Γέροντα σας, και πείτε του να αγοράσει μεγάλες ποσότητες λάδι και αλεύρι, γιατί σε 3 μήνες από τώρα, θα έχουμε `πόλεμο` στην Ελλάδα, κι ο κόσμος θα πεινάσει`
`Να του πείτε του Γέροντα, να επικοινωνήσει και με τα υπόλοιπα Μοναστήρια...`
Μέχρι να συνέλθουν οι Μοναχοί, ο Γέροντας Παίσιος είχε χαθεί μέσα στο μονοπάτι...
[ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΙΟΣ ΤΣΟΡΛΙΔΗΣ ]
Δεν πιστεύω να είχε κανένα λόγο ο (Χ)αγιορείτης να έπλασε το συγκεκριμένο γεγονός, γιατί έχει και συνέχεια, όμως μέσα από ένα πολιτικό μπλόγκ, όπως είναι το δικό μου, καλύτερα είναι να το σταματήσουμε εδώ.
Η είδηση είναι πως όντως την τελευταία εβδομάδα στα ΣΟΥΠΕΡ-ΜΑΡΚΕΤ ΜΑΚΡΟ (τα γνωστά των εμπόρων...εργάζεται ο φίλος μου ο Κώστας), εδώ στη Θεσσαλονίκη, παρατηρήθηκε πως μοναχοί αγιορείτες `σήκωσαν` από τα ράφια πολλά κιλά ελαιόλαδο, αλλά και αλεύρι, και μάλιστα δημιούργησε πολλά ερωτηματικά στους υπεύθυνους τόσο του υποκαταστήματος Εγνατίας, όσο και της Ν.Ιωνίας.
Τα συμπεράσματα δικά σας...
Εγώ θα αναμείνω το 3μηνο, αν και πιστεύω όταν λέει ο Γέροντας πόλεμο, εννοεί μάλλον πως ο λαός μας θα ξεσπάσει απέναντι στο Δ.Ν.Τ. και κατ επέκταση στην ΤΡΟΪΚΑ και στην σκληρή πολιτική τους και θα γίνουν χειρότερα από αυτά που ζήσαμε μετά τη δολοφονία του Γρηγορόπουλου.
Που αλλού να πάει δηλαδή το μυαλό μου ;
1. Any place may become a place of Resurrection, if the Humility of Christ becomes the way of our life.
2. You may sleep, as long as you are in a state of watchfulness.
3. There are some who stay awake for a few, and some who stay awake for all.
4. Orthodox spirituality is knowledge acquired through suffering rather than through learning.
5. Do not wish for many things, whether they are within or out of reach. Instead, take care to sanctify the little you have.
6. To learn how to love God: this is the one and only Education.
7. There is nothing cheaper than money.
8. Better Hell in this world than in the other.
9. It is not what we say, but what we live. It is not what we do, but what we are.
10. I put on the Rasson (Monastic habit) and do not speak unless I am asked. The Rasson speaks.
11. If you have love for all the world, the whole world is beautiful.
12. Someone said that a Christian is he who purifies love and sanctifies work.
15. Our purpose should be to have the Paraclete* in our heart, even when we have the… Parasite in our head.
16. We become a reflection of Heaven by saying: ‘Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven’.
17. He who loves is not aware of it, as he is not aware of his own breathing.
18. When doors are open in Heaven, they are also open on Earth.
19. When the mind is not distracted by worldly matters and remains united to God, then even the ‘Good day’ that we say becomes a blessing.
20. By saying ‘no’ and by refusing, we forfeit our purpose.
21. We must not ‘exist’ in the presence of the other person, who is God’s ‘image and likeness’.
22. In the early steps of our life we need the presence of someone we love. As we advance, the One, God, fills us with His Love and Joy so much that we no longer need anyone. The soul does this at the beginning because she does not know yet Whom she loves, and thinks it is this or that person.
23. Many times what God expects from us is the intention rather than the act itself. Our readiness to follow His Commandment is enough for Him.
24. Jesus Christ gave us the golden mean: both alone and with others.
25. When God created us, He gave us Life and breathed His Spirit into us. This Spirit is Love. When love deserts us, we become as dead as corpses. We are not alive any more.
26. A Christian must have reverence for the Mystery of Existence in everyone and everything.
27. To reach the state of non-existence, love and love and love until you identify yourself completely with the Other One, whoever this may be at the time. Then, at the end of the day you may ask yourself: Is there anything I want? No. Is there anything I wish ‘No. Is there anything I lack’ No… So, that’s it!
28. The spiritually advanced person is the one who has reached a state of “non-existence” and has deeply understood that whatever happens to him is either because God Wills it or because God Permits it.
29. True inner progress begins only when a person stops reading anything but the Gospel. It is only then that, united with God through the Jesus Prayer, he can hear God’s Will.
30. Never wish for anything but the Will of God and accept with love any trials that may come your way.
31. Never identify a person with the wrong way in which he is treating you, but see Christ in his heart.
32. Never ask: “Why has this happened to me” ‘When you see somebody suffering from gangrene or cancer or blindness, never say: “Why has this happened to him”‘ Instead, pray God to grant you the vision of the other shore… Then, like the Angels, you will be able to see things as they really are: Everything in God’s plan. EVERYTHING.
33. A wise man said: If you are to live only for yourself, it would have been better if you had not been born.
36. A person’s most vulnerable spot is found in much talking and discussing.
37. To be meek is to wish never to have a guilty conscience.
38. When thoughts of passing judgement on another person cross your mind, pray God to take them away at once, so that you may love this person as He does. Then God will help you see your own faults. If Christ were visible, could you have such thoughts?
39. If you do not like somebody, think that you see Christ in that person. Then, you would not even dare utter a word of criticism.
40. We must love people and accept them in our hearts as God presents them to us. It has been thus ordained by the Lord Himself and by the Orthodox Tradition.
41. No one should become the servant of another man. We are only servants of God. ‘For ye are bought with a price’, says the Apostle (1Cor.6:20). Therefore, there should be no servility in human relations.
42. What we say remains in Eternity.
43. Only when you are perfected in Love can you reach the state of Dispassion (Apatheia).
44. Only those who act without true love face adversities.
45.The faculty of judgement (Krisis) comes naturally to man. Criticism (Katakrisis) and reproval spring from malice. Discernment (Diakrisis) is a gift from God and we should pray for it. It is essential to our protection and progress.
46. The life of the Church extends beyond moral discipline and religious duty. It is the transcendence of Morality to Spirituality.
47. An irresolute person does not participate in life.
48. When we must be helped, God will send someone to us. We are all fellow-travellers.
49. The voice of God is silence.
50. Whoever lives in the Past is like a dead man.Whoever lives in the Future in his imagination is naive, because the Future belongs to God. The Joy of Christ is found only in the Present, in the Eternal Present of God.
51. Our destination is to worship God and love our fellow-men.
52. We find happiness and peace only by living according to God’s Commandments.
53. The most essential act of Philanthropy is to speak well of our fellow-men.
54. I could not get worried, even if I tried. When we worry it is as if we say to God: “I do not agree. You don’t do things right”. Besides, this is sheer ingratitude.
55. To speak in the presence of Beauty is superfluous. It disturbs its harmony.
56. Through the invocation of the name of Christ, we batter our Ego.
57. It is the oil-lamp of our soul that must be always lighted, burning forever.
58. We are the first to feel the joy we give to others.
59. Better a prayer of the lips than no prayer at all.
60. Let God intervene between you and your purpose, instead of letting your purpose intervene between you and God.
61. The agony of dying is the effort made by the soul to free herself and run towards the Lord.
62. Correspondence is the only way that combines solitude and company.
63. Miracle is the normal course of events according to God’s Will. What we call a Miracle is only what is natural to God.
65. If we meet with an adversity, let us not ask who is to blame. Because the blame is only ours. We shall find the reason if we ask for it in our Prayer: perhaps we have not loved enough, or we have disobeyed another Commandment, or we have mishandled the situation, or we have moved faster than we should, or we have relied on the wrong person.
66. When we lose something, let us say: ‘In this manner, Lord, deliver me also from any evil thought I may have for my neighbour’.
67. Anxiety is for those who have no Faith.
68. Love is only on the Cross.
69. Human relationships become difficult when the “I” stands above the “You”.
70. God loves your enemies as much as He loves you.
71. Do you want to Pray? Prepare yourself to meet the Lord in secret.
72. By God’s Permission some people become instruments of the Power of Darkness for our own testing and progress.
73. You must not get upset, because a restless heart drives away all Help.
74. If one can live in the world and yet not mix with it – just as the oil and water do not mix in the oil-lamp – then he can live in God. He is in this world but not of this world.
75. We are all vessels, sometimes of Light and sometimes of Darkness.
76. Keep your mouth shut in the hour of crisis, when a problem is acute. Do not say anything, because you may regret it a thousand times. Instead, tell it to the Angels so that they may place it at the Lord’s Feet, and pray the Lord for an Angel of Peace to calm your soul.
77. Sometimes people ask for your advice or instruction, so that they may put the “blame” on you afterwards if things go wrong. Quite probably though, whatever you say will be ignored, in which case it will all be a waste of trouble.
78. When the ‘I’ breaks and becomes ‘You’ and the ‘You’ also breaks so that they may both become ‘He’, then we all become ‘His’.
79. If you ever feel fear in your heart, close your eyes and say the Jesus Prayer: ‘Lord Jesus Christ have mercy upon me’…
80. Only when we are still, do we give the Angels an opportunity to do something.
81. Do what you must do, and God will do what He must do.
82. When you feel a fluttering in your heart, a deep yearning for something, this will come true after a lapse of time determined by God.
83. We ourselves cannot get rid of any of our faults. He takes them away from us, one by one.
84. We should ask God everyday to break our will and make it His, so that we may become as He wants us to be.
85. We must not ‘surrender’ to His Will. This is what soldiers do. We, who are His Children, must offer Him our own will along with all our being – in whatever pitiful state we may be – and tell him: “Lord, take all my faults and imperfections and set them right.”
86. The Grace of God comes when we raise our hand. It is Faith that draws God’s Grace to us. God is ‘pouring down’ His Grace, but where is the hand reaching out to receive it? Instead, we are wearing hats or carrying umbrellas…
87. If a foreigner speaks evil of Greece and the Orthodox Faith, do not identify the man with his words. Still, never speak to him about such significant events like the discovery of Holy Relics and other miraculous things that happen here.
88. You must not talk about persons who are absent.
89. We live in Vanity, and believe that this is life. How pitiable we are!
90. O Lord! Forgive us if we sometimes walk in pride, like little cockerels that think they are great.
91. Poor human beings! We consider the perishable as Immortal and the Immortal as non-existant.
92. Poor onion! It also offers what it can.
93. How beautiful is the ‘Mystery’, the ‘Sacrament’ of Tomorrow!
94. A person takes his lesson only once. If he does not learn the first time, it means that there is something wrong in his subconscious which prevents him from doing so.
95. The Lord said: Whoever wants something, believing, he will receive – As long as the request is in accordance with God’s Commandments, that is to say, with Love.
96. Do not deny others the crumbs falling off your table from the Bread of Life which is given to you whole by the Lord. So many hunger and thirst for Love, like Lazarus who fed on the crumbs falling off the table of the rich man.
97. We have no right not to reflect the Light of the Lord. Nothing should be left in the shade, ‘under the meal-tub’.
98. Everything has two sides, like a two-edged knife. What creates today, destroys tomorrow. ‘Let him understand, he who may understand’.
99. Some of the sailors on a ship may quarrel and fight each other, but the ship sails on and reaches its destination. The same is true of the Church, because Christ Himself is at the helm.
100. If you knew that you are not Here, you would be There.
They surrender their lives to the “Geronta” or “Elder” or “Starets” trusting him to lead them to perfection and sanctification-”theosis”.
They always gaze toward the Cross of Christ seeking the strength and consolation of the Crucified and Risen Lord.
Through Prayer, Obedience and Humility they become “like Christ”. They crucify their flesh and their will so that they may transform themselves from fallen human beings to “transfigured children of God”.
As our two small buses rolled through the arid desert, my mind wondered “where on earth have they come to live?” Then, the oasis appeared suddenly ahead of us transforming the “coldness” of the land to a warm and welcoming embrace; I felt the heartbeat of the monastic prayer rising around me “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner,” and my heart was filled with joy of anticipation: What couldn’t come from five days in an Athonite-style monastery in the desert of Arizona? How will this experience affect us individually and as a group?
The buses drove into the dusty parking lot surrounded by ancient cactuses and “jumping joys” and stopped in front of the arched gateway that leads to the courtyard of the monastic settlement.
The group members quickly disembarked from the two buses and carried their luggage to the covered kiosk.
Sighing with relief (mission accomplished!), I deposited my things on the bench and took out my camera. The byzantine style church rising humbly into the crystal clear blue sky, while hiding shyly behind a mixture of desert and tropical trees and beautiful flowers, the black-clad monks coming up politely to offer us water and “loukoumi”, and the women of our group unrecognizable behind their head scarfs and long dresses, provided the backdrop of the setting that we were to become accustomed to for the next five days.
This was different, very different from whatever I had experienced in my last thirty years of traveling to monasteries. It was bound to be a unique experience.
A tall monk from Russia, in his early thirties (speaking fluent Greek)) showed us to our rooms. The women had to walk all the way to the outskirts of the desert settlement to two brand-new buildings where they shared rooms together. The men were led to the nearby guest house and I was taken to the “Episcopal residence”-a spacious apartment where the priests would stay in rooms with two beds each; the bishop’s section (where metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco stays when he visits here) was locked. The spacious kitchen and living-room soon became a gathering place for the visiting priests. As I entered the apartment I was greeted by Fr. Photios from the Pittsburgh Metropolis, a retired priest who was here since Saturday, waiting to see Fr. Ephraim, the Geronda. He offered to show me around and helped me get oriented.
At 3:30 pm the sound of the wooden “symandron” filled the air with its hoarse sounds; it was time for Vespers. I put on my Exorason and Kalimafki and headed for the “katholikon”.
The church was already crowded with pilgrims. Our group members quickly disappeared in the crowd. I took my seat next to Fr. Photios at the front left side where the guest-priests stand. The service of the ninth hour finished and the priest on duty moved from the back of the church to the royal gate; the Vespers began. I looked around searching for my wife’s god-son who lives here in this monastery as a monk, Fr. Vasilios. He was received into the Orthodox Church in Orlando and my wife became his sponsor some twenty five years ago. He later followed the route to Mount Athos, where he became an Orthodox monk. After several years on the Holy Mountain, Fr. Vasilios was asked by Geron Ephraim to return to the U.S. to serve in the newly founded monasteries here. He reluctantly obeyed.
Tonight, there he was at the left chanter’s stand singing the “Kekragaria”. His proficiency in Greek surprised me even more than his ability to chant in the Byzantine mode. He stands out as the first African American to serve on Mount Athos for so many years. His life is a testimony of the yearning of the human heart for the higher existence. I had not seen him in seventeen years, so a sense of joy filled my heart tonight. There he was, worshiping, singing and living in this ascetic setting.
At the conclusion of the Vespers, the monks sang the Paraklesis Service of St. John Chrysostom – today was the celebration of his memory (November 13).
We exited the church heading for the “Trapeza” (the Dining Hall). The priests sat on a table next to the abbot’s, the monks along the wall on one side, the men in the middle tables and the women along the wall on the other side. Prayers were offered and the meal began. A monk from the “amvon” of the refectory read aloud in a monotone voice about the life of St. John Chrysostom. We all ate quietly and waited for the abbot to ring the bell so that we can pour water in out stainless-steel cups to quench our thirsts. The food was plain (Monday is a fasting day for the monks), but it tasted so good-it always does in monasteries. I remember, we discussed this several times with George and Ted during my last trip to Mount Athos with them in 2004; there is no other explanation, we concluded, the prayers of the monks who prepare this food must be the reason why it tastes so good. Most of us would not eat this way at home and yet the food here tasted as if it was the best on earth. The bread, especially – four different kinds of it – fresh out of the oven, was unbelievably tasty.
Soon, the abbot rang the bell and we all stood for thanksgiving prayers. The monk who read throughout the meal descended from the amvon and headed to the abbot. After he received a blessing and a piece of bread the dinner was concluded with the “special prayer after a meal” and the abbot walked to the entrance of the “trapeza”, raised his right hand in the mode of blessing and blessed us all as we exited, first the priests, then the monks, the men and finally the women. After everyone came out, we followed the abbot back to the church for the reading of the Small Compline, followed by the Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos. Evening services were over at about 6:15 pm and “lights out” would be at 8:00 pm.
We regrouped to evaluate our first experiences; a feeling of awkwardness hang over us. For most of the members of the group this was the first exposure to a monastic setting. The black attire of the monks, their long beards, their covered heads, the fast reading in church (all in Greek), but above all the distance the monks placed between them and us made most of us uncomfortable (I was later told by one of the monks that only few of them have permission to speak with the guests). One of the members of the group expressed that this awkwardness was almost a kind of fear of the monks. They were different. They were unusual. They were from a different world. I pointed out that this was a natural reaction. We were coming from a different world. This was a culture shock for us. Let’s give ourselves time to adjust.
We closed our meeting and headed for bed. I was exhausted. I arrived at the “Episcopal residence” to discover that I had a roommate, Fr. Theodoros. We quickly found out that our paths had crossed at the seminary during my last year at Holy Cross, when he joined the program himself. I felt like I knew him for ever. He expressed that same feeling too.
The “symandron” rang at 1:50 am,. In a matter of minutes we were in church. The Midnight service had already begun. I took my seat with the guest-priests as the monks moved into place, their dark silhouettes moving about quickly in the dimly lit church as they venerated the icons and took their seats on either side at the front of the church. The Fisrt Hour was followed by the Third Hour and then we entered the Orthros. The order of the services is a bit different at the monasteries; they follow the Typicon of St. Savvas. In the parishes we follow the Cathedral Typicon. The monasteries read extra Psalms, sing the Canon of the Feast and do the services of the Hours. The Sixth Hour followed the Orthros and then we entered the Divine Liturgy. This was the Feast of St. John Chrysostom and the services were richer in content as the great father of the Church was honored today.
All the monks lined up for Holy Communion. They have Liturgies every day, but they usually receive Holy Communion on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays after they had fasted strictly on the previous days (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Fasting is a constant askesis for them. They never eat meat and their diet is mostly vegetables, beans, olives and salads. Eggs and cheese are consumed on days of no fasting and fish or shell-fish on days of celebration.
I had asked our group not to go for Holy Communion today. We wanted to immerse ourselves in prayer and the monastic life for a couple of days, have Confession on Wednesday and then receive on Thursday. That would make Holy Communion more meaningful and raise our experience to a higher spiritual level.
Breakfast was available for us at about 5:30 am as we exited the Divine Liturgy. Eggs, cheese and milk were served, but the monks were not there. They have only two meals a day. By six o’clock we were finished. It was still dark outside and the stars shown brighter than I had seen in a long time. The group members agreed to meet at 10:30 am for a tour of the monastic settlement. We then headed back to bed to catch up on our missed sleep. There was a lot more to see and experience, but it all could wait.
Our rendezvous was at the kiosk by the main entrance. The women were all there, but the men had gone to the kitchen to help set up for lunch. The monks had asked them to lend a hand. The dining room had to be ready by 12:30 pm for over 150 people. The monastery was at full capacity. A bus of 55 Arab speaking Palestinian Christians from California had arrived late last night. Men, women and children accompanied by two priests, father and son, were here to stay for two nights. The monks have to feed everyone, prepare our beds, wash the sheets and towels, clean the rooms and also take care of the gardens. Some of them were working at the construction site of a new chapel on a nearby hill dedicated to prophet Elias.
The meal at lunch was delicious; baked salmon, potatoes, fresh bread and salad. This was a feast!
The group met after lunch to tour the campus. The men now had a different perspective than last night. The fear of the monks was gone. “They are cool guys, they are our friends,” one of them explained. “After working side by side with them and getting to talk to them, I feel very different.” The fear has been replaced by the warm feeling of friendship. The monastic setting is having an effect on hearts and minds. I am certain we will leave here deeply changed by the experience.
Question yourself as to whether this faith is within you, or perhaps you are led by worldly wisdom. And if you leave all things in the hands of God, behold! You have acquired faith and undoubtedly, without any question, you will find God to be your helper. And so, even should you be tried a myriad of times and should satan tempt you to abandon faith, prefer death a thousand times more and don’t obey worldly wisdom. In this way the door of the mysteries will be opened to you and you will be amazed how the chains of worldly wisdom previously bound you. Now you will fly with divine wings above the earth and breathe the new air of freedom, which, of course, others are deprived of. If, however, you see that within you, you are governed by worldly wisdom, and in the smallest danger you lose hope and despair, know that you have not yet acquired faith, and consequently also hope, in God.
Excerpt taken from the book- Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit.
Elder Joseph the Hesychast
Even if you are not what you should be, you should not despair. It is bad enough that you have sinned; why in addition do you wrong God by regarding Him in your ignorance as powerless? Is He, who for your sake created the great universe that you behold, incapable of saving your soul? And if you say that this fact, as well as His incarnation, only makes your condemnation worse, then repent; and He will receive your repentance, as He accepted that of the prodigal son (cf. Luke 15:20) and the prostitute (cf. Luke 7:37-50). But if repentance is too much for you, and you sin out of habit even when you do not want to, show humility like the publican (cf. Luke 18:13): this is enough to ensure your salvation. For he who sins without repenting, yet does not despair, must of necessity regard himself as the lowest of creatures, and will not dare to judge or censure anyone. Rather, he will marvel at God’s compassion, and will be full of gratitude towards his Benefactor, and so receive many other blessings as well. Even if he is subject to the devil in that he sins, yet from fear of God he disobeys the enemy when the latter tries to make him despair. Because of this he has his portion with God; for he is grateful, gives thanks, is patient, fears God, does not judge so that he may not be judged. All these are crucial qualities. It is as St. John Chrysostom says about Gehenna: it is almost of greater benefit to us than the kingdom of heaven, since because of it many enter into the kingdom of heaven, while few enter for the sake of the kingdom itself; and if they do not enter it, it is by virtue of God’s compassion. Gehenna pursues us with fear, the kingdom embraces us with love, and through them both we are saved by God’s grace (Homily On 1 Timothy 15:3).
If those attacked by many passions of soul and body endure patiently, do not out of negligence surrender their free will, and do not despair, they are saved. Similarly, he who has attained the state of dispassion, freedom from fear and lightness of heart, quickly falls if he does not confess God’s grace continually by not judging anyone. Indeed, should he dare to judge someone, he makes it evident that in acquiring his wealth he has relied on his own strength, as St. Maximus states. St. John of Damascus says that if someone still subject to the passions, and still bereft of the light of spiritual knowledge, is put in charge of anyone, he is in great danger; and so is the person who has received dispassion and spiritual knowledge from God but does not help other people.
Nothing so benefits the weak as withdrawal into stillness, or the man subject to the passions and without spiritual knowledge as obedience combined with stillness. Nor is there anything better than to know one’s own weakness and ignorance, nor anything worse than not to recognize them. No passion is so hateful as pride, or as ridiculous as avarice, “the root of all evils” (1 Tim. 6:10): for those who with great labor mine silver, and then hide it in the earth again, remain without any profit. That is why the Lord says, “Do not store up treasures on earth” (Matt. 6:19); and again: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21). For the intellect of man is drawn by longing towards those things with which it habitually occupies itself, whether these be earthly things, or the passions, or heavenly and eternal blessings. As St. Basil the Great says, a persistent habit acquires all the strength of nature (Long Rules 6).
A weak person especially ought to pay attention to the promptings of his conscience, so that he may free his soul from all condemnation. Otherwise at the end of his life he may repent in vain and mourn eternally. The person who cannot endure for Christ’s sake a physical death as Christ did, should at least be willing to endure death spiritually. Then he will be a martyr with respect to his conscience, in that he does not submit to the demons that assail him, or to their purposes, but conquers them, as did the holy martyrs and the holy fathers. The first were bodily martyrs, the latter spiritual martyrs. By forcing oneself slightly, one defeats the enemy; through slight negligence one is filled with darkness and destroyed.
From A Treasure of Divine Knowledge in The Philokalia (vol. 3)
St. Peter of Damascus