Heart and Mind

When we unite these two centres – the heart and the mind -, they become a spiritual unit and then man is whole, as God made him: a full man. Through the prayer of the heart, one achieves this holy ideal of our earthly life.

However, before we reach this ultimate goal of ennoblement, of inner sanctification, of elevating this passion-torn thing which is our human being, we need to work severely to eliminate our passions – which is not easy at all – in order to chase away the evil in our minds and hearts and gather our mind together, which keeps scattering off during prayer, as I mentioned before.

If we were not helped from Above in these efforts, our battle with ourselves would be almost in vain. Yet much to our comfort and strengthening, we can seek help in our Holy Fathers’ experience and advice, which one can find in the Lives of the Saints and in all the patristic literature.

Archimandrite Sofian BOGHIU (Oct. 7 1912 – Sept. 14 2002)

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Everytime We Love, We Restrain the Other One

Hieromonk Savatie Baştovoi

What I mean by that is that type of suffocating love, where one “takes possession” of one’s fellowman, and which starts to “model” everyone else according to oneself. I think that we have all done such things: for instance, parents who love their children to the point where children, when they grow up, they don’t know how to escape from their parents’ tyranny – which isn’t true tyranny, but which can be perceived as such in the other one’s heart. Therefore, one first misunderstanding, one first “hazard” of love is that of us acting like people who actually know what real love is about and who therefore think they can – or even must – impose it to others.

Love – says Apostle Paul – bears all things, believes all things, forgives all things. Loves does not get puffed up, seeks not her own, does not vaunt itself; love never fails. So in order for us not to get lost in our own deformed understanding of love, the Apostle lists the signs of true love: that is, to be near the other one as if you were not. Love does not seek her own. Every time we love, we restrain the other one’s space.

That kind of love never bears fruit. But humility has always convinced one. It has even convinced tyrants, many times.

(A fragment from a lecture by Hieromonk Savatie Baştovoi – “On the Hazards of Love”. Arad, Romania, Dec. 13, 2007)

A Few More Words of Advice from Fr. Arsenie

Father, can we overcome hardship?

– You can, if you want. You cannot do anything, if you don’t want to. Love thy neighbour! Well, not like you would love your own wife and children – nobody asks you that. But don’t harm him. THAT is an act of love. Because you don’t realise – if you want to shake heaven and earth, how much power lies in the simple fact of saying: “God, please forgive him!”

Everyone will realise then how important it is for one not to hate, in this world. If you can help someone – and also feel sorry for your own lack of control and proper Christian attitude – then fine. Continue reading

Again, About Judging

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.

Fr. Arsenie Boca

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!

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