Fr. Rafail Noica talks about humilty and love and constructs his discourse on the word of Saint Silouan: “It is a great thing to humble ourselves, because pride prevents love”.
Fr. Sophrony said to Saint Silouan [the Athonite]: “What a pity! I don’t have time and strength to study deeper theology…” And St. Silouan replies with a very simple word: “And do you esteem that a great thing?” And as Fr. Sophrony told us, he felt so ashamed as he realized that he would receive something even greater.
St. Silouan was silent for a moment and then said to him: “It is a great thing to humble ourselves, because pride prevents love.”
And Fr. Sophrony commented on that: “I never questioned the word of Saint Silouan.” You can imagine what authority he had… that amazing authority, sweet, yet powerful.
Fr. Sophrony says: “When he told me that word, I felt as if it was the last word of the history. I added “history” here, he said only “the final word” the “last word”, the “last criterion”.
And why? We’re talking about love, humility is one of… one of the aspects, one of the facets of love, as a diamond with many facets. It’s not something exterior, rather it’s an integral part of love.
And it is the most important element, the open door towards love. A proud love is not love, a lustful love is not yet love, only humble love…
And Fr. Sophrony felt that this very word, “humility”, encompasses, if it is correctly understood and profoundly experienced, all the history of the Church and humanity, which moved him so much and that in this very word of Saint Silouan, he could experience in essence, everything that the study of theology and Holy Fathers would have offered him.
When I read the book and reached this chapter, I had the thought that maybe this is the the last word, the very last word in our history. I had this feeling that it is something like a final element, historically speaking, in Saint Silouan as well as in his great desciple [Fr. Sophrony], the only one that could live next to this great saint, and understand him.
As his eminence [Met. Hierotheos Vlachos] used to say… I lived with the thought that the book of Saint Silouan followed by the autobiography of Fr. Sophrony, “We Shall See Him as He is”, and the annex “On Prayer”, if we put all these three books together, they are like a single one for me… And this book is the last word of the Church in history.
We obviously live in apocalyptic times, or better said: “eschatological” times, we know not what and when will happen, but I pray earnestly to God so that He may protect His Church.
But I felt that this was something essential and final, and again, I don’t know exactly what but I let it to you all… and if indeed my word is true, may God reveal it clearly in your hearts and with time in our experience…