SPIRITUAL WISDOM FROM ELDER PAISIOS
First of all, Elder Paisios tells us that, for love to blossom in the heart, we must pray with pain of heart. Once he was asked, 'We pray, Elder, and our thoughts go here and there. Why?'
'Because it is prayer without pain!' replied the Elder. 'To pray with the heart, we must hurt. Just as when we hit our hand or some other part of our body, our nous is gathered to the point we are hurting, so also for the mind to gather in the heart, the heart must hurt.'
The Elder was then asked, 'How can we preserve ourselves in this state when we don't have some problem, some pain?'
He replied, 'We should make the other's pain our own! We must love the other, must hurt for him, so that we can pray for him. We must come out little by little from our own self and begin to love, to hurt for other people as well, for our family first then for the large family of Adam, of God.'
Athanasios Rakovalis, Talks with Father Paisios (Thessalonica, Greece: Orthodox Kypseli, 2000), pp. 123-124.