ONE OF THE ANCIENTS offers glimpses into the mystical life, telling of Elder Gabriel's unceasing and burning prayer, spiritual experiences, wondrous visions, and acts of clairvoyance and healing.
The Elder was a normal, down-to-earth human being who endured all of the common temptations. It was his deep longing for the other world, inborn in every person, that gave him courage to stand and fight as a free individual before God, and, without expecting anyone to do it for him, to take the kingdom of heaven by force (Matt 11:12). His victory over adversity and his own raging passions gives hope to those still in the arena of unseen warfare, striving for union with God as did he.
Through the holy Life of Elder Gabriel ONE OF THE ANCIENTS portrays an undivided awareness of God, the vision of otherworldliness, perception of the future and even a partial penetration into the mysteries of death--to the life beyond.
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...What my heart experienced I cannot describe. I felt no need of food. I was burdened when others visited me. I was blissful, struck with love for the Lord. I was willing to remain even eternally alone and suffer, if only I could be with the Lord and be filled with love towards Him.
Although the Elder was of imposing stature and large build, he showed complete childlike simplicity, all-forgiving love, and meekness that was unchanging...in the softness of the Elder, in his loving and understanding attitude towards people, there was nothing of hypocrisy, nothing trite or artificial: everything was simple and holy, pure and direct, full of love and instruction.
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