Wednesday, December 02, 2020

St. Paisios the Athonite on Divine Providence


We live in uncertain times, but the following words from St. Paisios the Athonite tell us how we should view these uncertainties:

"He [St. Paisios] never worried or despaired, even if things seemed difficult and dire. And this was true as much for personal matters and the affairs of those around him as it was for ecclesiastical, national, and international affairs. He saw the increasing activity and dominion of the evil one and his minions, but he knew and assured others that "someone else holds the reins." "The devil ploughs," he would say, "but Christ sows the seeds." "God," he believed, "doesn't let something bad happen unless something good will come out of it, or unless it'll at least prevent something even worse from happening."

This hope which "will not be put to shame" accompanied him in every aspect of his life, especially in difficulties. In the midst of darkness and fog, he spoke of clear skies. "By the grace of God," he would say to desperate souls, "everything will be all right." To someone who was worried about schemes against their homeland, he replied with a hopeful answer: "If they tell me that there are no more Greeks, I won't worry. God can resurrect a Greek. One is enough." He also believed that "even if there's just one Christian left, Christ will fulfill His plan." When others spread fear and talked of ominous developments for the nation's future, the elder radiated optimism and hope. He spoke about a resurrected Greece and the recapture of Hagia Sophia. "There is a God," he once said to clergyman with a bleak outlook on the future of Greece. "What have you done with Him?"" ("Elder Paisios of Mount Athos," by Hieromonk Isaac, 7th ed. (Chalkidiki, Greece: Holy Monastery of Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian, 2012), p. 431f) Since St. Paisios' glorification, this book is now published under the title "Saint Paisios of Mount Athos."