Σελίδες

ΚΥΡΙΕ ΙΗΣΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΕ ΕΛΕΗΣΟΝ ΜΕ

ΚΥΡΙΕ ΙΗΣΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΕ ΕΛΕΗΣΟΝ ΜΕ
ΥΠΕΡΑΓΙΑ ΘΕΟΤΟΚΕ ΣΩΣΟΝ ΗΜΑΣ

Δευτέρα, 12 Φεβρουαρίου 2018

THE UNION OF HEART AND NOUS Source: From the translated book “My Elder: Joseph the Hsrtc -_T and Cave-dweller, ” pp. 558-562, St. Anthony’s Greek Monastery, Florence, AZ.

One year before the repose of Elder Joseph, while I was saying the prayer in sync with my breathing during vigil, something amazing happened. A state of prayer came to me that I cannot find words to describe. Suddenly, my nous entered my heart, and my nous, my heart, and the prayer became one! I could not tell where I was. All I can say is that the prayer was being said within my heart, and I felt sublime sweetness and an indescribable bliss. I do not know how long this lasted. When I regained my senses, I felt an inexpressible tranquility and sweetness, and I had many tears.
Afterwards, I went to Geronda and said:
“Something has happened to me, Geronda.”
“What happened to you?”
“While I was praying, suddenly my nous became enclosed within my heart. I became unaware if there was anything else in the world.” And I described that state of grace to him. Then Geronda said to me:
“From this state of prayer, the nous will later ascend above. From this point on, the rapture of the nous begins. During and after this state, the nous leaves and goes to theoria. When I first experienced this state, I went and stayed in a cell so small that I could barely fit inside. It was so small that I nearly asphyxiated. I stayed in it for a year. Make sure that you hold on to what you felt and experienced; do not lose it!” Another time when I told Geronda what I was experienc¬ing, he ecstatically exclaimed:
“Oh, blessed obedience! Obedience—you are truly sovereign [among virtues]. My child, in order to taste these heavenly blessings, Gero-Arsenios and I shed much blood in ascesis. But you disciples, merely through diligent obedience, are enjoying the same grace we had. Hold on to obedience with all your soul; there is no path easier and higher than this."
This state lasted about seven months. My nous enclosed itself for two or three hours. After 1 returned to my senses, this state would leave. But the following day in the daytime, I had very strong prayer. I had fallen in love so much with this prayer that I did not want to talk. I did not speak idly and I did not talk with anyone. That is how careful I was those months when I had that state. As soon as I woke up, I kept thinking about when night would come so that I could struggle in prayer and find that state. If I did not find it the first night, I would struggle and find it the second or third night. I would find it about twice a week.
Whenever I found this prayer, I would experience such a strong sweetness during the daytime that I did not care 
if I was working hard all day. When we did have to work hard all day, everyone else would get tired and want to stop working, but I did not. I was flying! I did not have just twice as much strength as usual but five times as much—in both body and soul. I was not interested in what other people were doing. I would sit down for meals, and I would not look to see what they were eating or saying. I would eat my food while my nous was in prayer. I felt so much sweetness within myself that I cannot describe it.
In this state, my nous had been united with my heart, and the prayer was being said on its own inside my heart. My nous, my heart, and the words of the prayer were united, just as it says in “The Art of Prayer.” I had no perception of things around me: not my cell, not the walls—nothing. Awareness of the world would be extinguished.
I did not want to eat or drink, and I did not even get sleepy. For two days, I did not eat or drink anything and I did not even get thirsty, all because of this prayer!
Prayer was dancing within me and would not let me sleep. I would say to myself, “It does not matter if I do not sleep, eat, or drink, as long as 1 have this!“ It was the only thing I wanted because it brought me indescribable peace, sweetness, and bliss. When you are in this state, you sit down to eat and you cannot, so you eat just superficially. You lie down to sleep and you cannot. This would last not just for twenty-four or thirty-six hours, but even for forty-eight hours when I had found this prayer.
I told Geronda:
“The prayer won’t let me sleep!”
“Brace yourself,“ Geronda replied. “It looks like I will de-part, and God is preparing you so that you will bear it.” After Geronda departed and I lived alone, the prayer still would not let me sleep—sometimes three or even six times a week, when I found it. Sometimes when I was thinking about this prayer, I was considering resigning from the priesthood and withdrawing to some hidden place where no one would see me. I would weep and say:
“Oh, Lord, why did I want the priesthood? If only I were somewhere where I could pray and not meet anyone.”
I was thinking about staying in the caves of the ascetics so that I could preserve that state of prayer. But I lost it due to the many cares I later had.

As papa-Haralambos said this, he wept hard. Later, he ex-plained:
“Even though many times I had the thought of becoming a solitary ascetic, I rejected the idea. Since Geronda hadn’t recommended this to me before passing away, I was afraid to proceed any further without his blessing.”
On the day that Geronda departed, papa-Haralambos did a prostration to him before going to rest in his cell. Geronda said to him:
’’Come close to me. Cut out the cares. Do you hear me?”
“May it be blessed,” papa-Haralambos answered and turned around to leave.
After taking only ten steps, Geronda called out to him,
again:
“Papa!”
He came running hack.
‘“What did I tell you? Did you hear me? I told you to cut out the cares.”
“May it be blessed, Geronda.” After he turned around again and took fifteen steps, Geronda called out to him once more: “Papa!”
He came running back again... “What did I tell you? Did you hear me? Cut out the cares! I told you to cut out the cares!“
“May it be blessed, Geronda “I told you not to forget to cut out the cares.”
Later, Papa-Haralambos would weep every time he remembered this. He recalled:
“He told me three times. When I started getting involved with cares, how many times his words came to mind! What can I say? What tears did I lose because of cares! Because of the cares I got involved— planting a garden, building walls—I found my demise. I got involved in many cares. Whereas during Geronda’s final year, I had a state that cannot he described. I had many states of grace.”
Papa-Haralambos had indeed received much grace from God. This is why he said to me very naturally and as a matter of fact:
“I have prayer?
“Yes, my dear papa,” I would reply. “Yes you do, you do have prayer.”
He could say this without pride because he was simple, straightforward, and innocent, yet a perfect disciple and a great fighter until his holy repose in 2001.


Orthodox Heritage VOL. 16, ISSUE 01-02     JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018BROTHERHOOD OF ST. POIMEN


Publisher: St. POIMEN Greek Orthodox Brotherhood Editor: George Karras Story Editors: Markos Antoniathis & Kostas Matsourakis
 
 http://apantaortodoxias.blogspot.gr/2018/02/the-union-of-heart-and-nous-source-from.html

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