Archive for April, 2009

Forgiveness

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2009 by cockett1

A certain Christian man went to consult Abba Silouan.

“I have a deadly enemy, Father,” he confessed. “The evils which he has brought upon me are innumerable. A short time ago he gained a large piece of my land by deceit. He slanders me wherever he is and he speaks ill of both me and my family. He has made my life unbearable. Now, finally, he is even plotting to take my life. A few days ago, I learned that he attempted to poison me. But he is not getting away with anything else. I have decided to hand him over to the law.”

“Do as you like,” Abba Silouan told him with indifference.

“Do you not think, Father, that when he is punished, and especially severely, as he should be, his soul will be saved?” asked the man, who was now beginning to show concern for the welfare of his enemy’s soul.

“Do whatever gives you peace,” the Saint continued to say, with the same air.

“I am going straight to the judge, then,” the Christian said, getting up to leave.

“Do not hurry off so,” the Saint told him calmly. “Let us first pray for God to bring success on your action.”

He began the ‘Our Father.’

“And do not forgive us our trespasses, as we do not forgive those who trespass against us,” he heard the Saint saying in a loud voice, as if making an error in this verse.

“You made an error, Abba. The Lord’s Prayer is not said that way,” the Christian hastened to correct him.

“Nevertheless, that is the way it is,” the elder answered in all of his impassivity. “Inasmuch as you have decided to hand over your brother to the court, Silouan is offering no other prayer.”

From the Desert Fathers

Thinking Positively

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2009 by cockett1

“Repentance is not self-flagellation; it is an opening flower.” Met. Ware

We once asked Father Paisios, “Father, you constantly tell us to think positively. We would like you to give us some advice on how to deal with when people come to tell us that various priests charge a great deal of money for performing the Holy Mysteries.  They even say that some priests are involved in immoral acts and, in general, make severe accusations against them, presenting evidence to justify these accusations. What answers can we give to those who accuse the clergy?”

The Elder said, “I know from experience that in this life people are divided in two categories. A third category does not exist. People either belong to one or the other. The first kind of person resembles the fly which is… attracted to filth… When a fly finds itself in a garden full of flowers with beautiful fragrances, it will ignore them and land on top of some filth it finds on the ground. It will wallow in it, feeling comfortable with the foul smell. If the fly could talk, and you were to ask it to show you a rose in the garden, it would answer: ‘I’ve no idea what a rose looks like. I only know where to find garbage, toilets, and filth.’ There are many people who resemble the fly thinking negatively, always looking for the evil things of life, ignoring and rejecting all the good there is.

People in the other category are like the bee, which looks always for something sweet and pleasant to land on. When a bee finds itself in a room filled with filth, but where there is a small piece of sweet in a corner, it will ignore the filth and land on top of the sweet. Now, if we were to ask the bee to show us where the garbage was, it would answer: ‘I do not know. I can only tell you where to find flowers, sweets, honey, and sugar.’ It only knows the good things in life and ignores all evil. People in this category think positively and see only the good side of things [whenever possible] covering up evil, in order to protect their fellow man. Contrarily, people in the first category look to expose evil and to bring it to the surface [even when it is unnecessary].

“When someone comes to me and begins accusing other people, putting me in a difficult situation, I relate to him the foregoing example and I ask him to decide in which category he wishes to belong, so he might find people of similar kind with whom to associate.

— Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain

Simply pray

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2, 2009 by cockett1

“Do not be too sophisticated in the words you use when praying, because the simple and unadorned lisping of children has often won the heart of your Heavenly Father.”
St. John Climacus: The Ladder of Ascent

Watch your tongue

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2, 2009 by cockett1

” When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:3-6)

“When you leave your cell, be sparing with your tongue, because it can scatter in a moment the fruits of many labours.”
St. John Climacus: The Divine Ascent

Morning Prayer

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2, 2009 by cockett1

“Devote the first fruits of your day to the Lord, because the whole day will belong to whoever gets the first start. It is worth hearing what an expert told me: “From my morning,” he said, “I know the course of the whole day.”
St. John Climacus: The Divine Ascent.”