This English translation of the sermon of Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol (Cyprus) was recorded for otelders (Orthodox Teaching of the Elders) by Peter Eliades.
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Abba Isaac the Syrian, this great saint of our Church, the hesychast, says that “the key that opens the fountains of the holy mysteries is the grateful heart, the thankful heart". If you achieve in saying “thank you” to God, if you feel the need to thank God for the things He has given you, then know that the Grace will grow inside you. If you do not do this and you are content with what is given to you or somehow you ask for more but without this sense of gratitude then it will take a lot of time until you learn how to rightly assess things and pay thanks to God. [...]
Remember what the martyrs were saying? We thank you Lord that You made us worthy to die for You. They consider their martyrdom as a reason for gratitude. [...]
We cannot understand that we are the ones who are in need of God. God has no needs. Either we go to church or not, either we are saved or not, either we follow Him or not, we do not add something to God neither do we deprive Him of something. God is self-glorified; He has no need for us to glorify Him. It is us who have the need to pray, to study, to run to the church. [...]
As a result, let us all learn how to thank for everything. “Thank You God”, “Thank you God for everything that happens around us, because You are our God, our Father. Because You built this world, the Creation, You created us… for everything we have. When the heart moves in that way of thankfulness, then the struggles become lighter and our trials receive another meaning and our eyes are illuminated and we see our life differently inside the eternal dimension of the Kingdom of God.