Sunday, August 28, 2016

Akathist to St. John the Russian ( Commemorated May 27 )


Akathist to St. John the Russian, the New Confessor and Wonderworker, whose incorrupt Holy Relic is treasured in Neo Prokopion, Evia

Written by Nun Isidora Agierotheitissa

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone
The perfect pinnacle of confession, and the divine example of humility, you willingly were steadfast amidst the bitterness, and your flesh shone forth with incorruption, let us honor John whose name is great, singing to him:
hail, O boast of the Russians.

You lived the life of the bodiless on earth in your physical flesh, O John, (3) and imitating the ranks of the Bodiless Angels, God Who fashioned you glorified you in wondrous and divine works. Therefore, you hear from those who are amazed by you such words as these:
Hail, the precious icon of piety,
Hail, rich support of the holy faith.
Hail, perfect one in godly struggles,
Hail, privileged one serving uplifted things.
Hail, the fair pinnacle of all the Righteous ones,
Hail, the sacred radiance of the confessors.
Hail, the most-precious joy of the Church,
Hail, the most-prided offspring of noble Russia.
Hail, lamp of the radiance of the saints,
Hail, treasury of incorrupt and sacred gifts.
Hail, O boast of the Russians.

Barbarians faced your nation in battle, and took you hostage, O all-blessed one, thus bringing you to Asia Minor, where you were sold to a terrible boss, while you totally submitted to him in slavery in your incomparable steadfastness, O Father. And being obedient to him as a humble slave, O John, to God, the guide of all things, you offered the hymn, chanting endlessly: Alleluia.

You willed to imitate Christ, and to suffer the divine Passion, therefore, you endured every insult, O John, in your gladsome and undoubting heart. And you drank their every ridicule and bitterness as a pleasant drink. Therefore, you ever gladden those you cry out to you words like these:
Hail, true steward of the God of all,
Hail, deferential servant of a vicious boss.
Hail, you who endured unspeakable evils,
Hail, you who were enriched with heavenly rewards.
Hail, you who endured the bitter yoke of slavery,
Hail, you who bore the Lord's yoke with joy.
Hail, divine mirror of mystical rays,
Hail, sacred treasury of God-given gifts.
Hail, anointer of the unspeakable mystagogy,
Hail, shining pearl of the Church.
Hail, lamp that shines upon the hearts of the faithful,
Hail, sun that speaks of the unwaning Christ.
Hail, O boast of the Russians.

In the rich home in which you served, a dinner was served, and through the grace of your Lord, you worked a great miracle through your piercing prayer, O Father. And from afar, O John, you sent food to your slave master in his own dish, thus granting him joy. While to God, Who dwells in the highest, you granted joy, as your burning heart chanted the hymn: Alleluia.

Having the most-pure fear of the Lord in your holy heart, O Father, as David the Prophet, you were enriched with perfect love. And through the spring of love, you approached God perfectly, and you meditated upon the law mindfully, O all-precious John, and called upon His name ceaselessly from the mouth of your heart. Therefore with incomparable care, you hearken upon us who call upon you ceaselessly:
Hail, the most-faithful worshipper of the God of all,
Hail, the bloodless Martyr of the Master of all.
Hail, you who were enriched with the great forbearance of Job,
Hail, you who unflinchingly gave a good witness.
Hail, you who traveled the straight path of turmoils,
Hail, you who bent the neck of your soul to Christ.
Hail, treasury of graces, full of divine fragrance,
Hail, river of wonders, and inheritance of fragrance.
Hail, the wealth of the Greeks, the incorruptible treasure,
Hail, perfect sharer of the mystical Table.
Hail, O boast of the Russians.

With the immense warmth of your fervor, O John, you followed Christ willingly, and you did not at all deny His holy and all-powerful name, O blessed one. You suffered many pains, but you were as a diamond amidst turmoils, that beautifies the Church of Christ. With the fiery rays of the confession which you gave before the godless rulers with a piercing voice, O Father, you ceaselessly spoke of God, and chanted the thrice-holy hymn, chanting in thanksgiving: Alleluia.

From Russia, O Father, you were transported to the holy land of Asia Minor as a slave. And by your righteous pains you cultivated the land, and harvested the fruit of the faith, offering it to God Who cultivated you. Through freedom in soul, you served Him, O Righteous John, and kept your mind free, giving glory to Him instead as is right. Therefore, for those who bless you, grant a godly mind and a pure heart, as we cry out to you with loud voices like this:
Hail, you who worked the mystical vineyard,
Hail, you who fed upon the grapes of your athletic pains.
Hail, for with precious tears you watered your pillow,
Hail, for with divine rejoicing you bestow harmony.
Hail, you who received a great talent from the hand of God,
Hail, you who greatly increased the portion given to you.
Hail, you who received the holy seed within the field of your heart,
Hail, you who bore fruit through the good word of your confession.
Hail, the good servant of every virtue,
Hail, the prudent disciple of the Master of all.
Hail, the boast of the Church and root of beautiful fruit,
Gail, the glory of the Righteous, and wonder of the Angels.
Hail, O boast of the Russians.

Willingly doing the will of the Lord, you eagerly served, O sacred John, and with your humble mindset you followed the commandments. Therefore, you rejoiced as you accepted the yoke of slavery for the love which He offered to us, as He took on the form of a servant in His great goodness. With utter desire in heart, and a joyous voice, you offered to Him the hymn and ode as is proper: Alleluia.

In your endurance, you dwelt within a dark stable with the horses, while in your heart you mystically beheld the light of Christ, and you hymned the Giver-of-light in truth, keeping the lamp of your soul lit through the illuminating rays of your all-holy prayers. I entreat you to drive away the darkness from my irrational soul, that I may rationally offer you this light-bearing ode, saying fervently these words in thanksgiving:
Hail, healer adorned with the beauty of confession,
Hail, steadfast and divine pinnacle of good struggles.
Hail, the most-joyous treasury of the spotless faith,
Hail, spotless treasury of joyous graces.
Hail, you who freely give from the treasury of the Saints,
Hail, you who strengthen the souls with precious wealth.
Hail, spring which brings the fragrant message of dispassion,
Hail, well that waters with the refreshment of the spirit.
Hail, for you wore the tattered garment of the flesh in humility, O Father,
Hail, for you gladden the soul with songs from above.
Hail, the perfect companion of servants,
Hail, the faithful servant of the divine will.
Hail, O boast of the Russians.

Though you lived under the dominion of deceived ones, you who trample upon the enemy, you preserved your heart, O wondrous John, and you founded a great tower of the strength of God in the house of your soul that was unassailable to all, in which you loudly spoke of God's greatness. Loudly speak to my mouth, through the boldness of your prayers, that I might totally resist the strength of the deceiver, and offer to the all-powerful God, along with the Angels, the hymn: Alleluia.

Shining with the beauty of your soul more than corruptible gold, you beautify the Church of Christ, O John, and with the golden rays of your holy deeds, you shine upon all of us with the beauty of the Master. Illumine the garment of my soul, which is soiled by the passions, through your bold intercessions, I entreat you, that I might hymn your fervent help, as is needful, and with all joy, ceaselessly saying to you words such as these:
Hail, container of healings, and river of wonders,
Hail, the most-speedy physician of incurable diseases.
Hail, you who exalted God through your wondrous works,
Hail, you who trampled upon the enemy through your unspeakable groans.
Hail, you who imitated well the endurance of Job,
Hail, for as another Lazarus, you persevered in poverty.
Hail, you who inherited well the wealth of Eden,
Hail, you who wisely found the great treasure.
Hail, for your flesh did not taste of corruption in death,
Hail, you who partake of the grace of incorruption upon the earth.
Hail, you who offer to God prayers of intercession,
Hail, protector of all the faithful, full of sympathy.
Hail, O boast of the Russians.

The precious members of your flesh, O Champion, bore the sacred marks of your confession, as you withstood many evils with your unswayable mind, and suffered hunger, and the bitterness of insults, which you drank as a river, and joyous food, from the eternal city of Eden, O John, in which dwell the choirs of the Righteous, and the sacred ranks of the Martyrs, and the cities of the divine confessors, as you chant ceaselessly unto God in Trinity the gladsome hymn in joy: Alleluia.

Dwelling in the divine house of the radiant and glorious trophy-bearer George in Asia Minor, you supplicated all day, and prayed all night, thus pleasing the Master of all, O John. Therefore, may you ever look graciously upon us who hymn you, granting remission of sins to our souls, and deep peace and transformation of the passions, that out of gratefulness we might cry to you in truth:
Hail, fund of prayer, and rule of continence,
Hail, river of love, and icon of gladsomeness.
Hail, for you imitated the heavenly ranks of the Cherubim,
Hail, for you illuminated the sacred ranks of the Righteous.
Hail, house of purity, and robe of cleanliness,
Hail, the highest imitator of the divine life.
Hail, you who took refuge in the divine church of Saint George,
Hail, for you pray with him to God, O Father.
Hail, you who accepted the passion of the Martyrs in the flesh,
Hail, you who joined with all those who confess God.
Hail, Christ's teacher of humility for us,
Hail, for you properly reached the height of dispassion.
Hail, O boast of the Russians.

You lived your life on earth as a stranger, but grew closer to Christ, Who estranged Himself for us on earth, that we might become friends and close to God, delivering us from our former disobedience, and making us sharers in the eternal joy, and that we be found in light. May your light-bearing prayers, O servant of the light, grant us every grace, O sacred John, that we be delivered from the darkness, and chant unto the Worker-of-light and Master of all, the great ode and never-silent hymn: Alleluia.

With your whole mind, O Father, you unwaveringly followed the Lord of all, Whom you desired from childhood, and Whose army you were numbered in out of obedience, inscribing His laws upon the tablets of your heart, and keeping them with exactness as a good servant, and from Whom you received divine grace as the reward for your efforts, and your face shone as did the Law-giver Moses. Therefore, do not cease to intercede for us, O good John, and make us worthy to keep the holy commandments, that we might be found in the radiant bridal chamber, and ever chant to you these good words:
Hail, perfect mystagogue of divine visions,
Hail, precious diner from the radiant Table.
Hail, friend of the Master and beloved son,
Hail, protector of the faithful, and sacred guide of brides.
Hail, you who glorified the immortal God below,
Hail, you who trampled upon the powerless enemy.
Hail, you who wondrously were true to your Christian name,
Hail, stream of wonders, and river of healings.
Hail, the joyfulness of the Russians and the sweetness of the Greeks,
Hail, the lamp of Evia and the adornment of the Church.
Hail, the holy shield of confessors,
Hail, the purity and gladness of the Athletes of the Lord.
Hail, O boast of the Russians.

Every painful notion you endured with joy, as you were shown to be a tower of strength against every enemy, O John, utterly revealing their machinations, and receiving the crown from the hand of Him Who works all things. Through your prayers, O Father, make us worthy to be victorious over [the enemy's] machinations, and to raise up the trophies of godly victory in strength, and strength of life, that we might all cry out the victorious ode: Alleluia.

The Russian people take refuge in your holy memory, and skip and magnify God, O John, for He gave you to them as an all-holy root. Asia Minor also dances in glory, for you blessed her through your pains and holy struggles. And Evia also sings, and the noble island rejoices, being joyously enriched with your wondrous body, which transforms corruption, and turns beyond, calling the Greeks, and every city and people that bears the name of Christ to cry out to you these words graciously:
Hail, you who drank insults as sweet water,
Hail, you who took reproach as joyous food.
Hail, you who bore the marks of the Lord in your flesh,
Hail, you who bear the seal of incorruption in it.
Hail, for you offered yourself to the King of all,
Hail, for you ever stand before His throne in heaven.
Hail, you who in slavery were proven as gold,
Hail, you who are full of gold, and shine upon the earth.
Hail, you who quenched the fire of the furnace through your pains,
Hail, you who saved your flesh from corruption in the flames.
Hail, you who saved the disciple from terrible danger,
Hail you who fill every heart with wonder.
Hail, O boast of the Russians.

We venerate your incorrupt body in piety, O John, and we bless the immortal God, Who delivered every race of man from death, and through His Third-day Resurrection, resurrected us. We sing to Him in joyous voices faithfully, praising the strength of His wonders, the multitude of His miracles, and we cry from our hearts, with the Angelic choirs, the joyous hymn and cherubic ode: Alleluia.

Foreseeing your blessed repose, O John, you sought to partake of the Spotless Mysteries, that you might be born into the life of eternal communion. These were brought to you by a priest in an apple, hidden as a treasure from the faithless enemies. Having received the Mysteries within your soul, O Father, you gave your soul to God. We ever glorify Him, as the Author of our life, and we all say these to you from our heart, ceaselessly:
Hail, the most-precious temple of divine gifts,
Hail, the most-radiant container of precious virtues.
Hail, you who bear the good news of your calling from above,
Hail, you who enrich with the fragrance of the Holy Spirit.
Hail, you who founded within the zeal and steadfastness of the Martyrs,
Hail, for having them in mind, you imitated their life.
Hail, you who who copied the lives of all the Righteous Ones.
Hail, you who reached the hymnody of the Angelic ranks.
Hail, you who remained for many years in the dark stable,
Hail, you who ever dwell in the pastures of light.
Hail, you who adorn the Church of Christ,
Hail, you who beautify the holy island of Evia.
Hail, O boast of the Russians.

Having burned up every evil material within yourself, you were offered to the Church as an all-fragrant harbor, gladdening the faithful with the grandeur of virtues. Therefore, at your holy memory, O John, we weave godly crowns with flowers, out of debt, and rightly engrave a hymn, honoring you from our soul, for the Lord also, in great joy, placed a crown upon your head, O Father, and we chant together: Alleluia.

Beholding light from your grave as a pillar of fire, you told to those there clearly, O John, of your life full of light which you struggled in on earth, and the boldness which you were eternally enriched with by the Father of Lights. As you never leave His hand, we entreat you to extend your hand, that we be delivered from the darkness, and walk in the light of the commandments, as your servants ceaselessly hymn the Giver-of-light and Savior, the Redeemer Jesus, and ceaselessly say to you with one voice:
Hail, lamp of the Light that drives away the darkness of passions,
Hail, for you lit within your soul a lamp with the light of the virtues.
Hail, you who gladden the hearts of the faithful with your light,
Hail, you who make joyous the holy Church with your beauty.
Hail, man of godly and holy desires,
Hail, divine lover of sacred commandments.
Hail, you who adorn the firmament above,
Hail, you who strengthen the souls of all through the wood of the Cross.
Hail, spring of divine things, and life-giving waters,
Hail, infinite stream of unspeakable wonders.
Hail, tree that bears the fruit of Paradise,
Hail, flower that carries the fragrance of the Comforter.
Hail, O boast of the Russians.

Rejoicing that your time of bitter slavery had come to an end, your holy soul passed to the hand of God, and inherited joy in truth, O John, as you ever rejoice together with the choirs of the Angels. Let us all hail you, speaking to the Athlete of the Lord, celebrating his radiant memory with fervor, and embracing his sacred body with faith. And the choir claps on earth in harmony, while those in the heavens cry out the ode, to God in the highest, ever chanting to Him: Alleluia.

Truly surpassing the sands of the sea, O Father, are the multitude of your wonders, which you pour upon the faithful, who out of debt approach your sacred church, and entreat your intercessions, O sacred John, that we be delivered from sicknesses and from the assaults of the passions, as we cry out willingly with a glad heart:
Hail, healer of sicknesses, and driver-out of demons,
Hail, fountain of wonders, and mixing-bowel of blessing.
Hail, you who shine as a star with the Three-rays of light,
Hail, you who dissipate the soul-corrupting mist of the passions.
Hail, you grant to all the true wealth of the Master,
Hail, you who pour forth incorruptible treasure for the faithful.
Hail, divine harbor which grants salvation to souls,
Hail, you who befriend us with the Prince of peace.
Hail, you who truly bring forth strange wonders,
Hail, for your flesh was wondrously estranged from corruption.
Hail, pillar of Russia and treasure of Greece,
Hail, unsleeping protector of the whole world.
Hail, O boast of the Russians.

O All-holy Father, the height of divine confessors, and newly-illumined star, O John, (3) you who received the experience of the Martyrs in your precious body, and the sweat of the Righteous, and willingly endured toils, and received a crown upon your head from your beloved Master, and were honored by incorruption of your holy flesh: grant us the honor of incorruption in the heavens, through your prayers and uplifted hands, that we find the glory of eternal life, with all those who have been saved. To the Lord, Whom you stand before, we offer the ode, crying out with the Bodiless ones ceaselessly: Alleluia.

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Στάδια αναπτύξεως των παθών ( Ἁγ. Θεοφάνους τοῦ Ἐγκλείστου )

Τὰ πάθη ἐμφανίζονται μέσα μας κάθε τόσο. Ἡ ἐμφάνισή τους πιστοποιεῖ τὴν ἀκαθαρσία μας, ἀλλὰ δὲν μᾶς ἐνοχοποιεῖ. Ἔνοχοι εἴμαστε ἀπὸ τὴ στιγμὴ ποὺ κλίνουμε εὐνοϊκὰ πρὸς ὁποιοδήποτε πάθος, ἀπὸ τὴ στιγμή, δηλαδή, ποὺ ὄχι μόνο δὲν τὸ θεωροῦμε ὡς ἐχθρὸ καὶ δὲν τὸ πολεμᾶμε μὲ τὸ θυμό, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ καλοδεχόμαστε, ὅποτε ἐμφανίζεται, βρίσκοντας ἀπόλαυση στὸν ἐρεθισμὸ ποὺ μᾶς προξενεῖ. Αὐτὴ ἡ στάση δείχνει διάθεση συμφιλιώσεως μὲ τὸ πάθος καί, συνεπῶς, ἐναντιώσεως στὸν Θεό· «γιατί ὅποιος ἔχει σαρκικὸ φρόνημα, ἐχθρεύεται τὸν Θεὸ» (Ρωμ. η´ 7).

Μόλις ἀρχίζει ἡ εὐνοϊκὴ κλίση πρὸς τὸ πάθος, ὅσο ἀνεπαίσθητη κι ἂν εἶναι αὐτή, ἀρχίζει καὶ ἡ ἐνοχή. Καὶ ὅσο αὐξάνεται ἡ πρώτη, τόσο αὐξάνεται καὶ ἡ δεύτερη. Στὴ συνέχεια θὰ σοὺ περιγράψω τὴν σχετικὴ διαδικασία: Ὅλη μέρα οἱ λογισμοὶ κινοῦνται. Κινοῦνται καὶ περιπλανιοῦνται πέρα-δῶθε. Οἱ περισσότεροι εἶναι λογισμοὶ μάταιοι, καθὼς ἀναφέρονται σὲ κοινὲς καθημερινὲς ὑποθέσεις καὶ ἐργασίες ρουτίνας. Ἀνάμεσα σ’ αὐτοὺς τοὺς λογισμοὺς ξεφυτρώνουν κάπου-κάπου καὶ ἄλλοι, ποὺ ἀποτελοῦν κενὰ ὀνειροπολήματα. Ὅλοι τους συνωστίζονται ἄτακτα στὴν ἐπιφάνεια τῆς ψυχῆς, δημιουργώντας ἐκεῖ σύγχυση καὶ ἀναστάτωση. Σοὺ ἔχω πεῖ ἄλλοτε, πῶς ν’ ἀντιμετωπίζεις ἀποτελεσματικὰ αὐτὴ τὴ σύγχυση, ποὺ σοῦ ἀφαιρεῖ τὴν μνήμη τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ πῶς ν’ ἀποκαθιστᾶς μέσα σου τὴν τάξη καὶ τὴν ἠρεμία.

Ἐκεῖ, λοιπόν, ποὺ κάθεσαι καὶ συλλογίζεσαι, ἀνάμεσα στοὺς ἄλλους λογισμούς σου παρουσιάζεται κι ἕνας ἀλλόκοτος “ἐπισκέπτης”. Παρουσιάζεται καὶ ἀπαιτεῖ τὴν προσοχή σου. Τὸ ὑπογραμμίζω: Ἀπαιτεῖ τὴν προσοχή σου. Μὴν τὸν ἀφήσεις ποτὲ νὰ περάσει ἀπαρατήρητος. Δίχως τὴν παραμικρὴ χρονοτριβή, σταμάτα τον καὶ ἀνάκρινέ τον: Ποιός εἶναι; Ἀπὸ ποῦ ἔρχεται; Τί θέλει; Τὶς ἀπαντήσεις δὲν θὰ σοῦ τὶς δώσει ἐκεῖνος. Θὰ τὶς βρεῖς ἐσύ, ἀφοῦ τὸν παρατηρήσεις προσεκτικά.

Ἂς ὑποθέσουμε πὼς εἶναι ἕνας ἄνθρωπος ποὺ κάποτε σὲ προσέβαλε καὶ ποὺ τώρα, εἴτε αὐτόματα εἴτε συνειρμικά, ἔρχεται στὸν νοῦ σου. Εἶναι βέβαιο πὼς ἡ θύμηση αὐτοῦ τοῦ προσώπου καὶ τῆς προσβλητικῆς του συμπεριφορᾶς θὰ γεννήσει μέσα σου ἀγανάκτηση, ὀργή, ἀκόμα καὶ τὴν ἐπιθυμία τῆς ἐκδικήσεως, θὰ σὲ φέρει δηλαδὴ σὲ μιὰ κακὴ ψυχικὴ κατάσταση. Πρόκειται, ἑπομένως, γιὰ λογισμὸ ἐχθρικό. Καὶ ἀφοῦ πρόκειται γιὰ λογισμὸ ἐχθρικό, πρέπει νὰ τὸν ἀντιμετωπίσεις ἐχθρικά: Νὰ τὸν ἀποκρούσεις καὶ νὰ τὸν διώξεις μακριὰ μὲ περιφρόνηση καὶ θυμό.

Ἔτσι θὰ ἐξουδετερώσεις τὸ τέχνασμα τοῦ πονηροῦ, ποὺ σοῦ ἔβαλε τὸν λογισμό, καὶ θ’ ἀποφύγεις τὴν παγίδα του. Ἄν, ἀπεναντίας, δεχθεῖς τὸν λογισμὸ καὶ συγκρατήσεις στὸν νοῦ σου τὴν εἰκόνα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ποὺ σὲ προσέβαλε, θ’ ἀκολουθήσουν κι ἄλλοι λογισμοί, κι ἄλλες εἰκόνες, ποὺ θὰ ἀναπαραστήσουν πολὺ ζωντανὰ καὶ μὲ κάθε λεπτομέρεια στὴν φαντασία σου τὸ ἐπεισόδιο τῆς προσβολῆς. Ἡ νοερὴ ἀναπαράσταση τοῦ ἐπεισοδίου θὰ ξεσηκώσει στὴν καρδιὰ τὴν ὀργή, δηλαδὴ ἕνα συναίσθημα ἐμπαθές. Καὶ πρέπει νὰ ξέρεις, ὅτι κάθε φορὰ ποὺ ἐπιτρέπεις σὲ ἐμπαθῆ συναισθήματα νὰ ἐκδηλωθοῦν, συντελεῖς στὴν ἑδραίωση τῶν ἀντίστοιχων παθῶν στὴν ψυχή σου.

Ἂν συνέλθεις ἔγκαιρα, ἂν θυμηθεῖς καὶ συναισθανθεῖς πόσο κακὸ εἶναι νὰ γίνεσαι ἕρμαιο ὁποιουδήποτε πάθους, τότε θ’ ἀπομακρύνεις τόσο τὸ ἐμπαθὲς συναίσθημα ἀπὸ τὴν καρδιά σου ὅσο καὶ τὸν λογισμὸ ποὺ τὸ προκάλεσε ἀπὸ τὸν νοῦ σου. Ἔτσι ἡ ταραχὴ θὰ περάσει καὶ ἡ ἐσωτερικὴ εἰρήνη θ’ ἀποκατασταθεῖ. Διαφορετικά, γύρω ἀπὸ τὸ ἐμπαθὲς συναίσθημα, ποὺ ἔχει ξεσηκωθεῖ στὴν καρδιά, θὰ μαζευτοῦν κι ἄλλα, ἐρεθίζοντάς το.
Αὐτὰ τὰ συναισθήματα θ᾽ ἀρχίσουν νὰ σοῦ προκαλοῦν σκέψεις ὅπως οἱ ἀκόλουθες: «Πῶς τόλμησε αὐτὸς ὁ ἄνθρωπος νὰ μὲ προσβάλει; Ποιός νομίζει πὼς εἶναι; Κανένας σπουδαῖος; Δὲν μπορῶ νὰ παραβλέψω τέτοια προσβολή. Μήπως εἶμαι κατώτερή του; Ἂν ἀφήνω τὸν καθένα νὰ μοῦ φέρεται μ’ αὐτὸν τὸν τρόπο, ἡ ζωή μου θὰ γίνει μαρτυρική. Ἄ, ὅλα κι ὅλα! Πρέπει ὁπωσδήποτε νὰ τοῦ δείξω πώς, ὅταν ἐνεργεῖ ἔτσι, θὰ πληρώνεται μὲ τὸ ἴδιο νόμισμα». Νά, ἡ ἐπιθυμία σου γιὰ ἐκδίκηση ἔχει κιόλας ὡριμάσει.

Τὸ πάθος ριζώνει ὅλο καὶ πιὸ βαθιὰ στὴν ψυχή σου. Εἶναι τὸ τρίτο στάδιο. Καὶ σ’ αὐτὴ τὴν φάση, ἂν συνέλθεις, μπορεῖς νὰ σταματήσεις τὸ κακό. Μπορεῖς νὰ διώξεις τὴν ἐπιθυμία. Ἡ ἐπιθυμία, βλέπεις, δὲν συμπίπτει μὲ τὴν ἀπόφαση. Τὴ μιὰ στιγμὴ ἔρχεται, τὴν ἄλλη μπορεῖ νὰ φύγει. Ἔτσι, ἂν ἀπαλλαγεῖς ἀπὸ τὴν ἐπιθυμία, θὰ ἐπανέλθεις στὴν εἰρηνική σου κατάσταση· ἂν ὄχι, ἡ ταλαιπωρία σου θὰ συνεχιστεῖ.

Κοίτα πῶς ἀπὸ τὸν λογισμὸ γεννήθηκε τὸ συναίσθημα καὶ πῶς ἀπ’ αὐτὰ τὰ δυὸ γεννήθηκε ἡ ἐπιθυμία. Ὁ νοῦς κυριεύθηκε ἀπὸ τὸ πάθος. Ἡ ψυχὴ μολύνθηκε ἀπὸ τὴν ἁμαρτία, ἁμαρτία ὡστόσο μόνο νοερὴ ἴσαμε τούτη τὴν ὥρα. Εἶναι μακρὺς ἀκόμα ὁ δρόμος ὣς τὴν πράξη. Ἀνάμεσα στὴν ἐπιθυμία καὶ τὴν πράξη ὑπάρχουν δυὸ ἀκόμα στάδια, α) ἡ ἀπόφαση καὶ β) ὁ σχεδιασμὸς τῆς πράξεως.

Τὸ πῶς διαμορφώνεται ἡ ἀπόφαση δὲν εἶναι πάντα φανερό. Σὲ ἐμβρυώδη μορφὴ ἐνυπάρχει ἤδη στὴν ἐπιθυμία. Στὴν συνέχεια ἀναπτύσσεται μαζὶ μὲ τὸν σχεδιασμὸ τῆς πράξεως, δηλαδὴ τὴν ἐπιλογὴ τῶν μέσων, τὸν προσδιορισμὸ τῶν μεθόδων καὶ τὴν ἐξεύρεση τῶν καταλλήλων συνθηκῶν. Ἡ ἀπόφαση εἶναι ὁλοκληρωμένη, ὅταν ὅλα πιὰ ἔχουν σχεδιαστεῖ καὶ προμελετηθεῖ. Τότε ἡ πράξη ἔχει ἤδη συντελεστεῖ νοερά, ἡ ἁμαρτία ἔχει ἤδη διαπραχθεῖ μπροστὰ στὸν Θεό, οἱ ἐντολὲς ἔχουν ἤδη καταπατηθεῖ, ἡ συνείδηση ἔχει ἤδη παραβιαστεῖ.

Συχνὰ περνάει πολὺς καιρὸς ἀπὸ τὴν γέννηση τῆς ἐπιθυμίας ὣς τὴν ἀπόφαση καὶ τὸν σχεδιασμὸ τῆς πράξεως. Ἡ ψυχὴ συγκρατεῖται ἀπὸ τὸν φόβο τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ὁ νοῦς δὲν ξεχνάει τὶς ἐντολὲς τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Καὶ ἡ συνείδηση δὲν σωπαίνει. Ὅλες, ὡστόσο, οἱ σωτήριες παραινέσεις τῆς ἀψηφοῦνται. Γι’ αὐτὸ ἀκριβῶς ἤδη στὴν ἀπόφαση ὑπάρχει παράβαση καὶ ἁμαρτία. Ὁ λογισμός, τὸ συναίσθημα καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία ἔχουν πλέον κυριεύσει ὅλη τὴν ψυχή. Ἡ κλίση πρὸς τὴν ἁμαρτία, πάντως, δὲν εἶναι ἀκόμη ἀκαταμάχητη. Ἀκαταμάχητη γίνεται ἀπὸ τὴν στιγμὴ ποὺ ἡ ψυχὴ ἀρχίζει νὰ μελετᾶ μὲ προσοχὴ καὶ ἐπιμονὴ τὸν τρόπο ἱκανοποιήσεως τοῦ πάθους. Τότε πιὰ βαδίζει πρὸς τὴν ὁλοκλήρωση τῆς ἁμαρτίας.

Ὅσο ἡ ἀπόφαση διαμορφώνεται, ἡ ἐλευθερία περιορίζεται. Ἡ ψυχὴ ὅλο καὶ πιὸ ἔντονα αἰσθάνεται πὼς εἶναι ἀπόλυτα ἀναγκασμένη νὰ πραγματοποιήσει τὸν ἐμπαθῆ σκοπό της. Ἀλλὰ τέτοιαν ὑποχρέωση δὲν ἔχει. Αὐτὸ ποὺ αἰσθάνεται εἶναι μία αὐταπάτη, μία πλάνη. Ἡ ἀπόφασή της μπορεῖ νὰ παραμείνει ἀνεκπλήρωτη ἐξ αἰτίας ὁποιουδήποτε κωλύματος, ποὺ ἐνδεχομένως θὰ παρουσιαστεῖ. Ἴσως, ὅμως, καὶ αὐτοθέλητα νὰ παραιτηθεῖ ἀπὸ τὸν σκοπό της ἡ ψυχή, ἂν ὑπερισχύσουν τελικὰ μέσα της ὁ φόβος τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ ἡ φωνὴ τῆς συνειδήσεως. Διαφορετικά, ὁ ἐμπαθὴς σκοπὸς πραγματοποιεῖται, ὅπως σχεδιάστηκε. Ἂς ὑποθέσουμε, λοιπόν, ὅτι τὸ σχέδιο ὑλοποιήθηκε. Τὸ πάθος ἱκανοποιήθηκε. Ἡ ἁμαρτία διαπράχθηκε. Ἡ ἀπόφαση μετουσιώθηκε σὲ πράξη. Τί ἄλλο ἀπομένει νὰ γίνει; Φαινομενικὰ τίποτα. Μὰ δὲν εἶναι ἔτσι. Τὸ κακὸ ἔχει προεκτάσεις καὶ ἐπακόλουθα.

Π ρ ῶ τ ο ν. Ὣς τὴν στιγμὴ τῆς πτώσεως ὁ φόβος τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ ἡ συνείδηση ἁπλῶς ἀγνοήθηκαν καὶ περιφρονήθηκαν· τώρα, μὲ τὴν πτώση, παραβιάστηκαν καὶ καταπατήθηκαν. Ὣς τὴν στιγμὴ τῆς πτώσεως ἡ συνείδηση ἦταν σὰν μιὰ μητέρα ποὺ πάσχιζε νὰ ἀποτρέψει τὸν γιό της – τὴν ψυχὴ – ἀπὸ τὴν ἁμαρτία, κι ἐκεῖνος ἁπλῶς δὲν τῆς ἔδινε σημασία· τώρα μὲ τὴν πτώση, ὁ γιὸς ἁμαρτάνει, ἀπαντώντας στὶς ἱκεσίες τῆς μητέρας του μὲ γρονθοκοπήματα καὶ χαστούκια.

Δ ε ύ τ ε ρ ο ν. Τώρα ἡ ἐσωτερικὴ διεργασία, ποὺ ὁδήγησε στὴν πτώση, ἐπηρεάζεται ἀπὸ τὰ ἐξωτερικὰ γεγονότα. Καὶ θὰ συνεχίσει νὰ ἐπηρεάζεται, ἐκτὸς κι ἂν ὁ ἄνθρωπος μετανοήσει. Ἂν δὲν τὸ κάνει, θὰ γεύεται γιὰ πάντα τοὺς καρποὺς τῆς ἁμαρτίας.

Τ ρ ί τ ο ν. Ἡ θεία χάρη ἐγκαταλείπει τὸν ἄνθρωπο, ποὺ ἀπομακρύνεται ἀπὸ τὸν Θεὸ καὶ πηγαίνει μὲ τὸν ἐχθρό του. Τότε μαραζώνει, λυγίζει, αἰσθάνεται νὰ συντρίβεται κάτω ἀπὸ ἕνα βαρὺ φορτίο. Σ’ αὐτὸν ἐκπληρώνεται ὁ λόγος τοῦ Κυρίου γιὰ τὸ δαιμονικὸ πνεῦμα ποὺ ἐπιστρέφει μὲ ἄλλα ἑφτὰ πιὸ πονηρὰ (Ματθ. ιβ´ 43-45). Μελαγχολία, ἀνησυχία, ψυχοπλάκωμα – νὰ ποιὸς εἶναι ὁ μισθὸς τοῦ πάθους ποὺ ἱκανοποιήθηκε. Ἀπίστευτο! Ἀπὸ τὴν ἱκανοποίηση τοῦ πάθους ὁ ἄνθρωπος περιμένει ἕναν παράδεισο: «Θὰ εἶστε σὰν θεοὶ» (Γεν. Γ´ 5). Μόλις ὅμως τὸ ἱκανοποιήσει, βγαίνει ἀπὸ τὴν πλάνη καὶ διαπιστώνει πὼς ὁ ποθητὸς “παράδεισος” δὲν ἦταν παρὰ μιὰ αὐταπάτη. Τώρα ἔχει μείνει μὲ τὸ κενό, τὴν ὀδύνη, τὴν στενοχώρια, τὸ βάρος. Βλέπει πὼς ἡ προσδοκία του διαψεύσθηκε. Περίμενε νὰ χαρεῖ, μὰ ἔγινε τὸ ἐντελῶς ἀντίθετο. Ὁ δρόμος ποὺ πῆρε, δρόμος ἐνδόσεως στὸ πάθος, τὸν ὁδήγησε στὴν ἁμαρτία καὶ τὴνκατάθλιψη.

Ἂς ἔρθουμε τώρα σ᾽ ἐσένα. Τί θὰ κανεὶς ἀπ’ ὅσα ἔχουμε πεῖ; Ἂν ἡ ἀπόφασή σου νὰ ὑπηρετήσεις τὸν Κύριο εἶναι εἰλικρινής, ἂν ὁ νοῦς σου εἶναι ἀδιάλειπτα προσηλωμένος στὸν Θεὸ μὲ εὐλάβεια καὶ ἂν ἐπιτηρεῖς αὐστηρὰ τὸν ἑαυτό σου, τότε εἶναι ἀδύνατο νὰ κινηθεῖ ποτὲ ἡ ψυχή σου πρὸς τὴν ἱκανοποίηση τῆς ἐμπαθοῦς ἐπιθυμίας, ἑπομένως εἶναι ἀδύνατο καὶ νὰ γευθεῖ τοὺς πικροὺς καρπούς της. Νὰ ποιὸς εἶναι ὁ ἐσωτερικός σου ἀγώνας.

Λογισμὸς ἢ συναίσθημα ἢ ἐπιθυμία ἐμπαθὴς περνάει μερικὲς φορὲς ἀπὸ τὴν ψυχὴ ἀστραπιαία, σχεδὸν ἀσυνείδητα. Σὲ τέτοια περίπτωση, δὲν εἴμαστε ἔνοχοι, ἂν μόλις συνειδητοποιήσουμε τὴν προσβολή, διώξουμε μὲ ἀπέχθεια καὶ θυμὸ τὸ λογισμὸ ἢ τὸ συναίσθημα ἢ τὴν ἐπιθυμία. Ἐνοχὴ ἔχουμε, ἄν, μετὰ τὴν συνειδητοποίηση τῆς προσβολῆς, καθυστερήσουμε ν’ ἀντιδράσουμε ἢ καὶ ὁλότελα ἀδρανήσουμε. Ὁ βαθμὸς τῆς ἐνοχῆς μας τότε εἶναι ἀνάλογος μὲ τὴν καθυστέρηση ἢ τὴν ἀδράνειά μας. Διῶξε τὸν λογισμό, καὶ δὲν θὰ ὑπάρξει συναίσθημα ἢ ἕλξη. Δὲν ἐδίωξες ἔγκαιρα τὸν λογισμό, καὶ γεννήθηκε μέσα σου κάποιο ἐμπαθὲς συναίσθημα; Διῶξε τὸ συναίσθημα, καὶ δὲν θὰ ὑπάρξει ἐπιθυμία. Δὲν ἔδιωξες ἔγκαιρα οὔτε τὸ συναίσθημα, καὶ γεννήθηκε μέσα σου κάποια ἐμπαθὴς ἐπιθυμία; Διῶξε τουλάχιστον τὴν ἐπιθυμία, καὶ δὲν θὰ κινηθεῖς πρὸς τὸ πάθος.

Ἄν, παρατηρώντας στὸ νοῦ σου ἕναν ἐμπαθῆ λογισμό, τὸν δέχεσαι συνειδητὰ καὶ αὐτοπροαίρετα, εἶσαι ἔνοχη. Κι αὐτὸ γιατί δέχεσαι κάτι, ποὺ ξέρεις πὼς εἶναι ἐνάντιο στὸν Θεὸ καὶ σ’ ἐσένα. Δὲν εἶσαι ἔνοχη, ὅμως, ὅταν ἀθέλητα δέχεσαι τὸν λογισμό, φτάνει νὰ τραβᾶς ἀμέσως τὴν προσοχή σου μακριά του καὶ νὰ τὸν διώχνεις.

Ἂν ἀφήνεις θεληματικὰ τὸν λογισμὸ νὰ στέκεται στὸ νοῦ σου ὅσο χρειάζεται γιὰ νὰ γεννηθεῖ ἕνα ἐμπαθὲς συναίσθημα στὴν καρδία σου, ἡ ἐνοχή σου αὐξάνεται λίγο. Καὶ ἄν, μετὰ τὴν γέννηση τοῦ ἐμπαθοῦς συναισθήματος, συνεχίζεις νὰ συντηρεῖς μέσα σου τὸν λογισμὸ ποὺ τὸ προκάλεσε, μὲ συνέπεια τὴν ἔξαψή του, τότε ἡ ἐνοχή σου διπλασιάζεται. Ἄν, πάλι, μόλις ἀντιλαμβάνεσαι τὴν γέννηση τοῦ ἐμπαθοῦς συναισθήματος τὸ διώχνεις, εἶσαι ἔνοχη μόνο γιὰ τὴν θεληματική σου παράδοση σ’ ἕναν ἐμπαθῆ λογισμό, ὄχι καὶ γιὰ τὸ συναίσθημα, ποὺ προκαλεῖται ἀπ’ αὐτόν.

Ἄν, τέλος, μετὰ τὴν συνειδητὴ ἀποδοχὴ τόσο τοῦ ἐμπαθοῦς λογισμοῦ ὅσο καὶ τοῦ ἐμπαθοῦς συναισθήματος, γεννιέται μέσα σου ἡ ἐπιθυμία γιὰ κάποιαν ἐμπαθῆ ἐνέργεια, λ.χ. ἐκδίκηση, τότε ἡ ἐνοχή σου αὐξάνεται λίγο ἀκόμα. Καὶ ἄν, μόλις ἀντιλαμβάνεσαι τὴν ἐμπαθῆ ἐπιθυμία, δὲν τὴν ἀποδιώχνεις, ἀλλὰ τὴν ἀφήνεις νὰ χρονίζει μέσα σου, ἡ ἐνοχή σου αὐξάνεται περισσότερο.

Δὲν θὰ προχωρήσω ἄλλο. Αὐτὰ εἶναι ἀρκετά, νομίζω, γιὰ τὴ διαφωτισή σου. Βλέπεις καὶ μόνη σου ὅτι, ἂν διώξεις ἀμέσως τὸν ἐμπαθῆ λογισμό, βάζεις τέλος στὸν πόλεμο πρὶν κἂν ἀρχίσει. Χωρὶς λογισμό, οὔτε συναίσθημα γεννιέται οὔτε ἐπιθυμία. Πάρε ἀπόφαση νὰ ἐνεργεῖς μ’ αὐτὸν τὸν τρόπο. Γιατί νὰ ταλαιπωρεῖσαι ἄσκοπα ἀπὸ τὸν πόλεμο τῶν παθῶν, κάποτε μάλιστα καὶ νὰ κινδυνεύεις; Ἔχεις ἤδη ἀποφασίσει νὰ μὴν ὑποκύπτεις στὰ πάθη, ποὺ εἶναι ἀντίθετα στὸ θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ἦρθε, λοιπόν, κάποιος λογισμὸς καί, χωρὶς νὰ τὸ θέλεις, προκάλεσε ἕνα ἐμπαθὲς συναίσθημα; Διῶξε ἀμέσως καὶ τὸν λογισμὸ καὶ τὸ συναίσθημα.
Πρὶν προλάβεις ν’ ἀπαλλαγεῖς ἀπὸ τὴν παρουσία τους, μήπως γεννήθηκε μέσα σου μία ἐμπαθὴς ἐπιθυμία; Διῶξε την κι αὐτὴ μαζί τους δίχως καθυστέρηση. Νὰ ἔχεις ὡς ἀρχή: Μὴ δέχεσαι συνειδητὰ καὶ θεληματικὰ ἐμπαθεῖς λογισμούς, συναισθήματα ἢ ἐπιθυμίες. Μόλις ἐμφανίζονται μέσα σου, πρέπει νὰ τὰ διώχνεις μὲ θυμὸ καὶ ἀπέχθεια. Ἂν ἔτσι ἐνεργεῖς, θὰ εἶσαι πάντοτε ἀθώα μπροστὰ στὸν Θεὸ καὶ στὴν συνείδησή σου. Στὴν ψυχή σου θὰ ὑπάρχουν πάθη, ἀλλὰ θὰ ὑπάρχει καὶ ἀθωότητα. Ἄλλωστε, θὰ ἀγωνίζεσαι μὲ ζῆλο γιὰ τὴν καθαρσή σου ἀπὸ τὰ πάθη.

Ὁ Κύριος νὰ σ’ εὐλογεῖ!
Ἁγ. Θεοφάνους τοῦ Ἐγκλείστου: «Ὁ δρόμος τῆς ζωῆς – Γράμματα σὲ μιὰ ψυχή»,