St Paisios the Great: Commemorated June 19
St Paisios was born in 320 AD in the village of Shansa, Egypt. Younger to six other brothers, he was weak and frail. One night his mother saw an angel in a vision asking her to give God one of her children and pointed at Paisios. When the mother tried to offer one of her stronger children, the angel insisted that Paisios was the chosen one. At the age of twenty, Paisios went to the wilderness of Scetes and became a monk by the hand of St Pambo.
When St Pambo died, an angel guided Paisios to the site of the present Monastery of St Paisios where he lived as a hermit. At this time, he became the spiritual father of many monks who gathered around him. He was famous for his love, wisdom, simplicity and kindness, as well as his extremely ascetic life. Such was the quality of the Saint’s spiritual struggle that the Lord deemed Paisios worthy to see and hear Him on several occasions.
On one occasion the Lord appeared and said to Paisios: “Do you see this desert which is boundless? One day I will fill it through you with monks who will glorify My name”.
Paisios then fell on his knees saying: “O Lord, all are within Your power and at once through Your will they shall be accomplished. But I beg of Your divine goodness, how will so many souls survive in this desert and how will they provide for their needs?” And the Saviour replied: “Believe Me, My son, that if those who shall live here will have love amongst themselves, which is the mother of all virtues, and will keep My commandments, I will care for them and provide for their needs”. Then Paisios said to the Lord again, “Once more, I shall entreat thy goodness: how will the monks be able to overcome the snares of the enemy and be freed from evil temptations?” And the Saviour said: “If they keep, as I told you, My commandments with humility and justice and a meek heart, not only will I liberate them from the assaults of the enemy and from evil snares, but I will make them inheritors of the kingdom of Heaven”.
Source: Lychnos June / July 2016