October 9, 2017

Saint Paisios the Athonite On How Abraham Used His Mind Properly

From the book With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man, which contains teachings of Saint Paisios the Athonite to his spiritual daughters, compiled and published by the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian in Souroti, Greece.

- In other words, Elder, we should use our mind against the passions?

- Not only that, but more generally, we should take notice of God’s beneficence and of the universe all around us and give Him thanks and praise. You see, it was Abraham that first sought God, not the other way around.

- What do you mean?

- Abraham’s father was a pagan; he worshiped idols. But Abraham saw the universe and was puzzled that his people were worshiping inanimate idols. So he put his mind to work: ‘It’s not possible,’ he thought ‘that these soulless things, these pieces of wood are divine, and creators of the universe. Who made the sky, the stars and the sun? I might find the true God and once I do, I will believe and worship only Him.’ Then God came and revealed Himself to Abraham and said, 'Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.' And He led him to Hebron and made him a favorite son.

We must get to know the beneficence of God; we must understand what has been given to us. Why did God give us a mind? So that we may examine, study and observe ourselves and everything around us. God did not give us a mind so that we may constantly spend our time figuring out how to find the fastest means of transportation from one country to another. He gave us a mind because He wants us to preoccupy ourselves with the most important thing: how to reach our true destination, how to get close to God, to what is our one true country, Paradise.