Christian Parenting · Youth Corner

Christian Parenting – Part 9

When I went to the Holy Mountain I lived with exceedingly saintly elders. They never said to me, ‘Well done.’ They always counselled me how to love God and how to be always humble, to invoke God to forti­fy my soul and to love Him greatly. I didn’t know what ‘well done was, nor did I ever desire it. On the contrary, I was distressed if my elders didn’t scold me. I said to myself,  ‘Heavens above, I haven’t found myself good elders!’ I wanted them to correct me, to censure me and behave strictly towards me. If a Christian were to hear what I’m saying now, what would he say? He would be taken aback and reject it. But never­theless that is what is right, humble and sincere.

My parents never said ‘well done’ to me either. For that reason, whatever I did, I did selflessly. Now that I hear people singing my prais­es, I feel very bad. There’s something that kicks in protest i when other people say to me,’well done’, The fact that I learned humil­ity did me no harm. And why do I not want to be applauded now? Be­cause I know that praise makes a person empty and expels the grace of God. The grace of God comes only with holy humility. A humble man is a perfect man. Is that not a fine thing? Is that not true?

If you tell this to anyone they will immediately say, ‘What a piece of nonsense! If you don’t praise your child he won’t be able to do his schoolwork or anything.,.’ But that happens because that’s what we’re like, and we have made our children the same. In other words, we have strayed from the truth. Egotism evicted man from Paradise; it is a great evil. Adam and Eve were simple and humble; that’s why they lived in Paradise. They didn’t have egotism. They did, however, have the ‘primal nature’, as we call it in theological language. When we say ‘primal na­ture’ we mean the gifts of grace that God bestowed on man in the be­ginning when He created him, namely, life, immortality, consciousness, freedom of will, love, humility, etc. Through flattery, however, the devil managed to delude them. They became filled with egotism. The natural state of man as created by God, however, is humility. Egotism, on the contrary, is something unnatural, an illness and contrary to nature.

When we, with our laudations, create this ‘superego’ in the child, we inflate its egotism and we do it great harm. We make the child more susceptible to demonic influence. And so, as we bring it up, we steadily distance it from the values of life. Don’t you believe that this is the rea­son why children go astray and people rebel? It is the egotism that their parents have implanted in them from an early age. The devil is the great egotist, the great Lucifer. In other words, we live with Lucifer inside us, with the devil. We don’t live with humility. Humility is from God; it is something essential for the human soul. It is something organic. And if it is missing, it is as if the heart were missing from the human organ­ism. The heart gives life to the body and humility gives life to the soul. With egotism a person is given over to the part of the evil spirit, that is, he develops with the evil spirit and not with the good spirit.

Whis is what the devil has succeeded in achieving. He has turned the earth into a labyrinth so that we are unable to come to an understand­ing with one another. What has happened to us without our realizing it? Do you see how we have been led astray? We have turned our world and our age into one large psychiatric hospital! And we don’t understand what’s gone wrong. We all ask, ‘What’s become of us, where are we go­ing, why have our children taken off, why have they left their homes, why have they resigned from life, why have they given up their studies? Inside me Why is all this happening?’ The devil has succeeded in concealing him­self and in making people use other names. Doctors and psychologists often say when someone is tormented, ‘Ah, this person has a neurosis or is suffering from anxiety.’ They don’t accept that the devil is inciting and arousing egotism in the person. But yet the devil exists and is the spirit of evil. If we say he doesn’t exist, it is as if we are rejecting the Gospel that speaks of him. He is our enemy, our adversary in life, the contrary of Christ, which is why he is called the Anti-Christ. Christ came to earth to release us from the devil and to grant us salvation.

Elder Prophyrios

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