When we have lived a year or two away from our family, and have acquired some piety or contrition or continence, then vain thoughts begin to rise up in us and urge us to go again to our homeland, ‘for the edification of many’, they say, ‘and as an example, and for the profit of those who saw our former lax life’. And if we possess the gift of eloquence and some shreds of knowledge, the thought occurs to us that we could be saviors of souls and teachers in the world—that we may waste in the sea what we have gathered so well in the harbor. Let us try to imitate not Lot’s wife, but Lot himself. For when a soul turns back to what it has left, like salt, it loses its savour and becomes henceforth useless. Run from Egypt without looking back; because the hearts which look back upon it with affection shall not see Jerusalem, the land of tranquility. Those who left their own people in childlike simplicity at the beginning, and have since been completely purified may profitably return to their former land, perhaps even with the intention, after saving themselves, of saving others, too. Yet Moses, who was allowed to see God Himself and was sent by God for the salvation of his own people, met many dangers in Egypt, that is to say, dark nights in the world.
There is great danger when a person’s spiritual reputation is greater than his spiritual level.
Based on St. John of the Ladder
This photo is of the cell (hut) of Elder Gavriil of Karyes, which is 10 minutes from Panagouda, the cell where of St. Paisios the Athonite lived. Elder Gavriil’s cell is easily recognizable by its more modern style in comparison with those around it. Though Elder Gavriil, as a somewhat known spiritual father, may have 30-40 pilgrims visit daily, unfortunately others have attempted to exaggerate his popularity, much to his displeasure, by reporting that he has hundreds of visitors every day. This type of exaggeration has created both difficulties for Elder Gavriil and misunderstandings for pilgrims and the faithful.