Father, how can we witness Christ nowadays? – It’s very simple. Especially today, when Christ has so many adversaries. My dear ones, what we lack today is love for our neighbour – and THAT is our “homework”:“Do you say you love Me? Then give to the poor…” You know, it’s like Christ is telling us: “We will meet again, and it is I Who will ask you questions, and it will be more difficult for you then”. And there’s no need for the world to know that I’m giving this shirt, for example, to someone; or a penny; or that I’m feeding a dog.
Let me tell you what happened to me once. A man was smoking on a sidewalk one day and there was this stray dog that was looking at his hand; he was following the movements of his hand – he thought the man was eating. Poor animal! – what I would have given him, since I could see the real problem! But I’m saying this about a man – as little as you have, give him something. Even if you don’t have much yourself, either. At least live in that state of mind, in that willigness to live the moment as you should do.
How would anyone dare to say that he did not know that he should have given to his neighbour – that he should have fed the hungry one?
You hurt someone? Let me tell you this: you hurt Christ. It doesn’t matter if that person is full of scab! or sins – you should know this: he is not there, near you, for nothing! There is a reason for everything. So you either avoid the situation, or you put it to good use. Therefore, life is worth living it right [every minute of it].
I once met someone – he had 56 suits. He would not have had time to wear them all!… For [the Scripture says] “You, fool, tonight your soul will be required of you”. If everything you have, you have FROM ME – since no hair on your head will move without my will -, well, I have also given you this command: take care of the poor.
Father, can we overcome hardship? – You can, if you want. You cannot do anything, if you don’t want to. Love thy neighbour! Well, not like you would love your own wife and children – nobody asks you that. But don’t harm him. THAT is an act of love. Because you don’t realise – if you want to shake heaven and earth, how much power lies in the simple fact of saying: “God, please forgive him!” Everyone will realise then how important it is for one not to hate, in this world. If you can help someone – and also feel sorry for your own lack of control and proper Christian attitude – then fine.
How does one get one’s peace of heart? – Let us fulfill Christ’s word; let us follow Christ. [And think about our guardian angel] – our guardian angel is given to us by God; he has unspeakable beauty! [To think that some say there are no angels, and no devils, and no God.] But what if there is God? What have you got to lose? Think about it that way: what if there is this great chasm and a narrow bridge over it – and there’s someone who says that there is nothing there (as the chasm is covered up with leaves and all you can see is a harmless path) – what do you do then? You must cross over to the other side, because — what if it’s all true? It is NOT WORTH risking your life by not believing. One can risk one’s money, one’s reputation – but not one’s life. And that’s confessor father’s advice, I’m telling you. [smiling]
Fr. Arsenie Papacioc in a televised programme on Romanian Orthodox TV channel,“Trinitas”, December 31, 2010