Humility and Philotimo

[When one realizes one’s sinfulness and the great mercy of God,] the heart cracks, as hard as it may be and real tears fall of themselves and then man prays an weeps without effort. This is because humility works continuously together with philotimo* and drills on the heart so that the springs increase, and the hand of God continually strokes the hard-working and philotimo child.

*Philotimo: A word Elder Paisios was fond of using, for which there is no equivalent in English. According to Elder Paisios’s understanding, philotimo “is the reverent distillation of goodness, the love shown by humble people, from which every trace of self has been filtered out. Their hearts are full of gratitude towards God and to their fellow men, and out of spiritual sensitivity, they try to repay the slightest good which others do them.”

Elder Paisios the Athonite, Epistles. Souroti, Greece: Holy Monastery of the Evangelist John the Theologian, 2002, 34.

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