They are more readily inclined to give lessons, rather than to receive them. They condemn within their heart those who do not understand faith as they do and they manifest that condemnation – at first, secretly held in their hearts – through their words – and that is when you feel like you hear the Pharisee who thought he was worshipping God when he was vaunting himself for his own deeds, while despising the tax-payer. That sort of attitude is to please the devil. All of these things drive one’s soul to pride and haughtiness. They are of no use whatsoever to the beginners (on the contrary, they change whatever else they have good in them, into sins), as they cease bearing with one another and if anyone comes up to belittle their fellowman, that pleases them. They will see the straw in their brother’s eye yet will fail to notice the beam in their own eye; they will make a big deal out of the other’s minor deeds and will efface their own – greater – faults.
They don’t like confessor Fathers who do not praise them for their actions and don’t appreciate their good behaviour – because such spiritual sons’ sole pursuit is to be praised and commended in everything they do. Continue reading →
There is this vicious circle in which the souls of many get tangled: the circle of confusion. For some “reasons”, these persons do not want to listen to the Priests of the Church. Hence, by not listening to the Orthodox teachings and their advice on how to lead a life in God, they damage their mind with their own thoughts. This causes them to get deeper and deeper into a sinful life, as a result of their disobedience. Hence, man’s mind grows darker before the Truth and takes his errancy for the right thing.
Some do wake up and realise that they have lived in error. The enemy – to whom they have listened by deception – does not want to lose his grasp on them and starts presenting them people’s faults and shortcomings, as well as those of the legal servants of the Church, whilst obscuring their gifts and grace. And this is how he leads them on, to build their own “faith”, which ignores the mystery of repentance – exclusively and validly administered by priests and bishops, regardless of their human shortcomings.
[…] Times were rapidly succeeding one another and godless communism was thrusting its claws ever more deeply into the country’s body. By providing Christian help to the anti-communist fighters in the Făgăraş Mountains, Father Arsenie got into the Security’s “visual field” and was arrested in 1948, for the first time. Forcibly moved out from Sâmbăta to Prislop, he eventually became Abbot of the latter and after the monastic abode was changed into a nunnery, he stayed there as a Confessor Priest, until 1959, when the communists dismantled the monastic community. In between, he had been arrested once more and taken to the Canal*, where he had spent almost a year. Then followed his exile to Bucharest, where he was kept outside actual priestly activity, being retained only as a church painter, always under the dog’s eye of the atheistic regime. During the last part of his life he grew very attached to two places: Drăgănescu (where he painted the church for 15 years, starting from 1968 and left us a true “sermon in images”, even if perhaps artistically somewhat unusual by the traditional iconography canons) and Sinaia (where, in 1969, he had his cell and his painter workshop, where he would retire more often and where he reposed in the Lord in early 1989, aged 79).
Born in the county of Hunedoara, Romania, Fr. Arsenie Boca (September 29, 1910 – 1989) was one of the most important Romanian monastic figures of the 20th century. Ordained as a celibate Dean by Metropolitan Nicolae Bălan in 1935, he spends three months at the Romanian Prodromu Skete in Mount Athos, and is then established at the Sâmbăta de Sus Monastery (Braşov county), and receives tonsure in 1940. In 1942, he is ordained a Priest. By 1940, he had already sparkled in Sâmbăta de Sus what one of his contemporaries would describe as: “That uplifting time when the whole of Transylvania would make its way on singing pilgrimages defying chest-deep snow, to Sâmbăta de Sus, built by Martyr Voivode Constantin Brâncoveanu.”
Besides his outstanding contribution to the translation of the Philokaly alongside another reputed theological figure, Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae, he will always be remembered for his activity as a Priest, which earned him the surname of the “guider of souls”. Persecuted by the communist regime but highly respected and loved by the faithful, he was buried at the Prislop Monastery, which is now one of the country’s most important pilgrimage places.
“Fr. Arsenie was a unique phenomenon in the history of Romanian monasticism; a figure of high monastic stature, of a kind that the Romanian Orthodox Church never had before him.” Fr. Dumitru STĂNILOAE
Interview with Fr. Pantelimon of Ghighiu about Father Arsenie Boca
By Claudiu Târziu
Words and Examples for One’s Spiritual Awakening
– Do you remember any particular advice that Fr. Arsenie Boca would give to people?
– Father Arsenie could see that people loved him and he was afraid they might fall into idolatry. He used to tell everyone: “You all come here for useful advice and then expect me to save you, but I cannot do that. I can only wake you up from the sins you have been living in. Because this life is short and the other one is eternal and I wouldn’t want to see you cry on the Judgement Day”.
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.
“Jesus renders the bodily union of man and wife holy,
raising marriage to the height of great Mistery
— in Christ and in the Church.”
Fr. Arsenie Boca
For as long as all the leaders of this world are not redundant, we shall render the money printed with their names; for as long as all people are not like angels, our nations need to multiply.
The familyand the government – lowly institutions when we think about the happiness that exists in heaven – are necessary during our earthly awaiting of Heaven. However, for as long as these institutions are necessary, they will have to avoid being too unclean and rickety, as much as possible.
Whoever is in a leading position (the government) should feel the responsibility just as much as the one who serves; and the union between man and woman (the family) should be eternal and non-deceitful.