January 31, 2017

Spiritual Counsels of Saint Arsenios of Paros

* Trust in God, have hope in Him, and love Him, and He will not forsake you. For if men who are wicked, love their children, how much more must God love His? Now they are children of God who love Him and keep His commandments. Those, on the other hand, who do not love Him, do not believe in Him, and do not live in accordance with His commandments, and who do not love their fellowmen, especially the poor, giving them alms, are children of the devil.

* If you believe in Christ, have hope in Him, love Him with all your soul and heart, whatever you seek from Him with faith and is to your bene­fit He will give you. Seek above all the Kingdom of Heaven. When you love Him and do His commandments, He too will love you, and you will be united with Him. "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."

* Love God, if you want to find eternal grace.

* Prefer nothing to love of God, so that when He comes in His glory, you may find rest with all the Saints.

* If you want Christ to bless you and what you have, when you meet some poor individual, who is hungry and asks you for food, give him. Also, when you know that some poor man, or a widow, or an orphan are hungry, do not wait for them to ask you for food, but give them. Give with pleas­ure, and be not afraid that you will become indi­gent. Have faith that Christ invisibly blesses your few possessions, and you shall never starve, nor will you be in want till the end of your life.

* If you continue your almsgiving, offering to the poor out of the little that you have, not only will you not be in want, but the Lord will bless and increase what you have. And for the few things which you will give here, in this temporary life, you will receive a thousand fold, ten thousand fold, more in the eternal life; and you will hear the Lord saying to you: "I was hungry, and ye gave me food." And when you say to Him: "Lord, when did we see Thee hungry and fed Thee?", He shall say: "Yes ye did not see me, but ye did see my poor brethren, the hungry. The bread which ye gave unto them, it is the same as if ye gave unto me. So now I grant unto you the eternal Heavenly Kingdom; and whatever goods I have, ye shall have also and all those who fed the poor, the hungry, and showed mercy unto them."

* Cultivate humility, lest God bring you low, for He "resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."

* Practice self-observation. And if you want to benefit yourself and your fellow men, look at your own faults and not those of others. The Lord tells us: "Judge not, that ye be not judged, con­demn not that ye be not condemned." And the Apostle Paul says: "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant?".

* Be at peace with others, have humility, remem­ber Christ and imitate His humility, obedience, and love for all - without which you cannot be saved, without which the other virtues are of no avail.

From Cavarnos, Constantine, Modern Orthodox Saints 6: St. Arsenios of Paros, The Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Inc., Massachusetts, (1988).