St Porphyrios: Speaking to the Youth


Fr Porphyrios asked, “What do you want me to tell you?”. The young people answered: “How we can live the true Christian life today”.

And Fr Porphyrios started to speak slowly and carefully: “Many say that the Christian life is disagreeable and difficult; I say that it is agreeable and easy, but it requires two pre-conditions: humility and love”

The young people, many of whom kept notes, then asked: “How can we acquire humility and love?”

Then the Elder answered with a parable, with the inimitable gift of narration: “Children I will tell you a story. Once there was a shepherd girl, who lived on the mountain and kept sheep. She worked hard all day to take care of her sheep, to give them water, to guard them from wild animals, to bring them back to the fold at night, to milk them and to keep them in order.

When night fell and her parents were fast asleep, despite her wariness from hard work, she would jump over the wall of the fold in secret and run in the darkness, in between rocks and thorns, until she reached the mountain ridge opposite to meet the shepherd boy that she loved. And when she met him, she was very glad, despite her trouble and sacrifices, and indeed, because her meeting with her beloved had cost her so much trouble and sacrifice she was even happier. Excuse me, monk that I am, for speaking about lovers, but I’m doing it so you can understand what I want to say better.

Thus, the soul ought to have her own lover, Christ, to be pleased like the shepherd girl who fell in love with the shepherd boy. And what are human love affairs compared to Divine Eros? Short-lived and illusive, whereas Divine Eros is eternal and true. The soul that is in love with Christ is always fortunate and joyful, whatever happens to her, however much hard work and sacrifice this Divine Eros takes. Indeed, the harder the soul works and the more sacrifices she makes for her beloved Christ, the happier she feels.

The soul falls in love with Christ when it gets to know and to follow His commandments. When the soul is in love with Christ, she also loves people; she cannot hate them. The devil cannot enter the soul that is in love with Christ…. Where all [the soul’s] space is taken up by Christ, the devil cannot enter and dwell there, however hard he tries, because he won’t fit, there is no room for him. That is the way we can live the true Christian life.”

Source: “With Elder Porphyrios: A Spiritual Child Remembers”