Small Blessing of a Few “Nuts.”
By St. Paisios the New of Mount Athos.
We should not despair when we struggle but see no progress, remaining continuously at zero. All people earn zeros with their human strength, some more and some less. Christ, seeing our small human effort, places the number one before our zeros, and thus they acquire value and we can detect some improvement. Thus, we must not despair, but hope in God.
We should only despair due to our ego and try as much as we can to extinguish it quickly before it extinguishes us. Those who struggle egotistically with fasting, vigils, etc., trouble themselves without any spiritual benefit, for they beat against the air (I Corinthians 9:26) and not the demons. Instead of driving away temptations, they receive more of them; as a result, they encounter many difficulties in their struggle (they feel as if strangled from stress). Those, however, who struggle hard, with great humility and great hope in God, feel that their hearts rejoice and their souls flutter.
Those who are sustained by the love of God often neglect material food, or, when they eat, are oblivious to the taste, for feeling the presence of God intensely, they are even then nurtured by the sweet blessing of His love.
Those who wrong others wrong themselves eternally; those who joyfully accept the injustice of others are entitled to an eternal reward with interest.
Father Paisios said: As a person becomes more spiritual, so much fewer rights does he has in this life. It is obligatory to be patient, to accept injustice, to accept evil words from others. A crooked stick (perverted person) who is distant from God has many rights: to strike and shout and act unrighteously. Our rights God keeps for the other life. Out of ignorance however we often seek our rights here. Let us not damage things at all. If they say anything to us, immediately we give them the right. And later we think we trust in God. That is a big joke. Human justice doesn’t mean anything to a spiritual person. But it is a great concern for the perverted person.
Someone want to paint icons, has decide to become an icon painter, to make icons which will perform miracles; may it be. Another wants to become a married priest; it is my joy. One wants to be unmarried; let him be unmarried. One wants to be a monk? He should be helped accordingly. All do not fit in one basket. Some set the people to do things contrary to whatever they can do.
The elder said: And by itself stillness is a mystical prayer and aids greatly in prayer, like the unceasing breath of a person.
Excerpts from the book Epistles by St. Paisios (Souroti, 2002)