The Lord said to the Jews who had come to him, “But woe to you that
are rich, for you have received your consolation.
“Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger.
“Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
“Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did
to the false prophets…(Lk. 6:24-30)
“The Beatitudes” with Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain
(Taken from the Elder’ Sixth Epistle)
Sister Abbess Philothei, Your blessing,
Today, a kind of craziness took hold of me and I took the pencil, as does the madman who writes his outbursts on the wall with charcoal, and I sat down to write my own things on paper like one crazed, and, again, like a lunatic, to send them to you in writing. I am doing this latter craziness out of much love for my Sisters, that they might be edified, even if only a little.
The reason for the initial craziness was five letters, one after the other, from various parts of Greece on a variety of subjects. While the events described were great blessings of God, those who wrote to me had fallen into despair because they dealt with them in a worldly way.
After replying accordingly to their letters, I took the pencil like a madman, as I have said, and wrote this epistle. I believe that even a fifty-cent piece from your journeying brother will be something toward a flint for each one of the Sisters so as to light a little candle in her cell and offer her doxology to our Good God.
I feel great joy when every Sister, with her particular cross carries out the equivalent struggle with philotimo.
It is a small thing to give to Christ a heart equal in size and as luminous as the sun out of gratitude for His great gifts, and especially for the particular honour He showed us monks by conscripting us with personal summons to His Angelic Order.
A great honour also belongs to the parents who were thus made worthy of becoming related to God. Unfortunately, however, most parents do not realize this and, instead of being grateful to God, are infuriated etc., for they see everything in a worldly way, like those people I mentioned earlier, who became the reason for me to take the pencil and write everything that follows.
*1. Blessed are those who loved Christ more than all the worldly things and live far from the world and near God, with heavenly joys upon the earth.
*2. Blessed are those who managed to live in obscurity and acquired great virtues but did not acquire even a small name for themselves.
*3. Blessed are those who managed to act the fool and, in this way, protected their spiritual wealth.
*4. Blessed are those who do not preach the Gospel with words, but live it and preach it with their silence, with the Grace of God, which betrays them.
*5. Blessed are those who rejoice when unjustly accused, rather than when they are justly praised for their virtuous life. Here are the signs of holiness, not in the dry exertion of bodily asceticism and the great number of struggles, which, when not carried out with humility and the aim to put off the old man, create only illusions.
*6. Blessed are those who prefer to be wronged rather than to wrong others and accept serenely and silently injustices. In this way, they reveal in practice that they believe in “one God, the Father Almighty” and expect to be vindicated by Him and not by human beings who repay in this life with vanity.
*7. Blessed are those who have been born crippled or became so due to their own carelessness, yet do not grumble but glorify God. They will hold the best place in Paradise along with the Confessors and Martyrs, who gave their hands and feet for the love of Christ and now constantly kiss with devoutness the hands and feet of Christ in Paradise.
*8. Blessed are those who were born ugly and are despised here on earth, because they are entitled to the most beautiful place in Paradise, provided they glorify God and do not grumble.
*9. Blessed are those widows who wear black in this life, even unwillingly, but live a white spiritual life and glorify God without complaining rather than the miserable ones who wear assorted clothes and live a spotted life.
*10. Blessed and thrice blessed are the orphans who have been deprived of their parents’ great affection, for they managed to have God as their Father already from this life. At the same time, they have the affection they were deprived of from their parents in God’s savings bank “with interest”.
*11. Blessed are those parents who avoid the use of the word “don’t” with their children, instead restraining them from evil through their holy life – a life which children imitate, joyfully following Christ with spiritual bravery.
*12. Blessed are those children who have been born “from their mother’s womb”(Mt. 19:12) holy, but even more blessed are those who were born with all the inherited passions of the world, struggled with sweat and uprooted them and inherited the Kingdom of God in the sweat of their face (Cf. Gen. 3:19).
*13. Blessed are those children who lived from infancy in a spiritual environment and, thus, tirelessly advanced in the spiritual life.
Thrice blessed, however, are the mistreated ones who were not helped at all (on the contrary, they were pushed towards evil), but as soon as they heard of Christ, their eyes glistened, and with a one hundred and eighty degree turn they suddenly made their soul to shine as well. They departed from the attraction of earth and moved into the spiritual sphere.
*14. Fortunate, worldly people say, are the astronauts who are able to spin in the air, orbit the moon or even walk on the moon.
Blessed, however, are the immaterial “Paradise-nauts”, who ascend often to God and travel about Paradise, their place of permanent abode, with the quickest of means and without much fuel, besides one crust of bread.
*15. Blessed are those who glorify God for the moon that glimmers that they might walk at night.
More blessed, however, are those who have come to understand that neither the light of the moon is of the moon, nor the spiritual light of their soul of themselves, but both are of God. Whether they can shine like a mirror, a pane of glass or the lid of a tin can, if the rays of the sun do not fall on them it is impossible for them to shine.
*16. Fortunate, worldly people tell us, are those who live in crystal palaces and have all kinds of conveniences.
Blessed, however, are those who’ve managed to simplify their life and become liberated from the web of this world’s development of numerous conveniences (i.e. many inconveniences), and were released from the frightening stress of our present age.
*17. Fortunate, worldly people say, are those who can enjoy the goods of the world.
Blessed, however, are those who give away everything for Christ and are deprived even of every human consolation for Christ. Thus it is that they manage to be found night and day near Christ and His divine consolation, which many times is so much that they say to God: “My God, Thy love cannot be endured, for it is great and cannot be fit within my small heart”.
*18. Fortunate, worldly people say, are those who have the greatest jobs and the largest mansions, since they possess all possibilities and live comfortably.
Blessed, however, according to the divine Paul, are those who have but a nest to perch in, a little food and some coverings99• For, in this way, they’ve managed to become estranged from the vain world, using the earth as a footstool, as children of God, and their mind is constantly found close to God, their Good Father.
*19. Fortunate are those who become generals and government ministers in their head by way of heavy drinking (even if just for a few hours), with the worldly rejoicing over it.
Blessed, however, are those who have put off the old man and have become incorporeal, managing to be earthly angels with the Holy Spirit. They have found Paradise’s divine faucet and drink from it and are continually inebriated from the heavenly wine.
*20. Blessed are those who were born crazy and will be judged as crazy, and, in this way, will enter Paradise without a passport.
Blessed and thrice blessed, however, are the very wise who feign foolishness for the love of Christ and mock all the vanity of the world. This foolishness for Christ’s sake is worth more than all the knowledge and wisdom of the wise of this world.
I beg all the Sisters to pray for God to give me, or rather take from me my little mind, and, in this way, secure Paradise for me by considering me a fool. Or, make me crazy with His love so I go out my self, outside of the earth and its pull, for, otherwise my life as a monk has no meaning. I became externally white as a monk. As I go I become internally black by being a negligent monk, but I justify myself as one unhealthy, when I happen to be so; other times, I excuse myself again for being ill, even though I am well, and so I deserve to be thoroughly thrashed. Pray for me.
May Christ and Panagia be with you,
With love of Christ, Your Brother, Monk Paisios
(“Precious Cross”, December 2, 1972).