Saint Porfyrios Kavsolkalyvitis
[…] Our religion is love, it’s burning love, it’s excitement, it’s madness, it’s longing for God. It’s all of this, within us. Our soul demands that we make these things our own. For lots of people, though, religion’s a struggle, a worry and an anxiety. This is why we think of many of the ‘religiously-minded’ as being unhappy, because we see the mess they’re in. And it really is like that. Because unless you understand the depth of religion and you actually experience it, then it ends up as an illness, and a terrible one at that. It’s so bad that people lose control of their actions, they become witless and weak, they suffer from worry and stress and behave under the influence of a wicked spirit. They make prostrations, weep, shout, supposedly humble themselves, but all of this humility is an action of Satan. Some people like this live their religion as a kind of hell. In church they make prostrations, cross themselves and declare themselves to be unworthy sinners, yet, as soon as they go outside, they blaspheme just as soon as somebody else bothers them a little.
[…] In reality, the Christian religion transforms people and cures them. But the most fundamental prerequisite for us to recognize and discern the truth is humility. Egotism darkens the mind, it confuses us, it brings us into delusion, into heresy. It’s important for people to understand the truth… The most important thing is to move away from form to essence. Whatever happens should happen because of love. Love always involves making sacrifices… Christ won’t love us if we aren’t worthy of being loved by him. For him to love us, he has to find something special within us. You want, you ask, you try, you beg, but you get nothing. You prepare to gain what Christ offers, to have divine grace enter into you, but it can’t enter unless you have what people must have. What is that? Humility. Unless we have humility, we can’t love Christ. Humility and no self-seeking in our worship of God. ‘Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing’. Let no-one see you; let no-one realize the motions of your worship of the divine. Everything hidden, in secret, like the ascetics. Remember when I told you about the nightingale. It sings in the wood. In silence. You’ll say that somebody’ll hear it, somebody will praise it. Nobody. Such a beautiful song in the middle of the wilderness. Have you seen how its chest swells, it suffers, how much effort it puts in? It finds a cave, a dell and it experiences God secretly ‘in ineffable sighing’.
… The whole secret is love, ardent love for Christ. The spiritual offering to the world. Then you don’t feel lonely or anything else. You live in another world. One where the soul rejoices, where it exults and where it’s never sated.