St. Paisios the Athonite
A YOUNG man once came to my cottage in despair, because he had fallen into a sin of the flesh and could not change from that passion.
He had been to two spiritual fathers who tried, with an austere method, to help him understand that what he was doing was a serious matter.
The boy despaired. “Since I know that what I am doing is a sin” he said “and I can’t stop doing it and be set right, I shall sever my relationship with God”.
When I heard his problem, I felt for the poor boy, and said: “Look, blessed child, you should never begin your struggle from what you can’t do, but from what you can do.
“We will see what things you can do, and we will start from them. Can you attend church each Sunday?” “I can”, he told me.
“Can you fast every Wednesday and Friday?” “I can.”
“Can you give a tithe of your salary in alms, or visit the sick and help them?” “I can.”
“Can you pray every evening, even if you have committed a sin, and say, ‘My God, save my soul’?” “I will do that, Elder”, he told me.
“Start then” I said to him “from today, to do everything you can, and the almighty God will do the one thing you cannot.”
The poor boy calmed down, and said repeatedly, “Thank you, father”. He had, you see, philotimo, and God helped him.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.