When the monk has learned the secrets of solitude, when be has come to terms with his loneliness, he will find himself able, when obliged to mix with the world, to take with him his own solitude and live within it in recollection. He will have learned, without having consciously acquired a technique, how to keep sheltered his essential self in the midst of distraction. But even so, it would be foolish for him to take risks; solitude can be easily displaced, The monk, like Ruskin’s artist, should be “fit for the best society of men, and keep out of it.” Continue reading Exterior and Interior Solitude
God never disturbs a soul who sincerely wants to come to Him. He warns, He may even retake it by force, but He never does it through confusion or distress. He sees the souls faults, sees its repentance, He repairs it, and He does all of this peacefully. If a soul is troubled, that trouble always comes from itself or is demonic in origin, and the soul must first of all be allowed to calm down. Continue reading The conditions of inner peace.
The monk consecrates himself by vocation to pursue a union with God alone, through prayer, which in turn presupposes total detachment, perfect purification, the renunciation of everything that could decline the activity of his spiritual journey. Continue reading Prayer of the Heart
This is the sound of a “new” life and it reminds us of the sounds of another “new” life, the one that God created “in the beginning.” Surely the sounds then were such “silent” sounds, sounds of Continue reading Silence that Screams
These ‘words’ of the monks are a synthesis of numerous conversations I was able to have with them on the Holy Mountain, more particularly with the hegumenoi of Stavronikita, Simonos Petras and Aghios Panteleimonos; the monk Chrysostomos of Xenophontos Skete; and a staretz or elder whose name I no longer know — he lived in the neighbourhood of Aghia Anna. The word isn’t only in the mouth of the one who speaks, it is also in the ear of the one who listens. Since my memory is not a built-in tape-recorder, you won’t find here a literal transcription of our talks. Here, rather, is the ripening fruit these words were able to awaken in me. Continue reading Words From Mount Athos