The Elder’s words are difficult to understand: which paradise is he referring to? The temporal one here on Earth…or the other eternal one to come? He says: “on my own” – It cannot be that he assumes he will be in paradise alone…that would be arrogant and that is impossible. Can you enlighten me?
It is the church of St. George at St. Antony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery. The beautiful architecture is Romanian.
The Elder refers to the Paradise to come. But when he says “on my own” he is not being arrogant because he does not refer to the saints and faithful who do/will doubtlessly dwell in Paradise, but to his own brotherhood. He is, in fact, displaying his great love and humility because he is praying that the whole brotherhood inherit Paradise and not him alone (of the brotherhood).
Like a second St. Paul it is as if he too declares, “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people” (Rom. 9:3).
“My Elder Joseph the Hesychast” is a wonderful book! Elder Ephraim, in addition to being a holy Elder, has a gift for storytelling and can sometimes be surprisingly funny. For more on Elder Joseph, “Monastic Wisdom,” a collection of his letters and teachings, is very good.