Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos: “Our real interests”

We often hear people referring to their interests. The Greek word use for  interest “συμφέρον”  means the benefit accruing to someone who pursues something, especially at an individual level.

There are individual interests, family interests, social interests and national interests. Usually, the word interest “συμφέρον”  is used at the individual or personal level and concerns  material goods.

We say: ‘It’s not in my interests to do this” or ” This  threatens my interests. ”

This same word is used in Liturgical Greek. Here it refers to other interests, goods, in reference to our soul. For all that is good and profitable (“συμφέροντα”)  for our souls, and for peace in the world, let us ask the Lord.”

The use of the word soul here does not mean that the body is ignored and underestimated , since man is a unity of body and soul and the whole person will be saved or be destroyed.

Mainly it means spiritual rewards, spiritual interests, not material ones.  Man cannot be restricted only to physical, material, social interests, but should see to his spiritual interests.

There are instances where we struggle to get by, for material things, for professional position and this does not give us inner peace , but rather increases our insecurity.

When one only adheres to external things and leaves  the inner world of the soul deserted , one quickly feels a void in one’s life. This is precisely why there is a need to endeavour for  the  spiritual benefit of the soul.

What are these  spiritual benefits of the soul? Just as the body has its various senses and different bodily needs,  the soul also has its own senses and needs. These are faith in God, prayer – which is the soul’s breath -,  love, the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ.

In general, people’s real need is of God Himself. When these needs of the soul are not met, the inner world is aggravated, it stays hungry, its great hopes and desires are unfulfilled, man becomes unhappy.

Along with  “all that is good and profitable (“συμφέροντα”)  for our souls” we ask God to give peace to  the world. Man cannot feel alone in society, he cannot be interested only in himself and indifferent to the world around him.

The soul is not isolated and  man is not alienated from society and the world. The spiritual needs of the soul must be linked with the peace which should prevail in the world.

Of course, it is not enough simply to pray and God cannot help if  are not interested, if  we do not strive, if we do not feel pain, do not pursue our real interests and seek to acquire them and if we do not strive for peace to prevail  in the world.

Still, the more we are well in soul and spirit, the more our society will improve.

Peace in the world not only comes through  ideas, systems, pressure, but mainly through people who feel inner wholeness.

Original Greek: Romfea August 6th 2011

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