Sunday, July 12, 2015

Spiritual education consists of deliverance from the passions and especially from egotism.

My blessed child, I pray that the Heavenly Father grants you discernment so that you can discern the truth from the devil’s lie. Concerning the first thought that you wrote about, I reply: Didn’t God declare that Job was blameless? Then why did He permit trials so severe that he reached such a difficult situation that he cursed the day of his birth? Nevertheless, all this was permitted in order to teach him, of course; for this is what the Lord usually does: first He tests and then He shows His love. 

The love of God is manifested not only when He caresses, but also when He slaps. If the Heavenly Father slaps us, He reveals through this that He loves us. If God did not consider us His children, He would not have sent us trials but would have abandoned us as we are: spiritually uneducated, without any solicitude. 

In the order world, the ones nearest the Lord will be those who have been educated in soul and wise in spiritual struggles. And because He loves us wretched ones and wants to honor us, He educate us spiritually here, in the University of Monasticism. But since we are inexperienced as to how Divine Providence works, we blame God, asking why He should send us trials, and thus we jeopardize our eternal happiness through our ignorance. 

Spiritual education consists of deliverance from the passions and especially from egotism. So, my child, let us struggle not to condemn; let us say, “Bless”, and, “May it be blessed”. Let us have genuine love. And when do we have genuine love? When we do not condemn the others, but justify them.

Elder Ephraim of Arizona

“Blessed is the man who hopes in Him.” (cf. Ps. 33:8 ).

Why are you sorrowful and glum while walking along the way of God? Those who have forgotten God, who have no hope in the living and eternal fountain of God, should grieve. But we, who believe in the living God and whose hopes depend upon Him, ought to rejoice that we have such a Father in the heavens, Who loves us more than all fathers and mothers and Who takes infinite care to render us worthy of Him. 

But, you say, we fall every moment! Yes, I do not deny it—but we know that our nature is from clay and that it desires the earth and seeks what is base, for “the mind of man is inclined to evil from his youth.” (cf. Gen. 8:21 ). And we see within us a law which seeks to capture our free will, to subjugate it and render it a slave of sin. (cf. Rom. 7:23 ). 

In all this, however, our good intention triumphs. God has given us spiritual weapons to fight against every satanic attack: the glorious banner of the cross of hope—living hope in Him Who said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (cf. Heb. 13:5 )—hope in our Christ, who was hanged on the Cross, and all who look upon Him and hope in Him will not be put to shame. 

The all-immaculate Blood which was poured out on the Cross pardoned the sins of mankind and poured forth life. “Blessed is the man who hopes in Him.” (cf. Ps. 33:8 ).

Take courage, my child; this grief of yours will turn into joy. This grief produces great good for you; it surrounds you as with a breastplate of iron, so that the evil darts of attachment to earthly things do not tear your mind away from the concern for heavenly things and for your immortal soul. 

Grief will succeed joy, and joy, grief, just as night follows day. This is how the Father of lights has established the path of those who are being saved. Just have patience and hope: engrave these in the depths of your heart—with these, all adversities will be faced. Cling to our sweet Jesus; cry out to Him in your afflictions. 

Entrust to Him the care of grievous things and He will do good to you, as to Hannah, the mother of the Prophet Samuel, who out of extreme grief because of her barrenness, fell down before the Lord and poured out her soul as if beside herself. And her petition did not fail. [vid. 1 Kings (1 Sam. ) 1:1-18 ]. 

Who ever hoped in God and was put to shame? Of course, this does not mean blameworthy hope but active hope—that is, hope along with spiritual works according to our strength; otherwise, it is not hope but mockery. Save us from such deceitful hope, O God.

Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Όσον μεγάλα και αν είναι τα αμαρτήματα, αφού προσεγγίσουν τη μετανοία, διελύθησαν.

Δια την λύπην που έχεις εις την ψυχήν σου ένεκεν των αμαρτιών, καλόν είναι και ωφέλιμον. Μόνον όταν σε οδηγή εις την απόγνωσιν, τότε είναι καθαρώς δαιμονικόν. Αμέσως να στρέφεσαι προς την ελπίδα και να λέγης: «Εφ’ όσον μετανοώ δι’ όλα, ελπίζω ότι όλα μου είναι συγκεχωρημένα. Δεν υπάρχει αμάρτημα νικών την ευσπλαχνίαν του Θεού. 

Όσον μεγάλα και αν είναι τα αμαρτήματα, αφού προσεγγίσουν τη μετανοία, διελύθησαν. Ω βάθος ταπεινώσεως, ανεξικακίας και ευσπλαχνίας του Κυρίου».

Ας λάβουν θάρρος, όλοι όσοι υπάρχουν βαρυποινίται, ότι υπάρχει Θεός, ο οποίος ου λογίζεται ό,τι κακόν και αν πράξωμεν προς Αυτόν, συγχωρεί πάσαν αμαρτίαν, μόνον να μετανοήσωμεν ειλικρινά. Υπόμεινε, παιδί μου, τας δοκιμασίας και ευ σοι γένηται, υπομονή, ναι, υπομονή, και αύτη θα μας ανοίξη τας πύλας του παραδείσου.

Γέροντας Εφραίμ της Αριζόνας

«Θλίψεις και ανάγκαι εύροσάν με…, αι εντολαί Σου μελέτη μου…» ( Ψαλμ. 118,143 ).

Αγαπητέ μου εν Χριστώ αδελφέ…, η χάρις της Κυρίας ημών Θεοτόκου να σε διαφυλάττη από κάθε τι, που θα λερώση την ψυχούλα σου. Αμήν.
«Θλίψεις και ανάγκαι εύροσάν με…, αι εντολαί Σου μελέτη μου…» ( Ψαλμ. 118,143 ).

Αι θλίψεις διαδέχονται η μία την άλλην, έχομεν ανάγκην υπομονής. Μελετώντας δε τον θείον Νόμον, φωτιζόμεθα πώς να τας υπομένωμεν, διατί έρχονται, ποίον σκοπόν έχουν. Έρχονται δια να μας διδάξουν το να γίνωμεν φερέπονοι, δόκιμοι αγωνισταί, οπαδοί Εκείνου, που εσταυρώθη δι’ ημάς, αδελφοί όλων των Αγίων, που εβάδισαν την ακανθώδη οδόν του Σταυρού, οι μάρτυρες με το μαρτύριον, οι όσιοι με την άσκησιν, οι Χριστιανοί με την τήρησιν των αγίων εντολών και τους ποικίλους πειρασμούς, που γεννά ο κόσμος, ο διάβολος και η σάρκα. 

Ουδείς εσώθη εν ανέσει και άνευ πειρασμών. Άρα έπεται ότι, εάν και ημείς υποφέρωμεν πειρασμούς, πρέπει να χαιρώμεθα, διότι έτσι εβάδισαν όσοι εσώθησαν. Και εφ’ όσον και ημείς θέλομεν να σωθώμεν, άλλος δρόμος δεν υπάρχει, ει μη αι θλίψεις!

Αι θλίψεις έρχονται με τον σκοπόν να μας φέρουν πλησιέστερα προς τον Θεόν. Διότι αι θλίψεις θλίβουν, στενοχωρούν την καρδίαν και ακολουθεί κατόπιν το να απαλυνθή και να ταπεινωθεί. Όταν δε ταπεινωθή, επιβλέπει προς αυτήν ο Θεός: 
« Καρδίαν συντετριμμένην και τεταπεινωμένην ο Θεός ουκ εξουδενώσει», « Επί τίνα επιβλέψω, ει μη ασμών στενοχωρείται και λυπείται, καθ’ ον χρόνον έπρεπε να χαίρεται, διότι βαδίζει τον δρόμον του ιερού Γολγοθά και των Αγίων.
Η χάρις του Θεού, η τα ασθενή θεραπεύουσα και τα ελλείποντα αναπληρούσα, ας βοηθήση όλους μας να κάμνωμεν υπομονήν εις όλα, ίνα αξιωθώμεν της βασιλείας του Θεού. Αμήν.

Γέροντας Εφραίμ της Αριζόνας

Πατρικαι Νουθεσίαι.
Περί θλίψεων, πόνων και κόπων.