Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Christian Must Not Be Fanatic Elder Paisios the Athonite

Elder Paisios the Athonite
A Christian must not be fanatic; he must have love for and be sensitive towards all people. Those who inconsiderately toss out comments, even if they are true, can cause harm.

I once met a theologian who was extremely pious, but who had the habit of speaking to the (secular) people around him in a very blunt manner; his method penetrated so deeply that it shook them very severely. He told me once: “During a gathering, I said such and such a thing to a lady.” But the way that he said it, crushed her. “Look”, I said to him, “you may be tossing golden crowns studded with diamonds to other people, but the way that you throw them can smash heads, not only the sensitive ones, but the sound ones also.”

Let’s not stone our fellow-man in a so-called “Christian manner.” The person who – in the presence of others – checks someone for having sinned (or speaks in an impassioned manner about a certain person), is not moved by the Spirit of God; he is moved by another spirit.

The way of the Church is LOVE; it differs from the way of the legalists. The Church sees everything with tolerance and seeks to help each person, whatever he may have done, however sinful he may be.

I have observed a peculiar kind of logic in certain pious people. Their piety is a good thing, and their predisposition for good is also a good thing; however, a certain spiritual discernment and amplitude is required so that their piety is not accompanied by narrow-mindedness or strong-headedness. Someone who is truly in a spiritual state must possess and exemplify spiritual discernment; otherwise he will forever remain attached to the “letter of the Law”, and the letter of the Law can be quite deadly.

A truly humble person never behaves like a teacher; he will listen, and, whenever his opinion is requested, he responds humbly. In other words, he replies like a student. He who believes that he is capable of correcting others is filled with egotism.

A person that begins to do something with a good intention and eventually reaches an extreme point, lacks true discernment. His actions exemplify a latent type of egotism that is hidden beneath this behavior; he is unaware of it, because he does not know himself that well, which is why he goes to extremes.


Jeremiah said...

Forgive me for saying so, but this post expresses the exact thing I have been trying to say about your posts on your "elgreca262" blog.

Angela Damianakis m.s.w said...

Jeremiah I'm sorry but I hardly see the connection. Elgreca's Road to the Phanar District is one of the most "liberal" minded Orthodox Blog without advocating for a particular 'cause' as it were. The only sticking point and absolute is the defense of the Ecumenical See and the cutting down of anti-Patriarchal sentiment. This is hardly narrow-minded. sometimes the truth hurts. If you noticed it has been some time since I posted and many sites which took 'time-off' have used that time to double their efforts. Even Fr. Hopko has chimed in with the recent 'leave of absence' of Met. Jonah. He is all but make him out to be imbalance and unstable pleading that 'we trust the Synod'. Thank you for taking the time to express yourself. You and everyone are always welcome to express your thoughts and concerns. I always read and consider I just don't always agree.

Jeremiah said...

"Stoning a fellow Christian" is the phrase I was keying in on. But if you can't see it, then there is no point in continuing this thread.
I will have to look in to the comments of Fr Thomas Hopko. I doubt that they would be as virulent as some I have read.

Angela Damianakis m.s.w said...

I think herein is the difference. I have not sought certainly on this blog to convince anyone of anything. This is a monologue forum which invites dialogue. I don't push anyone to do anything bej=yond 'come and see' there is no pressure to adopt these ideas or ideals. Orthodoxy and orthopraxis is personal you will work out your own salvation as i and all do. This being said the site is very much a watchdog blog intended to bring into the light all agendas especially subversive ones which are forcibly attempting to hi jack the church.