English Edition

If Laymen do not murmur they will receive the same reward from God as ascetic monks.

Little-known quotes by St. Paisios the Hagiorite

St. Paisios the Hagiorite

St. Paisios with the icon of the Mother of God St. Paisios with the icon of the Mother of God "Axion Estin" (It is Truly Meet).
The following are a number of little-known spiritual instructions given by St. Paisios of Mount Athos and were written down by some of his closest monastic brethren and spiritual children.

If those who are poor, in need and are starving do not grumble or murmur, they will receive the same reward as hermits who struggle in asceticism on the slopes of Mt. Athos. Monks abstain from food voluntarily, which greatly eases their ascetic labors. If I do something, for example, then I do it of my own free will, and as a result I barely feel the burden of asceticism. But these poor people hunger involuntarily and thus suffer much, much more. God can reward these people with even greater rewards than the ascetics living in solitude.

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Those who are proud and exalted must remain in obedience to someone in order to cut of their will (here the elder is first of all talking about obedience to a spiritual father).

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Pious parents who want their children to become monks should not push them towards making such a decision, but must lead an ascetic way of life themselves.

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Everyone must act according to his spiritual state. One must not take up ascetic labors that he is not ready for yet.

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I’ve met morally depraved men with a “carnal mindedness” who married pious Orthodox women leading a spiritual way of life. These husbands so clearly percieved their wives’ spiritual purity that they did not dare to come near them and have marital relations. As a result, they even thought of divorcing. If these simple women made such an influence on their unchaste spouses, then how impossibly difficult it is to describe the immeasurably greater and indelible impression that our Lady the Most-Holy Theotokos makes on others.

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The grace of the priesthood is something very special. It is like an external element of nourishment, from which priests get energy. But this grace is not his, it’s not something that belongs to him; neither is it given as a reward for some sort of spiritual accomplishments.

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Nowadays the devil with his great malice unwillingly does the world a huge favor. Pious people, seeing where this world is going to, draw close to other pious Christians and receive a stimulus in their spiritual battle with the evil one.

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If someone spirit is failing, you should encourage and inspire him. But when someone falls into pride and conceit, what will be useful to him is humility.

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St. Paisios outside his cell. St. Paisios outside his cell.

We monks often become hardhearted because we don’t see other people’s pain. But the poor laypeople are compassionate, for they see pain and sorrow around them all the time. Therefore, we have to make other people’s pain our own, and pray for the whole world.

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If we do not feel consolation during prayer, then something is wrong. It means we have to repent and correct ourselves in something. Some wrongly say that this happens because of the envy and wiles of the devil. In fact it is the Lord is saying to us, “I don’t understand the way you are addressing Me”. Prayer, just like Holy Communionis a Sacrament. One has to prepare for it and have a clean conscience.

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One pilgrim came to me and said that they’ve read a few books about the Jesus prayer and tried to force themselves to do it, but as a result only ended up having heart pain. So I asked him, “Don’t you have any ‘material’ for humility (sins)? Acquire humility, and then you will feel how much you are in need of God’s mercy. Prayer will then come naturally, without having to force yourself.”

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God does not interfere in our lives, but waits for us to ask Him to help us, for He respects our freedom.

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A spiritual person feels the intentions of others (for example, if someone wants to exploit him or rob him), but always assumes the best in them and treats them accordingly. He doesn’t hinder them, thinking that they have a greater need of what they want to take from him than he does.

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If sincere repentance and humility are absentthe prerequisites for a person to feel that God's mercy is vital to themthen external asceticism and self-coercion alone will bring one to a state of spiritual delusion.

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Our mind (as much as possible) should be near God and not think about evil things.

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If we sow a handful of wheat, we’ll harvest wheat; if we plant thornswe’ll grow thorns. The good that one does gives rise to new virtues, while sin leads to new sins.

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A married person once said to me that monasticism, unlike marriage, is not a Sacrament. I replied that monasticism is a sacrament of the Church Triumphant [in Heaven], for a monk, while still on earth, already has a foretaste of the angelic life.

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Misfortunes, pain and revilement save us from hell.

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We should not seek pleasure in prayer, not even spiritual pleasure. Otherwise, we become like the kind of children that love their father only because he gives them caramels and chocolates. The peace of our souls is what should be sought in prayer.

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Elder Iakovos of Evia, St. Paisios of Mt. Athos, and St. Porphyrios of Kafsokalyvia. Elder Iakovos of Evia, St. Paisios of Mt. Athos, and St. Porphyrios of Kafsokalyvia.

Many who have fallen into spiritual delusion, whom the devil has made into false prophets, did not place repentance and the knowledge of their own faults at the foundation of their spiritual warfare, but strove for fasting and vigil, wishing, on account of their pride, to achieve holiness by means of ascetic feats.

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Just as each bus has a depot, so does demonic possession have a root cause. Do not go to an exorcism if you have not first found out what caused such a spiritual illness in the first place.

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The person who has real humility is the one that immediately forgets the good deeds he does, while any good done to him (even the most insignificant) he considers enormous and experiences a feeling of gratefulness for it.

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The attainment of holiness does not depend on how long we practice asceticism, but depends on philotimo[1] (all-around virtuousness) and deeds done with humility. In philotimo there is both humility, nobility and sacrifice.

St. Paisios the Hagiorite
Translation by Feodor Nemets

Holy Mountain Publishers

12 / 07 / 2017

[1] Philotimo (also spelled filotimo; Greek: φιλότιμο) is a Greek noun translating to "love of honor". However, philotimo is almost impossible to translate sufficiently as it describes a complex array of virtues. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philotimo
See also:
2017-07-16
06:38
Michael:
Glory be to God for such wise and sanctifying words!
2017-07-13
22:11
Anthony:
That icon is lovely. I found it at

http://nioras.com/product_info.php/monks-new-the-century-iakovos-paisios-porfirios-p-92706

2017-07-13
15:17
Mary Yannias:
Beautiful article. I rated the article 1. I meant it is #1.
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