Wednesday, November 4, 2015

28 Spiritual Counsels of Saint George Karslides


1. "Mother,* your hair turned white, you've grown old, you will depart from this earth - what will you find in the other world? Your plate is empty and your oil lamp is extinguished."

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2. "Mother, Tamama, where were you and now I can see you?"

"Well Elder, didn't you see me? I was at Vespers yesterday, and today at the Liturgy. Didn't you see me?"

"I didn't see you in church. I saw your clothes, but I didn't see you.

"Father, I left a hen with ten little birds at my house and my mind was there."

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3. "My child, Euthymia, you will not say anything against your mother-in-law. Because, whatever your mother-in-law said, she had on her lips."

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4. On Christmas Eve my husband wanted to sleep with me. I deterred him. After two years I was at the Monastery, and the Elder as soon as he saw me, said: "My mother, I've never seen such a mess. For a couple to mingle on Christmas Eve? Such things make paralyzed children and then they run to save them."

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5. One day the Elder sat outside my house. A woman came and for some time discussed things with him. The Elder praised someone she knew. Then the woman said to him:

"Why, Father, do you praise her so?"

"My mother, what has she not done? She woke up with the dead (that is, she would spend the night in the homes where someone was dead), she helped orphans, she built bridges, and distributed alms."

"Father, I never heard good things about her."

"You heard the bad things but didn't hear the good? You heard the things that were distorted about her, but your own matters you are unaware of."

"Father, what did I, the poor thing, do?"

"When you weigh half an oca as a whole and steal from the scale, are you not aware of it? You work for the devil. You hold others account but you do not weigh your own?"

The woman remained silent and lowered her head.

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6. On the day of the Dormition of the Theotokos 4 or 5 women came to see him after returning from a Baptism that took place in the village. As soon as he saw them, he said: "You went to the Baptism and you left gossiping about the food they offered you, whether it was good or not?"

They looked at him and smiled.

The Elder told them sternly: "Don't laugh. It is very bad when someone feeds you and for you to criticize what they offered you."

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7. "God cares for everyone. Despair is basically lack of faith."

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8. "Do not sit during the Divine Liturgy. Your mind should not fly around here and there. As long as you are in the church you should make the decision to spend the entire time in prayer."

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9. To a woman who left a mother helpless as she was giving birth and the child died, he was very stern to her ruthlessness. After confession he told her:

"To be forgiven, you will go to your house, and you will beg very much for the Panagia to help you to fulfill your penance. You are to go and beg in seven villages. From morning till night you will beg in one village, and whatever you have gathered you will distribute to the poor and the orphans. You will do this for an entire week."

The woman asked if she could just distribute her own money, to not expose her family. But the Elder insisted:

"This sin is not forgiven with money, but with begging, that you may be humbled, and for selfishness to depart from you, to drop your nose to the ground."

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10. To someone who decided to dissolve his marriage because his mother-in-law intervened indiscriminately in his house, the Elder said the following: "A wife you cannot break away from easily. God gave her to you, and with her you will suffer."

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11. He said to a certain pilgrim about a dispute: "He did this to you, you did this to him, he did this to you, and again you did this to him. These things never end. You should not have continued to return the evil."

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12. "Promises to God must not be broken."

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13. "Do not just think about what you will eat, what you will wear, how big the house you build will be. Knock on the doors of the poor, the sick, the orphans. Prefer the homes of the sad rather than the joyful. If you do good works, you will have a great reward from God, and in the next life you will have immense joy."

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14. "Always live modestly and humbly, without selfishness. Always make sure to love the elderly, the orphans, the sick. Socialize with the poor and people that others humiliate."

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15. The Elder said to a pilgrim of the Monastery: "To the poor man who asked you to give him bread you did not give, and now you came to do forty liturgies to make a display?"

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16. "The Panagia does not want large candles, rather she wants alms given to the poor."

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17. He said to a woman that met him at the Monastery: "Why do you go every day to church and you have not forgiven your children?"

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18. To a young woman he said: "For the love you showed your bedridden mother you did well. God has forgiven you everything."

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19. "When the farmer starts to plow in order to sow, he sees everything before him and proceeds, not turning to look behind him and God protects him."

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20. The Elder said that what saves a person is "the good works of God, humility, obedience, love and almsgiving."

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21. Although he was surrounded by so many people, that appreciated him and loved him very much, the Elder felt alone. There was no one who understood him well, to imitate him, to succeed him. He found rest in the Lord's will. In moments of sincerity and pain he exclaimed: "Many are the sheep, but very little is the milk."

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22. "I cannot bear to see evil. We are all sinners. And only by walking on the earth and wearing flesh each of our steps is also a sin."

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23. "The world rolls in its sin and does not understand it. These things tire me; I cannot stand it."

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24. "All of us will leave this life. We are passing from here. We came here to show our works then leave."

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25. Before he reposed, he told a spiritual child: "My child, I passed this life in black and white. Let's see what you will do. How will you spend it?"

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26. "Men must avoid entering into sexual relations on Sundays and on feast days in order to not give birth to handicapped children."

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27. If the Elder loved someone, he turned his ear. He did not regard dancing a sin. He himself danced the Pontian dances.

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28. A few days before his venerable repose, he would see the mountains and say: "Blessed mountains, you will remain alone." It was as if he was saying good-bye to them.

* St. George called older women "Mother", which is fairly common in Greece, even when directed to strangers.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Four Additional Spiritual Counsels of St. George

- "If you pray without giving alms, your prayer is dead. Your hands should always be open. Give alms to orphans and widows. Alms and prayers go together."

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- "Strive to intensify your faith, and during the Divine Liturgy be undistracted and attached to the celebration of the service so that you might be granted to behold the majesties of God."

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- "Neither should wealth impress you, nor honor, but always walk justly. Eat your bread with your honorable sweat and not through unjust means. The things you gain honorably, do not squander aimlessly. Live honorably and humbly, and as much as possible extend your hands in almsgiving."

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- "Love all your fellow men, even your enemies. This is the most basic thing. Always love not only those who love us, but also those who hate us. Let us forgive them and love them all even if they have done us the greatest evil; then we are truly children of God. Then our own sins are also forgiven...Always preach love. This is the most basic law of God: love and love alone."

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