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August 4, 2021

Fishing for the Grace of God (Instructions on Vigilance from Saint Joseph the Hesychast to Elder Ephraim of Arizona)

I would go at night, and when he came out of his hut, I would approach him and tell him that sleep was fighting against me.

"Stay strong! Hold your weapon and do not be afraid," he replied.

In the summer the boats came and fished with the light, with the lamps.

"Do you see, my child," he said, "how this fisherman struggles here all night to catch a handful of fish, to take them home, watching and keeping vigil for something earthly? You see, sometimes he sings, to pass the time. We who have come to fish for the grace of God, do we not have to keep vigil? And we also must sing, that is, to chant, to sing hymns to God, to keep vigil over our thoughts, we must not sleep.

This fisherman down here does this for the little fish, but we do it for the spiritual field, to fish for the Kingdom of Heaven, for more grace, for an eternal wage before God. It is a great matter!"

Source: From the book Memories of My Elder Joseph the Hesychast. Translation by John Sanidopoulos.