St. Paisios the Athonite
Commemorated on July 12
“Elder Paisios gave himself completely to God, and God gave him to the whole world” (Elder Paisios of Mount Athos, Epistles, p. 10).
One doesn’t need muscles in the spiritual life. We must struggle humbly, we must ask for God’s mercy and we must be grateful to Him for everything. He who abandons himself into the hands of God, without any plan of his own, will pass into God’s plan. As long as man is hooked onto himself, he remains behind; he does not progress spiritually because he obstructs God’s mercy. In order to grow spiritually he must place great trust in God.
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.
He who pays attention to and preserves his spiritual purity, preserves Divine Grace also, and always sees clearly. He turns even unclean things to his advantage, making them clean in his good spiritual factory. He turns useless paper into clean napkins, notebooks, etc. He transforms broken bronze into candlesticks and chandeliers, and gold into holy chalices. On the contrary, the man who assents to deceit and thinks deceptively, transforms good into evil, not unlike the factory that produces war supplies and that makes gold into bullets and cartridges for cannons, since for this purpose its machinery was constructed.
Hence, let us never consent to an evil thought; let us always energize the good.
Those who suffer deeply for the salvation of the whole world and help in their own way (as strugglers) and humbly entrust themselves to the hands of God, feel the greatest joy in the world. Their life is a constant doxology, for they flutter about internally like angels, glorifying God day and night. Those, however, who neglect the salvation of their souls and try to find joy and rest in this vain life, are continually tortured and entangled in endless worldly machinery and live in hell in this life.
Those who have philotimo, because they move within the heavenly sphere of doxology, joyfully accept their trials as well as their blessings, and glorify God for them. Thus, they are continuously receiving God’s blessing from everything and are melting internally out of gratitude towards God, which they express in every spiritual way possible, like children of God.
Of greater value is one word of a humble man who has spiritual experience, coming with pain from the bottom of his heart, than a whole array of learned words from a superficial man, coming with great speed from his learned tongue. His tongue does not enlighten souls for it is fleshly and not that fiery tongue of Holy Pentecost…
Those who wrong others wrong themselves eternally; those who joyfully accept the injustice of others are entitled to an eternal reward with interest.
Those who work for Christ but are prideful pollute their virtues, just as fried eggs are contaminated when bird’s droppings fall on them. They then can only be thrown in the trash along with the frying pan.
If death finds you with the thought that you are nothing, then God will speak. If however your thought says at the hour of death that you are something and you don’t understand it, all your effort goes to waste.
There is no man more intelligent than the merciful one who gives away earthly, perishable things and buys imperishable, heavenly things. Likewise, there is no greater fool in the world than the greedy one who gathers things continually and yet is deprived continually, finally buying hell with his collected savings. Those, naturally, who are lost in material things are totally lost, for they have also lost Christ.
Sacrifice for our fellow man conceals our great love for Christ. Those who have good intentions to give alms, but have nothing and on this account are afflicted, give charity with the blood of their hearts.
Freedom is good when the person can use it appropriately. Otherwise it is a disaster.
Blessed are those who have Christ as their hearts’ axis and joyfully revolve around His Holy Name, noetically and unceasingly repeating “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.”
Apolytikion to St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain in the First Tone
The offspring of Farasa, and the adornment of Athos, and the imitator of the former righteous, equal in honor, O Paisios let us honor O faithful, the vessel full of graces, who hastens speedily to those who cry out: glory to Him Who gave you strength, glory to Him Who crowned you, glory to Him Who grants through you healings for all.
Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The most-famed ascetic of the Holy Mountain, and the newly-enlightened light of the Church, let us praise him with hymns with all our heart, for he leads the faithful towards a perfect life, filling them with rivers of gifts, therefore we cry out: Hail, O Father Paisios.