My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
WHAT IS OF GOD, AND OF WHAT THE ENEMY (SATAN)?
By Saint Paisius Velichkovsky
Little Russian Philokalia, Vol. IV
[For your information: Philokalia means "love of the beautiful and good." It was the name given to a celebrated 18th -century collection of Greek mystical texts on the Christian spiritual life, teaching the path to True sobriety and the fullness of union with God.
This "Little Russian Philokalia" is a new collection of Ascetic texts from Russian sources, chiefly of the 18th century through 20th centuries.]
How is one to judge of a good deed, when one thought inclines us to do it, and another, on the contrary, counsels against it? How can one know in this case whether this is God's will, or a temptation from the enemy (Satan)?
The enemy likes to hide the truth and to mix good with evil. But how can one find out the Truth? God's goodwill and all our intentions are meek, full of good hope, and undoubting. Not only in our good deeds, but also in our lawlessness, God endures long with meekness and awaits our repentance. And how can one distinguish the impulse of the enemy? The enemy usually hinders us and turns us away from good. However, if in anything which apparently is good, the mind is disturbed and causes us disturbance, banishes the fear of God, deprives us of calmness, so that without any reason the heart aches and the mind wavers, then know that this is an impulse from the enemy and cut if off. What is from the enemy (Satan) is full of disturbance and is disquieting, and it makes our mind doubt all our intentions. We should not believe the disposition of our heart in all things, but we should reason whether this disposition is profitable. But when our mind is confined by thoughts (logismoi) and darkness from the enemy, then one must leave off entirely every thought (logismo) and reasoning. For then, the thoughts like some muddy water rise up in the mind, or like a cloud they wander, and the senses of the soul become insensitive to everything. Therefore, he who desires to know the truth, let him arouse himself for a long time to fervent prayer, and to the work which he desires. During the time of prayer the enemy cannot conceal the Truth, since then he has no power. You can experience the Truth of such faith in deeds. May there be glory to Our God unto the ages. Amen.
On Undoubting Faith
He who believes in God's Providence undoubtingly does not concern himself with worry over what kind of death he will happen to die, whether from men, or from wild beasts, or from hunger, or from the heaviness of great labors, or from any other occasion. There will not be two deaths, and the one no one can escape. However, one who has once placed himself in God's care for all his needs, for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, and who has died to the world, will no longer be concerned about how he will die. He who has once placed his hope in God no longer is concerned over himself, and in whatever he does, in everything, he will find profit for his soul. But let such a one know that he who gives himself over to all sorrows for the sake of God will find salvation in any place. According to our faith, the grace of God also is given to us. If faith is small, little will be given. If we believe more, we all be vouchsafed more grace for patience. God expects from us only the goodwill of our mind. But the decrees of God are unattainable, unfathomable, and therefore we must in patience save our own souls. "He who endures to the end will be saved," through Christ Jesus Our Lord. To Him may there be glory now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
I implore and exhort you, my beloved fathers, brethren, and children, in the following: Love the Lord with all thy soul and all thy heart. Be righteous and just, submissive, with bowed head and your mind turned towards heaven. Have contrition towards God and men. Be a consoler of the sorrowful, patient in trials, and not given to irritation, bountiful, merciful, a feeder of the poor, receiver of strangers, sorrowful for the sake of sins, joyful in God, hungry and thirsty, meek, patient, not a lover of glory, not a lover of gold, a lover of your neighbor, not hypocritical, not proud, a lover of labor for the sake of God, silent, pleasant in replies, fervent in fasting, in frequent prayers, vigils, and psalm-singing, sensible. Do not judge any man, but condemn yourself. And for this you will be the child of the Gospel, the son of the Resurrection, the inheritor of life in Christ Jesus Our Lord. To Him may there be honor and power and worship with the Father and the Most Holy Spirit, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
O Lord, hear my prayer, give ear to my supplications in Your Truth; hear me in Your Righteousness. Do not enter into judgment, with Your servant, for in Your sight no one is justified. For the enemy has persecuted by soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me dwell in darkness, like those who have long been dead, and my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is distressed. I remember the days of old; I meditated on all Your works: I pondered on the work of Your hands. I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You, like a thirsty land.
Hear me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails. Do not turn Your face away from me, lest I be like those who go down into the pit. Cause me to hear Your mercy in the morning, for in You I have put my trust. Cause me to know, O Lord, the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You. Rescue me, Lord, from my enemies; to You have I fled for refuge. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. Your Good Spirit shall lead me in the land of uprightness. For Your name's sake, O Lord, You shall quicken me. In Your Righteousness You shall bring my soul out of trouble, and in Your mercy, You shall utterly destroy my enemies. And You shall destroy all those who afflict my soul; for I am Your servant.
God and Us
"How mistaken are those people who seek happiness outside of themselves, in foreign lands and journeys, in riches and glory, in great possessions and pleasures, in diversions and vain things, which have a bitter end! In the same thing to construct the tower of happiness outside of ourselves as it is to build a house in a place that is consistently shaken by earthquakes. Happiness is found within ourselves, and blessed is the man who has understood this. Happiness is a pure heart, for such a heart becomes the throne of God. Thus says Christ of those who have pure hearts: "I will visit them, and will walk in them, and I will be a God to them, and they will be my people" (2 Cor. 6:16).
What can be lacking to them? Nothing, nothing at all! For they have the greatest good in their hearts: God Himself! (Saint Nektarios of Aegina, Path to Happiness, I)
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God