Wednesday, 3 October 2012


St.Nikodemos the Hagiorite-On Frequent Holy Communion..

       Saint Nikodemos The Hagiorite
"With the fear of God, faith and love draw near."
We shall prove from scriptural and patristic witnesses that it is necessary for the faithful and Orthodox Christians to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord frequently throughout our lives, so long as there is no objection from our spiritual father, and that frequent Communion produces great benefits for the soul and body; while delaying this, on the contrary, produces many harmful and destructive results.
The commentary on the eighth and ninth Apostolic Canons emphasizes: "The commands of these canons are very strict and severe, for they excommunicate those who come to the Liturgy but do not remain until the end and take Communion. And other canons of the Councils command the same: namely, that it is wholly proper and appropriate to receive Communion."
When the Christian communes, what mind could understand the gifts and graces he enjoys after the Divine Communion? How can our feeble tongue express it?
Anyone who does not commune frequently is following the opposite way, for he is not sealed with the precious Blood of the Lord, as St. Gregory the Theologian states.
And so, my brethren, if we do as our Holy Fathers direct and receive frequently, we have not only the cooperation and help of divine grace during this temporal life, we also have the assistance of the angels of God and of Him who is the Lord of the angels.
This Blood of the Lord is salvation for our souls; with it the soul rejoices, with it, it is beautified, it is warmed; this Blood makes the mind shine more brightly than the light; it makes the soul more beautiful than gold. Those who partake of this Body stand with the angels and archangels and the powers above; with it they are adorned with royal robes and the weapons of the Spirit. Those who receive Communion receive the very King Himself.
Do you see what graces you receive if you commune frequently? Do you see how the mind becomes radiant, thoughts shine, and all the powers of the soul are purified with frequent Communion? If you love mortifying the fleshly passions, commune frequently and you will delight.
Without frequent Communion we will not be able to free ourselves from the passions nor raise ourselves to the heights of sobriety.
And if we do not partake frequently—if possible, even daily—of the precious Body and Blood of our Lord, then we will not be able to escape the devil.
Many invent all kinds of virtues and think that just by doing these without frequent Communion, they will be saved—which is utterly impossible, since they do not wish to obey God's will and commune frequently and to follow the Church's standard for every festal Liturgy.
To be loved by Christ through frequent Communion of the holy Body and Blood, makes it impossible [for us] not to love everyone.
How can you love other good things, 0 Christian, and not frequently receive Communion? Would you like to enjoy each day? Would you like to have Pascha and rejoice with ineffable joy at the end of life? Then run frequently to the Mystery and receive it with proper preparation, so that you may rejoice.
It is the will of God that all of us who are Christians should receive His Body and Blood frequently, so that by means of frequent Communion in this present life, we shall be safeguarded from the snares and schemes of the devil" and when our souls depart in the hour of death, they may fly like freed doves and without any hindrance from the aerial spirits.
O the grandeur of the glory those Christians receive from frequent Communion, both in the present life and in that to come!
If it is necessary to confess and do penance in order to receive forgiveness of sins, Holy Communion is just as necessary for the remission of sins; as with a festering wound: first one removes worms, then cuts away putrid tissue, and last of all, applies ointment that it may heal; if you do this, you are restored to your former condition. Thus if you sin: with confession you remove the worms, and with penance you cut away what is putrid, and follow this with Holy Communion which becomes the ointment, and you are healed. For if he is not given Holy Communion, the wretched sinner will return to his former state and, in the end, will become someone who is worse than before (Matthew 12:45).
I am astonished and amazed how contemporary Christians can celebrate Sundays and other feasts of the year with true spiritual joy, and yet not partake frequently of the Holy Communion, which is the rationale and purpose of each of the feasts and festivals. It is most certain that those who do not commune frequently, fall short, alas, of all the celestial and divine good things; and beside this, they violate the commandments of the Lord and the authoritative decisions of the apostles and the Councils and of all the saints. They are under the penalty of excommunication according to the holy apostles and the Council of Antioch. Such people give aid and opportunity to the devil through avoiding Communion, casting themselves into various sins and many other temptations.
O my brethren, let us see just once with the soul's noetic eyes of what heights and of what great, good things we fall short when we do not commune frequently; then indeed we will want to make ready all our faculties and commune in this manner, even daily. And if we have shown great negligence towards the Holy Communion until now, then let us from now on, I beg you with brotherly-love let us awake from the deep sleep of indolence, and let put forth eagerness and diligence.

Envy - A Passion That Defiles the Heart ..

Cane And Abel

According to the tenth commandment, "Thou shalt not covet (to covet -to long for or desire something belonging to another)thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's" Exodus 20:17
"The sickness of envy is one of the soul's worst illnesses. It does great damage to the envious person's soul, as well as causing serious distress to others. Someone in the grip of envy does not consider friends, relatives or benefactors. Unhappiness is the
distinguishing characteristic of the envious person...Usually the envious man does not want to admit his sickness or reveal the wound in his soul, so he is continuously miserable."
Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos in 'The Science of Spiritual Medicine' p.125,
Birth of the Theotokos Monastery 2010.

"What is a passion? Passion is an unnatural movement of the soul,says Maximus the Confessor, just as a physical disease is  something unnatural to our body… 'Passion is an excessive feeling, or appetite, going beyond what is reasonable.Passions are a disturbance of our soul contrary to our nature, in disobedience to reason. Passion is not natural and it ruins our nature instead of fulfilling it.
- Clement of Alexandria”
Path to Sanity p.30, Dee Pennock, Light & Life Publishing Company, Minneapolis, MN 2010
Envy is mainly sadness at our neighbour's happiness and joy at his misfortune...Usually the envious person is anxious and overcome by unbearable sorrow, not because something bad has happened to him, but because something good has happened to his fellow human being. He takes no account of his own blessings and does not praise God for the benefits bestowed on him everyday.
Instead, he is tormented by his brother's happiness. He is distressed because his brother is glad and possesses more than he does.
Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos in 'The Science of Spiritual Medicine' p.125,Birth of the Theotokos Monastery 2010.


Η ζήλια και η θεραπεία της..

       Ο Κάιν και ο Άβελ

ΑΠ.: Η ζήλια είναι μια από τις μεγαλύτερες κακίες για τους εξής λόγους:
Πρώτον, η Γραφή μας παραγγέλλει να χαιρόμαστε μαζί μ’ εκείνους που χαίρονται και να κλαίμε μαζί μ’ εκείνους που κλαίνε (Ρωμ. 12:15). Ο ζηλότυπος, όμως, τί κάνει; Χαίρεται για τη δυστυχία του άλλου και κλαίει για την ευτυχία του!
Δεύτερον, ο Κύριος μας προστάζει ν’ αγαπάμε όλους τους ανθρώπους, ακόμα και τους εχθρούς μας (Ματθ. 5:44).Ο ζηλότυπος, όμως, όχι μόνο τους εχθρούς του δεν αγαπάει, μα και τους συγγενείς και τους φίλους του και τους ευεργέτες του, όταν τους ζηλεύει, τους βλέπει σαν εχθρούς και θέλει να τους βλάψει, όπως ο Κάιν τον αδερφό του Άβελ και οι Ιουδαίοι τον Ιησού.
Τρίτον, η χαρά για τη δυστυχία του άλλου και η λύπη για την ευτυχία του είναι αισθήματα κατεξοχήν διαβολικά. Ο σατανάς, ο ξεπεσμένος Εωσφόρος, έφερε στον κόσμο τη ζήλια, την πρώτη και κύρια κακία που χαρακτηρίζει τον ίδιο ως πονηρό πνεύμα.
Από ζήλια, άλλωστε, παρέσυρε στην πτώση τους προπάτορές μας. Ο ζηλότυπος άνθρωπος, λοιπόν, αποτελεί την πιο πιστή απομίμηση του διαβόλου και των δαιμόνων. Είναι, μάλιστα, χειρότερος τους σε τούτο: Τα πονηρά πνεύματα ποτέ δεν ζηλεύουν το ένα το άλλο. Αντικείμενα της ζήλιας τους είναι οι άνθρωποι. Ο ζηλότυπος άνθρωπος, όμως, ξεχύνει το φαρμάκι του ενάντια στον όμοιό του άνθρωπο, ο οποίος συχνά, όπως είπα, είναι αδερφός του, φίλος του ή ευεργέτης του!

Πώς θεραπεύεται κανείς από το πάθος  της ζήλιας;

 ΑΠ.: Η θεραπεία είναι απλή, φτάνει να τη θέλει ο άνθρωπος με την καρδιά του.

Πρώτα-πρώτα, πρέπει να σκέφτεται πόσο μικρός αλλά και πόσο αμαρτωλός είναι· «χώμα και στάχτη» (Ιώβ 42:6). Το πιο μικρό φύσημα της οργής του Θεού είναι αρκετό για να τον εξαφανίσει. Ποτέ να μην ξεχνάει πως όλα τα καλά που έχει είναι του Θεού, στον οποίο αυτός τόση λύπη προξενεί με τις καθημερινές του αμαρτίες. Με τέτοιες σκέψεις θα ταπεινώνεται. Και ο ταπεινός άνθρωπος ποτέ δεν κυριεύεται από τη ζήλια. Γιατί η ζήλια είναι θυγατέρα της υπερηφάνειας.

Δεύτερον, πρέπει αδιάλειπτα ν’ αγωνίζεται ο άνθρωπος για την απόκτηση της αγάπης. Να θυμάται πως η αγάπη του Θεού μας έπλασε, η αγάπη του Θεού μας λύτρωσε, η αγάπη του Θεού μας όρισε να γευόμαστε την αγάπη και σ’ ετούτη και στην άλλη ζωή. «Η αγάπη είναι η τέλεια εκπλήρωση των εντολών του Θεού. Όποιος αγαπάει τον άλλο, έχει τηρήσει όλον το θείο νόμο» (Ρωμ. 13:10, 8). Όπου, λοιπόν, υπάρχει αγάπη, δεν έχει θέση η ζήλια, όπως και καμιά άλλη κακία. «Εκείνος που αγαπάει, δεν ζηλεύει» (Α’ Κορ. 13:4).

Τέλος, τρίτον, ας έχει ο καθένας μας την επίγνωση της ματαιότητας του επίγειου βίου και των βιοτικών πραγμάτων. Όλα στον κόσμο τούτο είναι μάταια: πλούτη, μεγαλεία, δόξα, τιμές. Και δεν είναι μόνο μάταια, αλλά και ψυχό­λεθρα. Εμείς, αναγεννημένοι από το Άγιο Πνεύμα και γαλουχημένοι με την ελπίδα της απολαύσεως των μελλοντικών αγαθών, που «μάτι δεν τα είδε και αυτί δεν τ’ άκουσε και νους άνθρωπου δεν τα φαντάστηκε» (Α’ Κορ. 2:9), ας οικειωθούμε τη διδασκαλία της ουράνιας Σοφίας. Ας πάρουμε τα μάτια μας από τη γη και ας τα υψώσουμε στον ουρανό, «εκεί που κάθεται ο Χριστός στα δεξιά του Θεού· η σκέψη μας ας είναι στραμμένη στα ουράνια αγαθά, όχι στα γήινα» (Κολ. 3:1-2). Έτσι θα κατανοήσουμε πόσο τυφλό και ανόητο πάθος είναι η ζήλια, έτσι θα συνειδητοποιήσουμε πόσο άδικα μας ταλαιπωρεί, έτσι θα τη διώξουμε μια για πάντα από την καρδιά μας!

(Γεροντος Ευστρατίου,«Απαντήσεις σε ερωτήματα χριστιανών», εκδ. Ι.Μ.Παρακλήτου)
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