Fr. Rafail (a direct disciple of St. Sophrony the Athonite) lives a secluded life in the Romanian mountains. In this video he talks about the strength of prayer in today’s world, quoting St. Sophrony: “If you want to pray, know that you are like a molecule of water in a frozen ocean, a molecule that does not want to freeze together with the ocean.”
Video source: D-Studio Production
This video is part of the speech of Fr. Rafail Noica given at the International Colloquium “Meeting with the spiritual father”, November 13-15, 2016, Iasi, Romania.
“If you want to pray, know that you are like a molecule of water in a frozen ocean, a molecule that does not want to freeze together with the ocean. In nature, this is impossible. Don’t forget what I have told you, so you don’t lose your salvation!” That’s what he [St. Sophrony Sakharov] said, several times. I think he meant, “So you don’t lose your salvation by despairing.”
What is the frozen ocean? The world we are in. Who is still praying [for real] today? Yesterday I passed through the city a bit, I got depressed to see the world we are in. Well, “depressed”, it’s just a way of saying… It’s such a “cold” world, so foreign to God, so full of vain ideals. And we, each of us (Father Sophrony was talking not only about a molecule in an ocean) are part of the huge Adamic tree whose sap nourishes us all. We are nourished by the sap that flows through this tree, today it is a poisoned sap, the sap of unbelief, the sap of hate for God. See the TV programs that always mock the Church and find reasons to make a fuss and so on. This is the New Age we are in.
If I am a branch of this tree, how can I focus when the whole world is looking elsewhere? To some extent I can, but this measure is the extent to which I can get some help from God, from the grace of God. Until then, however, I am in this endless struggle, and the only thing I could say is what Father Cleopa [Ilie] said: “Patience, patience, patience… and when you feel you can no longer stand, then: patience, patience, patience…” And do not despair, go ahead, because in the God’s Book of Life there are inscribed not only our successes, which are not ours after all, ours is the choice, the success is His in us, but in the Book of Life are inscribed all our seemingly useless efforts, when we think we don’t succeed… So “Keep your mind in hell and despair not”… yes, we are in this world… But let’s think like this: if God allowed me to be in this world, or if God was willing for me to be in this devilish world, it means I can still be saved. What do I rely on when I say this? Christ said in chapter 13 of St. Mark, I paraphrase a little, “When no one could be saved any longer, the Father will shorten those days.” If these days have not been shortened yet and my children and I have entered this world, we can still be saved, somehow… But in the meantime: patience, patience, patience!