August 8, 2023

The Experience of Saint Paisios the Athonite With the Uncreated Light

"Elder, what is the uncreated light like?"

"How should I know? In my hut, I have a built-in stove that I light to warm myself. If I want light, I light a candle and see!

Never ask for lights or gifts from God, but only repentance, which will bring humility, and then the Good God will give what one needs.

I went once to see Father David of Dionysiou. He lived in a cell, in rags, in the dark. But in that dark cell, he lived in the light. He was very advanced in the prayer, he had reached a great spiritual state. I was afraid to get something out of him! 'These things are not to be spoke about, they are not to be spoke about,' he said. Do you know what it's like in the dark to see light, without having light? To be in rags, while being in the palaces of God!

'Give blood, receive the Spirit.' When I was in the coenobium, one Great Lent I tried to apply this. Not taking myself into account at all, I pulled at the rope until it was fully stretched.

I felt so tired that I fell down on the street and begged God to help me get up a little, so that people wouldn't see me and say: 'See, monks collapse from asceticism.'

I felt it every day like torture. On the Thursday before Lazarus Day, in the evening, while I was praying in the cell, I felt a sweetness, a joy, and a light bathed me; tears flowed from my eyes, a sweet cry. This lasted twenty to thirty minutes and stimulated me greatly, nourished me spiritually for ten years.

When I asked Elder Peter about this, he told me: 'I constantly experience such divine situations. At that time when Divine Grace visits me, my heart is sweetly warmed by the love of God, and a strange light illuminates me within and without; I feel my face light up. Even my cell lights up.

I then take off my cap, humbly bow my head and say to Christ: 'My Christ, strike me with the rod of Your compassion in my heart.' From my great gratitude, my eyes keep running sweet tears and I glorify God. Then everything stops, because I feel Christ very close to me and I can no longer ask for anything; the prayer also stops, the prayer rope cannot be turned."

Source: From the book Spiritual Counsels VI: On Prayer. Translation by John Sanidopoulos.

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