November 21, 2020

The Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos Into the Temple and Sacred Nepsis (Archimandrite George Kapsanis)


By Archimandrite George Kapsanis

Delivered in 1988 in the dining room of Gregoriou Monastery on the Holy Mountain.

Saint Gregory Palamas, who is among other things also a theologian of the Mother of God, in his famous Discourse on the Entrance of the Theotokos, states that our Panagia entered the Holy of Holies, was the first in the world to inaugurate the path of wakefulness (nepsis), the ascension of the mind to God and the union of the human mind with God, namely the hesychastic way of the deification of man. Thus, for those who desire the secret and hesychastic ascent to God and the secret vision and knowledge of God, our Panagia is the model and the way. She is not only a way and a model for those who live in the world, with virginity and modest marriage, for mothers, but she is also a model for the sacred hesychasts.

Because she inaugurated this way of deification, the sacred silence, that is why we especially look to her all-holy form and her all-holy face and we warmly ask and beg her to help us, first to desire what for every monk is the ultimate thing desired. What more could a monk desire than the secret vision of God? From the concentration of the mind and the constant contemplation of the mind towards God, the memory of God? What more could a monk desire than wakefulness, constant ascension to God, and spiritual watchfulness and vigilance?

Blessed are the monks and Christians, who desire wakefulness and have realized the great importance and value of wakefulness for man. Blessed are the monks and the lay Christians, who have fought for wakefulness and done what Saint Isaac the Syrian says; they have found the precious daisy and that is why they are careful to not talk aimlessly, to reproach, to darken the mind, and they are for those of whom the divine Apostle says, that indeed they are "redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Eph. 5:16).

The monk, who has his mind on God, has blessed wakefulness, is careful not to turn his mind away from God - at every second possible - this monk has found the precious daisy and has realized how great a blessing is this state of monastic life and he, as I said, is redeeming the time. Because if this does not happen, if there is no such desire and this struggle, we will not redeem the time. And the days and the hours and the months and the years and the feasts and the fasts pass, and we miss what is most precious and that for which we went out into the blessed wilderness.

That is why I warmly ask you - the day calls for it; it is called by our Panagia, our Teacher and our Protector and our Superintendent and our Abbess and our Spiritual Mother - that we all fight in the struggle of wakefulness. To repent, because a lot of time in our lives has passed, without having our mind on God, without having the memory of God, but with useless and unbeneficial thoughts, with wanderings of the mind here and there, with arguments and other things that are not proper for the God-seeing mind of man, and to realize how many years we have lost in our lives, that we should have gained and should have utilized having the memory of God. Let us say it to ourselves now, lest we say it at the end of our lives, when there can be no remedy. Correction can now be made; there is time for repentance for all of us. God asks for it and the Panagia asks for it, both from you and from me. He is asking us now; He will ask us in the hour of judgment.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.