Evangelical Monasticism – Part 1 (Abbot George Kapsanis of Gregoriou)
A prerequisite for people to be united with Christ and to be resuscitated is that they should first die, through repentance, as regards the people they formerly were. People have first to crucify and bury their former selves (i.e. egotism, passions and selfish will) on the Cross and in the Grave of Christ, so that they can arise with Him and ‘walk in the newness of life’ (Rom. 6, 4). This is the work of repentance and the acceptance of the Cross of Christ. Without repentance, that is the continuous crucifying on one’s former self, it’s impossible for the faithful to believe in a Gospel manner, that is to give up the whole of themselves to God and to love ‘the Lord God with all their heart and with all their soul, with all their mind and with all their strength’ (Mark 12, 30). This is why the Lord made repentance the foundation of His Gospel message and a condition of faith.
A monk or nun promises to follow the narrow and sorrowful way of repentance throughout their life. They wrench themselves free of the things of the world in order to acquire the one thing they desire, to die to their former life in order to live the new life, which Christ offers them through the Church. Monastics pursue perfect repentance through continuous ascetic effort, vigils, fasting, and prayer, together with the cutting off of the will and unwavering obedience to their Elder. With all of this they force themselves to deny their own egotistical will and to love the will of God. Monastics are ‘a continuous forcing of nature’. In this way they fulfil the saying of the Lord: The kingdom of heaven is taken by violence and people of violence seize it’ (Matth. 11, 12). Through the birth-pangs of repentance, the new person who lives according to God is gradually born. MORE…
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