“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light. But it your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness!”

(Matthew 6:22-23)  

The single eye is the love unfeigned; for when the body is enlightened by it, it sets forth through the medium of the outer members only things which are perfectly correspondent with the inner thoughts. But the evil eye is the pretended love, which is also called hypocrisy, by which the whole body of the man is made darkness. We have to consider that deeds meet only for darkness may be within the man, while through the outer members he may produce words that seem to be of the light: for there are those who are in reality wolves, though they may be covered with sheep’s clothing. Such are they who wash only the outside of the cup and platter, and do not understand that, unless the inside of these things is cleansed, the outside itself cannot be made pure. Wherefore, in manifest confutation of such persons, the Saviour says: If the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness! That is to say, if the love which seems to you to be light is really a work meet for darkness, by reason of some hypocrisy concealed in you, what must be your patent transgressions!                                                      

(St. Gregory Thaumaturgus)

 

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”   

  Matthew 6:24-33

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Too Many Worries Make People Forget God

An Excerpt from “With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man”
by Elder Paisios of
Mount Athos (Holy Monastery “Evangelist John the Theologion”, 2006)

– Geronda (spiritual elder in Greek), does worrying about too many things take us away from God?

– Look, let me try to explain. When a little child is playing and is all absorbed with his toys, he s not aware that his father may be next to him caressing him. If he interrupts his play a bit, then he will become aware of his father’s caresses. Similarly, when we are preoccupied with too many activities and are anxiously concerned about them, when we worry too much about worldly matters, we cannot become aware of God’s love. God gives but we do not sense it. Be careful not to waste your precious energy on redundant worries and vanities, which will turn to dust one day. When you do this, you not only tire your body, but you also scatter your mind aimlessly, offering God only your fatigue and yawns at the time of prayer – much like the sacrifice offered by Cain. It follows that your inner state will be like that of Cain’s, you will be full of anxiety and sighs provoked by the devil standing by your side.

You must not waste aimlessly the fruit, the inner cure of our power and then leave the shells for God. The many cares of life sap the marrow of our heart and leave nothing for Christ. If you notice that your mind constantly wanders off to various chores that you have to do, you must realize that you are not doing well spiritually, and this should alarm you because you have distanced yourself from God. You must realize that you are closer to material things than you are to God, closer to creation than to Creator. (…)

We must learn to care about things in the right way

If we seek above all the Kingdom of Heaven and that’s all we care for, the rest will be given to us (Cf. Mt 6:33, Lk 12:13). If we become forgetful, then not only do we waste our time but we waste our own self. When we remain mindful and prepare for the next life, than this life too will become meaningful. When we start thinking of the next life, nothing is the same anymore. But if all we think about is how to make this a comfortable life, then not only are we miserable, but we end up weary and condemned.

Do not be overwhelmed with anxiety and be possessed by the thought that, “Now we must do this, next we must do that and so on,” because this way Armageddon (Rev 16:16). Will come and you will still be hard at work. Even doing things with anxiety is demonic. Tune in to Christ! Otherwise, you will appear to be living near Him but inside you will still carry the mindset of this world, and you might and up, I’m afraid like the foolish virgins (Cf. Mt 25:1-13).

The wise virgins did not only had kindness, they also had the right kind of mindfulness, unlike the foolish virgins that were careless, they were on guard and vigilant. This is why the Lord gave them the solemn warning, Be awake and watchful (Mt 25:13).  They were virgins but foolish. If someone is born a fool, it is a blessing from God. She enters directly into the next life without having to pass any examinations. But if she is gifted with an intelligent mind and yet lives a foolish life, she will have no excuse on the Day of Judgment.

Can you see in the case of Martha and Mary, mentioned in the Gospel (Cf. Lk 10:38-42), how mindless care for things caused Martha to behave somewhat impudently? It seems that in the beginning Mary was actually helping her, but when she realized that Martha was nowhere near completing her preparations, she went her and went to listen to Jesus. She thought to herself, “Am I to lose time with my Christ for the sake of Martha’s salads and sweets?” As if Christ had come to their home to taste Martha’s salads and foods! It was then that Martha became annoyed and said, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? (Lk 10:40).

Let us be careful, then, not to behave like Martha. Let us pray that we will become good “Marys”.