What’s It Like in Hell?

Fr. Arsenie Papacioc

Well, my dear ones, they say that they showed the torments of Hell to this fellow, once. And when he was taken there, he saw this man who was ankle-deep in a pond of fire and was crying out terribly. And our man asked him: “Why do you cry out so?” And that one answered: “Because I’m in this pond forever!” He walked on… then he came across a man who was standing in a pond of fire up to his neck. Yet this one was rejoicing every now and then. He told our man: “I’m in fire much deeper than others, but I am glad to see that yet another member in my family has become a priest, and in 40 years’ time, they will take me out of here.”

You see? Psychologically speaking, those 40 years were just a limited time to him, not an eternity. That man was happy, because he had hope.

My dear brothers and sisters, upon the Last Judgement, we will be asked: “Why didn’t you love?” We will be judged because we have hated, because we have badmouthed, because we have killed.

So why don’t you fight [to be good]? Why don’t you want to ask for the Lord’s Grace? When you’re faced with all sorts of temptations, just call out to Christ: “Lord, Jesus Christ, Lord, Jesus Christ!” Don’t just live in a state of inertia, live out every moment of your lives! It’s difficult, but God will understand – He wants to help you. He’s following our every move because He loves us.

Let us love each other!

About Thoughts

A brother went to Abba Pimen once and told him:
– Abba, I have many thoughts and put myself in peril because of them.
The elder took him outside and told him:
– Stretch out your arm and keep the wind away.
The brother said:
– I cannot do that.
The elder told him:
– If you cannot do that, neither will you be able to stop thoughts from coming into your mind. But standing strong before them is another thing.

Apophtegms by the Holy Fathers of the Desert

The Need for Confession and the Eucharist

 By Fr. Ilarion Argatu                                     Those who have lived away from the Holy Church and have not confessed and taken the Eucharist for years on end will see that once they decide to come back to it, they have trouble standing in the church, because of the evil spirits who have now come to live inside them. Thus, during the Holy Liturgy, these people don’t feel well, they feel sick, they are weak to the point of fainting, some of them tremble, others fall to the ground and flap around, some bark, meow, bellow, or moo. The bad spirits that dwell in man do so.

If you had confessed and taken the Eucharist often, you wouldn’t have gone through this. That is what happens when you stay away from God for several years. Now that you come back to church, the devils set obstacles in your way and try to frighten you by this torment, so that you will give up and go home. You must have a strong will and stay. They are not allowed to kill you; they only torment you in an attempt to take you out of the church and make you give up attending it. After confessing – and taking the Eucharist – you will calm down and the nausea and trembling will disappear. The evil spirits have to leave you. Upon your next confession, you will not go through this or in any event, your troubles will be lesser. Then with every Eucharist, you will get better and better. Continue reading

On Love and Poetry

What do you think about the trivialities that are proffered about and that some claim to be poetry? Do you think that this can be called poetry?

– No. I think that is the sign of an anomaly – I don’t know if an intellectual one, though. I’m afraid it is more serious than that. Ever since Freud, a mutation has been produced: sex has taken the place of mind. That is the saddest thing of all. You see, there used to be this decency about the Romanian people. You would not say certain words – they weren’t taboos but there was a certain modesty about them. Now, the word ”decency” has all but disappeared from our dictionaries. I have no preconceptions at all, but the way in which we conduct ourselves kills beauty. ”Our bodies are God’s temples”, said Apostle Paul. What do we do with them? We expose them like any other piece of flesh. It’s terrible. It is also terrible to see what has happened to the relationships between men and women. In my opinion, a crime has been done there. The thrill of the first meeting, the love, the anticipation of marriage – all that has disappeared. What is happening to us? We used to be a country of God-fearing peasantry. In the villages, these good habits are still maintained. People there are not haunted by the passion of the exposed flesh. They don’t use bad words and that is good. The Saviour is within us, He is the uncreated Light, and we nail Him to the Cross with every bad or dirty word we say. Continue reading

About Abba Visarion

A man who was possessed by the demon came to the skete once and they prayed for him in church, but the demon wouldn’t come out, for it was a powerful one. And the clergy said: “What shall we do about this demon? Nobody can take him out, save for Abba Visarion. But if we ask him to do that, he won’t even show up in church. So let us do this: since the Abba comes in earlier than everyone else, let us ask the demonised man to sit on Abba’s place and when the Elder comes in, let us sit as if we are about to start our prayers and ask him: Wake up that brother, too, Abba!”

And they did so. When the Elder entered the church the following morning, they sat to pray and told him: “Abba, please be kind and wake up that brother, too.” And Abba Visarion turned and said to the man: “Wake up, get out!” and the demon left the man straight away, leaving him healed.  

Apophtegm by the Holy Fathers of the Desert

The Grapes

They brought a bunch of grapes to Abba Macarius once. However, although he liked grapes, the Abba refrained from eating it and sent it to a brother who was ill and who felt a great need to eat grapes. Upon seeing the grapes, that brother rejoiced but since he didn’t want to succumb to his lust, either, he sent them to another brother, whilst commenting that he felt no need to eat them. That third brother did the same and thus the grapes were passed down from hand to hand, without any of the brethern eating them. The last brother, unaware that the grapes were coming from Abba Macarius, gave them to him as a great gift. And upon recognising them, the Abba marvelled at his brethern’s restrain.

Palladius – “The Lausian History”