Saturday, December 1, 2012

Only entrances

True love is like the flame of a candle. However many candles you light from the flame, the initial flame remains unaffected. It doesn’t lessen at all. And every freshly lit candle has as much flame as the others do.

I want whoever is near me to feel that he has room to breathe, not that he is suffocated. I don’t call anyone to me. I don’t hold onto anyone. I don’t chase anyone away. Whoever wants comes, whoever wants stays, whoever wants leaves. I don’t consider anyone a supporter or a follower.

Speak more to God about your children than to your children about God. The soul of the teenager is in a state of an explosion of freedom. This is why it is hard for them to accept counsel. Rather than counseling them continuously and reproaching them again and again, leave the situation to Christ, to the Panagia [Mother of God], and to the Saints, asking that they bring them to reason.

I have made an agreement with God: I will empty my pockets in almsgiving and He will fill them. He has never violated our agreement. Will I violate it? May it never happen!

My heart only has entrances. It doesn’t have exits. Whoever enters remains there. Whatever he may do, I love him the same as I loved him when he first entered into my heart. I pray for him and seek his salvation.

My worst hell is to realize that I have saddened a beloved person.

These quotes, from Elder Epiphanios of Athens, are reproduced here from Fr Stephen's post A Heart Without Exits. When I read them I was instantly struck by their familiarity. These ideas are the same as what I have heard and observed in the Orthodox community. I know that every kind of person of whatever belief system can have the same or similar ideas, but I find such as these particlarly abundant among the Orthodox of all nationalities. Greeks, Russians, Lebanese, Eritreans, Americans—the communities I'm familar with—I know people there who live this way. And I do too, to the best of my ability. For us this is the Orthodox way.

The saying that was truest of all to me is the last one,
"My worst hell is to realize that I have saddened a beloved person." And it's a hell that only the grace of Christ can deliver from, because our words and acts cannot ever be taken back by us. Only Jesus can unspeak them for us. Only in Jesus can we have that blessed hope, to be forgiven.

No comments: