On the condition of man – Saint Silouan the Athonite

condition of manOn the condition of man – Saint Silouan the Athonite

People, until they come to know something greater, are satisfied with the little that they have. Man is like a village rooster who lives in a small enclosure with few people and farm animals, who knows his ten hens, and who is content with this life because he knows no more. But an eagle, who circles high in the clouds, and sees great distances with his sharp eyes, who hears the sounds of the earth and revels in its beauty, who knows many lands, seas and rivers, and sees a multitude of animals and birds, would not be content to live in a small enclosure with a rooster.

It is the same in spiritual life. Whoever has not known the grace of the Holy Spirit is like the rooster who does not know the flight of the eagle; he cannot comprehend the sweetness of tender emotion and love of God. He knows God from nature and from Scripture, he is satisfied with the law and is content with his lot as is the rooster, and does not feel sorrow that he is not an eagle. But he who has experienced the Lord through the Holy Spirit, he prays day and night, because the grace of the Holy Spirit calls him to love the Lord, and the sweetness of the Lord’s love gives him the ability to carry the burdens of the world with ease; his soul pines only for the Lord and searches constantly for the grace of the Holy Spirit.

We are all suffering on this earth and searching for freedom, but few know what freedom is and where it can be found. The Lord gives the repentant His peace and the freedom to love Him. Oh, my brothers, all the earth, repent while you still have time. God awaits our repentance with mercy. And all the heavens, all the saints await our repentance. As God is love, so the Holy Spirit in the saints is love. Ask, and the Lord shall forgive. And when you receive absolution from your sins, then your soul will be joyful and happy, and the grace of the Holy Spirit will enter your soul, and you will say, “Here is true freedom: it is in God and of God.”

The grace of God does not hinder freedom but only helps to keep the commandments of God. Adam was in grace, and his will was not fettered. So too the angels are in the Holy Spirit, but their free will is not taken away.

The Lord wants us to love each other; this is the essence of freedom — love for God and for your neighbor. This is both freedom and equality. But in earthly titles there can be no equality; this is of no concern to the soul, however. Not everyone can be a king or a prince; not everyone can be a patriarch or an abbot, or a leader, but no matter what your title you can love God and serve Him, and that is all that matters. And whoever loves God more on earth shall be in greater glory in the Kingdom.

On the condition of man – Saint Silouan the Athonite

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