All the circumstances of our lives; past, present and future, are
an opportunity to make the disposition of our hearts manifest.
We must choose between light or darkness. This choice is not to
be made merely by a decision of our reasoning brains but by the
innermost movements of our hearts. How often do we deceive
ourselves into thinking that we are choosing wisely because we
agree that virtue is worth pursuing, but when pressed-upon by
our circumstances, our hearts manifest the darkness inside and
we knowingly or unknowingly embrace that darkness and act on
While we are still alive, there is much we can do to purify
ourselves, with God's Grace and the wise use of our free will.
Therefore let us occupy ourselves with the one thing needful,
to attend to the inner healing of our soul that it may lean
towards the light and reject the darkness.
In the book 'The Gurus the Young Mand and Elder Paisios', by
Dionysios Farasiotis p.238-242, St Herman Press 2008, we read
the most amazing description of that moment when a search-
ing soul is presented with the terrifying choice, eternal life or
"The Choice between Light and Darkness"
One afternoon at the beginning of Holy Week, having made a
stop in Thessaloniki, I was by myself in our home there, when,
suddenly, my surroundings vanished. There were no images to
be seen, sounds to be heard, or objects to be touched. My five
senses had ceased functioning. It was as though the light switch
had been flicked and the room plunged into total darkness.
My mind turned its full attention to a spiritual realm that it found
utterly riveting and captivating. In one direction, I saw a soft
but intense light- brilliant yet gentle. In the other direction, I
saw a thick, cavernous darkness. Initially, I turned my attention
towards the awesome, yet fearful, darkness. It made my flesh
crawl, but I was overcome by curiosity, the desire to understand
what it was. My mind advanced towards the darkness, and I
began to sense the magnitude of its negation. The deeper I went,
the greater this negation became, and the thicker the darkness.
It had a vast power and, if I dare put it this way, a certain
grandeur. It represented a negative perspective on reality, un-
hesitatingly extending into reality as depth, even as the light
stretched infinitely into reality as height. On one side, there was
immense love; on the other immense hatred. The light was over-
flowing with unconditional altruism, while the darkness pulled
away in utter self-centeredness.
Though I could not see into the darkness, I could feel the presence
of souls in it, leaping about and shrieking with insane, wicked
laughter as they were pulled deeper and deeper into the ocean
of darkness , until the sound of their voices disappeared altogether.
Frightened by this savage madness, I headed towards the
light, seeking its protection. Just reaching its outskirts, I felt the
relief of having being rescued from a grave danger.
Although I didn't advance very far at all into the darkness, I was
able to fill the depths of its evil ocean. I could understand the
very essence of the enticing power of sin to tempt, as well as
its laughable powerlessness, utter dependence, and shadowy
non-existence. The darkness,I saw, is fearsome when it has won
you over, but it is absurd and feeble when you reject it- it can
not defeat even a small child if he does not fall on his own. In
the same way, I did not advance far into the light- only so to
speak, skating its edge -but even there I felt confident and
comforted by a fullness of life, peace, joy, and knowledge.
The light loved me greatly in spite of my unworthiness and
granted me its gifts, gifts I never dreamed existed.
At this point, I realized that the light created the world and
every living being. The existential space in which each person
dwells is itself a creation fashioned by the light, which also
fills and permeates these spaces. One being decided to stay
outside of the existential space created by the light, thus
creating a sort of space for itself, though only by denying the
light, turning from it and driving it away. The darkness has no
existence of its own, but only in that it denies the ever-existing
and sovereign light....
Just as the light's love wishes to unite all things, being the
source of existence and creation, so the hatred of the darkness
wants to divide all things, being the source of non-existence
Within a matter of minutes, I had received a lesson of immea-
surable depth. It was not only a revelation beyond words, of
subtle differences of profound meaning and great importance,
but also -and even more- a test and trial of the deepest inclinations
and intentions of my heart, to see whom I would follow and whom
I would leave behind. Fortunately, although my heart initially
moved towards the darkness, it ultimately found repose in the
light- and fortunately, the light still accepted me."