Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Elder Paisios on Science and the Spiritual Life

The following excerpt comes from the book Elder Paisios of Mount Athos, Spiritual Counsels I: With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man, pp. 228-229.

Evil starts when the mind concentrates only on science and is totally separated from God. This is why it is difficult for people who think this way to find inner peace and balance. By contrast, when the mind revolves around God, and is illumined and sanctified, science is used both for our spiritual edification and for the benefit of the world.

- Do you mean to say, Elder, that science does not help people?

Science can be of great help, but it can also muddle the mind greatly. I have met souls who possessed great lucidity even though their education was limited. If those who have muddled their mind with science manage to clarify it with the Grace of God, then, naturally, they will have more tools for their work. But if these tools are not sanctified, if their knowledge lacks holiness, then it will be used only for secular work and not for spiritual work. Our tools can be sanctified very quickly if we have the right kind of concern. Scientists and educated people who give precedence to their inner formation, to the edification of the soul, and bring their secular education to the service of spiritual growth, they will experience a rapid spiritual transformation. If they also lead spiritual lives, they will be able to help many people positively, by removing from their hearts the anxiety of hell and opening the way for heavenly joy. There are people of God who do not have as many academic degrees as others, but they can help people more, because they are full of divine Grace rather than diplomas. The world is so filled with sin that what we need the most is people given to prayer and to living a spiritual life. All these books and papers are paper money, valuable only if there are gold reserves in our bank, if our lives are spiritual through and through. And so we must drill into the "mine" of the soul, for otherwise science and education will be worth nothing.