Are you a door or a brick wall?

2nd June, 2021

Taken from the seventeenth talk in a series of talks by His Grace Bishop Emilianos of Meloa providing an explanation of the work of Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra on 'νήψη' (nepsis).

How to empty yourself and what does this mean?

‘Christ says, I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be saved. Imagine if you were a door and I’m not saying you are, but imagine if you are. To fulfil your purpose you have to be open. You have to be able to open. If you don't open, no one can enter, it’s the same thing as a wall. This opening is emptying ourselves. An open door is basically an empty door.

What does this mean practically? Your wife comes to you and says today I want to cook this and this because of this and this reason. If you're a brick wall you will say, Nah I don’t like that, if you cook it you eat it.

But if you are an open the door you will tell her of course; she might even burn the food, but you will still tell her that it was lovely. That's an open door. You have to be open to other people. And you have to be open to God, your connection with God to let God enter. It means that you should empty yourself from everything that, let's say, makes you feel that you're something.

Adam and Eve, after the original sin the only thing they thought of (a very bright idea, which might be symbolic, but a very bright idea according to their thought) was to get fig leaves and cover their nudity. But God created them. So basically what they did didn't make any sense. These are our excuses sometimes when we want to defend something that we did wrong or something that we think we know about very well, which mainly is our ego. So all these, they need to go, and an open door is an empty door; and everybody can come in, God can come in.

Someone reminded me lately of a Western painting and there is an icon of Jesus knocking on a door, which is our soul. And apparently they were telling us, I forgot this detail but I was reminded a few days ago, when we were studying this in Thessaloniki the professor was telling us “look at this photo, it doesn't have a handle on the outside, meaning Christ can’t just open”. If we don't open from inside, Christ can’t enter. So we need to do this, we need to open the door, we need to empty ourselves.

And the same thing when we go for confession - our spiritual father has to empty himself before he tells us anything. If for example you were a teenager and you were going for confession and your spiritual father had an idea that you were to ask him what his advice would be for you to study in year 12, what to study next year, what to do in your life. And he was thinking about it because he knows you and he comes to a conclusion and he tells you that. That’s not from God. He was preoccupied and this could be human wisdom, but it's not the Holy Spirit.

When someone comes with a problem during confession, a spiritual father has to empty himself, meaning I don't think of anything that I know of I’m only praying and I'm asking God to tell me, to enlighten me, what does this person need. That's why a spiritual father who's spiritual will give a different answer to every person that will ask the same question, because your answer is personal and your answer is through him, but the answer is from God. And it's not from my brain that might not even work properly.


2nd June, 2021

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