Thursday, April 09, 2009

Wisdom From Elder Porphyrios

This comes courtesy of Alice over at The Byzantine Forum......

I found it most edifying and soul-profiting - may the Lord have mercy on us !


Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios from the book 'Wounded by Love'.

We need always to have thoughts of love for our brothers and sisters...We need to have goodness and love in our soul...
Man has such powers that he can transmit good or evil to his environment. These matters are very delicate. Great care is needed. We need to see everything in a positive frame of mind. We mustn't think anything evil about others. Even a simple glance or a sigh influences those around us. And even the slightest anger or indignation does harm. We need to have goodness and love in our soul and to transmit these things.

We need to be careful not to harbour any resentment against those who harm us, but rather to pray for them with love. Whatever any of our fellow men does, we should never think evil of him. We need always to have thoughts of love and always to think good of others. Look at Saints Stephen the first martyr. He prayed, "Lord do not hold this sin against them". We need to do the same.

We should never think about someone that God will send him some evil or that God will punish him for his sin. This thought brings about very great evil, without our being aware of it. We often feel indignation and say to someone: 'Have you no fear of God's justice, are you not afraid of God's punishment?' Or else we say, 'God will punish you for what you've done', or 'O God, do not bring evil on that person for what he did to me', or 'May that person not suffer the same thing'...

In all these cases, we have a deep desire within us for the other person to be punished. Instead of confessing our anger over his error, we present our indignation in a different way, and we allegedly pray to God for him. In reality, however, in this way we are cursing our brother.

And if, instead of praying, we say, 'May God repay you for the evil you have done to me', then once again we are wishing for God to punish him. Even when we say, 'All very well, God is witness', the disposition of our soul works in a mysterious way and influences the soul of our fellow man so that he suffers evil.

When we speak evil about someone, an evil power proceeds from within us and is transmitted to the other person, just as the voice is transmitted on sound waves, and in point of fact, the other person suffers evil. It is something like the bewitchment of the evil eye, when someone has evil thoughts about others. This occurs through our own indignation. We transmit our evil in a mystical way. It is not God who provokes evil, but rather people's wickedness. God does not punish, but our own evil disposition is transmitted to the soul of the other in a mysterious way and does evil. Christ never wishes evil. On the contrary, HE commands, Bless those who curse you...

The evil eye is a very bad thing. It is the evil influence that occurs when someone is jealous of, or desires something or someone. It needs great care. Jealousy does great harm to the other person. The person who exercises the evil eye doesn't think for a moment that he is doing harm. Remember the Old Testament says: For the bewitching eye of wickedness obscures what is good (Wisdom 4:12)

When the other person, however, is a man of God and makes confession and receives Holy Communion and wears a cross, nothing does him any harm. Even if all the demons were to fall on him, they would achieve nothing.

'The noise of murmurings shall not be hidden'

Within us there is a part of the soul called the 'moralist'. This 'moralist', when it sees someone going astray, is roused to indignation, even though very often the person who judges has strayed in the same way. He does not, however, take this as an occasion to condemn himself, but the other person. This is not what God wants. Christ says in the Gospel: You, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? It may be that we do not steal, but we commit murder; we reproach the other person and not ourselves. We say, for example: 'You should have done that and you didn't do it. So see now what's happened to you!' When we think evil, then it actually happens. In a mysterious and hidden manner we diminish the power of the other person to move towards what is good, and we do him harm. We can become the occasion for him to fall ill, to lose his job, or his property. In this way we do harm, not only to our neighbor, but also to ourselves, because we distance ourselves from the grace of God. And then we pray and our prayers are not heard. We 'ask and do not receive'. Why? Have we ever thought of this? 'Because we ask wrongly.' We need to find a way to heal the tendency within us to feel and think evil about others.

It is possible for someone to say, 'The way that person is behaving, he will be punished by God', and to believe that he is saying this without evil intent. It is not a simple thing, however, to discern whether he has or does not have evil intent. It does not appear clearly. What is hidden inour soul and how that can exercise influence on people and things is a very secret matter.

The same is not true if we say with a sense of awe that another person is not living well and that we should pray for God to help him and grant him repentence; that is, neither do we say, nor deep down do we desire that God will punish him for what he does. In this case not only do we not do harm to our neighbour, but we do him good. When someone prays for his neighbour, a good force proceeds from him and heals, strengthens and revives him. It is a mystery how this force leaves us. But, in truth, the person who has good within him radiates this good power to others, mystically and gently. He sends light to his neighbour and this creates a shield around him and protects him from evil. When we possess and good disposition towards others and pray, then we heal our fellow and we help them progress towards God.

There is an invisible life, the life of the soul. This is very powerful and can have effect on the other, even if we are miles apart. This also happens with the curse, which is a power that works evil. But if, conversely, we pray with love for someone, whatever the distance that seperates us, the good is transmitted. So distances do not affect the power of good and evil. We can transmit these across boundless distances. Solomon the Wise says this very thing: 'The noise of murmurings shall not be hidden.' The noise of our soul is transmitted mysteriously and affects the other, even if we don't say a word. Even without speaking we can transmit good or evil, irrespective of the distance which seperates us from our neighbour. What is not expressed generally hs greater power than words.
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elysabeth said...

From one Elysabeth to another Elizabeth (also an Orthodox Christian). Found you by a search and thought I'd leave a comment. God Bless - E :)

Marinaki said...

Watch 12 Sayings of Elder Porphyrios