Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou tells us about his encounter with Saint Paisios the Athonite. This is a very good message for new year, when our main struggle should be to fill up the vessel God gave us: “There are people who have a vessel as large as a cup of coffee. If they manage to fill this cup, that’s ‘excellent’. If one has a jar and fills it up to 2/3, that’s not ‘excellent!”
Video source: RumOrthodox, Cyprus, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpDXCBAh7f4
English translation based on RumOrthodox version.
They felt “the taste” of the Holy Grace… and they sought it in every way.
Particularly through [spiritual] exercise during their childhood.
In that way, they turned into “vessels” of the Holy Spirit. Really large vessels!
What do we mean by the term “vessels”.
This is part of Saint Paisios’ theology.
He told me: “Look, God gave you a large vessel… and it would be hard for you to fill it up”.
I couldn’t understand what he meant by saying “vessel”.
He said: “Listen, some people are born and ‘the vessel of their soul’ is as large as a thimble. If they manage to fill their thimble with the Grace of God… they get an ‘Excellent’…”
“There are people”, he told me, “who have a vessel as large as a cup of coffee. If they manage to fill this cup, that’s excellent.”
“There are some with ‘a vessel’ as large as a cup… others with one as large as a glass, others as large as a jar… some others have a tank and… a few have a dam. The dam, occasionally, overflows and irrigates the adjacent farmlands… The larger “the vessel of the Grace of God” the greater our responsibility…
Both towards God who gave it to us and towards our righteous ancestors… who made sure to prepare this vessel.
It is not due to our own skills and value. It is due to some mother, some father [we had]… some grandfather, some grandmother… to some priest, our family had in the past…… a monk, a nun or some other righteous man.
And all these prepare the vessel of our soul. Contemporary people may call it DNA… or they may call it heredity. They may also give it another name… in accordance with the language of modern psychology.
However, no explanation was more accurate than the one St. Paisios left us with:
“Take care of the vessel, God gave you. Fill it up.”
“If one”, he told me, “who has a vessel for his soul as large as a glass, in case manages to fill it with God’s Grace… that’s “Excellent” for him/her.
“If”, he told me, “one has a jar and fills it up to 2/3, that’s not ‘Excellent!'”