The Holy Mountain

Apropos to Matt’s return from pilgrimage to Mt. Athos we’ll offer a little wisdom from said mountain.

Who is going to speak about your struggle, blessed Fathers;
Who is going to praise worthily the deeds of your asceticism?
Who is going to praise the temperance of your mind?
your unceasing prayer
your sufferings to gain virtue,
the wearing out of the body,
the struggle against passions,
the all–night assemblies for prayer,
the unceasing tears,
the humility of spirit,
the victories against demons,
and all the other gifts?
O multitude of holy men
sanctified and desired by God.
O honeycombs chosen by God,
who made wax cells,
full of the sweetest honey
of quietness in the holes and caves of the earth
in the Holy Mountain.
Delight of the Holy Trinity!
Delight of the Holy Mother of God!
Pride of Athos,
source of pride for the world.
Pray to the Lord that our souls find mercy”.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
by the intercessions of Thy Saints,
have mercy on me a sinner.
Most Holy Mother of God, save me.
St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain

In former days, the Holy Fathers first withdrew into the desert, becoming themselves a desert void of their passions by struggling. Without plans or programs of their own, they left themselves in the hands of God, avoiding honors and power, even when they arrived at measures of sanctity — unless Mother Church had need of them. They did obedience to the will of God, and they glorified the name of God with their holy life. They became spiritual blood donors, for they had acquired good spiritual health in the desert with good spiritual food and vigilant patristic watchfulness.

In our day, however, many of us, who are unfortunately influenced by worldly love, which can make no spiritual pledge, supposedly venture to do good, to donate blood, but our blood is full of spiritual bacteria and we do more harm than good.

Once two Catholics came here. They seemed to be good boys, architects. And they said to me that Orthodox monasticism doesn’t produce anything, whereas theirs undertake great ministries. I explained to them that the mission of the monk is something else, different from the mission of the clergy in the world. I said, ‘If we destroy the lighthouse on the rocks, what will become of the ships? But the monks are the lighthouses.’
Elder Paisios of Mt. Athos


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