Showing posts from September, 2020

Take Their Sufferings upon Ourselves

"Once Elder Nektary of Optina was asked: Should an elder take upon himself the sufferings and sins of those who come to him? He answered, 'You can't help them any other way.'" This is from a wonderful book on the life of Elder Vitaly of Tbilisi . Elder Vitaly would often fulfill the penance of others. This was especially true when the penance for a particular sin would have been too much for the repentant. But it was not just others' penance that he would take upon himself, but also, as that quote said, "their sufferings"... "When he would find out from the 'Nightly News' that a disaster had occurred somewhere, or that an accident had taken away human lives, he would write down the number of the dead and light candles for the repose of these people he didn't even know. He made a full prostration for each person." Communion with Christ is necessarily a step away from the individual and toward the communal. This is a beautiful e