No excuses

by abbamoses

The objection may be raised that this prayer full of spiritual inspiration is only for use by a few people living in monasteries… That is not true. We must not justify our inaction by such thoughts.

Let me recall Kyriaki of blessed memory, our cook at the holy Metropolis. I have many things to tell about her, and I mention her wherever I go, because unfortunately people justify themselves by saying that no one can live today as the Church teaches. Yet such people were here in our midst. Kyriaki of blessed memory used to come here to the Church of the Holy Protecting Veil every morning. Then she would come to the Holy Metropolis and go up again to the chapel to pray. I often saw her making prostrations, although her legs hurt. Seeing her physical state, I told her not to make prostrations. She replied, “If you stop me making prostrations, it would be better for me not to live.” She would fall down and take five minutes to get up, but all the same she made prostrations. When I came into the kitchen I would see her reading the Psalms of David with tears in her eyes. I would ask her, “Why are you crying?”, and she would reply, “The words of the Psalms are so sweet”. She prayed without ceasing while she was cooking, while she was walking along the street, while she was cleaning. She would pray for the whole world and was, as it were, a mother to the whole of mankind. Who prays for the Patriarch? who feels the need to pray for missionaries? She did so every day. Beginning the prayer-rope, she would pray for the Patriarch, the Bishops, missionaries, preachers, the whole world, and finally her children. First for the whole world and afterwards for her children. She had come to an awareness of the unity of the whole world…

There are holy and blessed souls who are spiritual waterfalls. They possess true life and inspiration for God, they suffer so as to express their longing and love for God, and they pray. I observe this in married people too, when they see that their children have taken the wrong path, and pray with great pain, “My God, please help my children”. Such a prayer offered from a suffering heart is medicine, consolation and a benefit to the one who prays.

No one, therefore, can assert that practising Christ’s commandments and living prayerfully is not for people living in the world.

—Metropolitan Hierotheos, Hesychia and Theology, pp. 253–254.