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June 2024 Letter From Father Menas: Ascension

"It is not for you to know the times or seasons..."


When will we, as Christians, learn to listen to these words of our Lord! When will we believe Him when He tells us, “At an hour you do not expect” our salvation will come?


Our prayers are full of petitions for God to hear us, and assurances that He does so. But how often do we remind ourselves to hear Him, to pay attention to His “still, small voice” whispering in our heart? In the midst of all our planning for “the impending doom,” do we continually remember to ask, “Cause me to know, O Lord, the way wherein I should walk”? Didn’t He tell us not to be troubled when we “hear of wars and rumors of wars?” Look at history: there have always been wars. The difference today is that the technology which we made screams them at us every day. You see the headlines—“news” we call it, although there is “nothing new under the sun.” Strife and violence everywhere; and yet people fret and speculate (or eagerly anticipate) the “Third World War.” Wake up! THE war is upon us, within us: the war we must be constantly waging for the salvation of our souls.


And be sure also to listen to His words: “Behold, I give you the authority… over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” So we shouldn’t fret over the commotion outside, but tune in to the Word of God calling us from within, for “If God is for us, who can be against us?”


Saint Paisios of the Holy Mountain gives us a touching example of simple, timeless faith that works miracles:


I remember an elderly monk at Esphigmenou Monastery on Mount Athos, who was so simple, that he thought “Ascension” was the name of a women Saint. He prayed to her on his komboschoini, “Saint of God, intercede for us!” Once, he had to feed a sick Brother in the infirmary and had nothing to offer him. He immediately went down the stairs, opened a window overlooking the sea, stretched his arms out and said, “Ascension, my Saint, give me a little fish for the Brother.” And right away, as if by miracle, a big fish jumped out of the sea and into his hands. The others who saw him were astonished, but he simply looked at them smiling, as if he were saying “What’s so strange about what you’ve just seen?”


And then look at us. We may know everything about the life and martyrdom of the Saints, or about when and how the Ascension took place and yet, we cannot even catch a tiny little fish! These are the strange and paradoxical things of the spiritual life, which the reasoning of those intellectuals that are centered on themselves and not on God, cannot explain, because their knowledge is of this world and sterile; their spirit is ill with secularism and their mind void of the Holy Spirit. [1]



In Christ's Abiding Love,


✢ Father Menas and the Brethren with me

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1. Spiritual Counsels, Volume 1: With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man by Saint Paisios of Mount Athos




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