Monday, December 8, 2014

"Ούτε μια πευκοβελόνα δεν πέφτει από το πεύκο αν δεν θέλει ο Θεός" ( Άγιος Πορφύριος )

Τίποτε δεν είναι τυχαίο. Στενοχώρια και ασθένειες - Να ξέρεις, παιδί μου, τίποτε δεν έγινε εική και ως έτυχε. Όλα έχουν τον σκοπό τους. Και τίποτα δεν γίνεται χωρίς να υπάρχει αιτία. Ούτε μια πευκοβελόνα δεν πέφτει από το πεύκο αν δεν θέλει ο Θεός. Γι’ αυτό θα πρέπει να μη στενοχωριέσαι για ότι σου γίνεται. Έτσι αγιαζόμαστε.

Να! Εσύ στενοχωριέσαι με τα πρόσωπα του σπιτιού σου και βασανίζεσαι πότε με τη γυναίκα σου και πότε με τα παιδιά σου. Αυτά είναι όμως που σε κάνουν και ανεβαίνεις πνευματικά ψηλά… Αν δεν ήσαν αυτοί, εσύ δεν θα προχωρούσες καθόλου. Σου τους έχει δώσει ο Θεός για σένα. Μα θα μου πεις -συνέχισε ο Γέροντας- είναι καλό να υποφέρουμε από τους αγαπημένους μας;

Ε! Έτσι το θέλει ο Θεός. Και εσύ είσαι ευαίσθητος πολύ, και από τη στενοχώρια σου, σου πονάει το στομάχι σου και η κοιλιά σου εκεί χαμηλά.

- Ναι, μα είναι κακό, Παππούλη, να είναι κάποιος ευαίσθητος;

- Ναι, είναι κακό να είναι κανείς πολύ ευαίσθητος σαν εσένα, γιατί με τη στενοχώρια δημιουργείς διάφορες σωματικές αρρώστιες. Δεν ξέρεις ακόμα ότι και όλες οι ψυχικές αρρώστιες είναι δαιμόνια;

- Όχι…

- Ε, μάθε το τώρα από μένα…

St. Silouan the Athonite on the Knowledge of God

Jesus Christ "Pantocrator" ("All-governing"), the Son of God, the Savior (source)
St. Silouan the Athonite on the Knowledge of God

The Father so loved us that He gave us His Son; but such was the will of the Son too, and He became incarnate and lived with us on earth. And the holy Apostles and a multitude of people beheld the Lord in the flesh, but not all knew Him as the Lord; yet it has been given to me, a poor sinner, through the Holy Spirit to know that Jesus Christ is God.

The Lord loves man and reveals Himself to man. And when the soul beholds the Lord she humbly rejoices in the Master's compassion, and from that hour her love for her Creator is greater than her any other love: though she may see all things and love all men, yet will she love the Lord above all.

The soul suddenly sees the Lord and knows that it is He.

Who shall describe this joy, this gladness?

The Lord is made known in the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit pervades the entire man - soul, mind and body.

After this wise is God known in heaven and on earth.

The Lord in His boundless mercy granted this grace to me, a sinner, that others might come to know God and turn to Him.

I write out of the grace of God.

Yea, this is truth.

The Lord Himself is my Witness.

The Merciful Lord gave the Holy Spirit on earth, and by the Holy Spirit was the Holy Church established.

The Holy Spirit unfolded to us not only the things of the earth but those too which are of heaven.

The Prophets, the beloved of the Lord, rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, wherefore the words that they spake were mighty and pleasant, for every soul would hear the word of the Lord.

Filled with love the holy Apostles went into all the world, preaching salvation to mankind and fearing nothing, for the Spirit of God was their strength. When St Andrew was threatened with death upon the cross if he did not stay his preaching he answered:

'If I feared the cross I should not be preaching the Cross.'

In this manner all the other Apostles, and after them the martyrs and holy men who wrestled against evil, went forward with joy to meet pain and suffering. For the Holy Spirit, sweet and gracious, draws the soul to love the Lord, and in the sweetness of the Holy Spirit the soul loses her fear of suffering.

The Lord is love; and He commanded us to love one another and to love our enemies; and the Holy Spirit teaches us this love.

The soul that has not come to know the Holy Spirit does not understand how it is possible to love one's enemies, and will not receive this commandment; but in the Lord is pity for all men, and he who would be with the Lord must love his enemies.

How may we know whether the Lord loves us or no?

Here are tokens: If you battle firmly against sin the Lord loves you. If you love your enemies you are even more beloved of God. And if you lay down your life for others you are greatly beloved of the Lord, who Himself laid down His life for us.

The man who has known the Lord through the Holy Spirit becomes like unto the Lord, as St John the Divine said: 'We shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.' And we shall behold his glory.

Many numbers of people, you say, are suffering every kind of adversity and from evil men. But I entreat you: Humble yourself beneath the strong hand of God, and grace will be your teacher and you yourself will long to suffer for the sake of the love of the Lord. That is what the Holy Spirit, whom we have come to know in the Church, will teach you.

But the man who cries out against evil men, who does not pray for them will never know the grace of God.

If you would know of the Lord's love for us, hate sin and wrong thoughts, and day and night pray fervently. The Lord will then give you His grace, and you will know Him through the Holy Spirit, and after death, when you enter into paradise, there too you will know the Lord through the Holy Spirit, as you knew Him on earth.

We do not need riches or learning in order to know the Lord: we must simply be obedient and sober, have a humble spirit and love our fellow-men. The Lord will love a soul that does this, and of His own accord make Himself manifest to her and instruct her In love and humility, and give her all things necessary for her to find rest in God.

We may study as much as we will but we shall still not come to know the Lord unless we live according to His commandments, for the Lord is not made known through learning but by the Holy Spirit. Many philosophers and scholars have arrived at a belief in the existence of God, but they have not come to know God.

To believe in a God is one thing, to know God another.

Both in heaven and on earth the Lord is made known only by the Holy Spirit, and not through ordinary learning. Even children, who have no learning at all, come to know the Lord by the Holy Spirit. St John the Baptist felt the presence of the Lord while still In his mother's womb. St Simeon Stylites was a seven-year-old boy when the Lord appeared to him and he knew Him; St Seraphim a grown man of twenty-seven when the Lord showed Himself to him during the Liturgy; and another Simeon was stricken with years when he received the Lord in his arms in the temple, and knew Him.

Some there are who spend their whole lives in trying to find out about the sun, or the moon, or in seeking like knowledge; yet this is of no profit to the soul. But if we take pains to explore the human heart this is what we shall see: the kingdom of heaven in the soul of the saint, but in the soul of the sinner are darkness and torment. And it is good to know this because we shall dwell eternally either in the kingdom or in torment.

Just as the love of Jesus Christ is beyond our understanding so we cannot conceive of the depth of His suffering, because our own love for the Lord is so infinitely small. But with greater love comes more understanding even of the Lord's sufferings. There is love in small degree, medium love and perfect love; and the more perfect our love the more perfect our knowledge.

We are able to treat of God only in so far as we have known the grace of the Holy Spirit; for how can a man think on and consider a thing that he has not seen or heard tell of, and does not know? Now the Saints declare that they have seen God; yet there are people who say that God is not. No doubt they say this inasmuch as they have not known God, but it does not at all mean that He is not.

The Saints speak of that which they have actually seen, of that which they know. They do not speak of something they have not seen. (They do not tell us, for instance, that they have seen a horse a mile long or a steamer ten miles long, which do not exist.) And I think that, if God were not, there would be no intimation of Him on earth; but people want to live after their own fashion and consequently they declare that God is not, and in so doing they establish that He is.

Even the souls of the heathen sensed that God is, though they were ignorant how to worship the true God. But the Holy Spirit instructed the Prophets of old and after them the Apostles and then our holy Fathers and bishops, and in this wise the true faith came down to us. And we knew the Lord by the Holy Spirit, and when we knew Him our souls were confirmed in Him.

The Lord loves us so dearly that it passes description. Through the Holy Spirit alone can the soul know His love, of which she is inexpressibly aware. The Lord is all goodness and mercy. He is meek and gentle, and we have no words to tell of His goodness; but the soul without words feels this love and would remain wrapped in its quiet tranquility for ever.

Christ said: 'I will not leave you comfortless', and we see, in truth, that He did not forsake us but gave us the Holy Spirit.

O ye peoples of the earth, fashioned by God, know your Creator and His love for us! Know the love of Christ, and live in peace and thereby rejoice the Lord, who in His mercy waits for ill men to come unto Him.

Turn to Him, all ye peoples of the earth, and lift your prayers to God. And the prayers of the whole earth shall rise to heaven like a soft and lovely cloud lit by the sun, and all the heavens will rejoice and sing praises to the lord for His sufferings whereby He '.saved us.

Know, all ye peoples, that we are created for the glory of God in the heavens. Cleave not to the earth, for God is our Father and He loves us like beloved children.

O Lord grant to all nations to know Thee by Thy Holy Spirit. As Thou didst give the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and they knew Thee, so grant to all men to know Thee by Thy Holy Spirit.
From: St. Silouan, Wisdom From Mount Athos - The Writings of Staretz Silouan 1866-1938, Sofronii (Archimandrite), trans. Rosemary Edmonds, (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY 1974) pp. 19-23. (source)

St. Silouan the Athonite (source)

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Μια υπέροχη οικογένεια


Την ιστορία αυτή την αφηγήθηκε η μητέρα μιας Μοναχής και αφορούσε την δική της οικογένεια. Είπε:

“Κατά την διάρκεια της γερμανικής κατοχής υποφέραμε πολύ. Έφθασε ημέρα που στο σπίτι μας δεν υπήρχε τίποτε άλλο εκτός από νερό!

Τότε ο πατέρας μου μας πήρε από το χέρι και ανεβήκαμε ψηλά στο βουνό, που δέσποζε πάνω από το χωριό που μέναμε, και μαζέψαμε λούπινα. Τα χιλιοέβρασε η καημένη η μητέρα μου, αλλά δεν λέγανε να ξεπικρίσουν. Με αυτά ξεγελούσαμε την πείνα μας, αλλά τα μάτια μας έκαιγαν από την πίκρα. Και να φανταστεί κανείς ότι είχαμε και σοβαρά άρρωστη την μεγαλύτερη αδελφούλα μου. Αλλά και τα δύο αδέλφια μου αγόρια που εργάζονταν κι ήταν πάνω στην ανάπτυξή τους τί να φάνε;

Κάποτε η μητέρα εξοικονόμησε ένα κομματάκι σοκολάτα! Κανένας Άγγλος στρατιώτης της την έδωσε ; από καμιά φιλανθρωπική οργάνωση την πήρε; Δεν γνωρίζω. Η καλή μας μητέρα ούτε που την άγγιξε. Την έφερε και κρυφά την έδωσε στην άρρωστη αδελφούλα μου, με την ελπίδα πως θα δυνάμωνε. ( Μάταια όμως. ΣΕ λίγο καιρό πέθανε, την πήρε ο Θεός κοντά Του ).

Ούτε όμως και η άρρωστη την έφαγε. Επειδή άκουσε πως την άλλη μέρα η μητέρα κι εγώ θα κατεβαίναμε στην πόλη με το γαϊδουράκι για κάποια αναγκαία εργασία και θα περπατούσαμε τουλάχιστον οκτώ με δέκα ώρες, με φώναξε κρυφά κοντά της και δίνοντάς μου το κομματάκι της σοκολάτας, μου είπε:

- Πάρε το, να το φας εσύ, αδελφούλα μου, γιατί έχεις να περπατήσεις πολύ αύριο και πρέπει να δυναμώσεις.

Την πήρα και την φύλαξα για την αυριανή οδοιπορία. ¨Όμως η καλή μου μητέρα έβαλε εμένα στο γαϊδουράκι κι εκείνη περπατούσε δίπλα με τα πόδια. Την παρακαλούσα ν’ ανέβει κι εκείνη, αλλά δεν θέλησε. Με λυπόταν γιατί ήμουν μικρό. Τότε έβγαλα από την τσεπούλα μου την σοκολάτα και της την έδωσα λέγοντας:

- Πάρε, μαμά, φάε εσύ σοκολάτα να δυναμώσης που περπατάς τόσες ώρες, αφού εμένα με πάει το γαϊδουράκι!

Πριν προλάβει να αρνηθεί, την έβαλα στα χέρια της. Τότε κοντοστάθηκε και την κοίταξε δακρυσμένη. Είχε ξαναγυρίσει στα χέρια της!”

Μια ελληνική οικογένεια βασανισμένη από την φτώχεια και την αρρώστια είχε τέτοιο ήθος, τέτοια αγάπη, τέτοια αυταπάρνηση! Ας την θαυμάσουμε αλλά και ας την μιμηθούμε!

Ουράνια μηνύματα
Θαυμαστά γεγονότα»

Είναι ανάγκη να φιλοξενούμε και να ελεούμε με ιλαρότητα ( Μεγαλο Γεροντικο )

Έλεγε ο μακαριστός Επιφάνιος ότι με πάρα πολύ μικρό αντάλλαγμα πουλάει ο Θεός τα αγαθά του σ΄ εκείνους πού σπεύδουν να τα αγοράσουν, για ένα κομματάκι ψωμί, ένα τιποτένιο ρούχο, ένα ποτήρι κρύο νερό, έναν οβολό. Πρόσθετε και τούτο: Όταν ο άνθρωπος δανείζεται από άλλον άνθρωπο,

είτε γιατί είναι πολύ φτωχός είτε για να βελτιώσει κάπως τη ζωή του, την ώρα που επιστρέφει το δάνειο εκφράζει βέβαια την μεγάλη του ευγνωμοσύνη, αλλά το εξοφλεί κρυφά, επειδή ντρέπεται. Ενώ ο δεσπότης Θεός ενεργεί αντίστροφα. Δανείζεται κρυφά αλλά τα επιστρέφει ενώπιον αγγέλων, αρχαγγέλων και δικαίων ψυχών.




The spiritual warrior cannot deliver his soul from destruction if he spares his body ( St. Isaac the Syrian )

As a man cannot remain unscathed who spares his enemy on the field of battle, so the spiritual warrior cannot deliver his soul from destruction if he spares his body. 

As a child, terrified by some frightening sight, runs to its parents, clutches the hem of their garments, and cries out to them, so too with the soul; for the more she is straightened and afflicted by fear arising from temptations, the more she hastens to cleave to God, crying out to
Him in continual supplication. 

And so long as temptations persist, one assaulting her after the other, she multiplies her supplications; but once
she finds herself again in spacious freedom, she gives herself over to wandering thoughts.

St. Isaac the Syrian

A road towards the fountain ( Elder Joseph the Hesychast )

Today, many virtuous people who lead good lives, who please God with their deeds and words, and who benefit their neighbor, think they have (and
are thought of having) attained Love through their insignificant work or mercy and compassion they show towards their neighbor. But this is not the truth. They are only fulfilling the commandment of love for the Lord, Who said, "Love one another." 

He who keeps this commandment is worthy of
praise as a keeper of the divine commandments, but this is not an action of divine Love. It is a road
towards the fountain, but not the fountain. It is stairs towards the palace, but not the gate of the palace. It is a royal garment, but not the King. It is a commandment of God, but not God.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast
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