Holy Pascha (Geronda Ephraim of Arizona, 1980)

NOTE: The following is taken from Fire from the Holy Mountain: The Prayer Diary of Elder Epraim, entry for March 24, 1980, Sunday of Pascha, p. 86:

PASCHA2

Today is the Resurrection of Christ.

“Come receive light from the unwaning Light…”

PASCHA

O unwaning, unsetting, unending light, supremely radiant and extremely white, how You magnetize my nous, my soul, my heart! I long for You unwaningly, with endless love and eros. When shall I be counted worthy by the gift of mercy of my most holy God and Father to enjoy You eternally, eternally!

PASCHA3

My unworthiness worries me, for I am not worthy of this lot of the saved—rather, I deserve to go to hell and be punished forever.

PASCHA4

The Resurrection, the eternal Pascha, attracts me tremendously. The state of things above draws me. I long and yearn to be up in heaven, up in security. But when will this happen?

PASCHA5

O Pascha with the angels, with the saints, with everyone dressed in white, how much you please and attract me! There they chant new and ineffable songs and sing to God with fantastic but also inexpressible peace and tranquility.

PASCHA6

O Pascha with no end or change of its indescribable joy and celebration! My Father and my God, protect me from every evil so that I, too, the monstrosity, may be counted worthy one day of being in this Pascha that human words cannot describe or express.

PASCHA9

“Likewise, do thou exalt and be glad, O my lady Theotokos, in the arising of Him Whom thou didst bear” (cf. Heirmos, 9th Ode of Paschal Canon). In the loveliness of the divine beauty of Your Son and God, remember even me, the filthy one, so that I may be together with you in the eternal Pascha!

PASCHA0

“It is the day of Resurrection, let us be radiant, O ye peoples; Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha” (Heirmos, 1st Ode of Paschal Canon).

PASCHA10

I bid You farewell, my Father, until next year.

PASCH

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Holy Friday (Elder Ephraim of Arizona, 1980)

NOTE: The following is taken from Fire from the Holy Mountain: The Prayer Diary of Elder Epraim, entry for March 22, 1980, Holy Friday, pp. 84-85:

Elder Ephraim Arizonaa

“Already the unjust judges have dipped their pens in ink, and Jesus is sentenced and condemned to the Cross…” (Matins Aposticha, Holy Friday).

O my light, O my joy, what is happening now with Your Passion! You, my sweet breath, my Jesus, You lifted on Your shoulders the burden of my guilt, and like a harmless, innocent, pure, and charming lamb, You are led to the slaughter of crucifixion for my sake.

Oh, what can I say! My mind stops before Your infinite love and sacrifice. I suffer along with You as I follow You during the entire journey of Your sacrifice for me on the Cross. I have nothing else to give You and I sit and weep, because I cannot help You in what is happening to You and in what You allow and have decided. You suffer as man, but as God You command everything to take place.

Oh. I am ashamed to look at You up on Your Cross, because You were innocent and because they should have crucified me. I am the guilty one. But You knew, my Lord, that I could not pay off my debt. This is why You came and put on the garment of my guilt, and the unjust judge with the pen wrote the condemnation for You instead of me.

My debt is infinite towards You, my sweet countenance and beauty! How shall I pay it off, since I am constantly increasing it with my lack of feeling for Your sufferings. Grant me tears to weep and weep, so that You might take pity on me like the harlot (vid. Lk. 7:36-50) and forgive me my great debt.

I kneel before You, my crucified Lord, my most sweet and adored Jesus, I venerate You with streams of tears because of Your great and immense sacrifice for me, who am guilty and liable because of my impious deeds.

I sing praises to You with all my soul. My soul cries out with unutterable shouts, smothered by the unbearable profusion of gratitude and thanks for everything You went through to save me. My debt towards You is enormous.

With inexpressible awe I stand before Your Cross. I see You crucified, in a situation that I should be in, because I am the guilty one that deserves such a death.

But arise, my sweet worship, so that my heart may rejoice and my soul may delight.

A Greek and English draft were sent out to the monasteries in the early 2000s.
A Greek and English draft were sent out to the monasteries in the early 2000s.

3rd Thursday of Lent (Geronda Ephraim of Arizona, 1980)

NOTE: The following is taken from Fire from the Holy Mountain: The Prayer Diary of Elder Epraim, entry for February 29, 1980, Third Thursday of Lent, pp. 78-79. 

A Greek and English draft were sent out to the monasteries in the early 2000s.
A Greek and English draft were sent out to the monasteries in the early 2000s.

I feel sinful and dirty. The true awareness of my nothingness greatly helps me to see God.

“Thou shalt gladden him in joy with Thy face” (Ps. 20:6). Oh, that divine face! It has eros and beauty from the glory, from the supremely radiant light of the Trinity’s effulgence. There is where the transcendent beauty of God is; there is the divine electrification and contact with God the Father, by His humility and condescension.

Oh, how the unlimited the humility and simplicity of God is! The humility and condescension of the awesome God astounds and overwhelms me! How filthy and dirty man is! Even though he has so many sins and is so guilty, he feels haughty and behaves egotistically. There is nothing stupider than this.

The angels are celebrating in heaven, dressed in white with inconceivable beauty within the supremely bright light of God. They chant—and what they chant! Their hymns are pure bliss. But that which makes them stay in this blessed state is the grace of humility and true self-knowledge. Unfortunately, I am proud, which is why I lack this joy and grace.

Like a helpless creature, like a thirsty deer, I seek, cry out, and long to be watered by the true Fountain—my God—with a divine drink, with the water springing up into eternal life (cf. Jn. 4:14). “When shall I come and appear before the face of my God?” (cf. Ps. 41:2) I weep, seeking my God. When I touch Him, I feel him and weep. But how this happens, I do not know; one thing I do know is that I feel Him as much as He wants and corresponding to the humility I feel for my dirty self.

My God and Father, open the eyes of my blind soul to see my nature, the nothingness of my nothingness, and through it to see You, the most lovely Light, Who gives eternal life to mortal man. Enlighten my darkness, O divine, lovely Light.

Amen.

KLO

SOURCE

The Second Sunday of Lent (Geronda Ephraim of Arizona, 1980)

NOTE: The following is taken from Fire from the Holy Mountain: The Prayer Diary of Elder Epraim, entry for February 18, 1980, Second Sunday of Lent, p. 77. 

A Greek and English draft were sent out to the monasteries in the early 2000s.
A Greek and English draft were sent out to the monasteries in the early 2000s.

The communication of my sinful soul with the supremely radiant God was very wonderful tonight. The heavenly world is a different realm; a different mode of life; a different atmosphere.

My God, what can I, the miserable pauper, say about what You are! You are a stupendous and immense delight. You are impalpable, and yet how are You touched? For when this contact happens, the soul is electrified with divine electricity, and sweet and beautiful tears run and run from my eyes. But in the heart, what happens!

My incomprehensible, inexpressible, and lovely God, what can I, the miserable one say about You! There are no words, there is no man capable or competent to do so. One can only feel reverence, worship, sacredness, and divine love in silent amazement.

Oh, how much I would like to be no longer on earth with the uncertainty of my salvation! Oh, if only I were already in the world of my God, my Father, my worship. There is eternity, certainty, and security.

I weep because I am the greatest sinner in the whole world. I mourn the uncertainty of my salvation. I do not know if I shall be saved. Here is the crux of the matter. Alas! I wonder, shall I reach the calm haven of eternal bliss? I wonder, shall I see the glory of my God?

Have pity on me, O only-begotten Logos of God,

My Jesus Christ

2nd Sunday of Lent

The entire Diary for 1980 can be read here:

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The Second Saturday of Lent (Geronda Ephraim of Arizona, 1980)

NOTE: The following is taken from Fire from the Holy Mountain: The Prayer Diary of Elder Epraim, entry for February 17, 1980, Second Saturday of Lent, p. 76. 

A Greek and English draft were sent out to the monasteries in the early 2000s.
A Greek and English draft were sent out to the monasteries in the early 2000s.

February 17, 1980

I experienced amazement and divine wonder tonight in my poor prayer. My nous tasted God. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9)

All this is a fruit of the labor of my Holy Elder, who truly toiled inside the caves of Athos with fasts, vigils, weeping, and tears. I, on the other hand, am a miserable, hideous monstrosity; an unmonastic monk; a sluggard eating the labor of my father, Saint Joseph. If God did not have mercy on me through his intercessions, I would be spiritually lost.

The festival in heaven entices me—there in the eternal and immutable blessings, where only silence reigns, since it is the only thing one is able to do. But when shall I behold the face of my lovely Father!!! When shall I be satisfied with His glory? Oh, what beauty! But I am a filthy stench and the demons’ joy.

My God, forgive me, the nothing of nothingness. Only Your mercy saves me from my evil self…

2nd Saturday of Lent

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Fire from the Holy Mountain (Geronda Ephraim of Arizona)

Before all the monasteries were established, Geronda Ephraim and Fr. Savvas would stay in the homes of lay people when they traveled to North America. They would give homilies, Geronda would do confessions in peoples’ homes, etc. Fr. Savvas had somehow come across Geronda Ephraim’s “Prayer Diary” and copied out a bunch of entries. In the early 90’s, he would read some of these passages to lay people (at least the ones that were “close” to Geronda and part of the “family”). In the mid-2000s, these diary pages were translated into English. Spiral bound copies of both the Greek and English are given to monks and nuns in Geronda Ephraim’s monasteries to “help them in their vigil,” “inspire them to pray and struggle,” and “to see how great a saint God has given us as a Geronda,” etc. Essentially, it’s also a way for the Elder to promote himself, without him actually vocally telling his subordinates, “I’ve seen God”,”I talk to God”, “I’ve seen the Father”, etc. For, the Elder gave the blessing for them to be translated, as well as the blessing for them to be distributed to all his monasteries.

Temptation of Christ

daimonia