Elder Joseph the Hesychast: Have You Spread Your Roots Deep?

Feast of the Holy Hieromartyr Eutychius, Bishop of Melitene

Elder_Joseph_Square.jpgDO NOT CLOTHE yourself only with leaves, but spread your roots deep to find a spring, as the sycamore tree does, so that you may constantly draw water and continuously grow. Thus, when a drought comes upon you, you will suffer no harm, because you have found your own spring. When the torch you now have goes out, you will have another one lit through your works, and you will never suffer from darkness. The method of obtaining these blessings is as follows:

First of all, perfect and unquestioning obedience to all. From this arises humility. The distinctive mark of humility is profuse tears, which for three or four years flow like a stream. From this is born ceaseless prayer, called noetic prayer. So that as soon as you say, “My sweetest Jesus!” tears run. As soon as you say, “My Panagia!” you are unable to control yourself. Then, from them is born tranquility throughout the body and perfect peace.

Once a brother wanted to control himself—because the tears had started and someone had knocked on the door—but he was unable to until the tears had ceased of their own accord. That is how much power they have.

So, if you obtain them, there is no danger of suffering any harm, since you have become a different type of person. Not that your nature changes, but grace changes its properties through the divine energies of God.

The services should contain substance, just as the leaves on a tree cover fruits. Chanting should be done with humility. The nous should hunt out the meaning of the hymn. The intellect should be sweetened by thoughts of the nous and should be led up to their contemplation.

Likewise, reading should be done with much attention, so that with all this the soul may increase and grow. Thus the “old man” fades away and dies, whereas the new man is renewed and overflows with the love of Christ. And then a person is no longer pleased at all with earthly things, but continuously hungers for the heavenly things.

The body, too, must struggle with all its might. It should always be subservient to the spirit. Don’t feel sorry for it at all. And whether you are eating or working, don’t stop the prayer.

—Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Monastic Wisdom

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