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Elder Emilianos on the Heart

The arena is in the heart. It is here that God must come, so that He and I can draw closer to each other, become acquainted, love each other, talk about things, and finally be united… the arena is here precisely because this is where the obstacles are: my ignorance and my heedlessness – the fact that I don’t even remember God in my daily life. And even when I cried out and said, “My God, my God,” I really wasn’t calling upon God, but was interested only in myself. Interested in wanting to pray, because that’s what the Gospel says, or because that’s what my Elder told me, or because its something that I’m supposed to do, or because I had this need, or that desire. That was ignorance and heedlessness, and we still don’t know what those two things mean. My ignorance and heedlessness cast a shadow over God. I don’t remember Him, I don’t know Him. Why? Because He is hidden behind my passions. We’ve been separated! I’ve been locked out of Paradise, and can no longer eat from the Tree of Life, and unite myself to it, in order to regain life. “In that day that you eat of the Tree,” He says, “you will die” (Gen 2:17.) And He shuts mankind out of Paradise. Why? For on the day we eat again of the Tree of Life, we shall be restored to Life. Paradise is still closed to us, because “the Kingdom of heaven is within us”(Luke 17:21.) That which is closed off is inside us. It’s, closed off by the cherubim. What cherubim? The passions which keep my heart closed off from God. That’s what it means. (Counsels…. pg. 28, 12.)

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