Most people nowadays have been educated in a secular way, so they live their lives rushing here and there with a high ‘’secular’’ speed. Since they do not fear God, – the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Ps 111:10) – they have no use for brakes, and as they speed everywhere without restraint, they fall off the cliff. People are troubled by all kinds of questions; they walk around in a daze. They have lost their direction. Everyday, more and more people are losing control of their lives. If those who visit the Holy Mountain are so confused and full of anxiety, imagine the confusion of those who live their lives far from God and the Church.
In all nations, storms are gathering; minds are confused. May God save this poor world of ours that is blowing steam like a pressure cooker! Look at those in power! The schemes they come up with! They throw it all into a pressure cooker, and leave it, boiling and boiling; the cooker is whistling now! The steam valve is ready to explode! I once asked a man who had a very high position, ‘’Why do you neglect the things that matter most? What will become of us?’’ He replied, ‘’Father, the evil that started as a few flakes of snow has now turned into an avalanche. Only a miracle can save us.’’ Even the few who try to help are only making things worse. Instead of taking the proper measures for improving education, for example, they are making it worse. Rather than stop the avalanche, they are making it bigger. At first, you only see a few flakes; but as the snow picks up, it gets thicker and thicker. Chunks of it start rolling downhill turning into snowballs. On their way down, they gather more snow, pieces of wood and rocks, and as the whole thing keeps growing, it becomes an avalanche. That’s what has happened with evil. Little by little it has turned into an avalanche and is now coming down on us full speed. We will need explosives to stop it.
- Are you agonizing over this, Geronda? [An Elder(Gerondas) is a monk distinguished for his holiness, his long experience in the spiritual life, and his special gift for guiding the souls of others]
- Oh, why do you think my beard has turned white? It hurts me twice. First, because I see evil things coming and I shout warning to people, but no one pays attention – and it’s not out of disrespect for me. Then, when something horrible happens, they come and ask for my help. I can understand now what the prophets must have gone through! They were the greatest of martyrs even though only a few of them died a martyr’s death. The martyrs suffered much, but only for a short time. The prophets, on the other hand, suffered all the time because they could see what was really going on. Although they shouted warnings, people went on with their usual ways. When, finally, it was time and the wrath of God came on account of their deeds, the prophets who lived among them were also affected. You see, back then, people did not know any better; they had abandoned God and were worshipping idols. Today, we may know and understand more things, but our idolatry is even greater. We have not yet realized that the devil has set out to destroy God’s creation and all His creatures. He has put together an alliance to destroy the world. And he is in a rage, seeing how people are taking notice and are rightly concerned. He has become even more vicious now because he knows that he has but a short time(Cf. Rev 12:12). He resembles a criminal, who, when surrounded, thinks to himself, ‘’There is no way out; they will get me,’’ and he starts destroying everything around him. Or, he is like soldiers at war who, having run out of ammunition, draw their bayonets or swords and start slashing away at everything because they have nothing to lose. They say, ‘’We are going to die anyway; let’s get as many of the enemy as we can.’’
The world is on fire! Do you understand? There is so much temptation. The devil has started such a blaze that all the fire-fighters in the world will not be able to put it out: it is a spiritual fire! There’s nothing left. And there’s no other help for us: only prayer can save us now. We must pray to God to take pity on us. You see, when a fire spreads and the fire-fighters can do nothing about it, people are forced to turn to God and pray for Him to send a heavy rain. It’s the same with the spiritual fire started by the devil: we must all pray to God for Him to help us.
Wherever one turns, one thing is clear: things are falling apart! It’s not, for example, that we have a house, and we need to fix a window or something else. No; here it is the entire house that is in shambles- worse yet, the entire village. Things are spinning out of control. Only God can step in and stop it. He has to roll up his sleeves, take a screwdriver, tighten the loose screws, and with a slap here and a caress there, fix the mess. The world has an inflamed wound, full of pus, that needs to be opened and treated. But it’s too soon to open it now; evil must first run its course as it did back in Jericho (Cf. Josh 6), a long time ago.
(ELDER PAISIOS OF MOUNT ATHOS-SPIRITUAL COUNSELS-WITH PAIN AND LOVE FΟR CONTEMPORARY MAN)