“Let the world go its way…”

by abbamoses

Shrine to St Nicholas Planas in Athens. This is the altar of a tiny church in which Papa-Nicholas served. When that church was torn down and replaced by a larger one, the altar was preserved and made into this shrine. (Photo by Joel Brady)

Here are a few paragraphs from Photios Kontoglou’s foreword to Papa-Nicholas Planas: The Simple Shepherd of the Simple Sheep. Saint Nicholas Planas (+1932) spent most of his life as a simple parish priest living in poverty in and around Athens.

Let the world go its own way, “the broad way that leadeth to destruction.” The few who turn aside from that road, though they live hidden from the world, yet they have that blessed hope which is “full of immortality.” The others, according to the Apostle Paul, are they “which have no hope.”

For this reason also, the blessed and innocent Elder, whose life is written in this book, lived joyfully, as if he were a little child, “with cheerfulness,” in spite of all the bitterness he went through, since he had within him the Holy Spirit Who is called the Paraclete, that is, “the Comforter” — because whoever is enlightened by Him has that consolation which overcomes all bitterness and makes his face to shine. For him, disdain is welcomed with joy; poverty and privation become riches; ill-treatment is turned to honor, hate to love, despair to blessed hope, affliction to joy.

Truly, blessed and fortunate are all those who have quickly discerned the bitterness which is found in the joys of the world and have drawn near to Christ, Who blessed the poor in spirit, them that mourn, the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers.