St. Porphyrios the Kapsokalyvite of Oropos
So struggle in the spiritual life simply, gently, without violence. The soul struggles and is cleansed with the study of the words of the Fathers, in getting psalms by heart, scriptural passages, with chanting, with the Prayer. Give yourself to these spiritual things, and leave all the rest.
There are many who have chosen the hard way and have “shed blood to gain the Spirit”, such that they attain to great virtue.
I find that the shorter road is that of love. You too should follow it…
Do not wage a war of chasing the darkness from the chamber of your soul. Make a little chink for the light, and the darkness will scatter.
The same holds true for the passions and weaknesses. Don’t engage in battle with them, but turn them into strengths which defy evil.
If the grace of God comes, everyone and everything changes; however, in order for it to come, we must humble ourselves first.
Man seeks joy and happiness in heaven. He seeks what is eternal far from everyone and everything. He seeks to find joy in God.
Everyone possesses this inclination of the soul for heaven. All people seek something heavenly. All beings turn towards Him, albeit unconsciously.Turn your mind towards Him continually.
“Christ is Everything. He is joy, He is life, He is light. He is the true light who makes man joyful, makes him soar with happiness; makes him see everything, everybody; makes him feel for everyone, to want everyone with him, everyone with Christ.”
Our religion is the religion of religions. It is from revelation, the authentic and true religion. The other religions are human, hollow. They do not know the greatness of the Triune God. They do not know that our aim, our destiny, is to become gods according to grace, to attain likeness with the Triune God, to become one with Him and among ourselves. These are things the other religions do not know. The ultimate aim of our religion is that they may be one. (John 17:11,22) Here the work of Christ finds completion. Our religion is love, it is eros, it is enthusiasm, it is madness, it is longing for the divine. All these things are within us. Our soul demands that we attain them.
For many people, however, religion is a struggle, a source of agony and anxiety. That’s why many of the ‘religiously minded’ are regarded as unfortunates, because others can see the desperate state they are in. And so it is. Because for the person who doesn’t understand the deeper meaning of religion and doesn’t experience it, religion ends up as an illness, and indeed a terrible illness. So terrible that the person loses control of his actions and becomes weak-willed and spineless, he is flied with agony and anxiety and is driven to and fro by the evil spirit.
In fact, the Christian religion transforms people and heals them. The most important precondition, however, for someone to recognize and discern the truth is humility. Egotism darkens a person’s mind, it confuses him, it leads him astray, to heresy. It is important for a person to understand the truth.
Sin makes a person exceedingly psychologically confused. And nothing makes the confusion go away – nothing except the light of Christ. Christ makes the first move: Come unto me all you who labour… (Matt. 11:28) Then we accept this light with our good will, which we express through our love towards Him, through prayer, through our participation in the life of the Church, and through the sacraments.
Often neither labour, nor prostrations, nor crossing ourselves attract God’s grace. There are secrets. The most important thing is to go beyond the formal aspects and go to the heart of the matter. Whatever us done must be done with love.
Love always understands the need to make sacrifices. Whatever is done under coercion always causes the soul to react with rejection. Love attracts the grace of God. When grace comes, then the gifts of the Holy Spirit come. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-sufferance, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23) These are the things which a healthy soul in Christ should have.
With Christ a person is filled with grace and so lives above evil. Evil does not exist for him. There is only good, which is God. Evil cannot exist. While there is light there cannot be darkness. Nor can darkness encompass him because he has the light.
Wounded by Love – The Life and the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios