St. Paisios of Mount Athos
The elder said: In order for you to have time for prayer you must not concern yourself with things that other people can do. Let’s take an example. A doctor should not be concerned with gauzes and bandages. A nurse can do that. The doctor will take care of the serious matters. He’ll do the examinations and operations, etc. If he sit to put gauze he won’t get to the serious work and then many who have need won’t benefit. The same with you. Pray for your suffering parishioners (applied to the correspondent and two other priests) remember their names and note those who have greater need. It’s better for you to know what pains each one. That way the prayer is better.
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.
Stillness (far from the world) very quickly brings also interior stillness in the soul with ascesis and continual prayer. Then the person is not disturbed by exterior disquiet, because in essence only the body is found on earth but the mind is found in Heaven.
Those who are grateful towards God for everything and constantly attend to themselves humbly and look after God’s creatures and creation with kindness, theologize and thus become the most faithful theologians, even if illiterate. They are like the illiterate shepherds who observe the weather in the countryside, day and night, and become good meteorologists.
Those who live simply, with kindness and good thoughts, and have acquired inner simplicity and purity, regard the supernatural very simply, as natural, for everything is simple to God. God does not use greater power for the supernatural and less for the natural, but the same power for everything. He Himself is very simple and His Son revealed it to us on earth with His holy simplicity.
When purity comes to man and simplicity with its fervent faith and devotion arrives as well, then the Holy Trinity takes up His abode within us. With this divine enlightenment one easily finds the keys to divine meanings, so as to interpret the Spirit of God in a very simple and natural way, without causing an intellectual headache.
In order for our minds not to wander, we must accustom them to suckling on the sweet name of Jesus inside our hearts, so as to make spiritual progress. For, when the mind is absent, it is as if the master of the house is absent, and that’s when the house becomes a wreck.
When man’s heart does not work for God, he is in no way different from a stone statue.
Those who have much discernment, have noble love and humility as well. They even sweeten bitter truth with their kindness and express it with much simplicity. They help more positively than do sweet words, just as bitter medicine is more beneficial than sweet syrups.
Those who withdraw themselves from Christ are deprived of divine enlightenment, for like fools they forsake sun-drenched places so as to retire to the shade. Hence, it is natural for them to be cold and fall spiritually ill. God has endowed us all with gifts, but not all of us utilize them for the salvation of our souls and the salvation of our fellow men. Instead, most of us, most of the time, use them to the detriment of others and ourselves.