Saint Sophrony the Athonite (+July 11, 1993) is one of the most beloved orthodox Christian elders of our times. In this rare audio recording he talks about the end times and the only true way for today, as Saint Silouan writes – the way of tears.
Essex Monastery, May 6th, 1991
Audio source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM3vcb_uOwo
English translation adapted after the Romanian version of Fr. Rafail Noica, Cuvantari Duhovnicesti I (12).
Saint Sophrony Sakharov the Athonite (from Essex, UK):
How can we be reborn and consider everything “great to men” as “abomination before God”? How can one become a man who is no longer a slave to pride, nor to vanity, nor a bearer of the desire to trample on his brother? – Through the love of Christ, love which is crucified in this world.
And the world hates us for this path, for this is not the path of “the prince of this world.” [John 14:30]
In our era, salvation has become more difficult than ever before. In the past, the witnesses of God who performed unbelievable miracles were a daily occurrence. How did Peter, a simple fisherman with no education, suddenly become a teacher for the entire world? The Lord gave him the power to raise even the dead by his prayer.
There are prophecies of the Holy Fathers of the 4th century who say that in the last times God will hide from people, from His faithful, their own spiritual state. They will no longer work miracles, and will feel as if they are forsaken by God in a state of emptiness. This is the only true way, as Saint Silouan writes – the way of tears. The most important struggle is with the passion of pride. All those who want to rule over people are wrong: they do not understand the authority of God. God Himself does not want to rule over man, He is waiting for man, in the freedom of his love for God, to decide for himself like a god. And my prayer is that you listen to the word of Saint Silouan: “the way of the saints is the way of loving tears”.
Where there is love, there are tears. And where there is no love, there are no tears.
Even in the greatest sufferings and torments (let us say in the times of war) when we witnessed all kinds of abuse of a defeated enemy, when sadism was becoming a daily routine throughout the world – there were no tears. I have even heard of such a way of surviving: in order to overcome the tortures applied by the conquerors, one must hate them with all his being. This hatred eases the pain, and then they couldn’t obtain anything from that prisoner. But the Lord says: “Love your enemies” [Matthew 5:44]. From this love, weeping is born for those who sin, for the tormentors who did not know the way to salvation and the true life in the image of God.