Commemorated on June 13
Elder Vasilios Gontikakis, former Abbot of the Monastery of Iviron
The spiritual life is interesting because it is dangerous. At any moment the last can become first and the first last.
Great are not the noise-makers who raise themselves as spiritual leaders or prophets, to amaze and to asphyxiate the world. Great is the humble and “nonexistent”, who have received the supplication of the Spirit and are the consolation of the world. Grace is enough for them. And this they emit perpetually with the radiance that endlessly feeds from the contrition of the heart and the feeling that they have polluted the land with their presence. For they themselves are a blessing for all creation while they live and though they may pass, because the Holy Spirit gives meaning and reason to their presence and absence.
On the other hand, once you believe that you are something in virtue or knowledge, then you lose everything and you become polluted, regardless of whether you – or others – think that you are a model of virtue and the renewal of spiritual life.
That which is possessed by the Saints are not human talents or qualities: wisdom, poetry or rhetoric. But all these they sanctified by offering them to God. And through them is manifested the Grace that comforts and deifies humanity.
From the book Apolytikion. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.
With St Silouan, let us pray:
“O Lord in Thy manifold mercy bestow on us
a humble spirit, that our souls may find rest in Thee.
Most holy and gracious Mother of God, beseech God
to make us lowly in spirit.
All ye saints who dwell in heaven
and behold the glory of the Lord
and your spirits rejoice –
pray that we also may be with you,
for my soul, too, would fain see the Lord,
and yearns after Him humbly,
knowing herself unworthy of such blessing.
O merciful Lord, by Thy Holy Spirit
teach us Thy humility.”
St. Silouan the Athonite in St Silouan the Athonite by Archimandrite Sophrony, Selections from p.269-p.504, St Vladimir Seminary Press 1991.