October 16, 2015

The Sense of God's Presence

By Nicholas Voinescu

The late Metropolitan Theologos Paschalides of Larisa, who reposed in voluntary poverty, like Saint Nektarios, had told us that his father always had in his shirt pocket a piece of paper that read: "The sense of God's presence." This sense or awareness of the omnipresence of God and the thought that God sees me wherever I am is, according to the late Father Athanasios Mytilinaios, of great importance for our lives.

First of all, when I'm aware that God sees me, I don't sin. Of course, I'm not sinless, but I'm careful not to sadden God with my heavy sins, especially the sins of the flesh. Let us remember here the very instructive example of Joseph the All-Comely, whose corrupt mistress tried to seduce him to sin, but he turned away from sinning by saying: "How can I do such an evil deed before God and sin?"

Second, when I think that God sees whatever good deed I may do, I do it secretly. I don't do it for people to say to me "bravo", because then I receive my reward in the praises of people. Christ taught us for our left hand to not know what our right hand is doing and to do good in secret, so God alone will see us and reward us openly before all people on the day of Judgement.

Third, when I think God sees me, I'm not afraid of anything or anyone, because God is All-Good and Almighty. It is written in Psalm 23 (22 LXX): "I will fear no evil, for You are with me." Once in a while, of course, God will allow some people to be abused or killed, such as the martyrs, but God allows this for the greater glorification of His people.

Fourth, when I think God sees me, I never despair or lose hope. As difficult and terrible my problems and sufferings may be, I will not lose hope in God, because God is able with a nod to put everything back in order and correct things.

Fifth, when I think that God sees me, my soul is full of His joy. It doesn't matter if I'm rich or poor, free or a slave, healthy or sick. What is important is to have within me unlimited confidence in the love and providence of God, for which reason my soul is full of joy, which is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. A monk of Mount Athos, who owned nothing except the clothes he wore, experienced this joy, which he expressed in the following words: "I weep with happiness and ask God to keep me in my right mind, so I don't go crazy with happiness."

Sixth, when I think that God sees me, I never feel lonely. Even if every single person abandoned me, acquaintances and friends, parents and siblings, I will never have a sense of loneliness deep within my soul, for God is near me and sees me.

Hopefully with the holy prayers of the late Metropolitan Theologos Paschalides of Larisa and the late Father Athanasios Mytilinaios we will all acquire a deep sense that God sees us.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.