Wednesday, September 4, 2013
It is difficult for these self-proclaimed ‘elders’ to recognize their delusion and be humbled. Their ambition is to have spiritual children, disciplined, spineless and to work together with them for whatever project of theirs, whether it is for a monastery or a parish. People who usually follow them are not able to reveal their hypocrisy. They have limited information, they do not think a lot, and they are dragged along by their infallible ‘elder’ by doing obedience to them while simultaneously maintaining all worldly and sinful habits. Often they invoke their ‘elder’ when they converse with their brethren in their attempt to convince them that whatever may be their decisions on small or great issues of their personal life, and not only, are correct and no one can challenge them or judge them negatively, since they have the blessing of their ‘elder.’ Obviously this is a sickened piety, which must be combated against by spiritual fathers.
I have known two such "elders" in my life. They are dangerous. They tear down, binding people by their rules and false piety.
The true Elders are few and hidden. They do not make noise and they flee from being a spectacle. They help people spiritually, in a simple manner, without tying them up and enforcing them. They try to instill a proper concern, to inquire by themselves more about the word of God and taste the sweetness of the spiritual life, renouncing the worldly mind and unnecessary cares which lead to indolence. These Elders should be an example for all clergy. It is not an easy matter. It implies cleanliness of life, simplicity, humility and purity in our intentions.
The Fathers of the faith, such as St John Chrysostom, St Basil the Great, St Seraphim of Sarov, the Optina Elders...they experienced the Holy Trinity, they didn't just read about it.They lived in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They KNOW God ("I am the God of the living...")
The entire article is here, at The Cost of Discipleship.