Thursday, November 16, 2017

There is no happiness anywhere except in Christ. ... ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

 It is from God that you are being tested, because He is training you for battle; He is drilling you, just like the soldiers who are trained through severe labors in their drills. There, first they learn the theory of warfare, and then at the sound of the trumpet in the real war, since they have already been trained, they rush into the battle with the inner assurance that they know how to fight, and they are ready to sacrifice themselves for their cause and ideology. You are also in a similar situation: since you have been called to become soldiers of Christ and to fight against His enemy, He trains you in order to ascertain your love towards Him: “Who is it that loves me, but he who keeps my commandments?”(cf. Jn 14:21 ). 
 
Take courage, my children; remain loyal and dedicated to Him Who has loved you with perfect love. Before a battle begins, the generals boost the soldiers’ spirits by singing various battle hymns and relating various stories of heroic deeds to kindle their sense of self-sacrifice. This tactic gives them great strength and bravery in the battle about to be fought. Likewise, we too should contemplate, as the Saints did, the struggles of the martyrs and of the holy monks: how they lived ascetically, how they renounced the world and everyone, and how nothing prevented them from following the path that leads to Jesus. This contemplation will greatly strengthen your good disposition and intention, for there have been many who were unaware of the concealed traps, with the result that their souls succumbed to temptation and thus they fell from the hope of eternal life. 
 
Contemplate the love of our Jesus; the love of Jesus will overpower every other natural love. The more we renounce, the more love of God we shall enjoy. Let us attend on high, where Jesus sits at the right hand of God. Let our eyes look on high, for the eternal and everlasting things are above, not below; for everything here is dust and ashes. 
 
Reflect on the luxuriousness of heaven: the infinite wisdom of God is there; inconceivable beauty is there; the angelic melodies are there; the riches of divine love are there; the life free from pain is there; the tears and sighs will be taken away there; only joy, love, peace, an eternal Pascha, and an unending festival are there. “Oh, the depth of the riches and knowledge of God!” (cf. Rom. 11:33 ). “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9 ). Attend to the prayer; persevere in prayer, and it will put everything in order. Do not yield at all; remain firm in your holy goal. 
 
Remain beside Jesus to live with spiritual happiness. There is no happiness anywhere except in Christ. So-called “happiness” outside of Christ is incorrectly called happiness, since it is obtained with reprehensible means and since it ends quickly and leads man to the eternal unhappiness. 
 
Struggle, my children; the angels are weaving crowns with flowers of paradise. Our Christ regards the struggle as a martyrdom—what is more excellent than to be a martyr for Christ!
 
Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Ο Θεός δεν κοιτάζει, αν πάσχωμεν, ο Θεός κοιτάζει να μας σώση από την κόλασιν και να μας χαρίση τον παράδεισον. ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης )


Πολλήν ωφέλειαν παρέχει η ασθένεια, συγχώρησιν αμαρτιών και μισθόν υπομονής, είναι πολύ δραστήριον φάρμακον δι’ ανθρώπους που απεμακρύνθησαν από τον Θεόν.

Δόξα τω Θεώ, που εν στρυφνοίς πράγμασι κατεργάζεται την σωτηρίαν μας. Σε παρακαλώ μη στενοχωρήσαι, εγώ εύχομαι δια σε, μη φοβήσαι, γίνου εύελπις, ο ουράνιος Πατέρας μας είναι αγαθός, εύσπλαχνος. Τα παιδιά Του τα παιδεύει, τα μαλώνει, δια να γίνουν άξια της αιωνίου ζωής. Αν δεν μας παιδεύση, δεν θα γίνωμεν γνήσια παιδιά Του, αλλά θα ευρεθώμεν νόθοι, ανάξιοι της σωτηρίας.

Δεν είναι άξια τα παθήματα, όσα υποφέρομεν, εμπρός εις την αιώνιον ευτυχίαν την οποίαν έχει ητοιμασμένην ο Θεός δια τα παιδιά Του. Ποία παιδιά Του; Τα τυραννισμένα, τα στενοχωρημένα, τα πάσχοντα, τα πεφορτισμένα, όχι δι’ εκείνα τα οποία τρυφούν τώρα προσωρινά και ευτυχούν.

Χαίρε λοιπόν, διότι ο Θεός, μας αγαπά και μας παιδεύει, δια να μας αναπαύση αιώνια! Ο Θεός δεν κοιτάζει, αν πάσχωμεν, ο Θεός κοιτάζει να μας σώση από την κόλασιν και να μας χαρίση τον παράδεισον.

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The comfortable life is very hazardous for eternal salvation.... ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

Glory to the only wise God, Who knows how to extract the sweet out of the bitter and thus enrich our knowledge out of His boundless love toward us. He scourges us with afflictions and trials, so that He can draw us near Him; for He knows that through the sorrowful things of this present life, man remains near Him and is saved.
 
The comfortable life is very hazardous for eternal salvation. It is not the Spirit of God that dwells in those living in comfort, but rather the spirit of the devil, according to the saying of the Fathers. For this reason, in this life’s sorrows we need to have patient and thanksgiving, for God is well pleased with both of these virtues. May the Lord give us much patience in our life’s sorrows, so that in everything we may thank the Giver of good things Who provides for us.

Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Δάκρυσον, παιδί μου, όπως καθαρισθή η καρδία σου.. ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης )

Να μη παρέρχεται εκ του νοός σου και η μνήμη της κολάσεως, διότι έχει πολύν καρπόν μέσα της. Τις μνημονεύει πυρός αιωνίου και μένει αμέτοχος δακρύων;
Δάκρυσον, παιδί μου, όπως καθαρισθή η καρδία σου και το σώμα σου από κάθε εμπάθειαν και ίδης ημέρας αγνότητος και εκπλαγής εις τον πλούτον της καθαρότητος.

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης

Be careful, my child; do not let time pass fruitlessly and without improvement in your soul, for death comes like a thief. ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )



Be careful, my child; do not let time pass fruitlessly and without improvement in your soul, for death comes like a thief.
 
 Woe to us if it finds us in a state of sloth and laziness , then the mountains and hills will need to weep for us; then we shall be found empty of good works, and Hades will shepherd us eternally! 
 
My child, why should we suffer such a lamentable shipwreck when we are able, with God’s help, to avoid it and be rescued at the saving harbor of the kingdom of God! I know that we have to wrestle with formidable enemies and that the labor is great. But with God, that is, with the power of God ,everything gives way when man’s will and strength cooperate with it.

Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Δεν γνωρίζεις, παιδί μου, ότι δωρεάν σώζει τον άνθρωπον ο Θεός; ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης )

Δεν γνωρίζεις, παιδί μου, ότι δωρεάν σώζει τον άνθρωπον ο Θεός;

Βεβαίως οι κόποι δείχνουν την προαίρεσιν του ανθρώπου και όχι αυτοί καθ’ εαυτοί δύνανται να απαλλάξουν τον άνθρωπον εκ των παθών του, αλλά δια να μάθωμεν να ελπίζωμεν εις τον Θεόν και όχι εις τους κόπους μας, επιτρέπει ο Θεός μετά από κόπον να μην έχωμεν φυλαχθή από το κακόν.

Συν τω κόπω να λέμε λοιπόν ότι, εάν δεν φυλάξη ο Θεός τον άνθρωπον, τα έργα του είναι άνεμος και φεύγουν κούφια.

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης

Affliction is an instrument, a tool, which God holds in His hand. ( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

 Affliction is an instrument, a tool, which God holds in His hand. He alone uses it as His infinite wisdom dictates. He uses it differently for each person, according to the need of each.
 
 Affliction in its various forms purifies and sanctifies the one who accepts it with wisdom and knowledge. That is, each affliction a Christian has is a divine visitation for his salvation, sent by the most sweet right hand of our heavenly Father, even though our nature dislikes such things, just as bitter medicines are unpleasant to the sick. 
 
Besides, if we had no afflictions, certainly we would have the fate of Lucifer. For he, at the height of glory and repose, forgot the greatness of God and his own puniness and weakness, and said, “I shall set my throne upon the clouds, and I shall be like the Highest.” (cf. Is. 14:13 ). After he thought these things, God cast him down; the former dawning star and most luminous angel became a demon, Satan, the devil, the filthiest of God’s creatures, not by nature—for God made everything very good—but by his own choice to be evil and rebellious. The devil sows within families grumbling, dislike, envy,obstinacy, etc., and thus in many families there is one person who will disturb their peace, serenity, and joy. This evil seed was not absent even from the midst of the sacred family of the Lord, which He had created on earth for the coming salvation—that is, in the midst of His sacred disciples: Judas Iscariot, a God-slaying seed!
 
The devil sows his seed in the midst of the wheat; even in the synodias of monastics such people exist. Not that the person himself is evil, but with his weaknesses of grumbling, envy, etc., he becomes an instrument of the devil that disturbs the peace and quiet of the others. All these things bear witness to the fact that we are exiles from our true fatherland and are now in the reformatories where the discipline of the Lord is practiced. And all who accept the discipline are led back into the heavenly paternal inheritance and recover their lost sonship, as ones worthy to receive God as their inheritance. But all who remain undisciplined, like me, and do not acknowledge the discipline, but instead through their works are shown to be illegitimate, are driven away and condemned as unworthy of the adoption to which the discipline of the Lord aimed. May our good God and Father count us worthy to be among the successful who have received adoption as sons, unto the ages of ages. Amen.
 
Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Monday, October 30, 2017

Πόσο κακό πράγμα είναι το θέλημα του ανθρώπου.. ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης )

Πόσο κακό πράγμα είναι το θέλημα του ανθρώπου, διότι κρύβει εγωϊσμό, υπερηφάνεια, φιλαυτία και τόσα άλλα.
 
 Ο Χριστός υπήκουσε μέχρι σταυρικού θανάτου, δηλαδή τελείας νεκρώσεως του ιδίου θελήματος. Εάν ο Χριστός, ανθρωπίνως δεν έκαμνε υπακοή, δεν έκοβε το δικό του θέλημα, ο άνθρωπος δεν θα εσώζετο! 
 
Όπως ακριβώς δεν σώζεται και ο άνθρωπος εκείνος, που κρατά το θέλημά του και κάνει εκείνο που θέλει αυτός. 

Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Δωρεάν σώζει τον άνθρωπον ο Θεός ... ( Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης )

Δεν γνωρίζεις, παιδί μου, ότι δωρεάν σώζει τον άνθρωπον ο Θεός; Βεβαίως οι κόποι δείχνουν την προαίρεσιν του ανθρώπου και όχι αυτοί καθ’ εαυτοί δύνανται να απαλλάξουν τον άνθρωπον εκ των παθών του, αλλά δια να μάθωμεν να ελπίζωμεν εις τον Θεόν και όχι εις τους κόπους μας, επιτρέπει ο Θεός μετά από κόπον να μην έχωμεν φυλαχθή από το κακόν. 
 
Συν τω κόπω να λέμε λοιπόν ότι, εάν δεν φυλάξη ο Θεός τον άνθρωπον, τα έργα του είναι άνεμος και φεύγουν κούφια.
 
Γέροντας Εφραίμ Φιλοθεϊτης  

Without afflictions and sufferings let no one expect repose in the life beyond the grave.( Elder Ephraim of Arizona )

Man’s life is a martyrdom. Ever since we fell from true happiness we gather the fruit of disobedience: “Thorns and thistles will the earth bring forth to you” (Gen. 3:18 ) –the earth of the heart will, too. How will we know that we are exiles, if not through afflictions and torments?


There is no person who does not have something that afflicts him. Pious Christians are afflicted, too, but in the depths of their souls they also have the hope that one day the many afflictions will result in blessed repose for them. Without afflictions and sufferings let no one expect repose in the life beyond the grave. That life is for those who have labored and were heavy-laden by the weight of this present life.

Of course, the saints had much grace and spiritual strength, and they rejoiced in suffering. But we, and I first of all, suffer and sometimes our patience breaks. But glory be to God, Who enlightens us to repent and correct ourselves. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mt. 26:41 ).

Elder Ephraim of Arizona