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Overcoming Temptations | The Young Brother and the Old Monk | Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Join us for a profound exploration of the spiritual journey as Elder Ephraim of Arizona shares timeless insights on facing temptations. Discover how the great Fathers of the Church traversed the challenging path, turning trials into opportunities for divine wisdom. This compelling narrative is a source of inspiration and guidance for those navigating the intricate landscape of spiritual warfare. Gain strength, courage, and a deeper understanding of God’s transformative work through the furnace of life’s temptations. Elder Ephraim has built eighteen Orthodox Christian monasteries in North America and fell asleep in the Lord on December 7, 2019.

Audio source: ΕΝΟΣ ΕΣΤΙ ΧΡΕΙΑ
Holy Monastery Filotheou, Mount Athos, Greece

Elder Ephraim:

[Elder Ephraim of Arizona]: All great Fathers of the Church and the Desert passed through this ‘canal’, this furnace of temptations.
A younger brother visited an Elder, most experienced and most tested by temptations, … from both sides.
This brother had a great temptation and in this plight of temptation, in this furnace he was burning, he went and visited him [the Elder] to confess his temptations and receive a consul.
He says, “Elder, for God’s sake, help me! I am much tempted! I am burning! I am in a hellish situation … in despair… What should I do?”
The wise Elder replies, “My child, God wants to make you wise. He wants to give you the wisdom of the knowledge of God.”
“What kind of wisdom are you talking about, Elder? I have lost my head and you talk to me about knowledge of God? Who am I … and do you know the state I am in? What you [describe] are fairytales.”
“No, my child. God wants to make you wise through temptations. To make you ‘a craftsman.’ To teach you His own things.”
The [young] brother insisted that he was in a broken state.
[The Elder said], “I would like to confess to you about the personal temptations I faced, but I am afraid of hurting you.”
That is to bring him in an [even] worse state.
And he might get scared and fall in despair.
“But let me tell you this one thing.
I faced so many temptations, so much warfare by the devil, that if I confess them to you, I don’t know what you will think about it.
He says, out of hunger, I ate soil and out of thirst, I drank sea [water]. The demons threw me from the top down and I rolled down and reached the foot of the mountain. They did unbelievable things to me. And this not for a year or two, but for twenty years. And after twenty years of similar temptations, the grace of God started visiting me.
Little by little, every year, the grace was abounding. And in four, five years, I could not fathom the level of grace. I lifted my hands in prayer and, right away, I was in a state of [divine] ecstasy. I could not utter a ‘Glory to God’ and, right away, I was leaving myself. For this, I avoided praying with the other brothers, so that this state did not become noticed. You see, my child, the fruit, that the temptations of so many years, bore? And you have only now started your fight, and you tell me that you have fallen into despair about what is to come.”
With the things, [the Elder] said to the [young] brother, certainly, the [young] brother ‘straightened’ and received courage to fight until the grace visited him.
But this Elder led a consistent fight, led a ‘lawful’ fight and ‘exercise.’ And this is the reason God responded with such outpouring of grace.


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