Saint Nektarios of Pentapolis, the Wonder-Worker (1846-1920)

9 November 2020

Feast Day: 9 November

The Road to Happiness

Nothing’s greater than a pure heart, because such a heart becomes the throne of God. And what’s more glorious than the throne of God? Absolutely nothing. God says of those who have a pure heart: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be God to them, and they will be a people to me’ (2 Cor. 6, 16).

Who, then, are more happy than those people? And what good things do they lack? Don’t they find all good things and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their blessed souls?

What else do they need? Nothing; in truth, nothing. Because they have in their hearts the greatest good: God Himself.

People are so deceived if they pursue happiness outside themselves: in foreign countries, travelling, riches, glory, in great possessions and in enjoyments, in pleasures and all the luxuries and vanities; all of which end in bitterness. Building the tower of happiness outside the heart is like constructing something on land subject to frequent earthquakes. Such an edifice will soon collapse to the ground.

My brothers and sisters, happiness is to be found within ourselves, and blessed are they who understand this. Examine your heart and see its spiritual state. Has it lost its boldness to address God? Is your conscience affronted because of transgressions against His commandments. Does it condemn you for lies, injustices, neglect of your duties towards God and your neighbor?

Look and see if wickedness and passions have filled your heart. Have you perhaps slipped into paths which are crooked and rough to tread?

Unfortunately, those who neglect their heart are deprived of all good things and fall into a whole host of evils. They’ve cast out joy and are full of bitterness, sorrow and worry. They’ve cast out peace and gained anxiety, turmoil and terror. They’ve cast out love and welcomed hatred. Finally, they’ve cast out all the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, which they received at baptism, and have adopted all those wicked practices which make people pitiable and utterly wretched.

My brothers and sisters, our most merciful God wants all of us to be happy in this life and the next. This is why He founded His holy Church. In order to cleanse us of sin, to sanctify us, to reconcile us to Him and to shower us with blessings from on high.

The arms of the Church are open to embrace us. If our conscience is burdened, we should lose no time in going to them. If we hurry, the Church is prepared to shoulder our heavy weight, to grant us boldness of speech before God and to fill our heart with happiness and bliss.

Source: Holy Monastery of the Paraclete, Oropos

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