Thursday, December 31, 2009

Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit

A few selections from Precious Vessels of the Holy Spirit: The Lives & Counsels of Contemporary Elders of Greece.

In the hour in which we are tempted we must be patient and pray. Temptation is a clever craftsman. He is able to make small things loom large. Temptation disquiets, saddens, and creates external battles. He knows many arts. He brings man to doubt. For this reason we have many shipwrecks. When we are beset by temptations, that's when the grace of God comes. When one undergoes temptation, he recognizes his weakness, is humbled and attracts the grace of God. Don't let the winds of temptation affect you. They can't do you any harm.

Elder Amphilochios

I am not afraid of death. Not, of course, because of my works, but because I believe in God's mercy.

Elder Epiphanios

Whatever we don't give to God for Him to use, the other will use. For this reason our Lord gave us the commandment to love with all our heart and soul, so that the evil one won't be able to find a place of rest within us.

Elder Joseph

No sacrifice is more fragrant in the sight of God than purity of body, which is realized through blood and great struggles.

We mustn't despair when we struggle and continuously see nothing but the slightest progress. We all do nearly nothing, some a little more, some a little less. When Christ sees our little effort He gives us an analogous token and so our nearly nothing becomes valuable and we can see a little progress. For this reason we mustn't despair, but hope in God.

My brother, don't ask for anything in prayer except for repentance. Repentance will bring you humility, humility will bring you the grace of God, and God will uphold you in His grace and will give you whatever you need for your own salvation, as well as whatever is needed, should the case arise, for you to help another soul in need.

Elder Paisios

Life without Christ is not life. That's the way it is....If you don't see Christ in everything you do, you are without Christ.

It's possible for people to come to the point of despair and see before them the living reality of chaos and say, "We're falling into chaos! Everyone get back, get back, go back, we've been deceived," and thus return to the path which leads them to God, and for our Orthodox Faith to shine. God works in mysterious ways and doesn't want to influence man's freedom. He arranges things so that slowly, slowly, man goes where he is supposed to.

I am not afraid of hell and I do not think about Paradise. I only ask God to have mercy on the entire world as well as on me.

You mustn't wage your Christian struggle with sermons and arguments, but with true secret love. When we argue, others react. When we love people, they are moved and we win them over. When we love we think that we offer something to others, but in reality we are the first to benefit.

What can politicians do for you? They are confused by their psychical passions. When a person is unable to help himself, how can he help others?

Elder Porphyrious

Never be jealous of wealth. Always live modestly and humbly, without egotism. egotism is a terrible sin. When you hear someone being accused, even though it may be true, never add more accusations, but always say something positive and be sorry for the person. take care to always love the poor, the elderly, the orphans, the sick. Spend time with poor people and with those who others humble. Earn your living with the honest sweat of your brow. Don't forget to give alms. this is the path you must tread. Always think of what good thing you will do. These are the things that make up the life of a Christian.

Don't be sad, for we will all depart from here. We are passing travelers. We came here to show our works and to leave.

Elder George


margaret said...

Thank you for the photo of Elder Iakovos - trivial compared to what you've been quoting, I know, but I have been thinking a lot about orthodox vestments recently and lamenting the lack of hand embroidery so it was very nice to see this.

And I will print out the first and the last and put them where I can see them most of the time.

James the Thickheaded said...

Thanks for posting these. The more you think on them, the harder it is to pick a favorite (I tried).