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Friday, July 2, 2010

Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi (1921-2009): Fatherly Teachings

- All Merciful Lord, You who have not despised us in our deficiencies, but instead wore our nature and lowered Yourself to our level and even down to Hell to pull us out of there. Please transfer unto us the essentials of Your love, All Merciful, and banish the malicious wickedness which the enemy has pressed inside us.

- Every Crucifixion is followed by the Resurrection, like spring follows winter. But if our times are only the preamble of what is coming, how much more difficult will the future be?

- Man’s divided personality which was the result of the expulsion from Paradise, creates divisions and separations. This is the whole point: To be able to stand other people’s weaknesses and not to judge them, no matter who he is and what he believes in. He needs our forbearance and our patience.

- The various temptations neither get sleepy nor tired! Even though they are always beneficial, they are intense and tiring. It is only after our souls open up with the love for trials and head towards humility, that temptations somehow become more tolerable and even desirable.

- Had we been able to use self contempt we would perhaps be able to derive some benefit, because nothing happens without God.

- There is scorching heat in the world, inside us and outside, morally and physically. The All-Merciful Lord forced even nature to comply with human purposes, in order to show responsibility in human intentions.

- Distress is everywhere, temptations have increased during our difficult times and everywhere you go you hear cries of anguish. We pray, but for whom first, for how much and when? May the Lord have mercy on all of us.

- Beware, believe, pray and get on with the struggle. There are difficult times ahead. May our Lord save us from the events which will take place to tempt those living on earth.

- This is the great injury which befell on man: he lost his faith as a basis and as a principle. Therefore he has no recourse to remedy!

- Everything is resolved by patience and perseverance. The more people forget the meaning of the cross, the more wickedness increases and is amplified by the different pressures which occur both naturally and by various means. Blessed is he who remains alert and prays.

- What can one say about temptations? Which ones? The present or those coming? The present ones have either passed or are still at work, but they are softer than those on the way and therefore, we must realize that it is necessary to be prepared more now than we have done in the past.

- We now live in the times for which the Fathers prophecied that “those living on earth will be tempted”. Everything points to the fact that we must love Christ and understand the meaning of the cross, which nowadays has special relevance.

- All that is human is changing and shifting and transformed… but we remain the same and sometimes we fight with…. ourselves.

- Persecution and sorrow are distinctive of our times, in this unjust world we live in. These are not even the preamble of what the future has in store for us in order to promote social justice. Therefore, do not wonder why all these are taking place, but face everything with perseverance, patience and prayer.

- In each and every day there are temptations, sicknesses, divorces and adventures. One hears of them and is constantly distressed! What has the world come to, by denying God! We have become a jungle, a human butchery shop. May the Lord have mercy on us.

- I am watching how evil has assumed an immense force which consumes everything day by day. Sin is not only committed but has control over and has everything enslaved. How much care and courage we need!

- We need to have courage and turn wholeheartedly and firmly towards God because it won’t be long when even the prudent and the sensible will be deceived.

- No one should be afraid of wickedness which is spreading in the world, because the Lord will not leave His own children alone, even if the evil is becoming more organized. “The One who is inside us is greater than the one who is in the world”.

- Do not be scared. You will not be lost. The Grace of our Jesus will not abandon us neither will the prayers of our fathers and our elders.

- I remain with you day and night, I hold you in my arms and I suffer for you. I am watching over you and pray, weeping for you, my children.

- Since you are under the law of obedience do not be afraid of temptation. What will they do to you? They only throw droplets and spit at you! Do not be frightened. You will neither rescind your vows nor will you abdicate.

- How could I ever imagine, that Grace would allow me to have so many spiritual children and such a brotherhood? I, an insignificant villager? That’s why I weep and pray: “My Lord, withdraw from me the waves of your grace…”

- Mankind, especially today, seeks mercy. Of course nowdays there are very few people who have mercy. But again, there were never that many in the first place.
We are all sitting inside God’s palm, Who is full of love. Let Him do unto us whatever He wishes.

- Blessed is he, who did not permit his enthusiasm to cool down.

- Blessed is he, who did not permit his faith diminish towards his Elder.

- Faith, devoutness, self denial and respect for the Elder. The more you have the more you get.

- The Devil has lost all restraint and moves freely with his own worshippers, whether they are found in politics or inside the Church. Who can describe those events that are in store for us? We need courage and patience.

- When the times of ‘fat cows’ (good times) are here, the ‘thin cows’ (difficult times) are just around the corner! But here the issue is deeper. When in practice there is real contact among people with the same thinking, they all necessarily participate in the events and suffer in the same way and to the same extent. This cannot be done in any other way.

- It is no use to retreat and be a coward. This is not the natural way of doing things because there is no reason for it. It is rather a wave of devastation and a typhoon which have swept the place and the world has descended into darkness and frost.

- Spiritual variations are not nullified during the spiritual trials, but they adapt according to the state the warrior is found in. Solomon’s words: “there is time for everything” are applicable here.

- As far as children are concerned, the only way to succeed with them and to be able to have better results is to show them love. This is the only thing that, either directly or indirectly, has any gains and never misses its target, even though sometimes children seem to ignore it. Love will definitely bear fruit in the future, if not straight away.

- It is very difficult to bring up children these days, since wickedness has overcome everything! Loving behavior will convince them, when it is applied softly rather harshly.

- Children would like to feel their parents’ love. Neither clothes nor jewelry have any value for them. As soon as they grow up a little, they will recognize that all these are worthless and will throw them away. But they will be left with their parents’ love and understanding. This is the big gain!

- You must keep three principles: Austerity for yourselves, sympathy for your fellow men and faith to God. All these attract God’s Grace and Mercy.

- Faith in the Lord solves everything because everything is derived from Him. He alone has granted us His own comprehension. He alone has held us near Him, despite our trespasses. He alone has united us and bonded us devotedly and sturdily with His grace. How is it possible to believe that He will abandon us if we believe in His own declarations?

- We need patience, peace and perseverance. Nothing more and nothing less. The coming events are only presenting themselves so that man can be tested, since our Lord’s love is well known, together with His promise that He has prepared our place so that we can live like kings among all the saints in eternal life.

- God’s gifts are not erratic and His declarations are definite. Take heed of the spiritual variations and do not lose heart when the ‘thin cows’ (difficult times) replace the ‘fat ones’ (good times).

- Persevere in prayer, my dear children, because the time, which our Fathers have described, is at hand and who can safely say that he can stand before the Lord’s throne?

- We must be watchful all the time because the evil one neither sleeps nor hesitates, but seeks out someone to devour. This does not mean that we will get frightened or hesitate, but we must use self-contempt and patience in temptations, because they will result in our redemption.

- As we request the Lord’s mercy, in the same way we must show mercy to others and love them. Who doesn’t like the meek person, since even the animals in nature love him? And again, who doesn’t despise the selfish and conceited person?

- Do not be hasty in judging people because of some event which happened by chance. Since, as you well know, everything is unstable and subject to change. Therefore, no man can safely judge someone’s entire character because of his fleeting moves or statements. Remember: it is not just man but nature itself and even time, which are subject to change.

- The stench of the breath of the ancient dragon, which will tempt the universe, is already causing us asphyxia and vomiting. Our only consolation is what the angel told Lot: “Leave, go to Sihor and be safe”. Woe to the new generation, which will find itself in the mist of the cyclone! What will they have to face!

Source 1 and 2
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