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Small Blessing of a Few “Nuts.”

By Elder Paisios the New of Mount Athos.

Editor’s Note: Below we present excerpts from a letter of Elder Paisios to the nuns of the Holy Monastery of the Evangelist John the Theologian in Souroti, Greece, written on the Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple, November 21, 1975. These excerpts have been taken from the book Epistles by Elder Paisios (Souroti, 2002), which contains the entire letter. The explanatory footnotes are from the same book, written by the book’s editors.

"May the Holy Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple benefit us"

Glory to Thee, O Lord, Glory to Thee, O Holy One, Glory to Thee, O King...

I once again thank the Good God Who does not loathe me, His detestable child, but as an affectionate Father always provides His blessings for me, even more so on feast days like today, the day of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple. All those who devote themselves to God, in imitation of the Panagia (Panagia: one of the names bestowed upon the Most Holy Mother of God by Greek Orthodox Christians. Literally, "All Holy.") keep this day with particular reverence.

Today’s blessing I thought of sending to my Sisters, since I had nothing else to send, for brothers are obliged to send blessings to their sisters, especially when they are journeying. It is not important whether the blessing is great or small, because they appreciate more the brotherly concern and security they feel through this manifestation of love. With this thought I resolved to send these few spiritual "nuts."

Naturally, if I had a good spiritual state, the blessings would be greater and of a better quality and they wouldn’t have those thick shells and small kernels, as you will see. You will notice that some of these are similar, yet they still differ slightly, as do walnuts from hazelnuts. Others are of the same kind, however, and since they are small, one must eat many of them, yet not in order to gorge oneself. Besides, the blessing is not meant for satiation.

I wish I had many to send you. Unfortunately, in this foreign land I have shown no spiritual progress, unlike other Fathers who have labored hard with philotimo (Philotimo, according to Elder Paisios, is the reverent distillation of goodness, the love shown by humble people, from which every trace of self has been filtered out. Their hearts are full of gratitude towards God and their fellow men, and out of spiritual sensitivity they try to repay the slightest good which others do to them) and were spiritually enriched. I have fulfilled the proverb: "A lazy young man is a poor old man." Only now, of course, have I come to my senses, but what is the use? Now my physical strength has left me and I can no longer work. The only thing I am left with now is hope in the great mercy of God and, by your prayers, I hope to find mercy without charge.

I wish you with all my heart spiritual advancement and divine enlightenment, that from now on you may understand the things that, unfortunately, I only recently understood....

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