Practicing Piety. (Part 2)
(Continued from Part 1)
Platon - Bishop of Kastroma
As you partake of dinner, picture to yourself the image of Our Heavenly Father opening His hand, in order to feed you, never omit your prayer before you eat, and leave some of your food for the poor. After dinner consider yourself one of the five thousand who were miraculously fed by Jesus Christ, thank Him from your heart and pray that He not leave you without heavenly food—His Word and His most precious Body and Blood.
If you wish for a spiritually peaceful life, give yourself to God. You will not find any spiritual peace until you are satisfied with God alone, loving Him only.
Always, and in everything, think of God and His holy love for us sinners. In everything, try to fulfill God's will and to please God alone, do and suffer everything for God. Do not care to be respected and loved by people in their sins. Keep a vigilant watch over your feelings, thoughts, motions of your heart and your passions; give consideration to nothing trivial where your personal salvation is concerned. When you think of God multiply your prayers, so that God will remember you when you forget Him. In everything may your teacher be our Lord Jesus Christ, looking upon Him with the eye of your mind ask yourself more often: In this case what would Jesus Christ have thought, said, or done?
Be meek, quiet, humble, be silent and endure by the example of Jesus. He will not lay a cross upon you, which you are not able to carry. He Himself will help you carry your cross. Do not expect to acquire any one virtue without any sorrow and pains of the soul.
Beg God to give you grace to fulfill in the best way possible His holiest commandments—even though they may seem difficult for you. When you have fulfilled any one of God's commandments, await temptation, for love for Christ is tested by our conquering the obstacles. Do not dwell in idleness even for a short time, but always remain in labor and be occupied, because he who does not labor does not deserve the name of man. Isolate yourself, by the example of Jesus, Who, drawing Himself away from others, prayed to the Heavenly Father. In the midst of spiritual heaviness or coldness towards prayer and to all religious exercises do not give up acts of piety, it was that Jesus thrice prayed when His soul was sorrowful, even unto death.
Do everything in the name of Jesus Christ and in this way all your actions will be deeds of piety. Flee even the smallest of sins, because one who does not leave the smallest, certainly will fall into great and deep ones.
If you do not want to be bothered by evil thoughts, then humbly receive all disparagements of soul and bodily suffering, not at some expected time, but at any time, any place, and under any circumstances. Every thought, which withdraws you further away from God, especially filthy thoughts of the flesh, banish from your heart, as quickly as possible, as you would cast from your clothes a spark of fire that fell burning on them. When such a thought appears, pray hard: God forgive me, God do not leave me, deliver me from temptations, or the like. But amidst temptations do not be troubled. He who gives you the circumstance of a battle, will also give you strength for victory.
Let your spirit be at rest, trust in God; if God is for you, then who is against you? Pray to God that He take from you everything that feeds your self-love, even though it may be very bitter for you.
Wish to live and die for God alone, and to belong to Him entirely. When you suffer some dishonor from others, then realize that this was sent to you by God for your glory, thus being in dishonor you will be without sadness and confusion, and in glory.
(To be continued)
From Orthodox Life, Nov.-Dec. 1960, pp. 21-26. Minor corrections were made throughout the text. Some misplaced words and phrases were deleted, and some were added [in brackets] for clarification.
Glory to Thee our God.
+ Glory to Thee for All Things +