Elder Paisios: The Joy of Gratitude

Elder Paisios-Elder, why do lots of people feel anxious and sad, even though they’ve got everything.

-When you see a person who is really anxious, sad or sorrowful, yet they lack nothing, you know that they lack God.    If anybody has everything, both material goods and health, and instead of being grateful to God, has unreasonable demands instead, and grumbles, they might as well “go to hell in their own shoes”.

When a person is grateful, they are pleased with everything. They think about what God has given them every single day and find joy in all things. However, when they are ungrateful,  nothing pleases them and they grumble and complain about everything . If he doesn’t appreciate the sunshine and complains, the Vardar wind, the cold north-west wind comes and freezes him. He doesn’t want the sunshine; he wants to shiver because of the cold wind.

-Elder, what are you trying to say there?

-I want to say that we don’t recognize the blessings God has given us and we complain, then trials come and gather up like a ball of yarn. No, in truth, I tell you, whoever has that custom, the habit of grumbling and complaining shoul know that a little slap from God will come to him, so that he will pay a little bit of this off in this life.

And if he doesn’t get a little slap, this will be worse, because then he will pay for all of this – once and for all in the next life.

-You mean to say, Elder, that grumbling is just a habit?

-It becomes a habit because grumbling brings misery and misery brings more misery.

Whoever sows misery, reaps misery and stores up anxiety. Whereas, whoever sows doxology (praising God) reaps divine joy and eternal blessing. A grumbler never recognises the blessings God gives him, however many they are.

So, the Grace of God distances itself and temptation comes close and chases him continually, always bringing him setbacks, whereas God chases the grateful person through His blessings. Ingratitude is a great sin. It is censured by Christ Himself, who said to the leper who returned to thank Him: “Were not ten men cleaned? Where are the other nine?” . Christ wanted the lepers to be grateful not for His sake, but for their sake, because gratitude would have been to their benefit.

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