Clothing in the Monastic Garments ( 07.01.2010 )
On the feast day of the Nativity of Christ, in the monastery of the Holy Apostle Paul, the Holy Emperor Justinian I and Saint Clement of Ohrid in Hamzali, Metropolitan Nahum of Strumica clothed in the monastic garments Brother Theodore.
In his homily, Father Nahum said that in our monastic struggle we must not give to the demon greater significance than what is really allowed him in the dispensation of our salvation. We must not allow him to impose himself and intimidate us, or to notice our wavering, since this will incite him to an assault that may slow down or disable our further spiritual development. After Christ’s resurrection and His victory over the demon, he is merely a toy in our hands. Similar to it when little children are given a toy through which they train themselves in various skills. As the Holy Fathers say: had there been no trials, who would have been saved?! Hence, if there had not been the demon, how would have we become practiced in the struggle for knowledge of ourselves and how would have we become skillful fighters?
When we start praying, if we notice that our mind is distracted and that various thoughts assault us, then we must find that rhythm of saying the prayer that will keep our mind collected in the prayer words. Hence, we say the prayer faster, even out loud, so that the mind cannot keep itself on some thought. After some time the thoughts will gradually lose their power, also a man throught prayer receives light in which he sees how insignificant these thoughts are and they are no longer interesting to him to occupy himself with them. At that little by little we go back to the usual rhythm of prayer in which we can pay more attention to repentance. Although, in the first case as well a man may keep that feeling and say the prayer faster.
At moments when we suffer some offence from our fellowman and when the prayer becomes distracted due to the thoughts against him, we must start praying for him as well and seek again that rhythm of prayer that will allow us to keep the mind collected in God all until the thoughts against the one who harmed us leave us.
We can keep the prayer collected even when we are in a crowd with many people and in great noise, by embracing everyone in the prayer, again looking for that rhythm of saying that will keep the mind collected.
It is likewise much important to carry the concentration in the prayer in the Liturgy as well. The rhythm of the Liturgy i.e. of the reading of prayers, of chanting and of all else done during the Liturgy must be such as to maintain the atmosphere of concentration, without being too fast and euphoric, or too slow, boring and tedious. Certainly, that depends mostly on the one who presides over the Liturgy.
It is necessary that in all afflictions and trials we draw joy by giving thanks to God on all and by not responding with evil to evil. It means that we must always seek the
In addition, on these days of the major feasts of Christ as is the Nativity we have special grace that is given us to enter inside the heart, provided we have prepared ourselves as necessary. Therefore, we should try to enter the heart and stay there in prayer rather than spend this graceful period in euphoric celebration. Thus, we must seek first the
(as recorded by those present)