Saint Paisios of Mount Athos: The Example Speaks for Itself

– Geronda, should people living a spiritual life in the world show to unbelievers that they are fasting?

– If we are talking about the fasts established by our Church – Wednesday, Friday, fast of many days, then they should, because it is a confession of faith. However, other fasts, performed out of asceticism for the sake of love for Christ or for our prayer for some certain ask to be heard, must be performed secretly.

The goal is to live in Orthodox way, and not just speak or write. Therefore, you see that if a preacher does not have personal experience, then his preach does not reach hearts, does not change people. <…>

If a person lives a right life, then his deed speaks for itself. There once was a Protestant who judged everyone: both clergy and bishops. And there was an ascetic monk in a monastery nearby. Once some atheist asked a Protestant:

– Well, okay, you judge every priest and every bishop. What do you think about this monk?

– I respect this monk, because he’s not like them.

How great the help of a believer, who live in a right way wherever he is, for others is! <…>

And those who hold some kind of responsible post and at the same time remain faithful to Christian principles help others a lot! That’s why I, when some “big” people come, try to see them to help them, because their example can have really beneficial effect on others. Here is one marshal I know – he is an example. Whatever he does, everything comes from within, from the heart, not externally. Others, seeing him, start thinking and improve themselves.

In the old days, local nobility had good principles as well, had faith. Do you know what did a certain noble lady of one town say to a member of parliament? She and her husband were at dinner. It was Dormition fast, but they served meat, fish… The noble lady was fasting so she did not eat. Upon noticing it, the deputy said:

– The weak and those who travel do not fast.

– Sure, – she answered, – especially those who travel on wheels.

Thus, she did not have a bite of the forbidden to be consumed during fast.

I want to say that earlier the local nobility was a fan of the Church, it was an example for the people.

Today, our own Christian example and our Christian life have a positive effect on people. Christians should be distinguished by spiritual boldness and nobility, by self-sacrifice. Therefore, I say to the laity: “Love Christ, have meekness, do your duty – and Christ will reveal your virtue to people.” Virtue has a rule: “give away” a person, wherever he is…

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

Avatar photo

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Know everything about Orthodoxy? We can tell you a bit more!

Subscribe for our weekly newsletter not to miss the most interesting articles on our blog.

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: