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September 23, 2015 + On Positive Thinking - Part 6

by St. Paisios the Athonite

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

Father Paisios always insisted by saying:

"When one of our brothers has a negative thought, we must try to kindly and humbly correct it. It is our duty to do so. Today many people, unfortunately including some of our spiritual fathers, instead of trying to correct falsified thoughts, they either consent to them, or even distort the positive ones. I will give you an example so you can understand the way they function:

Suppose a young man says to his spiritual father:
- A friend of mine did this and that to me.
And thus, he starts telling him his negative thoughts about his friend. His spiritual father, instead of trying to change his thoughts and make him love his friend again, views his problem from a social point of view, and wishing to be nice, says to him:

- Since you know what kind of person your friend is, do not pay attention to him. Just ignore him.
The young man may superficially feel better after listening to the words of his spiritual father, but his negative predisposition towards his friend is still inside him. Now, when his friend goes to the same spiritual father to tell him the same things, the spiritual father faces the problem in the same way. He once again regards the problem from a social point of view and calms him down. He lets him, however, keep inside him the negative thoughts he has for his friend.

This way, the Elder said, I can even please the devil if I wish to. You will now see what happens next, since divine justice exists in our lives. At some point, the two friends, who still have negative thoughts inside them, meet and begin accusing each other: "You are this and that...I talked to my spiritual father and he also thinks the same way of you." Eventually, they discover that what their common spiritual father tried to do was just to be nice to them. As a result, they end up losing their trust and respect for him. The correct way of dealing with similar cases is the following which I also apply:

A married man came to me to discuss the problems he was facing with his wife and how her behavior has affected his thoughts. I immediately started finding excuses for his wife's behavior. In the end, I told him that he should glorify God for the wife He gave him and he is the one responsible for destroying their loving relationship. I made him question his behavior and love his wife again, by convincing him that he is in the wrong, and that he should get rid of all his negative thoughts. I did exactly the same thing with his wife, when she came to see me. I also scolded her, so both of them got rid of their negative thoughts, and ended up loving each other again. Moreover, they also understood why I scolded them, as they realised that my only aim was to bring them back together."

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


Conception of the Honorable Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John

Troparion, Tone 4

Rejoice, O barren one, who formerly did not bear a child, for you have conceived the Lamp of the Sun, who is to illumine the whole universe darkened by blindness. Rejoice, O Zachariah and cry out with boldness: "The prophet of the Most High desires to be born!"

Kontakion, Tone 1

Great Zachariah rejoices with his wife, the far-famed Elizabeth, for she has fittingly conceived John the Forerunner, whom an angel announced in gladness; and whom we rightly honor as an initiate of the grace of God.