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Taste and see how the Lord is good

Taste and see how the Lord is good

27.02.2018
Tags: Religion, Christianity

Our whole life is a path of change, and from the moment you knew Christ (many years ago, when you were still a child, or more recently), you, like any man, walk this way. And this is very important. This means that each passing year, every day, Christ is increasingly displayed in our soul, His image and ethos [1] appear in our hearts, and we become closer to the age of Christ, to His spiritual atmosphere and His holiness. It is connected with our prosperity, development, perfection: the waves of life carry us, the Holy Spirit Himself carries us along the way to perfection. Our soul is not something static, but changing.

One day one of my friends said:

- With the "I" that I used to have, with my old "I" I would not even have a coffee to drink. That is, I look at my old "I" - and I can not reconcile with what I was before. And now I have changed - and he said how.

The taste of God changes in our lips and heart

That is, a person as it is today can not remain the same as it was last year, and can not be the same as it will be in a year. In our lips and heart, the taste of God changes. God, of course, remains the same, He is unchanging, but to us, if we succeed spiritually, it is peculiar to understand God differently each time. However, one must be careful with this, so as not to fall into despair, but to perceive it with great joy and optimism, to see in this the proof that we are really succeeding.

When you succeed, it means that the English that you owned in the first year of study now seems a little scanty because today you can already read serious books, newspapers and watch films on it. That is, you knew English then, and now you know, and then you will know it when you succeed, but it's not the same English. In addition to English, this also happens with the angelic language - the language by which you come into contact with God's space: he too can not remain the same as before. Once you believed in God rather primitively: children believe that God sits somewhere on the moon or high in the sky, which means He is not here. And so they run away to the kitchen or to their room, hide in the bathroom and think they are hiding from God. In God they believe, yes, but only imperfect faith.

Our approach to God each time corresponds to our experiences, spirituality, our inner content, the prayer we bring, the time that we give to all of this: prayer, reading, inner work, self-knowledge and contact with other people. Because it is from here that we draw experience and the true feeling of God, and not from books. Books at some point recede into the background, and life experience appears, the experience is connected with the true being of God Himself and with people around you.

That's why we say that it's one thing to read books about marriage, and another to live a family life. The same happens with God. A friend of mine, a monk, once said that it is one thing to read books about monasticism, and another to be a monk. Before I became a monk, I read a lot, imagined a lot of myself, imagined a whole world, but when I became a monk and saw another reality - in something more positive, and in something more negative - I realized that life differs from what we read. So, God is on the other side of the books, beyond what one tells you, what the other will say. It's one thing - what will I tell you about God, and another - when God Himself will tell you this in his heart, when He whispers something to you. This is a huge difference.

I remember what Porphyry, now famous in the face of saints, was saying:

- When I was young, I had one image of God - extremely strict, one-sided, patterned. I built famous schemes and set limits, looked at people and thought that God agreed with my logic. But the more time passed, the more I came into contact with people, and my soul mingled with their soul, I saw the realities of their life, looked at their feelings, heart, struggle, the more I was opened by another God each time. And if I started with the "Helmsman of the book" [2] and rigor, templates and absolutes, then after a while I looked at everything differently and differently evaluated the actions of people.

Looking at sinful people, he saw them seeking truth and happiness

This is because the Elder looked at what is behind the visible, and saw something that others could not understand. So, looking at very sinful people, he saw them only looking for truth and happiness. And he gave another explanation to what sin is, what a bad person is, and what's good.

Why did he begin to perceive all this so, why did he feel this way? Because he has changed the taste of God, the sense of what God means. As in the time of Christ, people also thought they knew God, but Christ Himself incarnate Himself showed them that their concept of God was wrong. When the disciples said to Him:

- Tell that fire fell from the sky and burned this city for not accepting you - they thought it was in the liking of God - but Christ said to them:

- You do not know what kind of spirit you are (Luke 9, 55). You did not understand My temper. I bring love, I do not carry vengeance.

"But we have such a picture of God!"

- Yes, I do not scold you, but I come to help you "click" up, so that you will rise higher.

We have no reason to fight with someone who looks at everything in their own way: this is one of the stages of his life, this is the phase that will pass. We can not condemn him, repel him, we can only understand him, respect him, take his place and see that in his place we would also look like that. That is, he had his own reason to do what he does, some idea in his mind, some kind of prejudice.

I have never seen a saint who at first had a wide heart, and then he would narrow it down and become more wayward and difficult in communication. Holiness means the opening, expansion of the heart, such a breadth of mind that holds everyone, understands everyone, forgives all, loves even vicious, sinful women like Saint Porphyry, who found one such house in Omonia Square [3] and blessed them with a cross for Epiphany. He said that all the women would go out into the street, and they would pour out half-naked, pulling out their little outfits to cover themselves, and he would say:

"Soul seekers dwell here."

What happened to this man? But what happened - he opened his mind and took on God with a different feeling.

A man whose views are the same both in 20 and 80 years (and usually speaking "the same views", we mean "one and the same one-sided and stern views") -it is something did not understand in the goodness of the Lord, he did not understand the words: Taste and see that the Lord is good (Ps. 33, 9). That is, eat, to see how the Lord is good: God is not what you imagine Him to be. God has nothing to do with what you say about Him.

Christ always said, "You do not understand" [4]. For example, when He was told to put Him in a difficult situation:

"The law says that we should stonewall this woman, so that we stoned her with stones."

That is, when they say "law", they mean: "God who told Moses this and that." And Christ said:

- Well, come on! If you are sinless, drop it! (compare In. 5, 7).

You see, He always takes them to a different level of thinking, always takes them where they are, and moves them to another place.

This endeavor of Christ, so that we do not leave our spirituality stagnant, means the abolition of static, always means a flexible mind, so that we constantly "knead" our existence and look at what is happening differently - each time with the eyes of Christ.

Do not tell the truth when it is sharp, like cactus spines

Do not speak the truth, if the truth can strike another. Do not tell the truth when it is sharp, like the thorns of a cactus, and will damage another before the blood. I can not clean the baby with a carpet brush, because I will damage it. When you want to do good, you have to do it kindly, and in order to do so, you have to firmly understand that God is on the other side of schemes, forms, these patterned movements, when we copy the same action countless times. What we did once, the same we do now.

The old man Porphyry did not do so, for he said:

- Once I was harsh, now, however, I'm not like that.

The elder Porphyry takes you by the hand and says:

- Learn to see and in sin a search, a sincere search, just gone the wrong way. Look at the search, the beauty of the soul, looking for something, and this "something" is absolutely true.

In the depths of the soul, no man seeks vice, does not seek darkness, does not seek the perishable, but seeks joy, God, splendor, the flowering of the soul, beauty, pacification, happiness. And when you understand this, you become a comfortable person, you can meet anyone and love him, respect him, honor him. To say to him: "I understand you, I sympathize, I feel compassionate," and at the sight of such your passing he drops his weapon, his resistance breaks, and he turns off. Because, having appeared before a man with such understanding of Christ and such Divine condescension, he feels that he does not need to shut himself any more, argue, quarrel, there is no need to get up and express his arguments in favor of how good he is - he surrenders himself and tells you:

- I am nothing, I am very sinful, I am bad, I have passions!

"Why are you telling me all this?"

- Then, that you radiate beauty, warmth, and this your warmth does not terrify me, does not make me dig, shut and afraid of you.

Today, people are afraid of us who consider themselves spiritual people, precisely because our spirituality is unconvincing. This is evidenced by facts, I do not say this, it shows the attitude of people towards us: they do not go easily to come closer to us to open their souls, precisely because they do not see on our faces the God who will understand them he will penetrate, fall in love, loves mankind lovingly.

I can make at the beginning some kind of philanthropic gesture to say to the other: "Come", - but as soon as he comes: "Come on, come here! Finally I caught you! "- and let's push and choke it. Therefore, many people come to us, take the first step, but they do not go further than this.

Many people come to us, they look at us and leave. They come, taste us, feel bitterness, do not feel the sweetness, as it is written: Taste and see, how good is the Lord - this goodness of the Lord, this kindness and mercy they do not feel in us.

And I say this on the bitter experience of my own wrong actions and actions, for so many years leading to this result, that the other looks at you, is horrified and leaves.

If you are close to God and live a truly spiritual life, you will understand this also from the change that you will feel in your attitude towards God.

To change, it is necessary to destroy the old. You say:

"But I built it and lived it for so many years!"

If you want your heart to open up really, do not be afraid to break the old

Yes, but Christ also comes. If you want to rejoice that your heart opens up truly, do not be afraid to break the old one. You will experience one such breakdown, and in you will not be that which is not true, that is not the true God, and something new will appear. It's worth the effort, and you need to go through this destruction and ruins, because what will be built, new, will be much better, much prettier, it will make you much happier, and others will look at you and say:

"What a change God has made!" God really touched this person, changed and transformed him.

You will be seen by the way you look at God, and by the way you send the message of God to another ...


[1] Ethos - a collection of ethical principles.

[2] "The Pilot Book" is a book of the rules of the Orthodox Church, where penances for this or that sin are prescribed.

[3] Omonia is one of the main squares of Athens, which has become a hot spot for drug addicts and other parties.

[4] See, for example: Jn. 4, 22; 32; 7, 28; 8, 14; 19; 11, 49.

Archimandrite Andrew (Conanos). Has translated from the Bulgarian Stanka Kosova
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