July 12, 2009

Video of Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi with Translation (3)

[Below is a rough translation which hopefully will help someone with better skills than me to offer a more accurate translation. -J.S.]

Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi

Subject: Admonition to Monks. Egoism and the Cutting of the Will (1 of 3 videos)

1st minute -- We wanted to thank again our Christ who has brought us together in Himself. In order to show us that in fact his paternal affection and love is with us. Today you had sort of a feast in this great synaxis and gathering here. Of course each has their own spiritual significance. And here you must understand that which I tell you often: that people come to Vatopaidi, everything you see here, because I believe there is something spiritual here.

2nd minute -- And this spiritual thing we must hold on to and incorporate to reawaken our own brotherhood and that of our nation. I, in order to remind you, did not have any competence, but I honored the respect and honor you gave in my community to help, so that the relationship between us in love could unite our bond to be even closer. This is all of our strength. And we must remember, of course, that our aim is repentence. This is why I am here. But now I was meditating on something in Paul so as to find help...

3rd minute -- ...because in the midst of the repentance we live in there are also great traps of the devil to disturb us. Which is why beforehand we prepare ourselves so that we do not get terrified. Paul says concerning sin "I do that which I do not want, and that which I want to do I can't. And even though I see within myself the law of good that it dwells within me, at the same time I see the law of evil within me and there begins a war" (Rom. 2). And here, exactly, is where we need the assistance of divine grace in order to withstand the war. Otherwise we won't be able to, because this law of perversion within us is not natural to us but an unnatural energy which pulls us by force.

4th minute -- And if we don't hold on to with exactness our submission to God so that our mother grace stays within us, then we will not withstand. Because the devil...look we try daily to live repentance according to each one's strength. But then suddenly, with no reason, their comes to us some sort of grief, trouble, disappointment or discouragement - "Where are my clothes?", "I don't know anything", "I don't know where I am". All these are alterations and you should know they are tools of repentance. We did not flee to the warmth of our Christ...

5th minute -- ...so that through repentance we can receive His love. Because He fulfilled everything by his divine epiphany. He saw as God that our fall was not only in being exiled from Paradise, but in the distortion of our personhood. And there exists because of this these alterations. For this out of His great love He lowered Himself further and gave us repentance. And now this repentance is our target and aim and for this we must be very careful, because the whole aim of repentance is practical, but it is not a practical energy - this is blasphemous to say!

6th minute -- Our purpose is to chase away all evil because we don't want it within us. We do this practically by divine grace. Divine grace takes the place of a mother and stays beside us to see what we are thinking, what do we want, what do we prefer on the practical level. But then she gets involved to bring in freedom, and resurrection and salvation. This is the word I want you to be very aware of. The repentance that we do, even if we don't do it right unfortunately, because if we do it right we must be careful as to what is the divine will and on this alone must we hang.

7th minute -- Our first commandment and duty is to love God. He says: "By this will I know if you love Me, if you have my commandments and do them" (Jn. 14). If we don't love Him we won't do them. Therefore we must protect the commandments. Now what are the commandments? We read it last time also. The commandments are not orders of a despot or lord to complete. They are the medicine by which healing comes to our distortions. Because when you think about there works within us that which is unreasonable and practically because of the fall we do not have much guilt because we are far from the blame. The devil is near our nous however and he shoots arrows at our nous continuously.

8th minute -- This is why mother grace is illusive. The purpose of it all is to offer confession or denial. The denial of the divine will was the fall. The denial of the divine will, individualism, and selfishness were the catastrophy. And for this did the Son of the Living God come to show us on a practical level the way of repentance which leads to a return into Him. Because the fall happened practically we didn't think our thoughts went against God and for this we were hanged. No, we applied it practically and we got up and said: "We don't need God, we can be by ourselves."

9th minute -- ...And because of this that which was forbidden because it was deadly the devil said it would be beneficial. And we went and we ate for our benefit and the fall occurred practically with individualism and selfishness as part of the fall. The meaning of repentance is here. Now we must practically show through our will that we do not associate with the aim of unreasonableness. Have this within your mind and take great care. A monk is known as one who guards his mind. Which is why we are here, because of the fall. The mind does not stop.

10th minute -- The devil does not leave it alone. If therefore the monk is repenting, but with his mind is in dialogue with the unreasonableness, how is it possible that mother grace which is holy will come and dwell in a body of sin? When the mind practically has a dialogue with unreasonableness grace does not come. And if grace does not come all is lost for nothing.