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Elder Paisius the Athonite on spiritual work.

29 January 2011

 

“Spiritual work on ourselves is actually a silent work on our fellow human beings; it is work that instructs by example and causes others to imitate the good behavior they see and correct their faults. Everyone is useful in the Church. Everyone has something to offer; there’s plenty of room for everybody, for those who have a mild character and for those who may be strict and demanding. The Body of the Church resembles the human body. Just as we need both sweet and sour foods, even bitter herbs, because each food has something to contribute in substance and vitamins, so too the Body of the Church needs everyone of us. Each person complements the character of the other, and we are all obliged to tolerate not only the spiritual temperament of others, but also their human weaknesses. Now unfortunately, there are those who have irrational expectations of others. They expect everyone to be like them, to have their spiritual temperament; and if the other person does not meet their standard, if they are a bit more lenient or more austere, they are eager to find [and pronounce] them non-spiritual.”

- Elder Paisius the Athonite, With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man.

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