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September 16, 2015 + On Positive Thinking - Part 5

by St. Paisios the Athonite

"For perverse thoughts separate men from God" (Wis 1:3)

The Elder started telling us:

- I know from experience that in this life people are divided in two categories. A third category does not exist; people either belong to one or the other. The first one resembles the fly. The main characteristic of the fly is that it is attracted by dirt. For example, when a fly is found in a garden full of flowers with beautiful fragrances, it will ignore them and will go sit on top of some dirt found on the ground. It will start messing around with it and feel comfortable with the bad smell. If the fly could talk, and you asked it to show you a rose in the garden, it would answer: "I don't even know what a rose looks like. I only know where to find garbage, toilets and dirt." There are some people who resemble the fly. People belonging to this category have learned to think negatively and always look for the bad things in life, ignoring and refusing the presence of good. 

The other category is like the bee whose main characteristic is to always look for something sweet and nice to sit on. When a bee is found in a room full of dirt and there is a small piece of sweet in a corner, it will ignore the dirt and will go to sit on top of the sweet. Now, if we ask the bee to show us where the garbage is, it will answer: "I don't know. I can only tell you where to find flowers, sweets, honey and sugar; it only knows the good things in life and is ignorant of all evil." This is the second category of people who have a positive thinking and see only the good side of things. They always try to cover up the evil in order to protect their fellow men; on the contrary, people in the first category try to expose the evil and bring it to the surface. When someone comes to me and starts accusing other people and puts me in a difficult situation, I tell him the above example. Then, I ask him to decide to which category he wishes to belong, so he may find people of the same kind to socialize with.

Elder Paisios was constantly stressing the importance of pious thinking in spiritual life. He used to say that a single positive thought equals a vigil in Mount Athos. Once, he told us the following incident:

"One day someone came to see me, but as I was busy I told him to wait in the chapel. Later on, when he left the chapel to come into my guestroom, I did not notice that he had forgotten to take his cigarettes and had left them on the chapel's seat. Meanwhile, another guest arrived; he also went into the chapel to wait, until I was free to see him. When I called him in, he asked me:

- Elder, do you smoke?
- No, I said. Why are you asking?
- I saw a pack of cigarettes in the chapel, that's why.
- The person who was there before you must have forgotten them, but I did not notice it.

After he left, a child came to visit me for the first time. He knocked on the door and I immediately asked him what he wanted:

- I wish to see Elder Paisios. Is he here?
- I'm afraid he is not, I replied. He went to Karyes to buy cigarettes.

The child answered innocently:

- It does not matter, Father. I will wait for him to come back.

You see the difference between the two ways of thinking, said the Elder. The first person, who found the cigarettes in the chapel, had negative and suspicious thoughts, whereas the child, even when I told him that Elder Paisios went to buy cigarettes, reacted in the opposite way. He simply said he would wait without asking if the Elder smokes or what he needs the cigarettes for.

from ON POSITIVE THINKING, from Priestmonk Christodoulos (1998) “Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain, accessed online August 13th, 2015.


Great Martyr Euphemia the All-Praised

Troparion, Tone 4

Your lamb Euphemia calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice: "I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You I endure suffering. In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, and I died so that I might live with You. Accept me as a pure sacrifice, for I have offered myself in love." Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful!

Kontakion, Tone 4

Podoben: "As You were voluntarily raised..."
You completed your struggle well, all-praised Euphemia; even after death, you pour out healing on us for our sanctification. We stand beside your venerable relics to honor your holy falling asleep, that in faith we may be delivered from the weaknesses of our nature and to obtain the grace of your miracles.