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August 26, 2015 + On Positive Thinking - Part 2

by St. Paisios the Athonite

"For perverse thoughts separate men from God" (Wis 1:3)

Looking at this subject from a different point of view, Elder Paisios stressed and greatly emphasised the specific characteristic of love, that is, that “love is not irritable or resentful” (1 Cor 13:4). He used to say that “we should never, even under the worst circumstances, allow a negative thought to penetrate our soul." The person, who, under all circumstances, is inclined to have positive thoughts, will always be a winner; his life will be a constant festivity, since it is constantly based on his positive thinking. Our acts depend on and are determined by the “machine” we have inside us, and not by the “material” we digest, or the environment we live in. I will give you an example, so you can better understand what I am trying to say:

If one has a machine that produces bullets and feeds it with the highest quality material, let’s say gold, the machine will still convert gold into bullets, golden but destructive bullets; if he feeds it with silver, then it will produce silver bullets; if he feeds it with iron, it will produce iron bullets, or if he feeds it with clay, it will produce clay bullets. In other words, no matter what material he feeds his machine, it still produces bullets, because it was made to manufacture these destructive products. If someone converts the machine into one that produces holy chalices instead of bullets, then whatever material he feeds it, it will always produces holy chalices. If he puts in the machine clay or iron, it will manufacture clay or iron chalices respectively.

I will now tell you a story regarding a very old father from Kapsala. The old father’s “machine” was the kind that produced only positive thoughts. He only saw the good things in life and he was blind to every evil. Once, a group of people visited him and brought him a small radio as a present. The old father took it in his hands and examined it with lots of admiration. He asked where it was manufactured and the visitors told him in Japan. As he was looking at it, suddenly he was filled with joy and started kissing the radio saying:

“Glory to God!” The visitors asked him why he was glorifying God and he explained to them:

“You see, I am very pleased that the Japanese Christians put the sign of the Holy Cross on the products they manufacture.”

The old father had noticed the positive and negative pole (+,-) of the batteries and thought it was the sign of the Cross. His mind produced a simplistic and positive thought for the radio the visitors brought him. Considering he was an ascetic, he could have developed negative thoughts and get angry at them for bringing him such an unsuitable present.

Someone asked the same old father why he was making the sign of the Cross when he saw an airplane. And he simply answered: “Don’t you see, my child, that its shape looks like the sign of our Holy Cross?”

The old father ignored the negative thoughts associated with the sight of an airplane, such as wars and bombing. His mind was attracted by the similarity of its shape to the sign of the Holy Cross; the sight and noise of the airplane made him think of the crucifixion of Christ.”

-Father Paisios, when I walk in the streets of Thessaloniki, I face the following problem: As I walk, I come across various beggars most of whom are women holding babies in their arms, and claiming they are ill and in need of financial assistance. I always think they are lying to me. What would you do in my place?

-I, too, came across one of these women who asked for help, he replied. I immediately sympathised with her problem but I had very little money on me. I gave her 500 drachmas and told her: “Please forgive me as I do not have more money on me. However, I will give you my address so you can write to me and send me your own. When I go back to Mount Athos, I will try to collect some money to forward you.”

She took my address and I felt she was touched by my offer. After some time, I received a letter from her which did not include her address. Instead, she had enclosed the 500 drachma bill I had given her, and was asking me to forgive her for putting me in a difficult situation and thanked me for my kindness. I believe that if someone develops positive thoughts, even in the case of the woman beggar, he will not be a loser, because God, who knows our deepest intentions, will do him justice.

Once, a journalist, who had a negative way of thinking about everything, visited Elder Paisios. He began asking the Elder about various things and making him feel in distress. At one point, he asked him:

- Why are staying here in the peace and quietness of Mount Athos feeling carefree, and you are not going out in the world to help people who have so many serious problems?

The Elder, slightly raising his tone of voice, told him:

- Your mind machine is a broken one and produces only negative thoughts. You misunderstand everything you see or hear. Now, you see me living here and ask me why I am not going out in the world. If I go to live in the world,  you will then say that it is unsuitable for a monk and that I should go back to the quietude of my cell. For this reason, I will only tell you one thing: Repair your broken mind-machine and bear in mind the old saying, which says that “traffic lights are made for noisy streets, whereas lighthouses for deserted rocky mountains.”

from ON POSITIVE THINKING, from Priestmonk Christodoulos (1998) “Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain, http://www.pigizois.net/a... accessed online August 13th, 2015.

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Martyr Natalia of Nicomedia

Troparion, Tone 4

Your holy martyrs Adrian and Natalia, O Lord, through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God. For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries, and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. Through their intercessions, save our souls!