February 22, 2010

On the Rarity of Brave People Today

by Elder Paisios the Athonite

"Brave people are rare in our times. People today are lukewarm. That's why if - God forbid - a war breaks out, some will die out of fear. Others will fall on the street from some minor hardship, because they are so used to comforts."

"In the past, people were so brave! In the Monastery of the Flavians in Asia Minor, the Turks had captured a man and slaughtered him. Then they told his wife, 'Either you deny Christ, or we will kill your children too.' And she replied, 'My husband is now with Christ, and I entrust my children to Christ and I will not renounce Christ.' What bravery! If Christ is not in us, how can there be such bravery? Today, people without Christ are building their home on rubble."

"If one does not start sacrificing something now, like giving up some desire or selfishness, how will he ever be able to sacrifice his life at a given time? If, even now, he thinks of the labor, and tries to avoid working a little harder than the next person, how will he ever attain the state of risking his own life to save another's? ... When there is no spirit of sacrifice, everyone looks only to save himself."