Today there are many who strive to corrupt everything: the family, the youth, the Church. In our day it’s a true witness to speak up for one’s people, for the state is waging war against divine law. Its laws are directed against the Law of God.

But we are responsible for not letting the enemies of the Church corrupt everything. Though I’ve heard even priests say: “Don’t get involved in that. It’s none of your business!” If they had reached such a non-striving condition through prayer I would kiss their feet. But no! They’re indifferent because they want to please everyone and live in comfort.

Indifference is unacceptable even for laymen, and all the more so for the clergy. An honest, spiritual man doesn’t do anything with indifference. “Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully”, says the Prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 48:10). There’s a war on today, a holy war. I must be on the front lines. There are so many Marxists, so many Masons, so many Satanists and assorted others! So many possessed, anarchists and seduced ones! I see what awaits us, and it’s painful for me. The bitter taste of human pain is in my mouth.

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.

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.

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.

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 Communion—is a Sacrament. One has to prepare for it and have a clean conscience.

If sincere repentance and humility are absent—the prerequisites for a person to feel that God’s mercy is vital to them—then external asceticism and self-coercion alone will bring one to a state of spiritual delusion.

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.

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.

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.

St. Paisios the Hagiorite


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