Saint Porfyrios Kavsolkalyvitis
Whatever your good side does, make sure your bad side doesn’t get to hear of it. ‘Do not let your left hand know what your right is doing’. ‘Left’ here is the opposite side of us and if it gets to know what’s going on it’ll spoil everything. Our ‘opposite’ is our bad side. Our self in Christ is young, but the other self is old. There’s an art to keeping it from learning things. Art, and above all God’s Grace.
There are a few secrets. The Gospel urges us to nip in the bud certain things that are an obstacle to our struggle.
For example, you want to taste a moment of joy from God. What’s the secret here? Suppose you believe that, if you ask, you’ll receive the joy. ‘He can’t help but give it to me’. But He doesn’t. And you yourselves are the reason why. It’s not that God doesn’t want to give, but the secret is your own simplicity and gentleness.
If you’re lacking in simplicity and you say: ‘I’ll do this and God will give me what I’m asking’, it won’t happen.
Do everything simply, gently. Don’t do things with an eye on the outcome. Don’t say: ‘I’ll do this in order to get that result’. Just do it gently, without knowing you’re doing it. In other words, pray simply and don’t think about what God will give you in your soul. Don’t keep tabs. Don’t discuss it with yourself. When you say the Jesus Prayer, do so gently and simply and don’t think about anything else except the prayer.
Let your heart be simple, not two-sided and insincere; let it be good rather than cunning and self-serving. Everybody seeks a good and simple soul; they find solace in it; they approach it without fear, without suspicion. And that soul itself lives with inner peace, has good relations with other people and the rest of creation.
Good people don’t have bad thoughts and they attract God’s Grace. In particular, goodness and simplicity. They’re necessary requirements for God to come and ‘find a dwelling-place’.
Holy Scripture spells it out clearly for us as regards simplicity: ‘Love righteousness you who are judges on the earth; think of the Lord in goodness and seek him in simplicity of heart’ (Wis. 1,1).
Simplicity and goodness.
These are everything in acquiring God’s Grace. There are so many mysteries in Holy Scripture. A ‘malformed soul’ is one that’s badly made, one that concocts wickedness. Divine Wisdom neither enters such a soul, nor dwells there. Where there’s corruption and mischief, the Grace of God doesn’t enter.