There is a forest on Mount Athos surrounding the Prodromou Romanian hermitage in the Vigla Desert, not far from the sea. In this place you can find hermits living in prayer and asceticism. The property of these hesychasts, limited to a small vegetable garden, a spring and a cell with a dilapidated roof, may seem meager at first glance. But in conversation with them you begin to understand what treasures they keep in their souls. Father Blaise, a Cypriot monk, is one of the keepers of such spiritual treasures.
– Father Blaise, can the Holy Spirit change a person’s life path? Does the grace of God overpower the weaknesses inherent in a person’s heredity and his genome?
– A human personality, especially in its state after the Fall, cannot be superior to its nature, but the Holy Spirit helps us overcome this ‘natural person’ in ourselves. The grace of God conquers everything. Passions did not exist before the fall of man. After the Fall, only the Spirit of God can give us the strength to fight against passions and overcome them. They (passions -trans) belong to the realm of evil.
– But how do we overcome the negative things that we inherit from our parents?
– If we are talking about the soul’s evil inclinations to unbelief and egoism, let us note that they belong in fact not to our parents, but to the common fallen nature. We have all inherited “superfluous” things that are alien to our good nature, implanted in us by God. After the Fall, man became completely powerless in comparison with his original state. He has lost his former daring to converse with God face to face, and the beauty of his soul was no longer the same. Cain killed his brother Abel… and everything went for the worse…
Baptism and Faith in Christ Return a Person to His Original State
And yet, a modern person can acquire the strength to overcome sin by accepting Baptism and believing in Christ. “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
Why is there faith in God? Faith in God is the correction of our forefathers’ mistake of unbelief. From the moment Adam believed the word of the devil, telling him, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3: 4-5), Adam began to believe a lie, not the truth. It was necessary for Christ to come to save us from this unbelief in God’s word by means of having faith in Him. Christ corrected Adam’s unbelief. This is why the one who believes in Him is saved.
No one can be saved without faith in Christ.
Monk Blaise of Vigla, priest Georgian Paunoyu, Zinaida Peikova
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds