Tuesday, March 03, 2015
Repentance, Temperance, Meekness, Sorrows.
You ask how to lay the beginnings of repentance. —If you wish to begin repentance, look at the woman sinner: she washed Christ’s feet with her tears (Luke 7:38). Tears wash away sins of every person. But a person acquires tears by internal efforts, through the diligent study of the Holy Scripture, through patience, meditation on the Last Judgment and eternal shame, and through self-denial, just as the Lord said: "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Mat. 16:24). To deny one’s self and to take up the cross — means to sever your own will in everything and regard yourself as nothing.
Regarding temperance in food and drink, the fathers teach to partake of both in lesser quantities that is required i.e. not to fill your stomach fully. Each individual has to determine his own measure in both food and wine. Moreover, the measure of restraint is not limited to food and drink, but extends to talking, sleep, clothing and to all the senses. There must be its own measure in all of this.
If upon starting a conversation, you realize that it is sinful — terminate it by saying: "No, we won’t talk about this," or, having remained silent for a few moments, say: "I have forgotten what I wanted to say," — and switch the conversation to a different non-sinful topic.
Do you wish to free yourself of sorrows and not be burdened by them? Expect bigger ones — and you will calm down. Remember Job and other Saints — what sorrows they had endured! Acquire their patience and your spirit will be consoled.
- Elders Barsanuphius and John