Humility is the fundamental virtue ( Elder Efraim of Arizona)
I entreat our Panagia very much that she grant me humility in all things, for it is a fundamental virtue, and without it the grace of the All-holy Spirit does not validate any of our work!
When the Archbishop of Alexandria, Theophilos, visited the fathers of Mount Nitria, he asked the Elder of the mountain, “What have you found, Father, more than us in this way of ascesis?” And the venerable one replied, “To reproach myself at all times.” “Truly,” replied Theophilos, “there is no shorter road to God than this!”
Didn’t Lucifer and Adam fall away from God through pride and rebellion? Wasn’t Adam saved by the humility of the Theotokos—“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (1) —and of the Son of God, Who was born of Her without change, Who taught and practiced extreme humility? He also said, “Learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (2)
Whenever a person looks upon himself with humble thoughts and self-reproach, he will see in his soul a sweet repose, peace, consolation, relief, and hope! While on the contrary, what shows him his pride of soul is restlessness, agitation, wrath, boasting, haughty tendencies, and so on.
Ah, how effortless the road of humility is! Even without laboring ascetically or enduring illness, a person with humility and self-reproach, along with thanksgiving to God, is able to reach spiritual heights and feel the gift of sonship! While on the contrary, toiling ascetically without realizing one’s own infirmity and weakness and wretchedness is a struggle without prizes, sweat without wages, a road without hope. What a misfortune to struggle without profit! To cultivate without reaping! Why does this happen? Because the struggle was not lawful. “If someone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” (3) Even in physical competitions an athlete is not crowned if he does not struggle lawfully.
Selection of passages from the book by Silviu Podariu
From the book
Councels from the Holy mountain
Selected from the letters and homilies of Elder Efraim of Arizona
subm. no. 4
paragraphs: 10, 11, 12 from pages 221-222
1 Lk. 1:38
2 Mt. 11:29
3 2 Tim. 2:5
Humility is the fundamental virtue