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Elder Paisios of Mount Athos – Spiritual Counsels IV

With this present volume, we continue the publication of the counsels of the Blessed Elder Paisios with themes on the family and the ordeals people undergo caused by the crisis the institution of family faces in our times. The Elder used to say that the majority of the letters he received were from people who had family problems. He attributed these problems to people having withdrawn from God and to their self-centreredness. “In the old days,” he would say, “life was more peaceful and serene; people had patience. Nowadays, everyone has got a short fuse – people flare up right away; no one can tell them anything. And then, automatically, they go straight for divorce.”

From early on, the Elder took an active role within the great family of the Church, as he felt that he no longer belonged to his own small family. He acquired divine love and became a child of God. This is why he felt all people to be his brothers, and loved each and every one “with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:8). He used to say to us, “When I see an old man, I say that he is my father. When I see an old woman, I say that she is my mother. When I see a young child, I see that child as my brother’s child. I love everyone. For some I feel glad and for others I feel pain. Do you know what this is?” So, according to each one’s circumstances, he would become their child, brother, father, grandfather. It was the sincerity of his love which helped whoever came to him to undergo the good transformation, to accept the word of God and to live accordingly. As a member of the Body of Christ, he not only prayed with pain for those who faced problems in their families, but he also helped with his advice, when it was asked for, for even the most private aspects of family life, even though he himself lived as an ascetic….