About Love

Excerpt from an interview with Hieromonk Savatie Baştovoi

I would also like to ask you, whilst remaining in the area of our discussion so far: what were those existential experiences that made you become a monk?

– Usually, people who have gone through atheism expect or think that one must have had some sentimental breakdown prior to going into monasticism as well as before any common conversion to Christianity. The reality is different. Usually, one assumes that he or she has had some disappointments [in love]. I have recently received a letter from a friend of mine, a poet who lives in Iaşi and with whom I used to go to the same literary club, who wrote to me: “You know, I, too, read the Holy Fathers, I like their writings; I go to church. I have also thought many times about taking the step you have – but you see, I still believe in love”. And I could not help smiling there, because… I believe in love, too; don’t I? And I believe even in the love between a man and a woman. But I have come to understand that the difference between the love poems I used to write – albeit very sincerely – and true love is like the difference between the dead Lazarus and the resurrected Lazarus. Continue reading

Pride Stems from Humility

–          Father, what does it mean when they say that God tempts us through humility and charity, when we are humble and charitable?

–          It is not God who does that; but the enemy, the enemy is the one who tempts us. If we are charitable, well, after we have done anything virtuous, the enemy’s voice will follow, whispering into our hears: “Good…! you’ve done good!” That is what the psalm says: “Let them be ashamed and confounded… Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha.”*.

St. Silouan says that it is very hard for man to learn how to keep the Grace, because as soon as one receives it, the tempter says: “Oh, wow…! you have received the Grace…! But why have you received it?… I think it’s because you are charitable and because you have fasted…!” – and so on and so forth. That is what goes on in one’s soul in such situations. Therefore, it is not God that does that. God allows the enemy to tempt us; therefore, after every little good deed that we have done, we’d better be sure that we will be tempted.

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