St. Paisios the Athonite
When the Elder was still residing at the cell of the Holy Cross, one night, as he was saying the Jesus prayer, suddenly the roof of his cell was removed and in its place he clearly saw the Lord. His face was so bright that he could not look straight at Him and wondered how it was possible for some people to once split on it.
After this incident, the Elder gave instructions to the nuns of the Convent of St. John the Theologian, who were painting icons, to paint the Lord just the way he had seen Him that night. During the whole time they were painting the icon, he was by their side guiding them.
Father Paisios said that the face of the Lord and the Virgin Mary had the color of ripe wheat.
by priestmonk Christodoulos, “Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain” (1998).
“Elder, tell me about God, speak to me, how is he?”
The elder did not speak and I continued to drive, on curves furthermore on the mountain.
My God! I began suddenly feeling God everywhere. In the car, outside on the mountains, far in the distant galaxies. He was everywhere, he filled everything, but he was nothing of all of these things. An essence which pierced through all the other ones, without getting mixed up or being confused with these. A power present everywhere, which nevertheless no one perceives, outside of every viewpoint. Someone cannot discover it with this own haughty effort. A power which only is self revealed. All these mountains, stars, trees, people, existed and were maintained alive thanks to His power. He could in one moment annihilate them, for them to cease existing without noise or thunder or resistance. Just as we turn the switch and in one moment the light disappears.
He’s so almighty and nevertheless so courteous. He does not pressure anyone with his almightyness or his presence. He is so near us and so unseeable simultaneously, so that we do not feel any burden, some obligation from his presence alone. So that he does not burden us at all, to not create any obligation to us, to leave us completely free, to do whatever we want. Not for us to be forced by his beauty to some degree. He could easily impose his love not with fears and power and strength, but simply with the sweetness of His presence, which no one could resist. Yet, He does not do it, out of an infinite, incomprehensible respect for man’s freedom.
He doesnt do it, out of love for man. He loves us so much, he desires us so much strongly that his innards are burned, out of desire and love for us. For this reason he limits himself, he disappears from our perception and tries in a thousand ways, with infinite wisdom with dreadful attention and interest, as a âœraging” lover to draw us to his love. To wake us up, to motivate our interest, to make us understand and love Him.
The gift is lifted up and leaves from our soul. God opposes the prideful, while to the humble He gives grace” “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of Lights” (James 1:17).
I am in His embrace! I am in His palm. Who can do anything to me?…I was certain of the beginning, the course and the end of the world. I rejoiced, because in the end, as always He will be the victor and kindness and holiness will triumph.