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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wisdom From Elder Ephraim of Philotheou, Mt. Athos & Arizona


Compel yourselves in the JESUS Prayer: this will become everything to you -- food and drink and clothing and light and consolation and spiritual life. This prayer becomes everything for him who possesses it. Without it, the emptiness of the soul cannot be satisfied. Do you want to love CHRIST? Long for the Prayer and embrace humility, and then you will realize that the Kingdom of GOD is within us.

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The Christian struggle is glorious, for the prize is not something ephemeral, but it is eternal glory up in heaven! Blessed is he who is wise in GOD, for no account will be demanded of him, and he will not find himself in a difficult position when GOD calls him to give an account for his time on earth.

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May the grace of CHRIST be with you, within your soul, my child, to enlighten and increase your love for HIM, so that you may be kept near HIM and not be swept away by the current of worldliness and fall away from GOD and lose your immortal soul, which is more than the entire world. The amount of grace that came to you is small; the saints, though, had much grace. In order to increase it, you must humble yourself. If you become proud it will leave, and then you will weep. So be very careful to bear in mind your sins and passions, so that vainglory will not sprout in you and drive away the JESUS Prayer.

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"Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid (Gospel of St. John 14:27)." My children, trust that GOD will not let us be tempted beyond our strength; along with the temptation will come the help of GOD. Our CHRIST tells us that if they hated ME they will also hate you (Gospel of St. John 15:18). If they persecuted and blasphemed and cursed ME, they will also persecute and blaspheme and curse you. And they will do these things to you because they do not know GOD and "they know not what they do (St. Luke 23:43)." We, my children, know GOD, and because we love HIM and are HIS, the world hates us, since it does not agree with HIM. Therefore have courage, my children; we are followers of the ONE WHO was crucified by them; so too we will be crucified by trials and temptations. Just as HE was resurrected, we too will be resurrected and glorified together with HIM unto the ages of ages.

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Do not grieve your Elder or your brother monk, for immediately your peace of soul stops, the JESUS Prayer ceases, and you are full of thoughts. The cure is: Confession, burning tears, and sincerely grieving others. Be careful, if you have something against your Elder, be careful, for the devil will crush you and mislead you easily.

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Man is easily corrupted; he falls easily; he is changeable, mutable, prone to fall. GOD knows this because HE formed us. HE made us human. But HE also gave us the grace to repent; HE has given us the power to arise. Why didn't you do this? When HE reproves you through your conscience and exhorts you through the Scriptures to repent, and you do not do so, then the condemnation and punishment begin.

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The remembrance of GOD is an all-powerful weapon, a mighty suit of armor against satan and the various sins. When the mind ceases to remember GOD and meditate upon divine things, man is overcome by negligence, indolence, forgetfulness, and then by evil desires! If you see your mind rushing towards the world, know that your soul lacks divine consolation, which is why it turns to the world for consolation. When a person's soul is warm towards GOD, he is enlightened and feels compunction, and it is impossible for his mind to incline towards the world at the same time. The soul inclines towards the world when it is united, in a sense, with GOD.

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Do not be disheartened; do not lose courage. Sometimes the holy nurse -- the grace of GOD -- leaves us, and we fall into ridiculous and indecent thoughts, and sometimes even words, so that we might be humbled and not think highly of ourselves, but rather become aware of our weakness, that we are unable to do any good without the grace of GOD.

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We owe thousands of thanks to the sweetest HEAVENLY FATHER, WHO providentially allows painful events to occur in our lives, so that we will not find ourselves in the other world incapable of showing that we endured something for the sake of HIS Love.

--Elder Ephraim of Philotheou

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