Saint Silouan the Athonite (+1938)
Commemorated September 24 / 11
St. Silouan the Athonite
It is a great sign of grace to learn Christian humility: it becomes easier to live, and everything becomes dearer to the heart. Only to the humble does the Lord show himself through the Holy Spirit, and if we are not humble, then we cannot see God. Humility is that light, by means of which we can see the Light of God, just as we sing “In Your light we see the light.”
There is a great difference between the simplest person who has felt the Lord through the Holy Spirit and the person, though he may be prominent, who has not felt the grace of the Holy Spirit. There is a great difference between believing only that God exists, experiencing Him only through nature or the Scriptures, and experiencing Him through the Holy Spirit. If one has experienced God through the Holy Spirit, his soul burns with love for God day and night, and it can no longer be tied to anything earthly. The soul which has not felt the sweetness of the Holy Spirit, feels joy in the vanity of earthly fame or wealth, but the soul that has experienced God through the Holy Spirit, desires only the Lord, and places no value on wealth or earthly glory.
If we were humble, the Lord in His kindness would show us everything, reveal all secrets, but we are not humble, we are proud and vain over all details, and in this we suffer ourselves and torment others.
The Lord does not reveal Himself to proud souls. The proud soul, even if it has read all the books, will never understand the Lord, for in its pride it does not allow any room for the grace of the Holy Spirit, and God is only experienced through the Holy Spirit. Pride does not allow the soul to enter on the path of faith. I give this advice to the unbeliever: let him say, “Lord, if You exist, then enlighten me, and I will serve You with all my heart and soul.” For this humble thought and preparedness to serve God, the Lord will certainly enlighten him.
The Lord has taught me to hold my mind in hell, and not to despair. And this is how my soul becomes humble, but this is not yet real humility, which is indescribable. As the soul moves toward the Lord, it becomes fearful, but when it sees the Lord, then it becomes immensely joyous from the beauty of His glory, and it forgets everything earthly in the face of the love of God and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit. This is the Lord’s Heaven. Love will surround everyone, and from the humility of Christ they will be glad to see others above them. The humility of Christ exists in the lowly: they are happy in their lowliness. This was given to me to understand by the Lord.
The Lord said, “Learn from Me to be meek and humble of heart.”
Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov), Saint Silouan the Athonite, translated by Rosemary Edmonds (Essex: Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of St. John the Baptist)
Troparion St Silouan the Athonite (Tone 4)
On the path of humility,
By your prayers you received Christ as your Master.
In your heart the Holy Spirit witnessed to your salvation.
Therefore all people called to live in hope rejoice and celebrate your memory!
Holy Father Silouan, pray to Christ God to save our souls.
Christ was revealed to you, since you were weakened by the warfare and He strengthened your soul. I am weakened too, give the same Christ to me as my helper.
You completed the sacred life of the monks, O Father, in much piety, always having before your eyes the presence of the Lord. Make me worthy also to see Him before me.