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segunda-feira, 14 de julho de 2014

Elder Cleopa on Prayer and On The Christian Virtues

Elder Cleopa

Elder Cleopa Ilie
Elder Cleopa Ilie
ELDER Cleopa Ilie (1912 to December 2, 1998) 
 

Elder Cleopa On The Christian Virtues

Q. What teachings and spiritual counsels do you give to the faithful, to confirm them in the three theological virtues – in faith, in hope and in charity – which are the foundation of our salvation?
A. I AM a simple man, and unlearned, and I am not equal to the task of giving particular teachings on the three theological virtues. That I leave to theologians, who can understand them and explain them to their listeners.
Here it is necessary to deal with a theology of the many and the unlearned, who still do not know the “I believe” and the “Our Father”, nor the Trisagion. In my weak powers and understanding regarding matters beneficial for salvation, first, I recall the minds of the faithful to the fear of God, which teaches man to flee from evil (Prov 1:7, 9, 10).
We know from the Holy Fathers that wisdom has two ends. The lower end is the fear of God, and the upper end is the love of God, which is “the bond of perfection”. Beginning from the fear of God, I urge the faithful to the fear of death and of judgment. Then I recall their minds to the torments of punishment, to the glory of paradise, to compassionate mercy, to the upbringing of children in the fear and trials of the Lord, to sincerity and frequent confession and to the abandonment of sin, which is the true repentance.
As for the married, I urge them to a pure family life, counselling them to abandon the heavy sin of child-murder [i.e. abortion] and any attempts whatsoever to prevent conception. I urge them to abandon quarrelsomeness, fault-finding, anger, drunkenness and hatred, and I urge them to be reconciled before the sun has set.
SOURCE

elder-cleopa-ilie1) – Oral prayer is the first step of prayer. When we pray with our tongue, mouth and lips, we are on the lowest step of prayer.
2) – The second step of prayer is Prayer of The Mind. At this stage we say the prayer with our mind and our entire attention is focused on the words of the prayer, but in the mind.
3) – The third step of prayer is Prayer of The Heart. At this stage of prayer, the mind descends into the heart and the mind and the heart are now united. The attention is now in the heart. The prayer that we say with our mouths, understand with our minds and feel in our hearts is spherical (cyclical) in the movement of our souls.
4) – The fourth step is Self-Moving Prayer. After a while, the prayer solidifies in the heart and the heart prays without saying the words of the prayer. As we eat, work, talk or sleep, the heart prays. This is what is said in The Song of Songs (5,2): “I sleep, but my heart is awake”. The one who finds oneself on this step has reached what Apostle Paul says in (1 Thessanoians 15,2): “pray without ceasing”. The heart of the Christian who has this prayer prays no matter where he is and what he does. When he speaks with people he mysteriously has another mouth that talks with God. This is the mouth of The Holy Spirit, as St. Basil The Great calls it. For The Holy Spirit when He dwells in a man, He never ceases to pray: “the Holy Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8, 26)
5) – The fifth step of prayer is Seeing Prayer. The one who reaches this prayer becomes a high seer of God. He can see with his mind the thoughts of people, the demons and the angels.
6) – The sixth step is Prayer in Ecstasy or Amazement. During this prayer, man’s mind is taken to Heaven. His face becomes like the sun and his hands and fingers like flames and his mind is no longer on earth, but in Heaven.
7) – The seventh step is Spiritual Prayer. The godly fathers call it spiritual vision and Kingdom of Heaven. This prayer is beyond the borders of prayer. It is oneness with God. Apostle Paul says about this prayer that: “And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (2 Corinthians 12, 3-4). At this stage the mind of man no longer works by its own power, but is taken by the power of The Holy Spirit into heavenly realms and can no longer think what itself wants.
(Exerpts from the teachings of Elder Ilie Cleopa 1912-1998)