December 28, 2010

How A Discerning Elder Responds To Perplexing Questions

People often confuse the advice of certain holy men and women of God as being infallibly inspired by the Holy Spirit regarding all matters, even matters pertaining to the world. This is a serious error. An illumined elder may be able to infallibly help illumine the soul of a Christian, but when it comes to worldly matters and vain inquiries it more often is the case that opinions are being offered that may have some value, but ought not to be inquired by pious Christians as if the answer were to come from God Himself. Certainly the holy man or woman does not think that every word uttered from their lips comes from God. One of the greatest and most discerning of holy men in the 20th century was Elder Daniel Katounakiotis, and here is what he said on the matter in a private letter of his. Consider this a guide as to what type of questions truly pious souls should seek from Holy Fathers and Mothers.

From a letter of Elder Daniel Katounakiotis to Nicholas Rengos, dated 05/13/1924:

"A certain good Christan known to you, George Balaskas, a soldier, presented me with perplexities - how the world increases, the state of people in America, what was the forbidden fruit [of Genesis], and other such questions, and intends to prepare others for me.

These questions do not profit him, and they come from the right-hand delusion of the enemy, that he may not occupy himself with learning which passions he must cut off and which not."

From Contemporary Ascetics of Mount Athos (vol. 1) by Archimandrite Cherubim, p. 320.