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Thursday, April 7, 2011

From Elder Ephraim of Katounakia


"I was making some prostrations once, when the following thought occurred to me: “Where you kneel and make prostrations, there the feet of Christ are”. I instantly fell to the floor and started kissing the ground where Christ had stepped. I literally kissed it. These things come by themselves, you cannot provoke them. This is grace, my brother."

"Everyone has a cross to carry. Why? Since the leader of our faith endured the cross, we will also endure it. On one hand, the cross is sweet and light, but, on the other, it can also be bitter and heavy. It depends on our will. If you bear Christ’s cross with love then it will be very light; like a sponge or a cork. But if you have a negative attitude, it becomes heavy; too heavy to lift."

"I do not blame you for committing various sins, even serious ones. No, I don’t. You are human. But I do blame you for not confessing them. Did you fall? Run to your spiritual father. Did you fall? Confess everything to your spiritual father. Remember St. Mary of Egypt? The very first thing she did was to confess her sins."

"There was a young girl who went to St. Nektarios’ monastery in order to become a nun. While she was still a novice St. Nektarios said to her: “My child, we have about ten sheep. Take them to the field to pasture.” “Let it be blessed”, she said. After a couple of days, she went to confess her thought: “Elder”, she said, “a thought is disturbing me. I am here to become a nun, not a shepherd.” “My dear child”, he replied, “whenever I cense in the church I see you standing there in service.’ Although the young nun may have been a shepherd (she spent many hours out of the monastery), her mind was on the Jesus prayer; her thought was in the church and therefore St. Nektarios could see her there."

"Once at a monastery, the priest was censing during the service, and bypassed a father without censing him. Afterwards, the father asked the priest: “Father, why didn’t you cense me?” “Forgive me, elder, I did not see you at the service.” “But, father, I was standing right there in the service”, he said. “No, I did not see you.” When the others listened to their dispute, they said to the elder, “Elder, the priest is insightful; he knows what he is saying.” The father thought for a moment… “Well, the priest is right,’ he admitted, “my mind was wandering all over the place.” The cause behind this was his distracted mind.

“Having a peaceful and serene mind depends entirely on you. It does not depend on temptations or your fellow struggler’s behavior. You yourself will be responsible for your salvation. When you long for your salvation and struggle hard, then the outcome will be according to your wish.
“I myself do not make sure that I pray; I only make sure than I am obedient.”
Man should struggle as long as he lives. His first fight is against his own self upon which he must prevail. Man’s main enemy is not the devil. It is man himself who is a threat to his own self, for he does
not listen to others; he only listens to his own thoughts… our ego rules us."


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