By Fr. Cleopa
But let us pray as we can, as we have seen that the Savior didn’t overlook the Canaanite woman’s prayer. She wasn’t Jewish, she was a Phoenician from around the Tyre and the Sidon. Now, Phoenicians were pagans. Yet she had heard of the Savior and how He worked miracles and came along [to see Him, too]. On seeing so many people around Him, the poor thing started crying: Have mercy on me, O Lord, the Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil!
As a pagan woman, she hadn’t even known how to call out so she had asked around among the Jews to find out how to call to Him properly. She didn’t even know His name. They must have told her: “You just call to Him this and that way, woman!” So she cried out as the poor and upset mother that she was. And “she took upon herself the face of her daughter”, as listen to what she cried out: Have mercy on me, O Lord, as my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil! She didn’t say: Have mercy on my daughter, O Lord!
By Fr. Cleopa
Therefore, our duty is to pray as we can, however we can, starting with the opening prayers: “Heavenly King…”, “Holy God…”, “All-holy Trinity…”, “Our Father…”, “The Creed” and all the other ones. We should pray as we can, but we should do it often.
Because – listen to what the Holy Fathers say! St. Theophane the Recluse is a most-legitimate witness, who says: To the one who prays often, the prayer itself will turn into his greatest praying teacher. Prayer itself can teach him to climb all the way up from the lowest steps of prayer to the highest ones – to ecstasy and spiritual prayer”. So, prayer itself was teaching the Saints how to pray, because they were always praying.
But you will ask me: “What about us, Father, what should we do, most of us who live in the world, who don’t know this technique and philosophy of high prayer? Will our souls be lost for that matter?” No, they won’t! But since the issue of prayer was brought up, I have just shown you what true prayer is. If I don’t pray, it doesn’t mean that I should not tell others, either. I have never prayed like that myself, in my life! But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t know about it. Ignorance is the soul’s blindness.
But you know what the devil does to pride and insensitiveness? If we shed a tear during prayer, do you know what he says? “Wow, now you prayed really well!” Eehhh!… And how much more do we really have left, to reach true, pure prayer! How far the sky really is from earth! I told you – prayer grows without limits – because it is uniting with God. It has no boundaries.
By Fr. Cleopa
That is why he will bring text excerpts to your mind – either by the Apostle or from the Gospel, or from the sermons you have heard in Church. You’re sitting and praying and the devil will present to you great and highly spiritual matters. Then you feel a sort of spiritual pride growing inside of you: ”Oh, that is why I get these elevated words – because I am praying to God!” – and he’s laughing his head off! What you do then is not praying but spinning away theological issues in your head. Our Savior tells you to pray this way: Don’t speak many words, as the hypocrites who think that God will hear them if they say many words.
What Christ asks from us is the “monologue” prayer — that is, the prayer that has one “word” – one thought. Remember the Canaanite woman? She kept following Christ and asking him in a few words: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! and Son of David, have mercy on me! – but she was crying from all her heart. She didn’t pray [to Him] much, she just kept saying one short prayer, but heartfelt, until she won God’s kindness, and He said: O, woman! Great is your faith!
Father Cleopa, what is witchcraft and how many types of it are there?
By the word witchcraft we understand the invocation of demonic powers – instead of God – in order to help people to fulfil human wishes. Witchcraft used to be practiced both among the Jews of the Old Testament, and among the New Testament Christians, until today. In the Old Testament, the one who asked for the devil’s help, by resorting to witches, was King Saul, and he was severely punished by God. Both Valaam and the three Magi, who practiced astrology, were wizards.
According to St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite’s teachings, witchcraft is divided into several categories; namely: witchcraft per se, which involves calling upon the devils to disclose hidden treasures, lost items, and other such things; divination, the second type of witchcraft, through which certain people tell fortunes by palm reading – otherwise called chiromancy – and reading into other objects (maize kernels, playing cards, coffee, etc). Continue reading
By Fr. Arsenie Boca
The following information is meant to raise the awareness of married people, regarding the divine Law that has been inscribed in their nature under the form of instinct. It is also meant to clarify the idea of sin, which has started to get rather blurry in the minds of many.
Definition of Sin
Sin is a conspiracy of man’s mind with the devil, against God’s Law.
With this “working definition” in mind, we understand right away that only Jesus was without sin; that is, He was the only One Who rejected any diabolical thoughts from His mind, life, and deeds.
As young beginners of life, you are perhaps tempted to think that since you’re young, why have children from the first year – “let’s enjoy our life a bit more, there is enough time for children”. If you accept that thinking and consider it good, you open the doors to sinning and to all sorts of troubles, which won’t be long showing up, with mathematical precision. So in order for you not to have a bad start – as all that will lead to no good – you should start doing the right thing from the beginning and clarify where your soul stands when it comes to the Church-blessed fruit of marriage: children. For they are the fruit of love; as avoidance isn’t love – but murder. Looking for pleasure only while avoiding the instinct’s natural reason for being is vice and sin and is punished by the Law, which sees everything that man does.
By Father Cleopa
Now, why have I told you about these prayer levels. In all, prayer has three main steps: “prayer of the mouth, prayer of the mind, and prayer of the heart”. All the other steps in between are connected to one another, just like the steps of a ladder. A perfect prayer [the person] will go through all these prayer steps, by the grace of God. It is not in man’s power to climb these steps by himself. What man has is his willingness alone. So what depends on him is to want and to pray to God to the best of his abilities; for as to becoming worthy of such higher prayers, that lies only with the divine work, which is entirely dependent upon God’s grace.